How could we not include this lovely song that Ms Prankster wrote expressing her love for us!
103 - Rock n Roll Degenerate - Mary Prankster
Baltimore's own Mary Prankster roared back on the scene in 2019 with a “genre-hopping joyride” of an album titled Thickly Settled. We've settled on the 3:50 opening track - Rock n Roll Degenerate - as our favorite song from the album.
102 - Cosmic American Blues - OJR
Nashville's Oliver John-Rodgers aka OJR returned in 2019 as well ... and there's something about the word play in the lyrics to Cosmic American Blues that we just couldn't resist.
101 - Wedding Bell Blues - Morrissey
What a year for Morrissey - he had a run on Broadway, actually showed up and played shows (including a night when he turned Merriweather into a vegan venue) and sold other people's records with his autograph on them). But, Wedding Bell Blues, a cover of the Laura Nyro song that was later made famous when the R&B group 5th Dimension released it in 1969, from his 12th solo album is what we'll remember Moz for the most in 2019
100 - Love is the Only Way - Cage the Elephant
2019 might have been the year of the pig on the Chinese calendar - but it was the year of the Elephant on the WRNR calendar. Love is the Only Way is not the only cut from CTE's Social Cues you'll see on this list!
99 - Gimme Gimme - Meiko
We love us some Meiko .. and Gimme Gimme from her fifth album “In Your Dreams” - an exploration into consumer culture - left us wanting more!
98 - Go Crazy - G. Love
G Love was another artist we were happy to have back in 2019 - and we were pretty crazy about the song he dropped on us with special guest Keb' Mo'
97 - Rusty Nail - Peter Bjorn and John
Another quirky hit from an old favorite ... the Swedish indie pop trio who gave us the 'whistle song' aka Young Folks returned in 2019 with no signs of rust :)
96 - Hurry on Home - Sleater-Kinney
Starting to notice a trend here? The Olympia, Washington riot grrrl band burst back in 2019 and dazzled us with an amazing show at The Anthem and an amazing album The Center Won’t Hold
95 - Night Running - Cage the Elephant feat Beck
Remember what we said about this being the year of the Elephant? We present to you exhibit B - a smash hit with their 2019 tour mate - Beck
94 - Crowded Table - The Highwomen
When this country super group composed of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires - made their live debut in April at Loretta Lynn's 87th birthday concert - we had no idea that we were going to get a full 12 song album ... that is as good as you would expect from these performers.
93 - Suspirium - Thom Yorke
Taken from the score of the 2018 horror film Suspiria - we loved what Thom did - but we think the live version of the song from the infamous Electric Lady Studios is more haunting than the movie was!
92 - Strangers - City and Colour
City and Colour is the project of Canadian (hence the U in colour) ex-hardcore artists Dallas Green. He began releasing his own music under this moniker (which comes from his first name being a city and his last name a color) nearly 15 years ago - and Strangers is cut with some deep meanings "about how you will never truly know another human being ... You’ll never really understand what it’s like to be inside someone else’s brain or heart. So, we need to appreciate the differences. If we do, maybe we can live better with one another." woah ...
91 - Holy Roller - Emily Wolfe
Evoking some serious blues rock and roll sounds - we loved this jam - produced by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes - from the the Austin Texas tour de force that is Emily Wolfe
90 - Moderation - Florence + The Machine
OK - we'll say it ... if there is one thing we don't need in moderation - it's music and tours from Florence Welch. Please come back in 2020 with more new music and tours F+TM!
89 - I Was Wrong - BAILEN
A band that keeps it in the family - BAILEN consists of twin brothers Daniel and David Bailen and their younger sister Julia. And it wasn't just the twang in the song I Was Wrong that we loved - the idea that song is about "coming together and listening to the other side of an argument, hearing another perspective, and being able to say I was wrong" really had us thinking...
88 - Misery - Michigander
A late add to the list ... you'll never guess where Jason Singer aka Michigander is from ... MICHIGAN. The song may be called Misery - but it had us smiling every time it came on
87 - Sunday Driver - The Raconteurs
Another band that was back from hiatus in 2019 ...and with a FURY ... Jack White and Brendan Benson's The Raconteurs (also from Michigan) from start to finish - the album Help Me Stranger was a 2019 favorite - and Sunday Driver was one of the first (and best) songs we heard from it!
86 - Kyoto - Haelos
It's been said that timing is everything - and with the lyrics "Cherry blossom cherry blossom .. It's the air that we breathe" on a track that came out just as the Cherry Blossoms blossomed ... Haelos provided the perfect soundtrack for the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC
85 - Deja Vu - SOAK
Derry Ireland's SOAK is a mighty force in a small package. When we had the chance to bring her to Annapolis for a pop up happy hour show- it was a no brainer to have it at FADO - who's owner is from the same small town made famous by the Netflix show
84 - Forgive Me - Smith & Thell
Kind of a theme this year ... listening, compassion, and forgiveness. Swedish pop/folk artists Smith and Thell's track was part of a project originally written three years ago - but in 2019 they combined the three songs into one and came out with Forgive Me - a song about a friendship that went a little bit downhill due to the duo's focus on their musical careers ...
83 - Doin' Time - Lana Del Rey
It's not often covers make our year end best of list ... and two covers (see Morrissey at #101) is unheard of ... AND the fact that LDR covered a song we play the original of (by Sublime) makes it all the more wild ... but the intoxicating spin Lana Del Rey put on this 90s classic was worth including it on the list
82 - Sunflower - Vampire Weekend feat. Steve Lacey
Back to the bands that roared back in 2019 ... Vampire Weekend hit us with a double album, Father of the Bride, that was full of hits, fun marketing and a tour that featured giant inflatable frogs, globes, and all request encores!
