November 4, 2008

119: ROCK You Can Believe In

Use of my iPod's "Shuffle Songs" tool continues to heavily influence my song selection: letting pure chance pick out great unknown songs from my favorite bands is paying dividends!
  1. "Dropped" Phantom Planet: A great kick-off song. I find a lot of new songs and new artists these days from the soundtracks of TV shows. For example, NBC's action-comedy Chuck includes a lot of alt-rock music on the soundtrack. But where do I go when I want to hear more from the band whose song was featured in that chase sequence? Most popular shows have fansites which list songs from each episode. I love the Internet!
  2. "Sarayushka" Andy West, Henry Kaiser, & Michael Maksymenko: This is a faithful cover of the ZZ Top song "La Grange", sung in Russian. The LP is called Crazy Backwards Alphabet. In college, I was the host of a radio show Gyroscope on WERS-FM Boston, which featured world music, plus all sorts of avant garde jazz, and whatever else the college DJs felt like. Having no world music background, I specialized in covers of classic rock: The Gipsy Kings covering "Hotel California" in Spanish, Tito Puente covering "Day Tripper", A polka rendition of "People Are Strange", a bluegrass cover of "Brain Damage", and this nugget.
  3. "Wild Rock Music!" is a mashup: Madonna singing "Music" over Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild". Mashed up by smash@mash-ups.co.uk
  4. "27 Jennifers": Mike Doughty is the former lead singer of Soul Coughing. The singles off his solo CDs (this song is from Golden Delicious) are decidedly more "poppy" and less "out there" than Soul Coughing (which I appreciate!)
  5. "Should've Been In Love" from Wilco's debut album A.M.
  6. "Sweet Soul Dream" World Party: All my favorite contemporary bands in high school were heavily Beatles-influenced, including World Party. I found this track thanks to my iPod's "Shuffle Songs" setting.
  7. "Nobody's Child", The Traveling Wilburys donated this maudlin track to Nobody's Child, a CD to benefit Romanian orphans.
  8. "Debra" An exceedingly silly "white soul" classic from Beck.
  9. "Smile On" Deee-Lite
  10. "Proto-Pretty", The Wondermints were a one-hit wonder. I found this song on the Power Pop collection Poptopia.
  11. "My Bird Performs", XTC: I did not like the XTC album Nonsuch at first, but it's grown on me.
  12. "Great DJ", The Ting Tings: I heard this song featured on the podcast of a good friend of mine. Check out Radio Free Jersey.
  13. "Something Beautiful": Back in the late 1990s, I was a big fan of Tracy Bonham's first two albums, The Burdens of Being Upright and Down Here, but I had lost track of her over the last decade. I went on iTunes and bought a few more recent tracks of hers, including this gem.
  14. "The Twist", Frightened Rabbit: This song (also featured on the TV show Chuck) needs a better arrangement, but it's catchy nonetheless.
  15. "Dance Me to the End of Love": All I know about Madeline Peyroux is that she sounds just like Billie Holliday.
  16. "Dark Side of Night": Foxboro Hot Tubs are a "secret" side project of Green Day. They're going for a mid-1960s garage rock sound here.
  17. "Borrowing Time", Aimee Mann
  18. "You Don't Know Me", Ben Folds featuring Regina Spektor: There aren't many artists whose CDs I will buy automatically when they come out. Aimee Mann and Ben Folds are on the list. This Ben Folds song, a duet with Regina Spektor, is insanely catchy. The album, Way To Normal, is hit-or-miss, but the several gems make up for some underbaked dross. I think I mixed too many metaphors there!
  19. "Chelsea Dagger", The Fratellis: Also known as "the song from that Amstel Light commercial."
  20. "The 20th Century Is Over", Ellis Paul: My wife and her parents are huge Ellis Paul fans. I think he's great too, but I am still getting to know his stuff, including this dark, non-folky track from his album Sweet Mistakes.
  21. "Fake Empire" The National: This song was featured on at least one Obama campaign video, including the one played in Chicago soon before Barack stepped onstage on Election Night. My friend Julie heard it and identified it for us. Obama's campaign slogan CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN was the inspiration for this mix's title.