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Brooklyn Top 40

A highly subjective ranking of the songs that define the sound of right now.


No. 25: Amazing Baby  

No. 40
Light Asylum
“Angel Tongue”

Hypnotizing in its austere analog coolness, this intimate track is the latest contribution from scene veteran Shannon Funchess.

No. 39
Oakley Hall
“All the Way Down”

Brooklyn’s finest alt-country band shifts seamlessly from pretty, mellow folk-rock to deranged psychedelic ferocity.

No. 38
Here We Go Magic
Shimmering, pastoral guitar and strings join cheerful hand claps and Luke Temple’s just-distorted-enough vocals on this whimsical pop track.

No. 37
Apache Beat

Mad guitars rage against sturdy bass lines and tribal drums while front woman and icon-in-training Ilirjana Alushaj wails like a sexy banshee.

No. 36
Bishop Allen
“Click, Click, Click, Click”

Cutesy but irresistible acoustic pop from BA, a songwriting duo who gracefully balance indie and mainstream appeal.

No. 35
White Rabbits
“Percussion Gun”
Cackling laughter leads into singer Stephen Patterson’s heartbroken-and-pissed-about-it lyrics, which come off as angry against stark floor-tom drumming and Spoon front man Britt Daniels’s clean production.

No. 34

Frenzied, super-psyched three-chord perfection from these wacky, experimental, perpetually amused punks.

No. 33
Class Actress
“All the Saints”
Unabashedly slick electro-pop beats juxtaposed with coy, romantically depressed vocals courtesy of star-in-the-making Elizabeth Harper.

No. 32
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
“The Debtor”
Defiant piano banging, chimes, and surreal keys mingle in this harrowing-but-uplifting coffeehouse punk anthem about wanting to die from the scene’s latest new Dylan.

No. 31
“Art School Girls”
Hilarious tribute to and send-up of hipster girls featuring pickup lines like “You’re very abstract—we should collaborate” from these cheeky Brooklyn emcees.

No. 30
“Beaten Metal”
Masterpiece of Afrobeat fun from this Bushwick twelve-piece who’ve lent their conga-and-brass-fueled funk to songs by indie rockers like TV on the Radio and Foals.

No. 29
Black Dice
“Glazin’ ”

Chirpy psychedelic electro jam courtesy of three of Brooklyn’s finest sound artisans.

No. 28
The Antlers

A spare, echoey piano track featuring barely whispered vocals about watching a friend die of cancer should make you want to kill yourself; instead this song makes you want to save the world.

No. 27
Panda Bear
“Comfy In Nautica”
Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox sounds like the leader of a marching band/children’s choir/extraterrestrial church on this remarkable marriage of harmony and sound effects.

No. 26
The National
“Mistaken for Strangers”
Play this track twice and you’re inside the moody prism of baritone-voiced front man Matt Berninger’s mind, an unusual place where perplexing lyrics like “fill yourself with quarters” make sense next to rollicking drums and serrated guitars.

No. 25
Amazing Baby
“The Narwhal”

This quintet takes the swirling synth magic of their art-school brethren and adds psychedelic imagery, hallucinations, and proggy guitar work.

No. 24
St. Vincent
“Actor Out of Work”
Beguiling indie-pop romp that merges loose guitars, urgent drumming, creepy choral noise, and fuzzy horns to make something weird, gorgeous, and compulsively listenable.

No. 23
Neon Indian
“Deadbeat Summer”
Woozy synth-pop gem that conjures the feeling of being young, bored, and restless but lazy.

No. 22
Matt and Kim
M and K aren’t ashamed of their optimism; in fact, they flaunt it, merging chipper keyboards with swirling strings and jovial harmonies on this ode to sunny days in Brooklyn.

No. 21
Grizzly Bear
With its ominous harmonies and fragile, trembling bass line, this song was always enigmatically beautiful, but when it became something of a popular hit for GB, it felt like a watershed moment for Brooklyn art rock.

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