81 - They Own This Town - Flora Cash
Here's what we know about Flora Cash ... Shpresa Lleshaj from Sweden and Cole Randall from Minnesota met online after discovering they appreciated each other's music. They decided to link up in Sweden and collaborate together ... the output is amazing synth pop (that set the Severn River ablaze on a 2019 Rock N River Cruise) ... what we don't know is what Flora Cash means ... they've never revealed the origin or meaning of their band name to anyone.
80 - Overexcited - Guster
What is so amazing about this song is not the quirky lyrics, the catchy rhythms, or the unique percussions - it's that Ryan Miller - frontman of the Boston based band - sings the song with a perfect British accent ... they even brought in a coach to the studio - making sure the accent was true to form :)
79 - Release - Grace Potter
Another come back in 2019 - Grace Potter ... have you checked out our podcast with her??? Release is an amazing track from an amazing album
78 - Mockingbird - Wild Belle
The sibling duo Wild Belle (multi-instrumentalist and producer Elliot Bergman and singer-songwriter Natalie Bergman) might be from Chicago - but they make some blissful island pop music - and Mockingbird is a perfect example of the "blazed out modern soul and world-rock sounds" they have developed
77 - Will We Talk - Sam Fender
English actor, singer-songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender's album Hypersonic Missiles is just that - a hypersonic missile full of bar rock that would have you believing he was from the Jersey Shore and not North Shields, England.
76 - The Game - Milky Chance
Milky Chance are a German electronic pop duo with a strange name but some damn catchy songs ... The Game is a perfect blend of reggae/chillwave/rock that has us bobbing our heads uncontrollably when it comes on
75 - High Steppin - Avett Brothers
High Steppin was supposed to be a straight up country song by the brothers Avett - but instead it came out as a piano driven bouncy diddy with harmonies that had us .... HIGH STEPPIN all around the studio ...
74 - To The Ground - Death Cab For Cutie
This may not sound like arena-rock - but to DCFC - this is arena-rock. Reminiscent of something the Edge and Bono would release - this song is a reminder of what has made this Pacific Northwest band the powerhouse they have been for decades.
73 - N.Y.E - Joseph
N.Y.E. is a song, as singer Natalie Closner Schepman can attest to, that reminds us that no matter what you're going through - New Years Eve can be a magical evening in which you can forget it all and get lost in the moment - every year.
72 - Turn Me On, Deadman - Robyn Hitchcock and Andy Partridge
When you pair up two amazing artists like Robyn Hitchcock and XTC's Andy Partridge - you know the output is going to be amazing ... and Turn Me On, Deadman is proof
71 - Summer Girl - HAIM
With this song being such a departure from HAIM's pop forward sound - it's not hard to understand that it has some dark meaning - the song was written at a time when the band’s producer (and singer Danielle Haim’s romantic partner) Ariel Rechtshaid had been diagnosed with cancer. Danielle has said of the lyrics: "I was trying to send positive energy his way almost telepathically ... I wanted to be his sunshine—his summer when he was feeling dark.” In regards to his cancer, Rechtshaid has said he "caught it early, had a surgery & continues to keep a close eye"
70 - Sympathy - Vampire Weekend
This funk laden jaunt from Vampire Weekend's Father of the Bride is punctuated by the lyric “Now we’ve got that sympathy/ What I’m to you/ You are to me/ Let’s go.”
69 - Wish You Were Gay - Billie Eilish
For anyone who thinks Billie Eilish is a one hit wonder ... you need to get a copy of the album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, listen to it completely - and tell us if you still think she's a one hit wonder
The National made Barack Obama's best of 2019 so why wouldn't they make ours? While the beginning of this track sounds like a malfunctioning panic attack - the song unfolds into a beautiful The National-esque song ... and when you add in the fact that David Bowie band mate Gail Ann Dorsey is singing back up? Duh - it's on the list!
66 - Van Horn - St. Motel
Go ahead ... try and not jam out to a St. Motel song .. we dare you ... St. Motel always bring the jam and Van Horn is the truth!
65 - Justice - Citizen Cope
Cope delivers some lines in this song that we all needed to hear in 2019 and take into 2020 - like "There's so much trouble in the world / Surrounded by miracles / So much hatred undeserved / But it will not work because / Still my love will be received" <3
64 - Shockwave - Liam Gallagher
While we can pretty much give up hope on an Oasis reunion - we can at least take solace in the fact that Liam (and Noel) continue to producer solid rock songs through their own solo projects.
63 - Wars - Of Monsters and Men
When Of Monsters and Men came rumbling to Annapolis many moons ago - we had no idea that they'd be still popping up in our best of lists in 2019 (OK - maybe we did because they were and are THAT good)
Foals released two albums in 2019 - ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Parts 1 and 2. The Runner is on the later album and the lyrics describe the aftermath of the former. Lead singer Yannis Philippakis described the song as “... a call to find a sense of purpose and perseverance despite the odds and despite the troubles we may find inside or outside ourselves.”
60 - Love You For A Long Time - Maggie Rogers
What can we say about Maggie Rogers that we haven't said a million times ... we love her because of her amazing career path, her magical music, and because she's one of us - a Marylander :) Maggie released this song just after being nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award and says “It’s a song about love in all its forms—romantic love, the love I feel for my friends, the love I feel for my band, and the love I’ve shared with all of you. I wanted it to sound like the last days of summer. I wanted it to sound as wild and alive as new love feels.”
