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.
(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. Eels - "Dog Faced Boy" ("Skywriting" available here)
True story: "E" knows how to rock it.
2. Mac Lethal - "Jihad!" (some great MP3s available at Lethalville.com)
As does Mac. -> Lazerbreak's sweetass trunk-fulla-amps production and crafty shout-outs to Mitch Hedberg certainly don't hurt, either. (More thoughts on this song here.)
3. Rebekah Higgs - "Mr. Weatherman" (other songs available here)
Wasn't the White Stripes/Holly Golightly collab "Well It's True That We Love One Another" just dandy? If you concur, then step ahead and join the "Rebekah Higgs is a lovely, lovely thing" party forming ever so rapidly.
4. Fin - "This is My Heart"
Guitar!!! Solo!!! Yes!!!
5. What Made Milwaukee Famous - "Sweet Lady" (listen here)
Easily one of the top 20 finest songs ever recorded ... what's not to love with WMMF's uncanny knack for irresistible bouncy anthems?
6. Burden Brothers - "Your Fault"
Although some aren't aware of this, the (first) dissolution of the Toadies was just the beginning of Vaden Todd Lewis long and illustrious career as Texas' leading gee-tar man.
7. Cinerama - "Apres Ski"
Songs don't get much prettier than those conceived by the genius mind of David Gedge (also of the Wedding Present).
8. The Clash - "Spanish Bombs"
I wonder what all the snot-nosed punks were thinking when this came out.... I wish I was alive in '79 to see their faces!
9. The Rentals - "Please Let That Be You" (video here)
Hey, remember when Moog was god?! Sometimes I miss '95.... But, hey, I just learned something cool today: This song is a reworking of a Weezer demo Matt Sharp wrote called "Mrs. Young."
10. Electric Light Orchestra - "Daybreaker"
I HEART ELO. AIN'T NONE HIGHER. NO JOKE. SO DON'T TAKE IT AS ONE.
11. The Who - "Do You Think it's Alright?" (live at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1970)
Though the Who is a close second (or third, after the Pixies ... you know, to be honest, I think I have a new favorite band every goddamn day!).
12. Rogue Wave - "Seasick on Land" (other classics here) (and here!)
Yes, Rogue Wave has also been known to be in my "top five." Snappy little tunes they produce, eh?
13. Ash - "There's a Star" (album vers.) (see video here)
Another true story: This gorgeous track appeared on one of the five lovely (yet still awesome) mix tapes I made for my wedding celebration. (Which was held in McGregor, Minn., of all places!)
14. Storyhill - "What was Wrong"
I really dig the lyric "You left the same station on / To static / All night long." So memorable, in fact, that it stood out during the duo's recent performance at Weber Music Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth (aka one of the best concerts mine eyes have ever witnessed).
15. Saturday Looks Good to Me - "Make a Plan"
Do Quentin Tarantino soundtracks turn you on? Well, the music these guys kick up kind of sounds like all of them rolled into one: Classy, yet not without a slight edge.
16. Golden Dogs - "Dynamo" (listen here)
Indie rock at its finest, yet (there's that word again...) it could almost work on the next installment of "Guitar Hero." I'm always looking out for that sort of thing ... as if they'd actually let a stupidass blogger help them make those (kind of, sort of) tough decisions!
17. Liam Finn - "Second Chance"
Liam Finn = 1/3 Neal Peterson + 2/3 Cinerama. Intriguing stuff here -> must find more.
18. Hum - "Green to Me" (watch video and download a whole lot here)
I *sob* saw these guys on their *sob sob* farewell tour. *sob sob sob* (Seriously, will there ever be another band this freakin' cool? I haven't really followed the group members' respective solo careers, so perhaps there is one already out there. Do you think?)
19. Camper Van Beethoven - "Pictures of Matchstick Men" (Status Quo cover) (DL a few tracks here)
Stoner anthem meets "Brokeback Mountain" soundtrack (well before its time). Congrats, David Lowery, only you (or a member of the Pixies) could pull off something that surprising in 1989. p.s. Can you believe this was a No. 1 hit for CVB when it came out?
20. Scissor Sisters - "Music is the Victim"
I never thought the Scissor Sisters' brand of disco/rock fusion would ever appeal to me as much as it does, but consider me a convert: I love this shit!
21. Lookdown Moon - "Plastic Trumpet"
It was a very, very good year for the local scene. For fans of the Geraldine Fibbers (at least this one). BONUS! (SCORE!): An interview with Lookdown Moon's Ann Loop.
22. Angelo Badalamenti feat. Julee Cruise - "Falling" (hear a sample here)
Not to get too into the (true) holiday spirit or anything, but there needs to be only one item on your Christmas list: "Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition." If you can ignore the stupid cover design (a crappy homage to "The Wizard of Oz"?), you're in for 10 discs of unparalleled bliss.
23. The Amps - "First Revival" (live MP3 here)
I just love Kim Deal's original name for her post-Breeders group: Tammy and the Amps. (Cool, too, is the rumor is that Robert Pollard suggested it to her.)