The 25 Best Songs We Heard Last Month
Augustines, "Kid You're On Your Own" The Brooklyn trio's whole album Augustines is fantastic, like War-era U2 with bonus folk inflections. I can tell it's going to be one where I have a different favorite track every couple of weeks; right now it's "Kid You're On Your Own." JOHN SEABORN GRAY
Aloe Blacc, "The Man" Is this the greatest song ever? No. Do I even remotely care? No. This is the kind of song you listen to in the car with the windows down on a sunny day, riding the breeze with your hand. It's easy, and sometimes easy is good. SELENA DIERINGER
Chromeo and Toro y Moi, "Come Alive" When you heap a duo as funky and disco-fab as Chromeo over reigning kings of chillwave Toro y Moi, something perfect is born. "Come Alive" is all synth and funk, a cooler version of Daft Punk's megahit "Get Lucky" with way more disco madness. The song basically demands you to dance; just don't listen to it in the car. ANGELICA LEICHT
Cloud Nothings, "I'm Not Part of Me" After Cloud Nothings' fantastic full-band debut album Attack on Memory, my worries about the Cleveland trio keeping up the same standard without Steve Albini's production were completely unfounded. Their newest record Here and Nowhere Else kicks just as much ass on a number of songs, but the one that hits me the most is "I'm Not Part of Me." It's just a perfect example of what this band does best: loud rock songs with insanely catchy hooks. COREY DEITERMAN
Johnny Cash, "Out Among the Stars" The opening line is perfect ("It's midnight at a liquor store in Texas"), the message of hard-won redemption is universal and, in Johnny Cash's voice-of-God baritone, even believable. Hard to believe an album like Out Among the Stars could be all but forgotten until just recently -- except considering the priorities and tastes of mid-'80s Nashville, perhaps -- but in hindsight it makes a perfectly logical prologue to Cash's Rick Rubin-sparked renaissance about a decade later. CHRIS GRAY
The Colourist, "Say You Need Me" I'm a sucker for male/female vocal interplay, and the Colourist -- after hearing their full-length release and seeing them live -- are a good band who flirt with being great. I feel like all the pieces are there, and sometimes, like on "Say You Need Me," they all come together and it's just delightful. Put this on and dance with me in your office chair. It'll be fun. CORY GARCIA
Mac DeMarco, "Brother" This is a song that draws you in without your ever realizing it, which is part of why I dig it so much. DeMarco's vocals feel glassy and dazed, a style that plays perfectly with the eerie guitars screeching alongside them. It's easy to get lost in his mellow, surfy sound. ANGELICA LEICHT
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Photo by David McClister/Courtesy of Thirty Tigers Media
Drive-By Truckers, "Shit Shots Count" This rangy rocker opens the Truckers' first album in three years, English Oceans, with Memphis horns, ragged guitars and pearls of Mike Cooley's barroom wisdom like "They don't pay you enough to work/ They don't pay me enough to bitch." After sitting on the bench for awhile, the best way to get back in the game is to knock down the biggest player on the field. CHRIS GRAY
DZ Deathrays, "Northern Lights" Usually comparable to Death From Above 1979 or Be Your Own Pet, DZ Deathrays take a step away from their loud-and-fast reputation to expose their soft flesh on "Northern Lights." Sure, they're a party band, but the duo is best when slowing things down and constructing heartbreakingly beautiful songs that send chills down your spine and bring sudden clarity to your life. ALYSSA DUPREE
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" I've probably known this swing tune since I was a kid. Originally from George & Ira Gershwin's great American folk opera Porgy & Bess, "Nuttin'" was recorded by the two jazz greats in 1957, and stuck out this March as something I kept humming. It felt like something sunlit and exciting, and has been a precursor to good days and nights for me lately. ALEXA CRENSHAW
Foster the People, "Coming of Age" Foster the People finally released sophomore album Supermodel last week, after keeping fans waiting for three years since breakout debut Torches. First single "Coming of Age" is everything we have come to expect from the California-based indie/electronica three-piece: catchy, danceable and full of grandiose melodies, but missing the dark undertones of "Pumped Up Kicks." As the title suggests, the band is growing up, which isn't such a bad thing. MATTHEW KEEVER
Future, "Honest" Every once in awhile a song just follows me, and "Honest" is currently it. Of course it's been on rotation on hit radio stations since this past summer, but this is mostly mental. Lately when I hear someone say "I'm just being honest," I pimp their words out in my head with Future's Autotuned sound. He's given me an easy way to lighten situations...I'm just being honest. ALEXA CRENSHAW
The Hard Pans, "Dying Trying" Desperation doesn't come much catchier than this Mark Creaney tune from the Hard Pans' debut album, Budget Cuts. An ode to all who struggle mightily but are held back by forces beyond their comprehension, the tune could be a metaphor for their predecessors the Gourds, who solidered mightily for 19 years and half that many albums only to find themselves still looking up at arguably less talented, less creative bands. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH
