Lots of stuff I had a hard time throwing out so I'll just provide some quick links to their page.
The first group are kinda regular MP3 blog mainstays and don't need any further love from me - and I wasn't that ga-ga over their tracks anyway: Most Serene Republic, Magic Numbers and Lady Sovereign (this year's M.I.A.)
The others were songs I've previously linked to and with the exception of the last one, still like: Man Man, Magnolia Electric Company, Minni-Thins and Madagascar.
Another group are major label pseudo-controverial but not all that awful: Dreamworks' bad boys - Living Things and Geffen's Wilson-Phillips for the Aughties - The Like.
And finally just bands that didn't make the cut but were noteworthy: Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey, too L.A. for me "biker punks" Lords of Altamount, what-the-fug Japanese singer Konimotu Takeharu, Sub-Pop's latest gem-in-the-rough Kelley Stoltz and the Flaming Lips meets American Analog Set Mazarin...
Now onto my picks:
King Straggler (pictured right) - "Good Man" - All the things I'm not. About the most trad. country-folk I'm gonna get here.
The Kingdom - "I Am Constellation" - A bizzare re-imagining of Baltimore Colt Johnny Unitas as a cluster of stars blazing in the night with a strong GBV influence.
Laura Viers - "Galaxies" - This years singer-songwriter girl with glasses model has a right pretty song here in case you haven't already snagged it during her acoustic tour with Colin Meloy.
Lions - "Movement" - I've got a few punk songs that just happened to come out in a row. Something about bands with names that start with "L". Lions are an Austin group that do pounding hardcore and then morph into sludgey metal with reverb-turned-up-to-11 on a guy who sounds like Dylan-gone-wild. If that sounds familiar, so what - you need some of this in your life. Sounds like they've played their amplifiers so hard their about to burst into flames.
Live Fast Die - "Forged in Flames" - They've really let themselves go and they don't care. Crappy recording works fine for this fuzzy Ramones update. Playing with the DC Snipers on Saturday night.
Lonelady - "Hi Ho Bastard" - My lady who is a friend says, "finally a song about you." Grrr... there's a reason this lady (pictured left) is alone. This year's outsider.
The Longcut - "Transition" - British "dance music" (that's what they call any band in the UK who play songs in 4/4) with a healthy respect for fellow Manchesterites Joy Division. Really, so far, this is the cream of the crop coming across the pond this week. Great spazz-out at the 2:30 mark. Wait for it. Uhhnn...
Love of Diagrams - "No Way Out" - The best punk song of 2005 that you never heard. Why? Because the CD was only distributed in Australia.
The Low Lows - "The Low Lows" - OK, all the indie-alt-country types can come out from behind their futons. The punk set is over. Here's the cremains of Parker and Lily's divorce playing a Gothic This Mortal Coil. Over and over until all the demons are exorcised. Lily still plays with them in the studio but she won't tour with her ex-husband again.
The M's - "Future Women" - You almost expect this to be performed by a Salvation Army band around a camp fire. Nice sound - original enough that I can't draw many comparisons.
The Mammals - "Father William" - A guitar-banjo-violin-drums and bass western band. Wouldn't be surprised if this story song makes it to the Deadwood Season 3 soundtrack.
Maneja Beto - "Ciudadano" - An alt-Latin piece with an electric mariachi hook. Not Los Lonely Boys so they won't be winning any Grammies anytime soon.
Metric - "Monster Hospital" - They update Bobby Fuller's "I Fought The Law" in a bizarre way - reimagined as a monster movie as an analogy for the struggle against "the war"... About the closest I would go to the prevailing MTV punk pop this week.
Minsk - "bloodletting and forgetting" - This doom-psyche-metal piece should be called "forgetting and bloodletting" as the violent release comes near the end after a slow psychological build-up.
Mittens on Strings - "The Most Complete Skeleton Ever Found" - Sung from the perspective of the "most complete" fossil (a tiny fish) who looks forward to the day that kids will "love me" and "he'll be studied in the future / but the Brontosaurus is only / going to fuel a Ford Taurus"... Best band name of this set.
The Mudville Project - "The Tea" - Uncle Tupelo fronted by Lou Reed. Other than that I don't know why I like it but I do.
My Brightest Diamond (pictured right) - "Golden Star" - One of the standouts of the mostly tedkous Asthmatic Kitty compilation earlier this year was MBD. Who is she and where did she get that pretty voice and songwriting chops? Comparisons to Kate Bush are made in the liner notes and that's not a bad thing.
My Way My Love - "Captain" - Oddball Japanese band led by a guy named Yukio Maraka who sings like an American and lays disconcerting abrasive static and sirens over the verses. Indie-kids, there's nothing wrong with music that makes you uncomfortable. Noise-children, your new God is current deplaning. If Love of Diagrams had the best punk song of 2005, here's one for the running in 2006.