59 - Might Be Right - White Reaper
Despite the glam rock-esque guitars in this track - the band described their first new album in 2 years as “nu-disco boogie and grinning twin guitar leads into masterly crafted pop songs” ... whatever that means ... we dig the tune
58 - See Through My Eyes - The Head and the Heart
A single from the indie folk collective's fourth album is just as beautiful as ever and a song the band says "is a song for anyone that needs to be reminded not to judge themselves. We made a video to try to illustrate stripping away the artificial reality of the every day to get to the core universality of the human species.”
57 - Good Luck - Broken Bells
Broken Bells - another group we were happy to get new music from in 2019! Danger Mouse (producer extroidonaire) and James Mercer (The Shins) ... the track is "reflective of specific discussions between the two" ... While we still haven't gotten that full album they have teased - they admit that despite constantly working on music - the "two always drift back to one another as Broken Bells. When it happens naturally, it happens—and right now it’s happened in the form of writing and recording sessions for the third Broken Bells album.”
56 - Hello Sunshine - Bruce Springsteen
Bruce finished his Broadway residency, had a Netflix special and teased a full tour with his E Street Band in 2019 ... but he also released a country throwback album - Western Stars. We aren't the only ones who loved this track ... it was also included on Barack Obama's best of 2019 list
55 - So Caught Up - Teskey Brothers
The Australian duo Sam and Josh Teskey put out an album of what can best be described as 'Blue Eyed Soul' ... It evokes a powerful throwback sound that it could have come out of Memphis and not Melbourne.
54 - U (Man Like) - Bon Iver
Another big year for Bon Iver ... headlining spots at festivals, sold out tours, and Grammy nominations ... but this track - that features Moses Sumney, Bruce Hornsby, and Bryce Dessner - is the 2019 highlight from Justin Vernon for us.
53 - I Get No Joy - Jade Bird
We love us some Jade Bird ... we caught her as her star was rising in 2018 and it continued to rise in 2019. She released her debut album, toured alongside some heavy hitters - like Hozier, Father John Misty,and Jason Isbell ... but this track here - about “the stream of thought that runs through your head at all times as an over thinker” had lyrics like “Psychotic, hypnotic, erotic, which box is your thing?” stuck running through our heads all year long
52 - Superposition - Young the Giant
The second single off of the band's fourth album, Mirror Master - Superposition - not only got a lot of air time on WRNR - it was featured in the TV Shows Grey's Anatomy and Roswell, New Mexico AND was featured as a track in the video game - Rock Band 4
51 - Unchained - Devin Gilfillian
From his debut album - Black Hole Rainbow - Nashville's Devon Gilfillian says this song "was originally inspired by the story of Brian Banks, an African-American professional football player wrongly accused of rape, but it’s evolved into so much more than just that. It’s a song about empowering yourself to become your greatest potential no matter what tries to stand in your way.”
50 - Now That Your Gone - The Raconteurs
The second entry on the list from the Nashville via Detroit heavy hitters that returned in 2019 with their amps turned up to 11. On this bluesy ballad - Brendan Benson takes the lead on vocals and was the b-side to the band's 7″ single from Third Man Records - marking the band’s first new music since 2008.
49 - Hero - Michael Kiwnauka
“Maybe all heroes die first” ponders the British singer songwriter - who pays homage to 'heroes' who have paved the way for us like Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, John F Kennedy, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, and more on this track from his third album - KIWANUKA.
48 - Black Cadillac - Mondo Cozmo
Speaking of John F Kennedy - Mondo Cozmo says “The lyrics of ‘Black Cadillac’ were written on tour while the Kavanaugh hearings were being televised. We would watch the hearings in the van on my phone. This was right after I was asked to go speak to Congress on behalf of the MMA legislation which ended in a lunch in the Kennedy Room of the Capitol where there was a small sugar spoon at the table that I wanted to steal.”
47 - Change - The Revivalists
As much as we loved The Revivalists song Change from the album Take Good Care - the trippy video following a fan who sneaks into a sold out show and spends the night dodging security amid fellow "RevHeads”. Side note - the venue in the video, Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, is described as “...a huge immersive multidimensional mystery dwelling complete with secret passages and portals to magical worlds amidst surreal and mesmerizing art installations.”
46 - Dylan Thomas - Better Oblivion Community Center
Another power duo to make their debut - Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers came out of nowhere early in 2019 and blew us away with their debut album ... but after a brief tour - we haven't heard much from BOCC since the summer - but you can still contact them at (785) 433-5534
The Black Keys were back in 2019 - and the name of their album - 'Lets Rock' set the tone for what they were ready to unleash on fans who had been missing Dan and Patrick. Lo/Hi was the first music we got from the duo in 5 years - and it was worth the wait!
43 - Mariners Apartment Complex - Lana Del Rey
All it takes is one song to make you 'get' Lana Del Rey. And for many, Mariners Apartment Complex was that track ... from the Grammy nominated album Norman F*cking Rockwell - LDR delivers a hauntingly beautiful tune reminds you - “I fucked up. I know that. But, Jesus/Can’t a girl just do the best she can?”
42 - Sisyphus - Andrew Bird
Another song inspired by our current political landscape, Andrew Bird says this track, named for the king doomed by the Olympic gods to roll a stone unsuccessfully up a hill for eternity, came from the "the idea that our enemies are what make us whole—there’s an intimacy one shares with their opponent when locked in such a struggle. If we were to just walk away would our enemies miss us? How did we get to this point and how can we, through awareness of it, maybe pull ourselves out of this death spiral."