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Iza Lach feat. Snoop Dogg, "No Ordinary Affair" One of my favorite things about the Internet is those moments that seem absolutely unavoidable, as if the universe conspires with the stars and your fingers to give you what you were looking for and didn't even know it with one or two clicks. With a voice that's sweet yet piercing, sensual and inviting, Polish singer-songwriter Iza Lach has been taken under the wing of none other than The Doggfather himself. I can listen to this track on repeat for hours. MARCO TORRES
John Legend, "All of Me" (Tiësto Remix) The original version of this song is damn near perfect, reminiscent of early John Legend hits such as "Ordinary People" and his contribution to Slum Village's "Selfish." Usually the dance version of a popular R&B track is good for one, maybe two listens, but Tiësto gets it just right. It gets the blood pumping, remixing the track without butchering the song to death. An instant favorite. MARCO TORRES
Lorde, "Bravado" Pure Heroine is not a perfect debut album; it's a damn good one, but would have been better if "Bravado" were on the original version. It's easily one of the strongest songs that Lorde has released, featuring one of her more impressive vocal performances. It's not really fair that at her age her B-sides are stronger than a lot of people's A-sides, but here we are. CORY GARCIA
Major Lazer, "Original Don" This 2011 track is currently being featured on commercials for Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan Hotel. While watching it I wish I could say this glittery hotel wasn't full of goofy families and old couples when I went, but what I get is that "bomboclatt" sound stuck in my head and start thinking about going somewhere else. ALEXA CRENSHAW
Manchester Orchestra, "Top Notch" If Manchester Orchestra's first single off new LP Cope is meant to set the tone for the album, fans are in for a real treat. "Top Notch" is unrelenting and heavy-handed, a far cry from previous album Simple Math. Vocalist Any Hull says Cope will be "brutal and pounding you over the head on every track." I just can't get "Top Notch" out of my head, and don't really want to. MATTHEW KEEVER
Idina Menzel, "Let It Go" Sung by Idina Menzel and written by the husband-and-wife team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, "Let It Go" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 2014 Oscars. Its parent film Frozen is now stuck in the DVD player at my sister's house, where my two nieces sing along to "Let It Go" over and over and over. OK, I do too, but purely in the attempt to be a nice uncle. But I must admit I'm a sucker for animated movies. MARCO TORRES
Angel Olsen, "Hi-Five" Songs about being lonely get maudlin so easily that some humor is very appreciated. Olsen's voice and songwriting are both great, and "Hi-Five" is catchy as hell. JOHN SEABORN GRAY
List continues on the next page.
Purity Ring, "Fineshrine" While this track was released in mid-2012, I first heard it at the start of the month and it's been my go-to background music in both social and work settings ever since. Not to say that's all it's worth; the way the demure beat washes over Purity Ring's subtly twisted lyrics strikes me as peaceful. ALEXA CRENSHAW
Ringworm, "One of Us Is Going to Have to Die" It's hard to believe Ringworm has been a band for 25 years, waving the hardcore flag longer than some of their fans have been alive, but what's amazing is that their sound has been so consistent and hard-hitting. This cut off their latest album, Hammer of the Witch, shows both growth alongside a commitment to the tradition they established years ago. It distills all the aspects of Ringworm's sound, which is what gives it such a punch in the teeth. The whole record rips, but for a new fan this is the song to listen to. COREY DEITERMAN
Sevyn Streeter feat. Chris Brown: "It Won't Stop" I've never really been a huge "slow jamz" kind of girl (R. Kelly and anything predating 1976 notwithstanding, obviously), so finding "It Won't Stop" so irresistibly hot surprises me; I'll turn on 93.7 just to see if it's on. Sure, the fact that this chick goes by the name "Sevyn" is hilarious and reminds me of George Costanza, but "It Won't Stop" makes me want to make out in a car. Those are the best songs to get stuck in your head. SELENA DIERINGER
Trash Pop Icons, "Stupid Love" Given that Green Day was the first band I ever fell in love with, I suppose I'll always have a soft spot for a good pop-punk song. The key word there is "good," which is in short supply these days. That's why I did a small fist-pump in my office the first time I heard this track: it's catchy, it's funny...my God, it's good. Their debut release A Way With Words is pretty solid on the whole, and I'm bummed I missed them at SXSW. CORY GARCIA
Weekend, "Adelaide" I listened to this album three or four times without hearing it somehow. Finally it just clicked, and I love it. Maybe I should pay more attention to what I'm hearing. In any case, shoegaze is so wonderful when done right. JOHN SEABORN GRAY
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