The Best Songs in Dallas Music, 2009: Teenage Cool Kids and "Foreign Lands" Show Us That The Grass Is Always Greener at No. 2

[Editor's Note: Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be presenting my favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1, one track a day. Today we take an in-depth look at song No. 2 on the list--and, please, feel free to click after the jump for a free download of the track. Lastly, please keep checking back to see how the list pans out. Also after the jump, check out songs No. 40-26 in the Top 40 list that will update as it grows...]

No. 2: Teenage Cool Kids -- "Foreign Lands"

It was a hugely entertaining year for Denton punk rock--one that saw the house party circuit unabashedly infusing its sound with a serious case of pop sensibilities.

Indeed: The year's list of impressively catchy pop-punk ditties from the likes of The Wax Museums, Occult Detective Club, The Uptown Bums and Bad Sports is a long one. But topping all the others? The title track from Teenage Cool Kids' phenomenal full-length, Foreign Lands--an album brimming over with singalong angst and, sure, a little Built to Spill influence, too.

What, like that's a bad thing?

Bonus mp3:

Teenage Cool Kids -- "Foreign Lands"

Teenage Cool Kids -- "Foreign Lands"

Never heard "Foreign Lands" before? Your loss--and now gain, too, actually. Prepare to spend the next couple days endlessly singing/humming/whistling along to the backing refrain of the song, a delightful undulating chorus of "Ooooh oooooh oooooh"-ing from the band.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves: This song's more than just a catchy singalong. On many levels, the song--and the rest of the album, really--shows a substantial growth in TCK's songwriting craft. Showcasing a serious affinity for Doug Martsch-ian riffs, the band flexes its instrumental muscle here far more so than its aggression, offering up an impressively restrained, maturely and lushly arranged package--one that moves far past the stereotypical three-chord fare the pop-punk genre usually offers. To that end: Even calling this a punk outfit at this point might be a disservice. At this point, TCK's more of a lo-fi indie garage pop powerhouse that also happens to boast some serious punk undertones. Or, in shorter terms: The band's a force to be reckoned with.

And one that won't back down from a fight either: 2009 also saw TCK served with a cease-and-desist order from Chicago hip-hop duo The Cool Kids. But, rather than get flustered, the band handled the situation professionally and admirably--and walked away with its name still in tact. When Foreign Lands earned its release shortly thereafter, the band further proved itself a formidable outfit, proving its worth as more than a novelty footnote in a news item.

Never more so is this more clear than on the album's title track. Once locked into its dirty, bouncy groove, "Foreign Lands" doesn't relent. Instead, it continually builds upon itself, impressing more and more with each passing second and ultimately proving itself as one of the year's finest songs, local or otherwise.

The Top 40 Local Songs of 2009
(Links to music videos and free song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where neither a download nor video exists.)

The Wax Museums

The Wax Museums

-- "Safety in Numbers"
39. Macon Greyson -- "Pushing Strings"
38. The Burning Hotels -- "Austin's Birthday" (video)
37. The Riverboat Gamblers -- "DissDissDissKissKissKiss" (video)
36. Salim Nourallah -- "Endless Dream Days"
35. The Phuss -- "Preacher, Preacher"
34. The Southern Sea -- "These Things Always End Badly"
33. Fungi Girls -- "Pacifica Nostalgia"
32. Giggle Party -- "Jason Bought a Hatchet" (video)
31. Carter Albrecht -- "Country Living" (stream)
30. This Old House -- "At Risk"
29. Occult Detective Club -- "You'll Follow Me" 
28. Bad Sports -- "Nothing But Agitation"
27. Darktown Strutters -- "Quakertown"
26. The Crash That Took Me -- "Patricia Lynn" (stream)
25. Red Monroe -- "Pat Mayse Lake"
24. Danny Balis -- "Tethered"
23. Sleep Whale -- "Cotton Curls"
22. PVC Street Gang -- "Cutlass" (video)
21. Air Review -- "Jura"
20. Xrabit & Damaged Good$ -- "Follow the Leader" (video)
19. Doug Burr -- "The Righteous Will Rejoice"
18. Seryn -- "We Will All Be Changed"
17. galleryCat -- "Say Say Say"
16. Sunnybrook -- "Waving Hands"
15. The O's -- "You've Got Your Heart"
14. Ishi -- "Pastel Lights"
13. Binary Sunrise -- "Five Minutes"
12. The Paper Chase -- "What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)"
11. Fergus & Geronimo -- "Tell It In My Ear"
10. Max Moon -- "Urban Outfitters"
9. Neon Indian -- "Deadbeat Summer"
8. Bosque Brown -- "This Town"
7. Dorrough -- "Ice Cream Paint Job"
6. RTB2 -- "When Hammer Hits Stone"
5. VEGA -- "No Reasons"
4. Sore Losers -- "Bizarre Celebrations (Fizzy Dino Pop Remix)"
3. St. Vincent -- "Marrow" (video)
2. Teenage Cool Kids -- "Foreign Lands"
1. ????????

...and be sure to keep checking back, as this list will update daily

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman

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