The Best Songs in Dallas Music, 2010: Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights Explore The Dark Circles of Hell at No. 5

[Over these last few days of 2010, we'll be presenting our 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. 5 on the list -- and, please, feel free to click after the jump for a stream of the track. Also after the jump, check out songs Nos. 50-6 in the Top 50 list that will update as it grows...]

It's been a weird year for Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, whose major label debut for Atlantic Records, Pardon Me, came with a big to-do, but hasn't really made the impression the band initially hoped it would.

Sure, that record's two lead singles, the title track and "Gypsy Woman," were given the music video treatment and earned some radio airplay around the country, but the sales impact has been minimal, spurring the record on to only a short four-week run on the Billboard subchart for Heatseekers albums, where it peaked out at No. 8 on the list.

Still, there have been plenty of positives. The band followed up its successful '08 and '09 runs of sharing bills and tours with the likes of AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock, by headlining its own tour runs in '10 and even scoring a choice gig at Bonnaroo. Meanwhile, 2011 seems primed for more success on the road for the fiery live act, which recently announced a three week run on the road with like-minded buzzing blues-rock revivalists Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.

But the biggest positives of all for Jonathan Tyler and Co., interestingly enough, came on television in 2010. There was the Jimmy Kimmel Live! performance, the various placements on FOX's short-lived, Dallas-based The Good Guys (which featured Tyler's main squeeze, Jenny Wade, in a starring role) and some primo real estate offered up from Martin Scorsese himself as the Northern Lights song "Devil's Basement" was picked to score the teaser trailers for the legendary director's HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

And there's more to come from that song, too: In 2011, it will be placed in a seven-week promo ad for CBS's Criminal Minds.



Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights -- "Devil's Basement"

And that song's success comes as no surprise, really. "Devil's Basement" is the best song offered up on Pardon Me, an otherwise pleasing, but mostly too-reigned-in and too-sentimental collection of jangly blues-rock.

"Devil's Basement" is none of those things, a decidedly brash cut that eschews the otherwise too-conventional offerings of the disc -- it broods where other songs try to garner swoons and comes in at over five-minutes long, making it by far the longest song on the album.

And, well, that's an especially interesting note, as, live, most of Tyler's songs are bolstered with extended jams and freakouts -- in other words, five minutes is nothing for this band in real life. Furthermore, this is a band that thrives in live settings, when Tyler's on stage charisma shines through and the sweat is pouring out from each of his and his bandmates' pores. Much of Pardon Me misses this point, trying to convert this impressively live act into something it isn't -- a cookie-cutter radio band.

"Devil's Basement" stands out so much on the disc because, in spite of the rest of the disc's best efforts, it flies in the face of that idea. And, clearly, amongst the TV placing contingent, it's resonating -- for good reason. This is a behemoth of a song -- one that refuses to be ignored and one that single-handledly stands to showcase the promise of this still-burgeoning collective.

The Top 50 Local Songs of 2010
(Links to music videos and free song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where neither a download nor video exists.)
50. Dear Human - "Waiting"
Nervous Curtains - "All Yesterday's Parties"
Spector 45 - "Try Try Try"
Smile Smile - "Beg You To Stay"
Robert Gomez - "A Natural State"
45. Florene - "Parc Bitch"
44. Mount Righteous - "Eat Your Wife and Kiss The Barbecue"
43. The Strange Boys - "Be Brave"
Soft Environmental Collapse - "A Horse & Buggy Complex"
41. Deepspace5 - "Killing With Kindness"
Sextape -- "Lubricated Intimacy"
Museum Creatures - "Song ABC"
38. Ocelot - "Beating Hears"
37. Sir Silky - "The Squeeze (The Answer)"
Bone - "Homegurl"
35. Ishi - "Come Closer"
34. Hoyotoho - "Born Black"
33. Dorrough - "Get Big"
Katie Carroll - "Paper Girl"
31. Final Club - "Ruded"
30. Treal Lee & Prince Rick - "Throwed Off (Fuck Errbody)"
South San Gabriel - "All Night Long"
The Rocket Summer - "Walls"
Darktown Strutters - "Lucifer Rising"
School of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"
24. The Burning Hotels - "Austin's Birthday"
Doug Burr - "At The Public Dance"
22. The Flowers of God 

feat. Sarah Jaffe

feat. Sarah Jaffe

feat. Sarah Jaffe

feat. Sarah Jaffe

21. Dondria -- "You're The One"
20. Sundress - "Locust"
19. Blixaboy - "Lion Eyes (featuring Emil Rapstine)"
18. A.Dd+ feat. Brown of Sore Losers - "Likeamug"
17. The Secret Handshake - "Every Single Time"
16. Lalagray - "The Hard Part"
15. Sore Losers - "Free Loaders"
14. Leg Sweeper - "Sexy Weekend"
13. Midlake - "Rulers, Ruling All Things"
12. Ryan Thomas Becker - "So Speak"
11. Analog Rebellion - "You've Been Had (Machine)"
10. Mind Spiders -- "Worlds Destroyed"
9. Kimberly -- "Sociopath"
8. Old 97's -- "The Magician"
7. The Beaten Sea -- "Doctor's Not Gonna Cure Our Ills"
6. The Orbans -- "Like a Liar"
5. Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights -- "Devil's Basement"
4. ????????
3. ????????
2. ????????
1. ????????

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman