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  • Wow, we made it to volume No. 15 in the Best Indie Rock Songs of 2008. No matter what, it'll never be a full sampling of what's out there. A few months ago we said that we were a bit disappointed by the indie releases of 2008 compared to 2007.

    In a way that's still true, but the point is 2008 is turning out to be another stellar year for new indie rock albums and artists (or at least artists that somehow got under our radar in previous years).

    Albums of 2008 that rise in the top echelon of our playlists include The Walkmen's You & Me (absolutely freaking amazing), The Little Ones' Morning Tide, White Denim's Workout Holiday, TV on the Radio's Dear Science and Plants and Animals Parc Avenue.

    "In The New Year" by The Walkmen from You & Me

    "Morning Tide" by The Little Ones from Morning Tide

    "Golden Age" by TV on the Radio from Dear Science

    "Sitting" by White Denim from Workout Holiday

    "New Kind of Love" by Plants and Animals from Parc Avenue

    Well, the holidays are upon us and folks at the cafe are busy with festivities and family and everything else that clobbers us during this time of year. This, Vol. 15, of the Best Indie Rock Songs of 2008 playlist series, may just be the last for this topic.

    But check back in case we decide to belt out a couple more of these lists. If you've missed any of the previous playlists, check out the series while all the songs are still available for sampling. And if you really like something buy it as a gift for someone special or just for yourself (you're special too!).

    Peace on earth (better chance once the Bush regime finally leaves) and happy holidays everyone.
    Cannot resist: "Hey Bush, we've got shoes for you."

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       December 17, 2008    5 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    People have commented and asked why we are not running a series of playlists of alternative and indie rock Christmas music this year. Answer is two-part: not enough time, but more importantly, what for? IRC ran a long and popular collection of alternative Xmas songs playlist last year that are still up and available for your listening pleasure.

    There are a total of more than 100 Christmas-theme songs. Check them out and enjoy at the We Wish You a Very Indie Christmas series. As always, if you like an artist or label in particular, go check out their official websites, happily purchase their music for your permanent music collection and see them at shows near you.

    Here are a few of the spotlight songs from the series:

    "Put The Lights On The Tree" by Sufjan Stevens

    "Silent Night" by Low

    "Blue Christmas" by Bright Eyes

    "Last Christmas" by Jimmy Eat World

    Listen to more Christmas songs here.
    Note: Some songs linked to indie rock songs website are not working at the moment. We're working on fixing those.

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       December 16, 2008    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    One of our favorite indie duos that we don't write enough about is San Francisco's Mates of State. The husband and wife team of Kori Gardner (keyboard/vocals) and Jason Hammel (drums/vocals) have put out some awesome music in during the past decade and were presented to a much larger audience in recent years, especially following a 2007 feature in an AT & T commercial (ugh, we know) for their song "For The Actor".

    But reaching that level of commercialism hasn't put a damper on their musical creativity as evidenced by their latest release, Re-Arrange Us, which officially came out earlier this year on Barsuk Records. The album is making many best of 2008 album lists on the web and in print. It's a great record, perhaps one of their best, which is saying a lot.

    "My Only Offer"
    by Mates of State from Re-Arrange Us

    "Our Darkest Days and Nights" by Love is Chemicals from Song of the Summer Youth Brigade

    "Half Japaneez Girl" by Wild Years from Wild Yearz

    "I Never Want To Go Home" by The Whigs from Mission Control

    "Prickly Pear" by Woven from Designer Codes

    Bonus: "No Hiding Place" by Elvis Costello from Momfuku

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       December 14, 2008    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    The new releases stack is growing out of control so if you wanna help, we're all ears. Seriously. Some of the noteworthy new releases include albums by Black Lips, Get Up Kids, Deastro, Mark Kozelek, All American Rejects, Justin Vernon, That Was Something, The Firemen (with Paul McCartney) and Artist Vs. Poet.

    Newly available EPs from Luv Lux, Third Eye Blind and Cat Power are out and Christmas themed albums from Backseat Goodbye and Gentlemen Auction House are perfect for right this time of year.

    Alternative rock and post punk fans might want to check out special editions from artists like Pavement and Husker Du, not to mention live concerts and studio sessions from Foo Fighters, Belle and Sebastian, Paul Weller and Long Winters.

    MP3: "Sweet, Sweet Magdalene" - Justin Vernon from For Emma, Forever Ago

    Yesterday we featured the Illinoise pop band Headlights as the IRC Artist of the Month.

    So it only makes sense to let you know that Headlights has released a new remixes album containing some creative covers of songs from their previous two full lengths and one EP. The album, strangely titled Remixes, features remixes from artists like

    The following list of new releases over the past few weeks was taken in part and parcel from our blogger friends at Music Under Fire and other sources.

