1. Matmos - "For the Trees (Return)": This pretty, sort of country-ish song is from The Civil War. In the first episode of Woebot.tv, in which Woebot talked about his favorite albums from 2006, he praised Matmos' fantastic The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of the Beast as their best album (I agree), but then referred to The Civil War as embarrassing. Hey! Anyway, I like the album. It's not nearly as good as the later one, but it has a lot of great music on it, I think.
2. Throwing Muses - "Epiphany": In 2003, Throwing Muses unexpectedly released a new album after having had to break up several years earlier for financial reasons (no one bought their consistently excellent records, no one went to see them play; I went by myself to see them at the 9:30 Club in DC in 1996, just before the end, in support of the great Limbo cd, and the place was only 1/3 filled; they were amazing...). This "reunion" album is self-titled (they claim their first full-length album, from 1986, was actually "untitled"), and it's hard-charging, raw stuff, of which "Epiphany" is a representative example.
3. Cat Power - "Salty Dog": This nice version of the traditional folk song appears on The Covers Record.
4. The Ex - "Fistful of Feed": More excellent rock music from the Dutch anarchists; awesome. Dizzy Spells is the album, and was actually my introduction to this essential band (recorded by Steve Albini; it sounds great).
5. Fridge - "Ark": I was briefly really into Kieran Hebden's solo project, Four Tet, and his band Fridge (AllMusic describes them as a post-rock trio, which sounds about right). I played Fridge's Happiness cd incessantly for months. And yet now it's been several years since I've listened to it at all. This track is the opening song from the earlier Eph. I still like it quite a bit. It always feels to me like it's on the way somewhere, but never quite gets there.
6. Beanie Sigel (feat. Bub B) - "Purple Rain": This was the most-talked about song on Sigel's The B. Coming, one of the most praised rap albums of the last couple of years. I like the album, though I admit that I've had a hard time seeing why this song in particular excites everybody. A little too much of the izzle-speak, frankly.
7. Fleetwood Mac - "Little Lies": Another Fleetwood Mac song for one of these things? Well, at least it's again from a different album. Funny, in 1987, as I've mentioned more than once before, I was still listening almost exclusively to classic rock. So, when news came that Fleetwood Mac had a new album coming out, it was a big deal to me. A little embarrassing. In the event, Tango in the Night is only half good. There are some interesting Lindsey Buckingham songs (like "Big Love" and "Caroline"), weird and really kind of bad Steve Nicks tragedies ("Seven Wonders"?), and the typically boring fare from Christine McVie. "Little Lies" is a McVie song, and it became a pretty big hit. I have some affection for it, but it's rather cheesy. I've gotten rid of the cd.
8. Hendrix - "Stone Free": From Are You Experienced?, obviously. Maybe I just missed it, even with all my classic rock listening, but I don't really notice Hendrix's influence on any other rock. Unless it's so pervasive I just can't hear it.
9. The Black Heart Procession - "A Heart Like Mine": This comes from my favorite Black Heart Procession album, Three, also the first one I ever got. I like them; they remind me of Tom Waits in some respects, of Souled American in others. First encountered them opening for Modest Mouse.
10. The Rapture - "Sister Saviour": Another song from the second DFA label compilation, a dub mix of one of the better songs from The Rapture's Echoes. I like it.
11. Palace Music - "Tonight's Decision (And Hereafter)": Is Will Oldham our most death-haunted songwriter? This song appears on Viva Lost Blues. Some choice lyrics: "the rest suffer death in its own black blur"; "where are the days I used to be friendly?"
12. The Game-"Don't Worry": Pleasant, boring rap from The Documentary. This may be axed from the iPod.
13. Kid606 - "Longer": From Wire magazine Tigerbeat label-comp. I'm not really into Kid606's brand of electronic mash-up, though this track is not too annoying, and at 38 seconds doesn't wear out its welcome.
14. Polmo Polpo - "Like Hearts Swelling": Title track from a simply gorgeous record. I have Polmo Polpo categorized as "electronic", but this 9+ minute track doesn't sound like much electronic music; it sounds more like music from a strange, distorted string quartet, with some other instrumentation I had a hard time picking out of the mix (it does sound as if the performance has been processed with electronics to a certain extent, so like Matmos' music in that respect, I suppose). A peek at the liner notes tells me that this track was, in fact, built around a live, improvised performance of double bass, accordian (the instrument I couldn't identify, I'm sure), electronics (by Sandro Perri, who basically is Polmo Polpo), and viola. Plaintive. Mournful.
15. Richard & Linda Thompson - "Streets of Paradise": I've talked about them before. This is a lovely Richard-sung song from Pour Down Like Silver, an album I looked for and coveted for years before it finally was reissued on cd a couple years back; it's now pretty easy to find.