Benjamin Francis Leftwich - "Atlas Hands" (2011)
This gorgeous, all-too-short song reminds me of every song I ever listened to in college - slow, slightly distorted, achingly gorgeous. The perfect soundtrack for a cigarette & sadness that can't be extinguished.
Ryan Star - "Start A Fire" (2010)
Why Ryan Star is not the star (haha) he deserves to be is a mystery I can't figure out. His song "Breathe" was a mild hit and I believe it was featured as the Free Song Of The Week on iTunes. His debut album 11:59 is lush and full. It is a complete debut in a way that I haven't beared witness to in a long time - the lyrics are unbelievable, the instrumentation is fresh, and there is something tough and simultaneously vulnerable about his voice.
New Found Glory - "Summer Fling, Don't Mean A Thing" (2011)
Another song featured as the Free Song Of The Week on iTunes and thank God it was. This song has quickly risen its way into the Top 25 Most Played songs on my iPad. I have to be honest that I haven't thought much about New Found Glory since I put "My Friends Over You" on one of my legendary mix CDs, Senior Spring Mix II, back in April 2004. This song is catchy with just the right amount of bite - the perfect song for every summer romance that ended in bitterness.
Small Town Sleeper - "Backseat" (2007)
I was originally introduced to this song through Sirius/XM Radio's Hits 1 station - which has consistently broken new and upcoming artists in a way not mirrored by their ClearChannel peers (I'm looking at you, Z100). Seriously, check out Hits 1 because admist the Katy Perry and Usher songs, you just might find a plethora of not-quite-famous amazing artists. I can't find the studio version of this song anywhere on YouTube but this acoustic cover live in the studio is pretty damn close to the studio version. An ode to vehicular sex that is both visceral and wistful.
Therapy? - "Lonely, Cryin' Only" (1998)
My obsession with the song goes back to the date of its release, where I originally heard it as the soundtrack to this excellent Buffy The Vampire Slayer video I am embedding below. I downloaded this video, back on my 4GB hard drive Toshiba "gray box" laptop, sometime around 1999 and spent the next 12 years searching for this song on MP3, CD, import, anywhere. A hard driving guitar song, with a Gothic element, and perhaps one of the best lyrics ever written - "give me two more minutes of your twisted love." I could not love this song, and by extension the Buffy video, more.
Lovesick Radio - "I Wish I Didn't Care" (2009)
I desperately wish their debut album "Heartbreak 4 Dummies" was available on Amazon, Ebay, anywhere, but I'll have to settle for purchasing it off iTunes. They have a sound (particularly on this song) that's reminiscent of Hinder, but a little bit more raw. The break-up song for anyone who has ever spent a tortured night wondering how their ex could move on without them.
Ben Harper - "Waiting For You" (2006)
This song evokes college to me as well, waiting for the fulfillment of a dream that never came true. One of the most devastating songs I have ever heard.
"I would have given you everything I had, mortgaged my soul for a shot at heaven."