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12 by The Honeydogs

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... The Honeydogs arose from Minneapolis as part of the alt-country "craze" that swept through the nation in the mid-1990s. In the early 2000s they - like Wilco and the Jayhawks before them - made a successful transformation into an ambitious Beatle-esque chamber-pop band, culminating in the dystopian concept album 10,000 Years . This list covers their first 8 years and 6 albums. Since songwriter Adam Levy has a gift for one-liners, I'll limit my commentary to a favorite line from the song. If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here . And keep an eye out for "12 More by the Honeydogs" coming soon! 1) "Those Things Are Hers" (from The Honeydogs , 1995) "There's the ring, that once held us together / She wants it back, so I'm sending it next week" 2) Your Blue Door (from Everything, I Bet You , 199
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12 by The New Pornographers

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... For twenty-two years and eight albums The New Pornographers have been providing us with uncategorizable-but-irresistible pop songs laden with stacked harmonies, counter-melodies, and cryptic lyrics. If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here . 1. "The Slow Descent into Alcoholism" (from Mass Romantic , 2000) Opinion: The best New Pornographers songs feature A.C. Newman and Neko Case singing in tandem. 2. "All For Swinging You Around" (from The Electric Version , 2003) Opinion: The best New Pornographers songs feature Neko Case on lead vocals. 3. "A Testament to Youth In Verse" (from  The Electric Version , 2003) In truth, I generally just sit through the Dan Bejar songs waiting for the other ones, but I do genuinely love this song (and "Myriad Harbor" from Challengers ). 4. "The Bleeding Heart Show&q

12 by Vicious Vicious

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... If you need a reference point for the work of Vicious Vicious mastermind Erik Appelwick, the most appropriate would be Beck. Like Mr. Hansen, Minnesota-based Appelwick has the ability to navigate between making you laugh and making you cry and making you want to dance, and embraces genres from country to R& B to folk to pop.  I've included songs from the two albums Appelwick did under the name Tropical Depression, because honestly there's not a lot of difference between that and Vicious Vicious.  I very literally  wrote the book  on Appelwick, so please feel confident you are hearing from an authority here.  If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen to an alternate version of list here  (sadly, not all of VV's music is on the service). 1. "Shake That Ass on the Dance Floor" (from Blood + Clover , 2003) A loungy, laconic come-on

12 by Kid Dakota

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... Kid Dakota is Darren Jackson, a South Dakota native who made a name for himself in Minneapolis/St. Paul in the early 2000s and continues to put out carefully-constructed albums of deeply-felt songs. Not to brag or anything, but I literally wrote the book on Kid Dakota, so you should feel pretty good about the validity of my choices here. That said, my tastes are forever skewed toward the pop side of things, so this particular list might underrepresent the more experimental elements of Darren's music. If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here . 1. "Crossin' Fingers" (from So Pretty , 2002) The music is claustrophobic and dramatic, matching the mindset of the song's cuckolded narrator. 2. "Pairin' Off" (from So Pretty , 2002) This brief acoustic tune is open and sweet as Kid Dakota will ever get. 3. "Iva

12 by Sloan (2006 - 2018)

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... Sloan released a compilation of singles called A Sides Win in 2005, so our purpose here is summarize what they've been up to since then (drawn from six albums, two EPs, and smattering of one-offs they've released in the last 17 years). Since each member of Sloan writes and sings, I've made every effort to create a balance of their songs.  If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here . 1. "Can You Figure It Out?" (from Never Hear the End of It , 2006) Okay, I'll admit my bias right away. Jay Ferguson is my favorite Sloan member. Songs like this - aching, ultra-melodic, bouncy - are why. 2. "Set In Motion" (from  Never Hear the End of It , 2006)  Chris Murphy's sequel to 1996's "Autobiography" finds his life story being turned into a movie. He's reluctantly been cast in the lead, but has los

12 by Ra Ra Riot

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... Influenced equally by '70s AM gold soft rock, Electric Light Orchestra, late '70s/ early '80s new wave, and mid-'80s dance pop, Ra Ra Riot has released five albums, each one as-good-as or better-than the last.  Because of the way they wear their influences, Ra Ra Riot's music creates a disorienting-but-extremely-pleasant nostalgia. So making  this list was very difficult, especially in having to omit songs such as "Beta Love," "Water," "Suckers," and "This Time of Year." If you have Amazon Music Prime, you can listen along here . 1. "Too Too Fast" (from  The Rhumb Line , 2008) Combines '80s dance synths with a little bit of the Strokes and a a little bit of the Talking Heads, then stirs until combined. 2. "Dying is Fine" (from The Rhumb Line , 2008) Lyrically the chorus borrows fr

12 by Rhett Miller

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... I wrote about his band, so it's only fair that I write about Rhett Miller's solo output. There are differences between the two, of course, but if you like one, you're pretty much guaranteed to like the other. Let me just add that I love how Rhett thematically titles his albums - his live album is called The Interpreter - and hate that he messed up the pattern by self-titling his 2009 record. If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here . 1. "This Is What I Do" (from The Instigator , 2002) A statement of purpose told through a very-Jon-Brion pop arrangement. 2. "Come Around"  (from  The Instigator , 2002) I know from personal experience that this song hits hard when you're in the middle of a doomed romantic entanglement. 3. "Help Me, Suzanne" ( from  The Believer , 2006) A ray of sunshine in the form