    Avant - Avant (Official) (MySpace)
    Backseat Goodbye - A Christmas EP (Official) (MySpace)
    Black Lips - We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers (Official) (MySpace)
    Busta Rhymes - B.O.M.B. (Official) (MySpace)
    Cat Power - Dark End of the Street EP (Official) (MySpace)
    Get Up Kids - Four Minute Mile (MySpace)
    Harmonic 313 - Dirtbox 12" (Official) (MySpace)
    Headlights - Remixes (Official) (MySpace)
    Long Winters - Live at the Showbox DVD (Official) (MySpace)
    Luv Lux - The Brave Kids In Color EP (Official) (MySpace)
    Mark Kozekel - The Finally LP (Official) (MySpace)
    Paul Weller - Weller at the BBC (Official) (MySpace)
    Pavement - Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition (Official) (MySpace)
    That Was Something - Down But Not Out (MySpace)
    The Magnificents - Year of Explorers (Official) (MySpace)

    Alaska in Winter - Holiday (Official) (MySpace)
    All-American Rejects - When The World Comes Down (Official) (MySpace)
    Artist Vs Poet - Self Titled (Official) (MySpace)
    Belle and Sebastian - The BBC Sessions (Official) (MySpace)
    Deastro - Keeper's (download only) (Official) (MySpace)
    Foo Fighters - Live at Wembly Stadium (Official) (MySpace)
    Gentleman Auction House - Christmas In Love (Official) (MySpace)
    Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey (vinyl reissue) (Official) (MySpace)
    The Fireman - Electric Arguments (Official) (MySpace)
    The New Regime - Coup (Official) (MySpace)
    Third Eye Blind - Red Star [EP] (Official) (MySpace)
    You, Me, And Everyone We Know - So Young, So Insane (Official) (MySpace)

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       December 11, 2008    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    When we first heard the opening tracks to Champaign, Illinois indie pop band Headlights, we thought, 'wow, this is great stuff.' The more we play it here in the cafe, the more we like it. And so do many other people.

    We are guilty of not knowing about Headlights prior to their latest 2008 release, Some Racing, Some Stopping, the follow-up to their 2006 debut Kill Them With Kindness.

    But it wasn’t really until this year’s album that the band got on serious mojo from not just the blogs, but the mainstream music press as well. Spin magazine recently hailed the band's new album: ""Calling Headlights "nice" sounds like a backhanded compliment, but Some Racing wears the tag proudly: It's charming, but never boring.”

    That’s so true. Headlights are definitely one of the ‘break-through’ bands of 2008. Their inspired sound is full of blissful choruses that are uplifting coupled with pop jams that seem relentless. The talented band members include Erin Fein (vocals and keyboards), Brett Sanderson (drums) and Tristan Wraight (vocals, guitar and bass).

    Headlight’s sound is unquestionably pop. But there are variances of interwoven elements that add extra layers of flavor and richness to their songs. The songs feature all kinds of instruments, including organs, keyboards, bells, tambourines and an array of strings, as represented on tracks such as "Towers" and "Get Your Head Around It," the latter song having been featured in the thirteenth installment of this blog’s Best Indie Rock Songs of 2008 series.

    The song "School Boys" exemplifies indie pop in a celebratory orchestra-infused fashion, moving along merrily while maintaining a discipline that ultimately makes it one of the best songs on the album. The pace livens even more in the next upbeat song, and one of their standout tracks, "Cherry Tulips” (watch video below).

    Some people have said that Headlights is comparable to bands like Arcade Fire, Stars, Rilo Kiley and Belle and Sebastian. While true in some respects, it is still far from pinning the essence of a sound that is pretty much original.

    An example of this would be the tracks "Get Year Head Around It” and has a driving, jangly feel that you want to keep going on and on. "Catch Them All" is one of the album's best tracks (listen below). If there is one downfall it is that the songs could be longer. Headlights makes awesome pop tunes full of personality, excitement and hooks that we find ourselves wishing would keep parading for five or six minutes.

    You know that feeling, when you’re listening to a great song and it winds down sooner than you want it to and you are like, "no man, keep that shit going." And if you are like that when you listen to Headlights, there’s a remedy. The band has released a clever album of remixes, oddly titled Remixes, a few months ago featuring some of their best songs from their latest album and previous releases.

    Headlights is the real deal, especially for fans of indie pop who enjoy the 'feel good', dreamy type of sprawling and enthusiastic music that has become so popular
    in recent years.

    Music critic Tim Sendra of the All Music Guide put Headlights up near the top, writing recently: “There are a lot of bands playing indie pop in 2008, but very few do it as well as Headlights do on Some Racing, Some Stopping.
    There are albums that get spun over and over again at the café. Some Racing, Some Stopping is definitely one of them. Even more, it is likely to become a must-have release for indie pop music enthusiasts in the years to come.

