Remember how Garden State made the little known band The Shins smash hit indie darlings, how exciting it was to be hearing, discovering this new band along with Zach Braff’s character when he put on those huge headphones. Well the Fruit Bats just might be next with one of there songs (When U Love Somebody) featured on the soundtrack of Youth in Revolt the new Michael Cera vehicle, which is bound to attract the indie masses because it’s Michael Cera. Fruit Bats are from the same mold as The Shins, refreshingly inventive and retrospective at the same time.
New Kind of Love- Plants and Animals
Few bands have the skill to make a song 6 + minutes entirely listenable. Plants and Animals are one of the few, this song comes off like a mellowed Arcade Fire meeting with an ethereal Nick Drake, the arrangement is vast but at the same time endearing and homespun, and an absolute blast with headphones.
The Bed’s Too Big Without You- The Police
The Police weren’t entirely unknown at the time, Roxanne and Can’t Stand Losing You and So Lonely had guaranteed that on their previous debut effort. Regatta de Blanc showcased their new signature sound and pushed them into stardom and this song is an oft forgotten highlight of the album.
Bob Dylan affected his audience so well due to his direct approach and wonderful narrative lyrics, A.A. Bondy may just be the closest comparison to the Dylan mystique and he well deserves it.
Achingly introspective and beautifully understated, this song reaches into your emotions and doesn’t let go. The lo-fi production and simple acoustic arrangement only make this song better.
Sans the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante is a wholly new animal. Featuring a Cat Stevens-esque croon, Anne starts out stark with beautiful acoustic accompaniment before expanding into a full blown creative arrangement. A wonderful talent.
Many bands have their own sound, but the Dodos go even further, there is no other band that features their musical DNA, inventive in their arrangements and deceptively simple, they make a waltz sound like an entirely new style.
The Danger Zone- Susan Tedeschi
Susan Tedeschi isn’t the only country and blues styled guitar slinging singer but she’s one of the best, with a voice that belongs in a category alongside Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin.
Willow Tree- G. Love and Special Sauce
I dream for the day that Beck and G. Love collaborate for they both have their own genius touch on blending musical styles, for now this is the closest I’ll get. Creative, laid back groove and tight soulful harmony.
Caught by the River- The Doves
The song you wished Coldplay and Oasis had written so you wouldn’t feel so guilty for saying you liked them, vast and beautifully arranged.
Featured in Up in Air, this song harkens back to the best of CSNY and Simon and Garfunkel with beautiful harmonies and acoustic guitars going back and forth and yet with an arrangement that’s completely original, just one of those songs where beautiful seems to be the only word that fits perfectly. I don’t care if Up in Air wins any awards for its film merits, but it should for this song.
Please Be Patient With Me- Wilco
As great of a full band Wilco is, they have a magical quality when they tone it down to just guitars and vocals.
Eleanor Rigby gets a lot of credit for it, but mark my words; in terms of arrangement, production, lyrics and delivery, For No One is simply one of the best songs in the entire Beatles catalogue and is Paul McCartney’s lonely masterpiece and its over far too soon.
Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)- George Harrison
Simply put, the best all around song on All Things Must Pass the arrangement is full of mystical and haunting beauty and proves once and for all George’s ability as a songwriter.
Wonderfully unique in its arrangement and production with a beautiful voice to boot. One of those melodies that will just keep rolling around in your head, a brooding kind of song.
The most beautifully written piece of Americana this decade, Dylan himself would be green with envy.
Take Me Out of the City- Dawes
Not many bands can tone down their arrangement and let their harmonies dominate to create a song of utter beauty. Dawes is one of them and it would be hard to find a band who does it better.