41 - Uneventful Days - Beck
Another comebacker in 2019 was Beck ... he teased his 14th (!) album Hyperspace over the course of 6 months. This track - had a much different toned down sound than some of the other 'junkyard-blues hip-hop' songs released earlier - but it reminds us that the Beck is a cosmic force.
2019 was the year we saw Spacey Kacey turn country music psychedelic ... and it doesn't help that Slow Burn was written while she was in a "bit of an altered state"
38 - Wasted Youth - Jenny Lewis
The third track from her album On the Line, almost echoes the singer's troubled childhood. “Why are you lying? The bourbon’s gone. Mercury hasn’t been in retrograde for that long, oh no. Stop your hiding and drop that bomb. Do you remember when I used to sing you this little song. I wasted my youth on a poppy - Just for fun."
37 - Cuz I Love You - Lizzo
Lizzo ... nothing more to say about this one ... LIZZO was everything in 2019
36 - Love Is Everywhere - Wilco
A soft serenade from Wilco's Ode to Joy ... the vibes are 60s - but the message is what we need to focus on now - Love needs to be EVERYWHERE
35 - Different Kind of Love - Adia Victoria
Look - we weren't the only ones who got down with the Nashville gothic blues badass ... this song also popped up on Barack Obama's best of list
34 - Falling Down The Stairs of Your Smile - The New Pornographers
20 years into their career - The New Pornographers can still write some of the catchiest pop hooks - and Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile - delivers that ... a reminder how just looking at someone can evoke so much love and joy
33 - Gloria - The Lumineers
Does this band have any songs that aren't a woman's name? JK ... Especially since the song is about someone's intense battle with drug and alcohol addiction
32 - Social Cues - Cage the Elephant
It is safe to say that in 2019 - as we deemed the year of the elephant - there weren't too many CTE songs we didn't like. And with Social Cues - the band weighs in on the anxieties that accompany the success as a rock star .... but hey - at least your on the radio :/
“Has it really been that long? Did I count your days wrong?” Yes - it was that long for us to get the psychedelic comeback single from Kevin Parker ... but he didn't make us wait much longer for more - with a 2020 release and tour already lined up
29 - Red Bull and Hennessy - Jenny Lewis
We don't recommend this drink ... but we do recommend giving your full attention to this Fleetwood Mac - esque track from Lewis's brilliant record - On The Line
28 - Rylan - The National
Fans of The National will tell you that this song has been in the band's repertoire for a long time (they have been performing it since 2011) but in 2019 - it finally got a proper release - on the record I Am Easy To Find - and it was one of the year's best songs.
27 - Knock Me Off My Feet - SOAK
Two tracks from SOAK on the countdown . . . and rightfully so. The Irish singer song writer was kind enough to come all the way to Annapolis from Ireland to perform this track for us at a pop up happy hour at FADO on West Street
26 -Blind Leading the Blind - Mumford & Sons
Another song on the countdown that has existed for a few years - but finally made it to a record ... but Marcus Mumford says “We’re proud that we’ve finally finished it, as it feels like one of the most challenging songs, thematically, that we’ve put out there, both for ourselves and our audience. It feels it’s becoming harder and harder to coerce yourself into a listening, present and unafraid disposition, but that’s the gauntlet we’re throwing down for ourselves.”
25 - Love is Love - Grace Potter
Love is Love is something that Grace Potter knows all too well ... and she opened up and talked about love, divorce, and starting over with Bob Waugh in an RNR podcast (listen HERE)
24 - Heart - Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Surprise - that's a word to use when describing how much we loved this song. With a name like Rainbow Kitten Surprise - we didn't know what to think when the single showed up ... but damn - we couldn't turn it off once we started playing it!
23 - Seventeen - Sharon Van Etten
Hey Obama - were you peaking at our list when coming up with yours? Or did you happen to vote for our list a bunch - cause they sure are similar :) On Seventeen - SVE writes a love letter to her hometown - New York City.
22 - Help Me Stranger - The Raconteurs
Again - we were elated to have The Raconteurs back in 2019 (maybe our ears weren't - cause the record stayed on long and loud)
21 - Saw Lightning - Beck
Remember that junkyard-blues hip-hop style of Beck we referenced earlier - well here it is ... complete with Beck's raw acoustic slide guitar and harmonica playing plus Pharrell Williams on drums, keyboards and mumbles.
20 - Everyone Hides - Wilco
Not only was this the second single from Wilco's 11th album (Ode to Joy ) - according to lead singer Jeff Tweedy - “‘Everyone Hides’ is the first promotional video to feature Wilco as a living breathing band of humans in close to 20 years. Maybe for obvious reasons we’ve avoided putting ourselves forward in this way and have tried to play to our strengths musically or, I don’t know, maybe we’ve just been lazy… Or suspicious of expenditures outside of our focus on album making. For whatever reason this time around we just said fuck it and had a blast.”
19 - Burning - Maggie Rogers
From Hudson Street Studios in Annapolis to the Ellen Show - Maggie Rogers is living her best life ... and the chorus on Burning - from her debut album, Heard It In a Past Life - sums it up with a cathartic chorus: "I'm in love, I'm alive, I'm burning."
