Sometimes old songs that you haven’t listened to in a long while suddenly come into your head while you’re driving or showering or writing, and they hang around for a day or two and sometimes longer. Every now and then they’ll stay with you for four or five days or a week even, and that’s too long. It can drive you nuts. The cure is not to sing it to yourself but to download it to iTunes and just listen to it over and over until you can’t stand it any more.

This happened to me last Friday with David Bowie‘s “Five Years“. I love this song (and it’s freaking me out that it’s almost 40 years old) but it won’t leave, and I don’t want to end up hating it.

Last night I tried flushing out Bowie by listening to the other “Five Years” song, the one by Jonah and the Whale, but this made things worse because they’re one of those oodly-doodly bands, a group of oh-so-dry-and-clever musicians wrapped in a fey musical head-space attitude who create songs that are kind of precious and tweedly-deedly…songs that fiddle around with melody without really feeling it or lifting it off the ground.

You know what I mean. Bands that seem to be going “eewww, this is cool”…bands who always seem to perform with a kind of dorky, dispassionate irony…bands who seem to be saying “are we kinda kidding or do we mean it or should we turn it up or down or…? Ohh, whatever…let’s not choose.”

I’ve also described this kind of music as the product of “flutter” bands. In an 8.13.10 piece I described their music as “ethereal, dreamily feminine and generally unpunctuated…music that seems dead set against any kind of thump-crunchin’ sound or attitude [and] that seems to summon the candy-assed spirit and attitude of Michael Cera, and which the almost seems to exists in order to counteract and nullify the spirit of Lou Reed, Liz Phair, Patti Smith, Television, the Kills, the Beta Band, Nirvana…basically any band with any kind of brass musical balls.”

I would rather listen to a continual loop of “The Very Best of Herman’s Hermits” than a flutter band…seriously.

According to Jett and Dylan Wells (as well as HE reader George Prager), the leading flutter bands of 2010 are these:

(1) Passion Pit, (2) Phoenix, (3) matt + kim, (4) Downlink, (5) Datsik, (6) Excision, (7) Burial, (8) James Blake, (9) Diplo, (10) Akira kiteshi, (11) bar 9, (12) Dirty Projectors, (13) Grizzly Bear, (14) Panda Bear, (15) Animal Collective, (16) Beach House, (17) Girls, (18) Arcade Fire and (19) Fleet Foxes.