Melt-Banana, “Cat in Red”
I love this band, despite and perhaps because of the piercing, pretty much non-melodic singing of their front woman, Yasuko Onuki, backed by the strangest guitarist out there — yes, I said it, and I dare you to prove me wrong — Ichirou Agata. Inspiring, terrifying stuff. If you’re not convinced by the recording — which is probably the case — do yourself a favor, and catch them live.
Hella, “1-800-Ghost Dance”
I call this stuff nerve-rock. Hella becomes your fidgety nervous system for a little while, if you’ll let them. These guys write weird music. I recommend their Acoustics album mostly, because you can hear everything going on so very clearly, and it kind of works as a “Best Of” album in itself. Their new album, “Tripper,” is also amazing. Don’t shave to this.
Gogol Bordello, “When the Trickster Stars A-Poking (Bordello Kind of Guy)”
The opening track to what I consider the quintessential Gogol album, this is just ridiculous, slurry, mustachioed fun. The accordion solo will make you see double.
Tortoise, “The Suspension Bridge At Iguaz**ú** Falls”
This here is one of my favorite songs of all time. Proves that music can tap into your brain like nothing else.
Ghosts and Vodka, “It’s All About Right Then”
I consider Precious Blood one of the great, lost albums of our time, and this is a great representative track off that record. It’s all so sincere and articulate, and what’s more is that I’ve rarely heard a tighter band than these guys. I’ve been reading books to this album for years.
Shane Perlowin, “Owls”
Love this. Album is The Vacancy in Every Verse. I want to be him.
Tera Melos, “Melody 7”
Favorite band, favorite track, favorite album. Can’t recommend it highly enough. This defines my musical outlook, pretty much.
Colin Stetson, “Judges”
JP Merz got me into this guy, and I think he may have even included a song from this album on his entry into this column. But Stetson is here again. This man is the most sincere, innovative, sweaty musician I can think of. I saw him live and–literally– curled up into a ball and wept. Really actually. Solo bass saxophone plus singing into the thing plus circular breathing plus micing the inside of the instrument plus all sorts of compositional wonder equals his latest album — “New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges.”