18 - Peach Fuzz - CAAMP
Want to know a secret - we weren't keen on CAAMP when they first came around. A band that put an extra A in their name to garner attention? Seemed campy ... but boy were we wrong. A week later we couldn't get enough of these Ohio boys - who have been "gigging, recording, grinding, and making beautiful noise" since 2013
17 - No Bullets Spent - Spoon
Rarely do you find a track on a Greatest Hits record that's a hit. But Spoon isn't like most other bands ... they can put out a compilation spanning their 20+ year career and afford to include a new track that rivals some of their best work to date.
16 - Calm Down - Pete Yorn
Pete Yorn writes good songs. Period. And has been doing so for 20+ years. In 2019 - when he released the reflective Calm Down - he reflected on that career, saying “I know I have changed internally in the way that I process the world and react to the world. The coolest thing about the older songs is how they seem to grow with me.”
The companion album to an anime film doesn't sound like something Sturgill Simpson would release .. but the “sleazy, steamy rock’n’roll record” that accompanied the film he made for Netflix ended up being one of our favorites of 2019 and expanded his music to all new fan bases.
13 - Trampoline - Shaed
From performing as The Walking Sticks at Middletons in Annapolis to performing on Dick Clark's Rockin New Years Eve - SHAED have certainly made it... and Trampoline is certainly the reason why they were one of the biggest artists in the world in 2019
We know the Icelandic troupe can make some great indie folk/pop songs... but with Alligator- they step out of that mold and full on rock out
10 - When Am I Gonna Lose You - Local Natives
Now here's a record that stuck with us for the entire year it seems. And that's why the song lands in the top 10 of our countdown ... its not like the song came to the band easily - they recorded 25 (!) versions of the song before settling on the album version we have come to know and love.
9 - Go - The Black Keys
The countdown has been full of great comeback songs - and Go was one of the best ... maybe its because of the tongue and cheek video for the song that shows Dan and Patrick struggling to reconnect ...The two joked “It was great making this video with Bryan (Schlam), partially because it was filmed at the very type of place it is making fun of. The video was fun, but we still haven’t spoken."
8 - Missed Connection - The Head and The Heart
A song that started out as a story about how lead singer Jon Russell met his girlfriend eventually morphed into a song about how the Seattle band formed after meeting at an open mic night over 10 years ago.
7 - Complainer - Cold War Kids
“It seems like now more than ever, the personal is political" explains Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willett. And this song serves as an anthem to anyone who wants to see change ACTUALLY happen: You say you want to change this world. Do you really believe in magic?… You can only change yourself, don’t sit around and complain about it.
6 - Colours - Black Pumas
The Austin based / Grammy nominated duo Black Pumas may be on top of the world now - but the video for Colours takes them back to their roots - busking on the streets.
5 - Life in the City - The Lumineers
Heyyyy - a song by The Lumineers that isn't a woman's name :) But just because they changed up the naming methods - doesn't mean Wesley Schultz held back on his impassioned vocals - "And if the sun don’t shine on me today/ And if the subways flood and bridges break/ Will you just lay down and dig your grave?/ Or will you rail against your dying day?”
4 - Bad Guy - Billie Eilish
Recorded in her bedroom - with her brother - on a laptop ... Billie Eilish is on top of the world. And Bad Guy is the single that got her there.
3 - This Life - Vampire Weekend
When rumors swirled that Vampire Weekend was coming out with an album in 2019 - without founding member Rastam - everyone wondered what the sound would be ... would it be the jangly indie pop they were known for? Would it be the world beat sound of frontman Ezra Koenig's solo projects? Turns out it was everything ... combined into one amazing double album. And the album jams from beginning to end
2 - Ready to Let Go - Cage the Elephant
Year of the elephant we say (maybe vampire elephants) but seriously - Social Cues from Cage the Elephant was a raw look into the mind of lead singer Matt Schultz's mind...and he doesn't hold back on Ready to Let Go - which was inspired by the unravelling his marriage to French actress and model Juliette Buchs
1 - Harmony Hall - Vampire Weekend
How do you pick a FAVORITE song of 2019? It's like picking a favorite child ... they are all our favorites - but the line from VW's Harmony Hall really spoke to us and embodied the theme of this list (did you pick up on it?!):
Anger wants a voice, voices wanna sing, singers harmonize till they can't hear anything
I thought that I was free from all that questionin'
I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die
For more on Vampire Weekend - be sure to check out our podcast with Ezra HERE
Voting sure was popular in 2020 ... with record voter turnout in November's election - and with the top 103.1 songs of 2020!
We had to count the votes a few times - but we finally got it ... so without further ado - we present the Top 103.1 Songs of 2020 - as voted by you - the WRNR listeners - oh we also made a playlist for you to accompany your reading
The surprise single from Ray was just what we needed this spring … the lyrics Holding me ... holding you ... and together, we'll get through - we always do" would have been beautiful any time ... but are especially gripping in 2020
This time last year, we were still glowing after seeing LA's Cold War Kids at the Ottobar for the RNR Snowball. We couldn't see them live in 2020 - but at least we got some new tunes to add to their imaculate dicography
Nada Surf claimed to have rushed through shooting the video for this song - maybe they weren't happy with the outout - since a few days later they announced a contest asking fans to make their own video for the song :)
2020 saw the return of Dylan with a 2 disc record (technically...but one disc is a 17 minute disrotatuion explaining that the assassination of JFK was a watershed moment when innocence and idealism died. But on this track - our favorite story telling song writer dives into the the endless variety of personal relationships
2020 was coming together for Mt Joy ... they were on tour with the Lumineers ...they had a headling tour in the wings to support their new album ... but then 2020 had to go and 2020 ... but we learned you cannot slow this band down. They pushed on with their tour and we even got to see them play the first drive in show at the fairgrounds in Frederick MD
Declan describe this track as “a brave new anthem for doomed youth” and a song “about young people in the young people in the modern world and how intimidating it can be. How scary it is to see so much and feel as though you’re doing so little.” OK - getting deep there Declan!
