1. Kudrow, “Brooklyn Pool”
Max Bowen introduced me to this song, which is sort of an anthem for weary, standoffish twentysomethings — no offense, Bowen. It’s from this slapdash pop-punk Brooklyn band that I can’t find any music from besides their 2009 album “Lando” which is only 13 minutes long, total. They go about the whole thing with this awesome, noisy honesty that just makes me wanna flip a table.
2. Wild Flag, “Romance”
Ooh, Wild Flag — if I was a superhero, I’d probably be “Liking-Wild-Flag-More-Than-A-Normal-Person Woman.” Basically, they’re a rockin’ ladyband made up of ex-Sleater-Kinney and friends, with Carrie Brownstein — who is hilarious in “Portlandia” — shredding and yelling and generally being my hero. I almost wrote this “What’s On Your iPod” as just all 10 tracks from their singular, self-titled album, but instead I’m going with recommending “Romance” as a representative track of the whole album. It’s also good table-flipping music.
3. Meat Puppets, “Plateau”
I think more people know the Nirvana cover of “Plateau,” but Meat Puppets did it first and best, says me. Cris Kirkwood’s voice is so perfectly untrained and tired. I love the messy stylings of the Meat Puppets, but I haven’t heard anything they’ve done past 1984. I’m pretty okay with that, because their album “Meat Puppets II” is chock full o’ goodness enough to tide me over for a lifetime.
4. Dr. Dog, “The Pretender”
This one’s off the sweet, sweet album “Easy Beat,” and it was a devil of a time trying to pick which track I wanted to write about — I think “The Pretender” is representative of the laid-back style I prize in Dr. Dog, and also that riff is mad catchy. This is probably the most raw track from the album, but their sweeter, more put-together songs are equally pleasurable to my ears. All of their stuff is fab.
5. Awesome Snakes, “Shut Up!”
I might have to call this my favorite band. These guys, Annie and Danny from the Minneapolis punk rock outfit The Soviettes, have a side project where they write songs about snakes and things that are awesome. This song is about how people who don’t think snakes are awesome should shut up, and I agree. Awesome Snakes is both hilarious and kickass, and I have actually flipped a table to their music — it was awesome.
6. Man Man, “Haute Tropique”
Man Man is creepy, eclectic, and lovely — I didn’t know anything about them until I saw them open for Gogol Bordello back in ‘09, and I was blown away. I mean, on this track alone, it’s got an accordion, a horn section, ghostly backup vocals, and what I think might be a marimba. Not to mention the freaky lyrics. It’s also a good song for belly dancing, if you were wondering.
7. Patti LuPone, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”
Patti is the Supreme Diva. Who can top her amazing vibrato and vivacity, especially notable in this show-stopper from the Cole Porter classic “Anything Goes”? It’s the sauciest sermon I’ve ever heard, and Patti – both evangelizing and dazzling – sings the hell out of it. Pun intended.
8. Smith Westerns, “Only One”
More of that lo-fi garage rock style that the kids (including me) are all about these days. They’re pretty much just straight-up rock-n-roll and they don’t really go deeper than that — but I think that’s why I like it so much. This track is great — it’s not overwritten, it’s just a li’l love song.
9. Born Ruffians, “Knife”
This is a Grizzly Bear cover. While the original is a dreamy chillout track, Born Ruffians takes it, strips it down, and transforms it into an upbeat little indie pop tune. I’m a fan of both versions, but you just can’t bop around to the ambient tones of Grizzly Bear’s original. Dancing wins every time.
10. Holy Diver – Dio
“Between the velvet lies/ There’s a truth as hard as steeeeeeeeeeeeel/ The vision never die-ee-ies/ Life’s a never-ending wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!”