The Staple Singers, "I'll Take You There"
This is such a majestic tune, absolutely irresistable.
De La Soul, "Thru Ya City"
I mostly think of the two AOI albums (this is from Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump) as kind of lost albums for De La, but that's not really a fair characterization. They're uneven to be sure, soft spots in their catalog, but even a soft spot for them is going to have plenty of pleasures. This is a fun track, with the rubbery bass synth and bouncy rhyming from the boys.
The Coup, "Ghetto Manifesto"
The Coup has always had these kinds of stretched out tracks, where Boots Riley gets to philosophize over a funk groove that they just let keep cooking. Sometimes that approach results in their best tunes ("Me And Jesus The Pimp In A '79 Granada Last Night", "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish"), but sometimes they would be better tightened up a bit. I think this is a good example of that, even though he's got some great lines. Just a bit too much cooking, I guess.
Silkworm, "A Cockfight of Feelings"
This song is pretty straightforward for Silkworm, just a straight-ahead rocker. But of course, in their hands, it's still very much a pleasure.
There are some bands that I repeatedly admonish people to listen to. U.S. Maple, for instance, from the other day. Sicko. Plenty of others. Well, Silkworm is very much in that list. You should listen! I should listen more often!
Public Enemy, "Prophets of Rage"
I could swear I had told this story before, but I can't find it in the archives. This song is one of the most important songs in my entire musical journey, but in a very funny way. There are a handful of songs that have cracked open my musical tastes and broadened things for me. Some of the most indelible ones have been rap songs: "Peter Piper" first made me aware of rap, "Say No Go" reminded me of how much I loved it, and then we have this song, which resulted in just about the whitest way to ever get introduced to Public Enemy.
Specifically: I was on the bus heading to a debate trip in Spokane, WA, when a kid named Blake put this on a boom box. I hope nobody can beat that. Anyway, I was entranced. It was the same feeling on encountering those other two songs: I knew I had to hear it again. And again and again and again. God, those horn blasts. I asked who they were, picked up the record, and listened to it over and over. Beyond helping cement a lifelong love of rap, this is also an album that helped me realize that I also liked noise in my music.