Oh Mike Campbell of The Dirty Knowbs - what a heartbreaker 2020 turned out to be for the two of us ... Mike was scheduled to play our St Patrick's Day Private Artist Showcase ... but he fell ill and we were going to postpone - but a few days later COVID decided to postpone all of 2020
Hard to belive a song called Need Your Love is rooted in anger - but according to
Alaina Moore - one half of the husband wife Denver duo Tennis - it is. Apparently she was was letting go of unhealthy relationships at the time of writing this song and had a lot to be angry when the pen hit the paper.
Our friends Moon Taxi released this song early in the pandemic and solicited for fans to submit footage of their 'hometown heroes' to be included in the song's video. Fun fact- some trash collectors from South AA County made it to the video
MIchigander - aka - Jason Singer wrote everything for his latest EP in his bedroom over the course of six months - placing an emphasis on the prominence of solos—in every song—making what he aptly describes as, “big pop songs disguised with guitars.” We dig it !
Baltimore's Future Islands are a music machine. So they weren't going to let the pandemic stop the celebration of the release of their album this fall ... they livestreamed a show - at an empty Ottobar in Baltimore. Fun fact - the band wanted to play the show on the roof of the Howard Street Club - but ultimately the director nixed that idea
Like so many on this list - EOB aka Ed O'Brien of Radiohead - was someone we were really looking forward to seeing live in 2020. He played a handful of shows ahead of the albums release - but never made it to the 930 Club :/ We counting on that raincheck Ed!
My husband and I (Natalie) were at our friends’ NYE party between 2016/2017. It was a moment in the thick of it. We’d all been through so much that year in big and small ways. So much had been hard but here we were dancing and celebrating in the midst of all that. I didn’t have any answers other than to feel that being there together was enough for that moment.
So before you go making your 2020 resolutions - give this a listen
Toronto mom, Angela Young, is making waves this week for her interactive (and Intergalactic) holiday card. Included on her Beastie Boys themed holiday card was a QR code for recipients to view a video of her and her kids recreating the classic video
At a festival known for surprise performances and collaborations - David Crosby joined Jason Isbell onstage at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival perform two of Crosby, Stills & Nash songs - “Wooden Ships” and “Ohio”. The two shared the stage again this fall with Crosby opening for for Isbell and his 400 Unit at Red Rocks in Colorado - on a night where both artists sat in during the other’s set.
Well - it appears the friendship is still going strong - with a string of tweets from both Isbell and Crosby indicating they are in the studio (along with Jason Isbell's wife Amanda Shires) working on new music
Crosby later tweeted that the two might be sharing the stage together again in DC next year!
I believe we are playing together again this summer in NYC and DC and I flat love his band and, like everybody else, I love Amanda ...have to tell you the songs he’s got recorded are going to blow your minds into next week https://t.co/b34wDF3165
They even took some time to sit down with WRNR to record a podcast (listen HERE)
But they ended the year with something a little magical and amazingly cute. During their performance on The Late Late Show with James Corden - at the beginning of their song"Harmony Hall" they were joined on set by a choir of children for a cover of "Christmas Time Is Here" from the classic Peanuts TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. The kids stayed on stage for the rest of "Harmony Hall" - even singing a whole chorus solo before the rest of the band joined back in to bring the song to its close.
The DC by way of Annapolis band SHAED will be in some pretty good company later this month - when they are slated to perform on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020 with the likes of Green Day, Dua Lipa, Ciara, Paula Abdul, Kelsea Ballerini, Blanco Brown, Dan + Shay, Ava Max, Megan Thee Stallion, and Salt-N-Pepa.
And to cap off an impressive 2019 (which started with a WRNR Private Artist Showcase performance and ended with their song Trampoline being named the most played track on Alternative Radio) the band has released a new collaborative project which has them teaming up with 17-time Grammy Award winning musician Sting on vocals and two-time Grammy-nominated DJ/Producer Steve Aoki providing the production.
Check out the track, “2 in a Million” below:
Steve Aoki, Sting & SHAED - 2 In A Million (Official Video)
Mark your calendars ... set your DVR... find a friend who has a Showtime login - because the premium cable network is unleashing TWO documentaries upon us on December 27th that highlight the careers of New Order and Duran Duran.
The Mike Christie Directed film - New Order: Decades will air at 7:30 p.m. and is part documentary - part concert film
New Order: Decades (2019) Official Teaser
Duran Duran: There’s Something You Should Know will air directly afterwards at 9pm on 12/27.
This Zoe Dobson directed film is a straight up documentary - tracking the band’s amazing career.
Duran Duran: There's Something You Should Know (2019) Official Teaser
German discount supermarket chain Aldi - known for their low prices on award-winning products - has taken things to the next level - with their women's handbag with a secret built-in beverage dispenser.
Now you could put any beverage in the bag - but why would you want to subtly pour a glass of water when it holds a full bottle of wine ;)
The tropical-themed bag retails for $24.99 and is part of Aldi's Special Buys catalog for December 18 and is sure to be an instant sell out.
The problem - for us in the United States - is that the product is only available for sale in Australia. What gives ALDI?
