Don Drummond, "Jet Stream"
I was actually listening to this album (the excellent Don Cosmic, a compilation of a bunch of his Studio One tracks) in the car today, and was marveling at the warmth of the record. There's an alchemy in the way this stuff is recorded, the ambient studio noise enhancing the intimate feel of it. It sounds like Drummond and his band are just playing for you, right in your room. Or head. Whatever. I kind of poke fun at vinyl guys, because how could you not, but there is a legitimate thing to having some of the organic noise of the recording come through as you listen.
Modest Mouse, "Parting of the Sensory"
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, the follow-up to their massive hit album, was never going to meet expectations. Especially after they added Johnny Marr of all people. It was hard not to get hyped up! And I'm here to tell you...it didn't meet expectations. It was fine? But also kind of unmemorable. That's probably my fault, though. I'm a bad music listener!
Andrew Bird, "First Song"
Andrew Bird put out a series of Fingerlings records, which served as kind of dry runs for a bunch of his songs as well as collections of other odds and ends. You got stripped down, trial runs of a bunch of things, often more or less functioning as beta versions of tunes. Many of the songs on the records would appear in altered form on later albums, or you'd get little bits and pieces of the melodies popping up elsewhere. But even in their raw form, it was a delight hearing a singular talent work through his process. It doesn't hurt that the three Fingerlings records came from my favorite period of his, with all three coming out in the period between The Swimming Hour and Armchair Apocrypha. This is the first song on Fingerlings 2, and is a live version of a song from Weather Systems.
Samiam, "Blank Expression"
Samiam's first record did establish pretty firmly the melodic punk territory the band would explore in their career. While their songwriting would get more sophisticated and interesting as the years and albums went on, they were still always largely elaborating on what they started with.
Cherry Poppin' Daddies, "Say It To My Face"
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies are largely known for and associated with the very brief swing revival in the 90s, a revival that their label cashed in on by putting together a record comprised of their swing songs from their records, pulled together with a few new tunes. But they actually did songs in other styles that included horns, including songs like this, which sounds more like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones than swing.