Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8. Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach for My Revolver (1981)

One of the better of the early 80s post-punk/indie bands, Boston's Mission of Burma only released a few albums before breaking up in the mid-80s, only to reform again 20 years later. This song, off of their best album Signals, Calls and Marches, is one of the greatest post-punk anthems ever written. According to all sources, they were one of the most intense live bands of their era, and you can feel that intensity in this recording. You can also hear the large influence they had on a band like Fugazi, especially in the chorus.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

7. Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is the Move (2009)

I was never really a fan of Dirty Projectors until this year's album, Bitte Orca. The music was generally a little all over the place (which I don't typically have a problem with, I just didn't get it in their case), and seemed to be trying too hard. This song, however, is easily the most straight-forward thing they've ever done. Taking some African-sounding guitar lines, some nice orchestration and vocals that almost sound Mariah Carey-ish, this is also the BEST song on an altogether excellent album from this band. I sincerely regret not seeing them at Bonnaroo this year, but if I ever get the chance again you can bet I won't miss them again. Definitely expect this to be on my top songs of the year (and decade) list.

Monday, September 28, 2009

6. The Beatles - Within You Without You (1967)

I listened to the remastered reissue of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time today, and it was amazing. This has been possibly my favorite record of all time for a good majority of my life, and hearing this new version was almost as if hearing it for the first time. This song in particular, which I had always thought of as one of the lesser masterpieces on the album, sounds amazing. The orchestration is much more crisp, and George's sitar playing is much more interesting than I had originally given him credit for. After hearing this I can't wait to hear the other new reissues, as I'm sure I'll find some new favorite parts to some of my old favorite songs.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

5. Mclusky - Alan is a Cowboy Killer (2002)

Sounding like a way more aggressive version of the Pixies, Mclusky was a Welsh band that formed in 1996. This song fits the Pixies mold to a tee, starting off quiet, then exploding for a short time, only to return back to a relative peace. This band, which disbanded in 2005, has three albums....all of which are highly worth checking out. This song is from their 2002 release Mclusky Do Dallas, which is one of my favorite records of the decade.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

4. My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday (2003)

Jim James has one of my favorite voices in music, as long as he's not trying too hard to sound like Prince. On this song, the chorus sounds as if he's singing down to you from the heavens, the constant reverb on his vocals is just perfect on this track. It's one of the biggest sounding songs I've ever heard, and has the guitar solo to back it up. Seeing this song performed live has been a highlight of my music watching life. Check out the new Monsters of Folk album too.....James just dominates the others on the record.

Unfortunately this is a live version, as the regular album version has been removed. When/if the regular version appears again, I will replace it on this post.

Friday, September 25, 2009

3. Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (1993)

One of the last songs ever recorded by Nirvana, this closing song from the 'MTV Unplugged' album is also my favorite by the band. Originally penned in the mid-1800s, this song was popularized (and attributed to by Kurt Cobain) by the legendary folk performer known as Lead Belly. After the emotional event that was the entire preceding of the Unplugged session, this song was the most emotional part of it all. At the end when Cobain starts to scream the lyrics and says 'Shiver....the whole...night through', he takes a very audible deep breath, sounding almost as if you can feel the whole weight of his emotional troubles escaping him for just a second, before taking them all back in to finish the rest of the song. Amazing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2. Bat for Lashes - Daniel (2009)

Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes) is a witch. Well, not really (I don't think,) but she can sure sound like one. Sometimes sounding like a
modern day Kate Bush and at other times similar to Bjork, Khan
writes extremely atmospheric odes to love and darkness with the music to fit. This song is the best of many highlights on her newest album Two Suns, released this year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1. Basement Jaxx - Raindrops (2009)

While never having fully loved a Basement Jaxx album from beginning to end, they've each contained a few tracks that I still listen to on repeat to this day. While it remains to be seen whether the recently released album Scars, containing this track will do what the others have failed to do, 'Raindrops' has joined the ranks of the likes of 'Where's Your Head At?' and 'Romeo' as songs I just can't get enough of.

Note: The album Scars was released on September 21st in the UK, and will be released on October 6th in the US