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. Nash Kato - "Zooey Suicide"
Did lightning strike twice for Nash Kato? Sure does. After warming the hearts of hipsters everywhere with Urge Overkill (particularly after the group's cover of the Neil Diamond song "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" became synonymous with "Pulp Fiction" in '94), he released a phenomenal solo record in 2000, "Debutante" -- which featured this gem. A funny little message I found on UO's Web site: "Nash Kato is ready to launch his secret rock assault on some unsuspecting civilians and radio programmers. You see, Nash won't have a problem with self-promoting, the trickle down effect will take precedence like it did for Urge. Nash's real battle will be vying for top billing on your Limp Bizkit playlist. Can Nash do it ... fuck yeah! Will you do it ... fuck yeah! 'Zooey Suicide' has all of the rock elements needed to be a hit. Hook included."
2. Marah - "Angels of Destruction" (other free MP3s available here)
My favorite review of the new Marah masterpiece actually came in from The Onion's A.V. Club. A sampling: "Songwriters Dave and Serge Bielanko have immersed themselves in classic-rock vocabulary for so long that it's practically their primary language. ... Emulating Springsteen back when emulating Springsteen wasn't cool is starting to pay off."
3. Tony Bennett - "All Things Must Pass" (George Harrison cover) (listen here)
Staying on this classic rock-oriented, we have Cars & Trucks/Bloodstool/Dames/Seed Math frontman Tony Bennett's gorgeous take on one of the The Quiet Beatle's most memorable solo cuts.
4. Mac Lethal - "D.U.I. #1" (many free downloads here)
Not the same D.U.I. hook he rallied behind during his recent performance at Pizza Luce, but another classic Lethal joint nonetheless.
5. J.U.F. - "The Last Wish of the Bride"
J.U.F. (Jewish-Ukrainishe Freundschaft), a collaboration between between members of Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box, sounds like a mashup of any given Gogol Bordello song and Stella Soleil's "Kiss Kiss." No joke.
6. Sector 7-G - "Some Days (A Song About Me and You)"
This would sound perfect at the recently reopened Orpheum Theatre in Duluth (now a nightclub).
7. Paper Tiger - "Make-Make"
A mesmerizing (almost) instrumental from one of Doomtree's best producers.
8. Building Better Bombs - "Deathships"
Back with Doomtree, here's P.O.S.'s other group, which likes to kick a lot of ass with a post-hardcore assault with an intensity that hasn't been heard since Sweden's Refused shaked our shores.
9. Jay Reatard - "Oh It's Such a Shame" (listen here)
This continues along the same lines, but Reatard couples his maxed-out fuzztones with addictive melodies that make you want to prepare for the upcoming first wave of Reatardmania!
10. The Whigs - "Right Hand on My Heart"
11. Sir Salvatore - "Townies"
From my preview of the "Continental Breakfast" EP, regarding "Townies": "A brilliant mover that doesn't waste any time (the track clocks in at 1:30) -- imagine the Little Black Books if Mark Lindquist traded in Duluth for that other city by the bay."
12. Saves the Day - "Can't Stay the Same" (listen here)
Remember 2001, when it seemed like Saves the Day was poised to take over the world? Well, they didn't, but guess what? They're still around, and, if this track's any indication, as catchy as ever.
13. Sloan - "Even Though" (other free MP3s available here)
A worthy bonus track to 2006's album of the year (according to me), which is only available* at Yep Roc's Web store.
14. Fiver - "Don't Tell Me How to Rock, I'm from Here" (other free MP3s available here)
Remember the first time you experienced Beulah? That's kind of the feeling I got when I got back from the Fetus and listened to Fiver for the first time. Brilliant, brilliant (and underrated) stuff here -- somewhat along the lines of 764-HERO, though a little more poppy.
15. The Sundogs - "Desperation & Borrowed Time" (listen here)
Recommended if you like Phonograph (the band) or all those radio-ready Cities bands that came to prominence in the early '90s.
16. Colour Revolt - "Naked and Red"
R.I.Y.L. the Yeah Yeah Yeahs cut with classic rock and, oh yeah, you'd never wear a fanny pack -- not even for a cheap laugh.
17. The Donnas - "Living After Midnight" (Judas Priest cover)
Sounds exactly like you'd expect, and that's OK.
18. Lightspeed Champion - "Tell Me What's It's Worth" (listen here)
If this feel-good trickery got as much play as that overrated Canuck Feist, I would die a happy music geek.
19. I, Colossus - "It's Not Funny"
My I, Colossus album review in the Budge went a little something like this: "Here, on what can only be likened to the feeling one gets after a massive sugar high, Sandstedt channels Mahaffey’s work in the most flattering way: unequivocally coupling aw-shucks lyrics ('Like a bullet in the gun / You’re dressed to kill someone') with imaginative rhythms and fluid, though somewhat subdued, soft/loud dynamics."
20. Of Montreal - "So Begins Our Alabee"
Kevin Barnes is a golden god ... man!
21. Portrait of a Drowned Man - "Count to 10 in a Snowstorm" (other free MP3s available here)
Again, to plagiarize my work in the Duluth Budgeteer News: This is instrumental "Hum-esque space rock" in the key of awesomeness.
22. Chris Walla - "Like a Spark" (download "Sing Again" here)
If you were smart enough to order your copy of "Field Manual," the Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer's solo record, through Barsuk, you were rewarded with three exclusive non-album downloads -- and this beauty was one of 'em.
23. They Might Be Giants - "Theme from 'Flood'"
Words of wisdom like "Why is the world in love again? / Why are we marching hand in hand? / Why are the ocean levels rising up?" before ...
24. Battles - "Tonto"
a lengthy exercise in exploratory jazz-fusion ... yay!
*This could be true ... though I must admit I'm too lazy to check it out for sure.