So if you need to get one of these - better head to ebay or Poshmark ;)
You would think with comments like -
"Looks like a great Christmas present idea. We could even take them to work."
"My love for Aldi just increased!"
"This is ALL I want for Xmas"
"Next level! Lol does it come in a clutch size lol."
ALDI would add it to their US stores ... just sayin!
Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa reportedly spent part of their weekend at the Jersey Shore and on Saturday afternoon - they were strolling down the Asbury Park boardwalk when they decided to pop into the Stone Pony for a drink ... I am sure at this point he probably has a key to the place ;)
Coincidentally - Asbury Park-based band Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why were sound checking in preparation for their gig later that night ... and Patti and Bruce decided to have a dance to the band's music:
Mumford, an Asbury Park-based musician, told the USA Today:
It was really cool... Patti and Bruce came up to me and said some really nice things to me about my voice. We talked about my pedals and what they do. Patti had me give them a little demo and sing for them.
Patti later posted and commented on her Instagram: “A little blurry, but so were we — stopped in the Stone Pony around 5:30 while Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why where doing a soundcheck. Two shots of tequila and decided to take a slow dance.”
We love giving our listeners amazing experiences ... like concert tickets, backstage passes, and even trips to other cities to see their favorite bands.
Cue Shane and Dave ... our winners of the Spoon Podcast Pop Quiz contest. The two friends from Annapolis spent the weekend in Vegas at the Intersect Music Festival - checking out bands like Spoon, Beck, Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges, and Foo Fighters.
Well - Shane's experience got amplified 1000x during Foo Fighters set ... when before the band played Big Me - he got invited on stage by Dave Grohl - dressed in a Santa suit - to shotgun a beer with Dave Grohl!
Cameras were rolling ... so sorry Shane - what happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas!
The session was recorded back in October 2019 and as in MTV Unplugged tradition - includes many of Barnett's hits as well as some impressive covers (like So Long, Marianne written by Leonard Cohen!!) and special guests. You can stream the performance below or purchase it HERE
2. Sunday Roast
3. Charcoal Lane (ft. Paul Kelly) -Archie Roast cover
Alanis also has a new LP Such Pretty Forks in the Road ready to come out and stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to promote both. The late night show host was able to get the Canadian singer to agree to don some silly costumes and go busking undercover in the NYC subways ... the two performed “Little Drummer Boy”, and then dropped the costumes and broke out Morissette’s breakout hit “You Oughta Know” which turned into a giant sing-a-long.
39 years ago today - on Dec. 4, 1980 - Led Zeppelin made the difficult decision to break up, two months after the death of drummer John Bonham.
The band was supposed to begin an extensive tour in the fall of 1980 when Bonham passed away. The tour was canceled and rumors swirled about whether the band would continue on with a new drummer.
However, the surviving members ultimately decided that it was not right to continue with someone else playing drums.
"We wish it to be known, that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."
Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones have occasionally worked and recorded together, but reunions of all three have been few and far between.
They took part at Live Aid in 1985, with Phil Collins and the Power Station's Tony Thompson on drums.
In 1988, they played Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert with Jason Bonham (John’s son) banging the drums.
The band also reunited in 2007 at London's 02 Arena.
Below you can hear (amazing quality) audio from their final concert with John Bonham on drums – from 7/7/1980 in Berlin, Germany
Nelson - who has alledgedly smoked pot on the White House roof and even has his own strand of the plant - told CNN affiliate KSAT in San Antonio, Texas:
"I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful. I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me. I don't smoke anymore -- take better care of myself."
Notice he said that he didn't say he gave up marijuana altogether ..
It's no secret - that like Beck - Neil Young has an EXTENSIVE archive of unreleased music - dubbed The Neil Young Archives. and recently the folk icon has announced he will be dipping into the vaults to release some of these projects. Last he announced he would release Homegrown, an acoustic album recorded in 1975.
And now - Young has revealed that he has 29 projects ready to release and is asking for fans to select what to release.
“We have these projects in the can right now. We will be asking subscribers only to vote for their top three choices from this list…Watch for the official NYA announcement and your personal link to vote for what you think we should work on next for the fastest release of your favorite projects.”
Below is full list of projects with a brief description on each project below (via Rolling Stone). But if you want your vote to be heard - you'll have to subscribe to NYA
Neil Young Archival Projects:
Stratford Shakespeare Theater, Film/LP (1971) — A solo performance at the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut, on January 22nd, 1971.
Greendale Live w/ Crazy Horse Stage Production, Film/LP (2003) — A film from Young’s tour with Crazy Horse in 2003 during which they performed the rock opera Greendale in full.
Greendale at Vickar Street, Film/LP (2003) — Young’s solo acoustic performance of rock opera Greendale performed in Dublin, Ireland.
Toast w/ Crazy Horse, LP/Limited Film (2001) — An unreleased collaboration between Young and Crazy Horse.
Mountaintop, Film (2019) — A documentary chronicling the making of Young’s newest album COLORADO with Crazy Horse.
Catalystw/ Crazy Horse, Film/LP (1991) — A rehearsal set for Young and Crazy Horse’s 1991 “Ragged Glory” tour at a club in Santa Cruz on November 13th, 1990.
Alchemy w/ Crazy Horse, Film/LP (2012/2013) — Footage documenting Young and Crazy Horse’s worldwide tour for Alchemy in 2012 and 2013.
Early Daze, LP (1960s) — Some of the first recordings after Young teamed up with Crazy Horse.
