1. M.I.A. – Birdflu – I think it’s safe to say that I’m hands down the biggest MIA fan in Perham, Minnesota. If you’ve never heard of her, she basically IS the artist that Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado, and Fergie try to be. Her beats are very exotic and catchy while her raps have roots in a dancehall sound. Her first album was critically acclaimed. I kind of picked it up on a whim and thought it was one of the most unique albums I’d ever heard.

  2. Sum 41 – Underclass Heroes – I like this song and am excited for their new album. They’re still making the same ol’ music they’ve always made. Some bands of the same genre (pop punk) decided that they needed to be falsely hard or lamely soft after an album or two. They seem like they just make music that they enjoy. The only part of the song I don’t enjoy is the “…may I have your attention please…” as it is way to similar to what Green Day did on their last album.

  3. Queens of the Stone Age – Sick Sick Sick – The first singles off of QOTSA albums are always just sick (note clever play on words). Seriously, though, find me a band that’s had a more consistent first single than “No One Knows,” “Little Sister,” and now “Sick Sick Sick.” This is one of those bands that I’ve always liked, but they are growing on me nearly at least the top 20 band status. I’m very excited about this album…

  4. Smashing Pumpkins – Tarantula – This song just kills. I have a feeling this album is going to be somewhat so-so. If you were a fan of the mid-90s Smashing Pumpkins (melodic sound with a bit of an edge), this song will stick in your head for days and days. I don’t know that Billy Corgan has it back as I need to see a solid album, but it is safe to say he at least hasn’t lost it.

  5. Jamie T – Sheila – If you were a fan of early 90’s Beck (Devil’s Haircut, Where It’s At), I recommend checking this out. I’m sure nobody has heard of this song (I was turned onto it from Paul Shirley’s blog), but it features some sing-song-y rap over an alternative beat. A little similar to the Streets (especially since he’s English as well).

  6. Tim Armstrong – Into Action – I could see this song being this summer’s version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Although Tim Armstrong is more famous than Cee-Lo Green, I could see this tune taking him to kind of the next level (commercially speaking). This song is very poppy and very addictive. I can’t imagine this not being a hit if MTV and/or mainstream radio get ahold of it.

  7. Nine Inch Nails – My Violent Heart – Hands down one of the coolest sounding choruses I’ve heard in a while. I find it quite humorous and ironic that some of the hard rock bands I thought only the weird kids listened to in high school (read: Nine Inch Nails and Tool) are hands down some of the best music that I own.

  8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sealings – I think it is safe to say that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the best female fronted band since No Doubt released “Tragic Kingdom.” I always try to get Sara to listen to more of them because I really like the band and she’s a fan of a little rougher sounding girl rock (meaning she’ll never buy a Melissa Etheridge album, but she’d pick up Joan Jett or Pat Benatar’s greatest hits). By the way, if you have any interest in Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, I’d recommend also checking out Maps, Gold Lion, and Phenomena (which seems to be copying an LL Cool J tune).

  9. Brand New – Jesus
    This song is unspeakably great. Brand New is a band that has gone a little under the radar. The music heads know who they are and some of “the kids” remember them from one of their two singles that were on MTV for a minute about four or five years ago. They have a history of releasing nothing but great music, though. I think I had “Sowing Season” on an earlier mixtape list. If you are a fan of rock music in general, give this one a look.

  10. Blue October – Into the Ocean – This hands down is the softest song on this list. They are a pretty mellow band and don’t do anything to dispell the softness by releasing an album with cover art that looks all to similar to a Coldplay album. Maybe it’s just me… anyway, check these guys out.

  11. Rock Kills Kid – Paralyzed – What’s not to like about this song? It’s got a 70’s sounding dance beat mixed with a Franz Ferdinand rock tune.

  12. Air – Universal Traveler – Okay, remember when I said Blue October was going to be the “hands down softest song on this list.” I lied. This song is criminally soft, but I dig it in the same way I used to listen to Siger Ros (or Siger Rus or Siger Ris… I can’t remember) in college. I don’t do homework anymore, but I’d imagine this would be one of the greatest cd’s to throw on while you need to focus on something else.

  13. Refused – Rather Be Dead – Too much mellow music on this listen. The music I listen to is typically more often of the intense/louder/heavier (pick an adjective) genre. I wish Refused was still around as I like them a little more than their counterpart (International) Noise Conspiracy.

  14. Alkaline Trio – Time to Waste – This is one of those bands that’s always kind of been a “borderline band” for me. I don’t mean to invent phrases, but they are literally right on the border of being one of my favorite bands. In fact, I can’t think one of their songs that I dislike. I don’t think they have the appeal to ever get huge commercially, but then again I would have NEVER guessed that AFI would be as big as they are right now, either.

  15. +44 – Baby Come On – I didn’t overly love +44 when they came out. I still prefer (in this order) Blink-182, Boxcar Racer, and Angels & Airwaves. Mark Hoppus ain’t half bad and I’m pretty sure he’s a little more of a real person at this point than Tom DeLonge (just speculation, I have no real idea). This cd has grown on me, though, as they play quite a bit of +44 on Ethel on XM Radio.

  16. Good Charlotte – Misery – Good Charlotte doesn’t have quite the following they used to. Their first cd is hands down one of my favorite discs of all-time. It isn’t sonically anything special. That’s my fancy way of saying that the music isn’t overly complicated, intristic, artistic, or anything else. It’s fun and it brings me back to a happy time of my life. I think they’ve gotten a bit of a bad rap, though. I’ve still got a bit of a soft spot for them, though.

  17. Alesana – Ambrosia – I know very little about these guys. Pretty poppy sounding, but mixed with some high quality screaming. I know they’re going to be on Warped Tour this year.

  18. Rise Against – Prayer of the Refugee – This band is great. They have a bit of a frantic sound. Some bands can only play one cookie-cutter style. They’ve proved to me that they could pretty much make any song in any genre and turn it into a winner.

  19. The Vincent Black Shadow – Metro – Again, an extremely poppy catchy song. This isn’t the same old poppy crap you hear on the radio. I’ve got absolutely no problem with a song that sounds a little poppy as long as it’s somewhat original. This is a song worth the 99 cents on iTunes.

  20. Straylight Run – Hands in the Sky (Big Shot) – Lastly is my favorite song of right now. First of all, I love the band, but the name “Straylight Run” is a pretty lame-o band name. I suppose if you put out quality tune after quality tune, nobody cares at the end of the day. This song starts of slow and builds to a great ending. This song is an example of how a song can be perceived as being a slower song, yet extremely intense. I actually think Tool is the best band at this. If you listen to any of their songs, they aren’t a super-heavy band, but their intensity just hits you right in your face.

    If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white,