As always, to encourage the consumption of music that doesn't suck, I have provided -- wherever available -- links to free, artist-sanctioned MP3s of the songs.
Before I forget: Original photo by Sarah R. Perrine -- from Haleakala National Park -- design by me, per usual.
(Questions? Comments? Want one of your band's songs to be considered for an upcoming awesome mix tape? E-mail mperrine [at] duluthbudgeteer [dot] com.)
1. Mac Lethal - "Calm Down Baby" (other MP3s available here)
OK, the cat's out of the bag ... my thoughts on "11:11," this Kansas City MC's Rhymesayers debut: "Party album of the year. Hands down."
2. Faith No More - "Midlife Crisis"
Sometimes I love Pawn America: only three bucks for an only-slightly-bent-out-of-shape copy of "Angel Dust" ... yes!
3. Cake - "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up" (Barry White cover) (listen here)
Interesting "factoid" on Cake's Web site: "Just 38 percent of Radiohead fans paid for the latest album, according to data recently supplied by comScore. The band allowed fans to name their price for the downloadable release, 'In Rainbows,' a closely watched experiment. While most fans grabbed the album for nothing, a significant percentage paid modest amounts. According to the data, 17 percent paid an average of $4 for the album, while 12 percent paid between $8 and $12."
4. M. Ward - "Bean Vine Blues #2" (John Fahey cover)
Holy smokes, this is a veritable white light riot!
5. Dear Machine, - "Keep Me Me"
Sadly, Dear Machine, (sic) is no longer BUT the group's frontman is still kicking ass under his own name: Jason Shannon.
6. They Shoot Horses Don't They - "A Place Called L.A."
Best band name ever! (Though I just found out there's a 1969 Sydney Pollack film of the same name....)
7. The High Strung - "Truce"
Friendly reminder from the "happy hardcore" High Strung: PLEASE TURN THE VOLUME UP.
8. Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel - "Romance" (listen here)
Paging Molly & the Heymakers.... <- Hayward's finest!
9. Six Mile Grove - "Hollywood" (listen here)
These alt-country* torchbearers are great, but, before I go any further, an ... A&E FYI: Six Mile Grove's frontman, Brandon Sampson, will perform a solo set at 8 p.m. Dec. 28 at Fitger's Brewhouse. Check it out.
10. The Who - "Substitute" (live at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1970)
I just saw "Annie Hall" last night. Nothing to do with this song 'cept a classic is a classic.
11. Pearl Jam - "Leash" (live at the Gorge, July 2006)
America's greatest rock 'n' roll band! Rediscovered only recently by a fan from way back....
12. Dexys Midnight Runners - "Geno"
Did you know there was life beyond "Come on Eileen" for Dexys** Midnight Runners? I certainly didn't; not until I stumbled upon this amazing track on a bargain-bin new wave compilation I purchased at the Electric Fetus for [PRICE REMOVED FOR THE SAKE OF THE ARTIST ... JUST IN CASE, YOU KNOW, I EVER MOVE TO THAT PARALLEL UNIVERSE WHERE '80S HAS-BEENS ACTUALLY READ MY SILLY LITTLE BLOG], that is.
13. Marah - "The Closer"
America's second-greatest rock 'n' roll band? (Wilco is also a strong contender for this "post.")
14. The Wannadies - "Easier to Sing"
UMD, freshman year, '01/'02. I have a roommate = Johan. That's right; Swedish. So, what happens to him when he gets back to his home country? I hit him up for all those hard-to-find-in-the-States Wanndies releases. <- I LOVE LIFE.
15. Datarock - "Computer Camp Love" (listen here)
OK, here's my kind-of-sort-of-sounds-like comparison shopper: P.O.S. (by way of Blueprint's "naughtiness") fronting TV on the Radio for a "Grease" soundtrack retread ... phew.
16. Bangers & Cash (Spank Rock and Benny Blanco) - "B-O-O-T-A-Y" (listen here)
How's this for a concept album: A full-on tribute to the X-rated sounds of Miami bass greats like 2 Live Crew. Sweet.
17. Buck 65 - "1957" (listen here)
"1957" is good, damn good.
18. Apollo Sunshine - "The Egg"
There are a million bands copping the magical hum of the Beach Boys and the Beatles, but only a handful -- Apollo Sunshine included, of course -- are worth a damn.
19. Baboon - "Breaking Glass"
I feel like I can't say enough nice things about this group. Their later output is just phenomenal ... why won't you love them already?! (HA HA HA)
20. Batteries - "Recording the Stuff that You're On"
Recommended if you like My Diet Pill, Pinback and ... a million other excellent bands I can't think of right now. (Just trust me on this one, "brah.")
21. Symposium - "Disappear"
This group knows how to party: "By the end of 1999, the band left Infectious Records in protest of its new primary investor, Rupert Murdoch." (Thanks for the factoid, Wiki!)
Anyway, since the group is on extended holiday, its leader (if you will), Ross Cummins, went on to form another group, Paper Cuts, whose 13-track self-titled album is available to download for free on Last.fm.
22. Switches - "Drama Queen" (listen here)
If somebody played this for me in a "blind taste test," I would say: "That's gotta be the Dandy Warhols." Then, after minutes of bickering about the fact that it's actually Switches, I would -- again -- say, "No, you're mistaken; this is something off of the 'Thirteen Tales' album."
Point (not so subtle one that it is...): These guys sound a whole lot like the Dandys. But that's all right, 'cause the Dandys rule ... OK?
23. Rick Springfield - "I Get Excited"
You've gotta hand it to Rick Springfield; not only did he write the super smash hit of a blockbuster, "Jessie's Girl," but, for the very next album, he wrote "Jessie's Girl" again, with different lyrics, and called it "I Get Excited." Damn, what a thrifty feller! (Still, I can't resist his gorgeous pop gems.... LOL)
24. Steve Reynolds - "Intro" (from "Exile")
I use this brief (but gorgeous) track on a lot of my mix tapes -- it provides a nice segue for a variety of tracks.
25. Pipsqueak - "Sweet Liquor"
This sounds really, really familiar ... like I wrote it in one of my dreams and the Pipsqueak dudes, like, read my mind and shit. (Yeah, boyz!!!)
*In a good way.
**Yeah, this is actually how they "prefer" it to be spelled. Hey, man, I don't mess with success! (Just Texas....)