1. "Night Has Fallen" - American Babies

Tom Hamilton has written a lot of good songs with American Babies and Brothers Past‚ but "Night Has Fallen" is by far his best. This is the first time I've heard him tap into the universal language of a great song -- he sounds wise‚ confident and thoughtful like so many of his heroes (think the Boss‚ Lennon‚ Dylan). You feel like you've walked in his shoes on this one -- you see your family‚ neighbors‚ and friends‚ and you feel all their hope and despair. (Visit American Babies)

2. Dr. Dog - "Nobody Knows Who You Are"

Any song from their album Shame‚ Shame could make this list -- every track is that good. But this post-Shame‚ Shame release hit hardest. "Nobody Knows Who You Are" feels like the culmination of writing and recording ten great tracks for Shame‚ Shame. They're so hot right now that I feel like they should write a shitty song just to get it out of their system. Go snag it for free over at Spinner. (Visit Dr. Dog)

3. Kaki King - "Sunnyside"

About ten years ago‚ Kaki arrived as a one-of-a-kind guitar virtuoso‚ playing only instrumental music. Her last three records or so‚ she's developed into a great singer and great songwriter. On Junior -- her latest and second record working with producer Malcolm Burn -- she ends the album with "Sunnyside." It's certainly the most vulnerable‚ cathartic‚ and emotional song I've ever heard her sing. And it's remarkable that after about 50 listens throughout the year‚ it still gives me chills. (Visit Kaki King)

4. Marco Benevento - "Music is Still Secret"

Marco told me earlier this year: "Being at concert and almost falling asleep is the best. I know that sounds weird‚ but if the music can make you drift that far where your mind wanders to the point where you're not even thinking‚ well… that's the goal. This album [Between Needles and Nightfall] has a lot of those relentless loops that make you want to drift and dream." Yep‚ and "Music is Still Secret" did it the most for me. (Visit Marco Benevento)

5. LCD Soundsystem - "All I Want"

James Murphy knows how to write them -- thick grooves and masterful use of repetition makes every song feel like an adventure. Then add lyrics and a vocal delivery that can be equally ridiculous/funny/absurd as it is emotional and heartfelt: you have music that feels as right as hanging out with your best friends. This is Happening is filled with great tunes‚ but I can't seem to escape "All I Want." (Visit LCD Soundsystem)

6. Spoon - "The Mystery Zone"