    "Get Your Head Around It" - Headlights

    "Catch Them All" - Headlights

    Visit Headlights' MySpace page

    Buy Headlights' records and merchandise from their label site at

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       December 10, 2008    2 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Yesterday we double posted some of the 'best indie songs' of 2008 that came from the first installment of this series. Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing that out. Today we promise there are no duplicates in this list, but there are more songs featured from some of our favorite indie albums of 2008.

    Take British Sea Power for example. The band's album, Do You Like Rock Music?, is on the shortlist of many blogs for one of the best albums of 2008. And, it's no wonder - it's fantastic!

    In an early installment of the best indie songs of 2008, we posted a song from The Ruby Suns. The album, Sea Lion, we likes so much that we're featuring another track here - "Oh, Mojave."

    Sea Lion, we thinks, is one of the most overlooked best indie albums of 2008. Also featured are songs from Air France, Beach House, British Sea Power and Headlights. Enjoy and visit the bands' websites and MySpace pages for more.

    "Waving Flags" by British Sea Power from Do You Like Rock Music? (sign up on BSP website for two free MP3s)

    "Get Your Head Around It"
    by Headlights from Some Racing, Some Stopping

    "Gila" by Beach House from Devotion

    "Oh, Mojave" by The Ruby Suns from Sea Lion

    "Collapsing At Your Doorstep"
    by Air France from No Way Down

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       December 9, 2008    2 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Toronto's indie rockers Tokyo Police Club have hacked their way into the indie rock arena with stylistic chord chunks that emulate the edginess of The Strokes and the story-telling appeal of bands like The Decemberists. While their 2006 EP Lesson in Crime put Tokyo Police Club on the indie rock map, it was their 2008 album Elephant Shell that caught the attention of many fans, bloggers and the established rock media.

    Apart from being featured in an Apple commercial, The Submarines released a wonderfully ambitious and enjoyable album this year, as did fellow indie artists like San Francisco's The Botticellis, Swedish indie pop sensation Lykke Li and Syracuse, New York's exuberant pop masters Ra Ra Riot.

    "In A Cave" by The Tokyo Police Club from Elephant Shell

    "I'm Good, I'm Gone" by Lykke Li from Youth Novel

    "Old Home Movies" by The Botticellis from Old Home Movies

    "You, Me & The Bourgeoisie" by The Submarines from You Me & The Bourgeoisie

    "Dying Is Fine" by Ra Ra Riot from The Rhumb Line

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       December 7, 2008    3 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    One of the great things about collecting lots of indie music over the years is that you can create all kinds of lists. Our collection contains thousands of songs in dozens and dozens of different kinds of playlists. Everything from great songs about colors, names and places to genre-specific mixes of pop, rock and jazz.

    Today's theme kicks off another playlist series. This one features songs from some of the best, but largely overlooked and under appreciated, debut indie albums of all time.

    Songs featured in this playlist installment include killer tracks from 1980's post punk group 14 Iced Bears, LA's indie pop outfit Western States Motel, South Dakota singer/songwriter Nick Thomas as The Spill Canvas, the mysterious solo act Moco Nell and the remarkable debut from Robert Smith sound-alike Matt Pond PA.

    "Green Grass" by Matt Pond PA from Measure

    "The Night Will Go As Follows" by The Spill Canvas from Sunsets and Car Crashes

    "Powerlines" by Western States Motel from Western States Motel

    "In Your Foreign Land" by Moco Nell from Culture Reject

    "Like A Dolphin" by 14 Iced Bears from In The Beginning

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       December 5, 2008    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    you me and iowaillustration by Sam Harang

    As you read this post, IRC is putting together a playlist of some of the greatest songs of 2008 from albums that were just recently released, and a few that took some time to "come around" to. We are also starting to feature artist web links (by default to MySpace) so you can get more from your favorites.

    In this installment, Volume XI of the Best Indie Songs of 2008 playlist series, we bring you stellar songs from recent releases by better known indie and alternative bands like San Francisco's The Dodos, Germany's The Notwist and Minneapolis' Cloud Cult. Also featured in this mix are songs from 2008 releases by lesser known artists such as Sweden's Moto Boy and LA's You Me & Iowa.

    "Tommy Hall" by You Me & Iowa from The Adventures of You Me & Iowa - You Me & Iowa - MySpace. Another fabulous song by the band, "Dress The Stage" was featured in Vol. 5 of The Best Indie Songs of 2008 (so you know we like this band a lot!)

    "Everybody Here Is A Cloud" by Cloud Cult from Feel Good Ghosts - Cloud Cult - MySpace

    "Young Love" by Moto Boy from Young Love - Moto Boy - MySpace

    "Good Lies" by The Notwist from The Devil, You and Me - The Notwist - MySpace

    "Walking" by The Dodos (photo, right) from Visiter - The Dodos - MySpace

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       December 3, 2008    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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