Destroyer, "The Way of Perpetual Roads"
This is from Thief, a pretty early album from Destroyer before they became really big. Well, by indie standards. But even from this relatively early date, the ambitious melodies and elaborate pop were certainly present. The most frequent comparison I see people make with Destroyer is Bowie, and you can certainly hear why on this tune.
Tim Armstrong, "Translator"
Tim Armstrong is of course the man behind Operation Ivy and Rancid, but on his one solo record (A Poet's Life), he lets a different side of his music shine. Backed by the Aggrolites, he put together a very straighforward ska record that embraces his influences and goes for it. It's a fun record, and honestly, I wish he would do more like this.
Johnny Too Bad and the Strikeouts, "Wait 'til Later"
Forgotten third wave band Johnny Too Bad and the Strikeouts put out one album in 1997 and then disappeared, the story of so many bands in the scene. It's not a bad record, though, with plenty of horn lines keeping things fun and without an over-reliance on the punk end of things.
Shnabubula, "All Blues"
This comes from Kind of Bloop, a compilation album billed as "an 8-bit tribute" to Miles Davis. And, sure, it's a stunt, but it's a pretty fun one. This is fundamentally a fun aesthetic for me, given that I grew up playing video games that sounded like this.
Lupe Fiasco, "Just Might Be OK"
From Lupe Fiasco's first album, this is kind of a time capsule of where rap production was in the mid-2000s. That sort of cinematic, busy production was showing up in a lot of places at that time.