America the Beautiful

In response to my previous playlist of solely brit-rock, I thought it was only appropriate to create a playlist of American bands, lest I’m deported for my Anglophilic tendencies.

As far as I’m concerned, there is something inherently sexy about American alternative rock music that brit-rock cannot emulate. Perhaps it’s the lack of an accent, or maybe even a grittier sound, the American alternative rock scene is a force to be reckoned with. It is so much better to be walking down a street in Manhattan or Brooklyn listening to an American band; take it from me. You’ve got some rad people singing in your ear whilst being surrounded by people exuding effortless coolness, and hell, you’re just like them.

Another benefit? You don’t have to fake an accent and absolutely botch it. You’re going to go take the “dawg” out for a “wawk” and grab a “cawfee” while you’re in “New Yawk”? Do it, man, f*ckin’ do it.

“Rich Girls” by The Virgins, off of their eponymous debut, The Virgins.

And I quote a man I overheard in the city this past weekend: “Wool coats! Virgin wool! You don’t need to be a virgin to wear these coats!” You don’t need to be a virgin to listen to The Virgins, one of the coolest sounding bands as of late. There’s a certain old vibe in this song that is created by the bass line. Donald Cummings, a native New Yorker, takes the jaded and indifferent New York attitude and turns it into a vocal style. If this song doesn’t make you feel like the raddest person to ever exist in the five boroughs, I’m not sure what will.

“Dangerous” by Big Data featuring Joywave.

If you couldn’t tell by this point, I’m a huge fan of the bass (the instrument, not the fish). You cannot have, and I mean it, a good song without a decent bassline. What’s the point, anyway? “Dangerous” has an unforgettable bass line that will make you want to dance down Broadway. If you don’t feel like dancing, put on every article of black clothing you own and just strut your damn stuff down the block while listening to this song. There is no denying the sexiness of this song, so stop trying to fight it. Just let it happen.

“Saratoga” by The Soft Pack, off of their record, Strapped.

The Soft Pack do not let you ease into their song. They’re here to tell you what they’re up to and they don’t care if you’re not comfortable with it. You better get comfortable, and fast. This song is perfect for running and even bumping up your confidence level to the highest degree. In my own opinion, I believe that the most poignant lyrics are “Would you be kind / Enough to find / The time to return all the time I spent right beside you” because certainly, everyone has felt that way. Demand it back, you’re worth it.

“Listen To Your Love” by Mona, off of their eponymous debut.

Certainly an American characteristic, Nick Brown’s voice is soulful and hits you right in the heart. Much like the previous song, Mona doesn’t let you ease into their song either. This song is perfect for listening to on the subway, trust me, I’ve tested it and I approve. The only problem you’ll run into is avoiding making yourself deaf because you’re going to find it necessary to play it on the loudest setting your music device can offer.

“Midnight Show” by The Killers, off of their debut record, Hot Fuss.

The Killers are not new news, I know this. But how many of you know of the second half of this great record? Sure, you have “Mr. Brightside”, a timeless classic, but “Midnight Show” might make you want to change your mind, even if for just a moment. Driving down an empty street in the dark comes to mind when listening to this tune. And with Brandon Flowers? Sign me up.

“PDA” by Interpol, off of their album, Turn On The Bright Lights.

Remember that gritty sound I mentioned? Interpol is the exact definition of gritty sound. A band formed in New York, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be listening to these guys. If you had to listen to only one song while walking about the streets of Manhattan, I would recommend this one, only because it will make you feel like the baddest b*tch that ever did exist.

Also: Bass. Pay attention to the bass!

“Barely Legal” by The Strokes, off of their album, Is This It?.

The Strokes have become very popular in the past couple of years, and deservingly so. This song is timeless. It is as if it was released in the past year; it’s still that cool. Julian Casablancas whines throughout the song, but it doesn’t grate on the ears. It’s smooth and soothing and something that you can easily use as your people watching soundtrack in a park.

“The Great Escape” by We Are Scientists, off of their debut album, With Love And Squalor.

This song is a little more on the “brit-rock” spectrum of sound, but the attitude is inherently American. Bringing back the “I don’t care what you think, just listen to me” attitude. We Are Scientists created a song that will have you kicking about your room and screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs.

I always find it funny that they’re originally from California. We Are Scientists have the attitude of a native New Yorker and it’s baffling to think that they’re from the chillest location in this country.

“Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” by The Airborne Toxic Event, off of their eponymous debut.

The Airborne Toxic Event, while being a mouthful to tell someone that they’re you’re favorite band, is one of the more emotional groups on this playlist. It’s short, but absolutely not sweet. Mikel Jollett is angry and jealous, and he’s not afraid to tell you so. The opening guitar chords are ones that will be in your head for the rest of the day and if you see your ex-lover who has scorned you? Forget ‘em. You have better things to do, like listen to this song.

“Electric Feel” by MGMT, off of their debut record, Oracular Spectacular.

I’ve always been a fan of this album name solely because of the rhyme scheme. It’s one you don’t hear often, if at all. MGMT has a sound that cannot be recreated by our British friends. You’ve certainly heard this song before, but listen to it now knowing that you’re the baddest girl on campus.

That’s what is amazing about American alt-rock. It’s inspiring and makes your ego grow one hundred times larger (in the best way possible). Take the rest of the week on, you’ve got this.