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? E-mail mperrine [at] duluthbudgeteer [dot] com.)
1. Mac Lethal - "The Way We Bash" (other MP3s available here)
The best use of a Clash sample ever?
2. Star Casino - "Stroll Around the World"
If you've ever sucked at the teet of "Lumines II" for hours*, this flavor will taste familiar. (Eww....) Err ... moving on -> this is easily one of the greatest unreleased tracks of all time: Think AFI's Davey Havok if he really, really, really liked his backing band to sound like Gravity Kills.
3. Eels - "Susan's Apartment" (free MP3 of "Skywriting" here)
"E" is a great storyteller and -- bonus! (score!) -- the other guys in the band know how to knock out memorable tunes with the best of 'em.
4. The Alrights - "Happy Birthday Universe" (listen here)
For whatever reason, I always thought this group was aptly named. Not true anymore: The Alrights are quickly shaping up to be one of Duluth's most potent outfits. (p.s. Look for a review of the Alrights' new EP, "Meeting of the St. Louis County League of Volunteer Astronauts: Excerpts from the Keynote Address," in next weekend's Budgeteer!)
5. Dog Pookah - "Wipe My Sacred Sing" (some great MP3s here)
Before the Cheer Up Poems, there was Dog Pookah and, not to lift too many great ideas from Cloud Cult or anything, but this wonderfully spastic track could've easily been called "Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes."
6. Crooked Fingers - "Call to Love"
Can't find that last track to finish up that Valentine's Day mix tape for your honey? Consider this classic.
7. James Moors - "Stretch" (listen here)
I really, really like this track -- at least that's what my review of Moors' new album, "Hush," said!
8. Rhymefest - "Devil's Pie" (lots o' free MP3s here)
Sweet, sweet Strokes sample; I miss those crazy New Yorkers.
9. I Self Devine - "Ice Cold"
I appreciate the fact that I Self Devine has never lied to me (or anyone else, for that matter).
10. Dance Band - "Mississippi"
Oh. My. God. Did you catch these guys at Diorama-rama 3 last month? One of the best performances mine eyes have ever witnessed!
11. Linus - "Detroit '83"
I love what happens to my favorite bands: This group's guitarist found fortune and fame elsewhere (in Best Friends Forever) and its frontman? He moved to California to get stoned on the beach -- or at least that's the last I heard (from aforementioned guitarist...).
12. Sloan - "Delivering Maybes" (other MP3s here)
This brings me right back to Disc-Go-Round, Burning Tree Plaza, circa 2002. That's when I first discovered Sloan. What a lovely, lovely year.
13. Beck - "Strange Invitation" ("Odelay" deluxe edition vers.)
This isn't really bothering me: Isn't there an (even more) stripped-down version of this song floating around somewhere?
14. Matt Mahaffey (of Self) - "17 Days" (Prince cover)
Speaking of Hawai'i (see bottom of post) ... here's Matt's notes on this track on MySpace: "Recorded on a rainy day in the rainforest of Hana with Hawaiian instruments.
Features my wife on background vocals and drums."
15. Cat Power - "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" (free download of "The Greatest")
All in all, the "I'm Not There" soundtrack was pretty decent, but you've got to hand it to Chan Marshall for this expectations-defying cover of what is arguable the Duluth native's most powerful composition.
To show my gratitude, I'm letting Cat Power take over my blog:
16. Musab (f/k/a Beyond) - "Bang" (listen here)
Rhyming over cheesy '80s rock anthems? That's ballsy, but Musab easily pulls it off. A triumph for hip-hop.
17. Dr. Octagon - "Aliens"
There are no words ... and you thought Aesop Rock was "out there"!
18. The Trucks - "Zombie"
Thanks, Superstar DJ Walt Dizzo, for introducing me to another great rock 'n' roll band. These ladies are tough all over (when they want to be ... this track is just plain groovy).
19. Northern Room - "Waiting" (free download of "We're on Fire")
Nice guys, even though they canceled their Duluth debut. Here's to rescheduling!
20. Glen Hansard with Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly" (listen here)
I heard so much about the "Once" soundtrack. I didn't expect much, but, being a huge Frames fan for the better part of a decade, I thought I owed it to ol' Glenny boy. Verdict? There's not much to it, but this one is definitely a keeper. (Still, the reworked Frames version -- on "The Cost" -- is more alluring most days....)
*Like I did on my honeymoon in Hawai'i. Oh god, this sounds really embarrassing, but I don't care: One evening at the Grand Wailea on our room's balcony, I played that addictive beast through a sunset and *cheeks redden* a couple hours into the night (as my bride napped). Now, whenever I hear anything from the game's soundtrack, it brings me right back to that moment. Who says video games aren't good for anything? They can be damn near transcendent sometimes.