Friday, February 20, 2009


"At least one long and winding road to hell is paved with interpretations of rock lyrics." --Alex Ross

1. Doves - "Jetstream" [MP3]
I've been a huge fan of this chimeric, otherworldly British group for years, but, I've gotta admit, this new one hasn't knocked me flat yet. In due time, I'm sure.

2. OutKast - "Bombs Over Baghdad"
Before this song, I never thought hip-hop was that cool. Needless to say, I've learned a lot in the last nine years.

3. The Orb - "Toxygene"
Echoes of "BioShock" reverberate throughout, though this gargantuan track preceded that landmark game (nay -- experience) by a handful of years.

4. Eels - "Love of the Loveless"
In case you caught the pilot episode of Showtime's pretty-good "United States of Tara," this is that really sweet song playing over the credits.

5. Self - "So Low"
Pretty brazen stuff: "I'm so low / That I wish I was dead / With a knife in my chest / And a bullet in my head." Only a golden god like Matt Mahaffey could twist lyrics like that into a No. 1 alt-rock hit.

6. Mike Park - "Keeping This Seat Warm" [MP3]
I have no way of backing this statement up, but: This jangly "emo" anthem would play well on a downtown Fargo walkabout. Fans of the Get Up Kids should look this one up. (It's a free download from Mike Park's Web site, so no excuses!)

7. Rivers Cuomo - "My Brain is Working Overtime"
Another "Alone II" must-hear moment: "Weezer's manager came over to my house to hear what I had," the Weezer frontman explains in his new solo album's liner notes. "When he heard [this song, from 2000], he said, 'That's a hit!' And that exclamation was one of the reasons I felt confident enough to get back on the road and in the studio with Weezer. I felt like I had finally written something worthwhile after two-and-a-half years of near-fruitless labor in a science lab. And, for that reason, I felt gratitude for this song."

8. Plastic Bertrand - "Ca Plane Pour Moi"
In case you're keeping score at home (...), this is that awesome French-language romp utilized so prominently in one of the "European Vacation" montage scenes. Recommended for fans of the Ramones' "Judy is a Punk." <- And, seriously, who doesn't love that song?

9. Ryan Adams - "This is It"
Engaged to Mandy Moore ... really? I guess congrats are in order, eh! [p.s. Does anyone know if this song is in any way a reaction to the Strokes' "Is This It," which was released only months earlier?]

10. In-Flight Safety - "I Could Love You More"
Cool band name, ho-hum melodramatic song structure.

11. Youth Group - "All This Will Pass" [MP3]
Similar to my Doves sentiment above, I'm not insta-digging this one like I did "Skeleton Jar." Not horrible or anything, but *ahem* I fear change.

12. Nirvana - "Dive"
Can't argue against a classic.

13. Oasis - "Ain't Got Nothin'"
Thanks to my co-worker Matt for "accidentally" buying two copies of "Dig Out Your Soul" and being nice enough to hand me one. Brothers Gallagher, I'm still a believer!

14. The Replacements - "Achin' to Be"
How come everybody seems to s--- on the "Don't Tell a Soul" album?





15. Wilco - "Pick Up the Change"
So sayeth Ben Kweller (when he was discussing the mix tape he made for Nylon magazine to promote his new, country-tinged album, "Changing Horses"): "I got 'A.M.' when it was the only Wilco album. After growing up on Garth [Brooks] and the other pop country of the '90s, I was so psyched to discover a band that was making good country music below the radar. When I toured with [Jeff] Tweedy around the time of 'Summerteeth,' he told me that he really didn't like 'A.M.' anymore, didn't like how it sounded. I understand the feeling of moving on from past work, but this is still some of my favorite Wilco and 'Pick Up The Change' might be my favorite tune."

16. Bob Dylan - "To Be Alone with You"
Another one of Kweller's favorite country songs: "This is from one of my favorite Dylan albums, 'Nashville Skyline.' The whole album is great. It's a quick listen, only 27 minutes long, but the material is airtight. I love this cut because it has that R&B backbeat— it shows what happens when country gets funky. Dig Bob Wilson's honky-tonk piano playing alongside a young Charlie Daniels' Telecaster chickin' pickin.'"

17. The Avalanches - "Frontier Psychiatrist"
One of my all-time favorite tracks. If you've never experienced the Avalanches, you ... obviously hate A) Australia and B) the concept of recorded sound. What's worse?

18. Rhymefest - "Dynomite (Going Postal)"
This is party rap.

19. The Bird and the Bee - "Last Day of Our Love"
Lovely, and that's why critics eat this s--- up like marshmallow creme.

20. A.C. Newman - "The Collected Works"
Once again, the visionary New Pornographers ringleader goes it alone and, what do you know, succeeds admirably. (HINT: Download "There are Maybe Ten or Twelve," another track off his new album, for free right here.)

21. Clem Snide - "Me No"
From my somewhat-convoluted review of "Hungry Bird": Reservations about the members of the group agreeing that this qualifies as a Clem Snide record aside, the nine other tracks on “Hungry Bird” are solid enough for me to proclaim: “Another winner for the self-described indie rock ‘semi-legends.’” Baggage be damned, the album opens beautifully with “Me No,” an elegiac number that’s every bit as epic as the darker Pearl Jam moments it seems to draw inspiration from.

Thus concludes your forty-second dose of SHAKE*YOUR*SHORES, the awesome mix tape series formerly known as "Don't Tell a Soul."

p.s. It's Conan's last night in New York -- make sure to watch his send-off tonight!

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