Harvest Time, Film/LP (1971) — Film with the Stray Gators during the writing and creation of Harvest.
Mirror Ball Live w/ Pearl Jam, Film/LP (1995) — A concert Young played with Pearl Jam at RDS Simmonscourt in Dublin on August 26th, 1995.
Desert Tripw/ Promise of the Real, Film (2016) — Footage of Young with Promise of the Real from the 2016 Desert Trip festival.
Monsanto Years, Film (2014) — Film chronicling Young and Promise of the Real’s LP The Monsanto Years, recorded in Oxnard, California.
Trunk Show, Film/LP 2009 — A concert film from Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, in December 2019, directed by Jonathan Demme.
Lincvolt Chronicles 1-5 Film — A documentary following Young’s attempt to convert his 1959 Lincoln Continental into a hybrid electric car.
Tower Theater Film/LP (2018) — A solo acoustic performance from Young at Philadelphia’s Tower Theater, featuring several rarely played tunes.
Polar Vortex Film/LP (2019) — Multiple live concerts Young performed throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota in January 2019 as the midwest was hit with a polar vortex.
Homegrown LP (1975) — A mostly acoustic LP Young recorded in 1975 and decided to shelf in place of Tonight’s the Night. (Already tapped for release.)
Chrome Dreams LP (1977) — Another record Young made in the 1970s and never released.
Berlin w/ Trans Band Film/LP (1982) — A concert shot during the 1982 Trans tour, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
Oceanside Countryside LP (1976/1977) — An additional never-released LP from the ’70s, featuring tunes that made it onto other future albums such as “Comes a Time” and “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”.
Boarding House Film/LP (1978) — Several acoustic shows Young played at San Francisco’s Boarding House in the late ’70s, featuring several songs that landed on the album Rust Never Sleeps.
Island In The Sun LP (1982) — An unreleased album made shortly before Trans, featuring familiar songs like “Soul of a Woman” and “Like an Inca”.
Trans animated film (2020) — An upcoming movie made by Micah Nelson inspired by Young’s 1982 record Trans.
Bottom Line LP (1974) — A bootleg recording from Young’s surprise performance at New York’s Bottom Line on May 16th, 1974.
Over The Rainbow Live: Tonight’s The Night LP (1973) — Concert footage from London’s Rainbow Theater on November 5th, 1973.
Odeon Budokan w/ Crazy Horse Film/LP (1976) — Live concert film from Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s tour behind Zuma recorded in London and Japan.
Ducks Live in Santa Cruz LP (1977) — A live album chronicling Young’s 1977 club tour with the Ducks.
Homefires LP (1974) — A mix of solo and band recordings, named after a song Young’s played live many times but has never properly released.
CSNY at Fillmore East Film/LP (1970) — A Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert filmed during the supergroup’s heyday in 1970.
Christmas has come early for Pearl Jam fans ... earlier this week, the band announced a string of 2020 tour dates (they are all in Europe ...but lets hope some US dates will follow) - these are the band's first confirmed shows in two years. Keep scrolling for the confirmed dates.
They have been in the studio working on a new album (!) and recently released their amazing MTV Unplugged performance on vinyl for the first time.
But in the holiday spirit of giving- the band is also releasing their holiday singles series digitally for the first time. The band's fan club (those still exist?) will release one song per day for the campaign named “12 Days of Pearl Jam”.
So far the band has released "Someday at Christmas" and “Let Me Sleep (Christmas Time)” - this was the first holiday song the band released, in 1991, and they have continued to release a song a year for 27 years!
You can check out the playlist as it unfolds on Spotify HERE
Or the truly impatient can enjoy the medley (released in 2018) - complete with a yule log video and stockings for all band members below :
Pearl Jam Yule Log
Pearl Jam Yule Log Track List
0:00 – Someday At Christmas
2:35 – Let Me Sleep
5:35 – Jingle Bells
8:48 – Strangest Tribe
12:38 – Don’t Believe In Christmas
15:08 – Wishlist
18:36 – Santa God
21:42 – Acoustic #1 (Demo 1991)
24:33 – Angel
Pearl Jam 2020 Tour Dates:
06/23 – Frankfurt, DE @ Festhalle *
06/25 – Berlin, DE @ Waldbühne *
06/27 – Stockholm, SE @ Lollapalooza Stockholm
06/29 – Copenhagen, DK @ Royal Arena *
07/02 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/05 – Imola, IT @ Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari ^
07/07 – Vienna, AT @ Wiener Stadthalle +
07/10 – London, UK @ BST Hyde Park ^+
07/13 – Krakow, PL @ Tauron Arena +
07/15 – Budapest, HU @ Budapest Arena +
07/17 – Zurich, CH @ Hallenstadion +
07/19 – Paris, FR @ Lollapalooza Paris
07/21 – Amsterdam, NL @ Ziggo Dome +
Nine Inch Nail Trent Reznor and English musician, songwriter, record producer, and audio engineer - Atticus Ross have teamed up to produced a cover of the David Bowie classic “Life on Mars.” The instrumental version will appear on episode seven of HBO's Watchmen. The show airs December 16th but you can hear it below.
This is not the first time the duo of Reznor and Ross have teamed up - they won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Social Network soundtrack in 2010.
Nine Inch Nails also covered David Bowie's “I Can’t Give Everything Away” (from the album Blackstar) and Reznor famously collaborated with David Bowie on the 1997 single “I’m Afraid of Americans.”
TRENT REZNOR & ATTICUS ROSS - LIFE ON MARS (Music from the HBO Series)