Modest Mouse, "Tundra/Desert"
Before what I consider their breakthrough, The Lonesome Crowded West, Modest Mouse was making jagged, interesting music that sometimes was too much of a mess to really be great. But, I have to say, the older I get, the more I appreciate the early stuff. This is from Interstate 8, released in 1996, which is an "EP" because it's just five new studio tracks. But, there are also six live tracks, so it's also kind of a full album's worth of music. Anyway, if you haven't really listened to their pre-fame catalog, it's worth your time.
The Pogues, "Billy's Bones"
Speaking of a band that I warmed up to after initially being cold on them. When I first encountered the Pogues in college, I was dismissive of it for several reasons. OK, one reason: I was a dolt. I'm still a dolt, mind you, I've just figured out that the Pogues are great.
Elvis Costello, "No Action"
Geez, another one? Yeah, I used to dismiss Costello as music my sister listened to, which might be true, but again: I'm a dope.
The Allstonians, "Mikey Dee"
The third and final Allstonians album, Bottoms Up!, found them six years after their previous album, and on a new label due to the implosion of Moon Ska. By 2003, the third wave had also receded, so their audience had mostly moved on as well. I'd like to say that in these underexamined conditions that they produced their best work, but alas, no. There are some good things on it, including this excellent instrumental, but the lyrics seemed to kind of take a step back on most songs. The first two albums are some of my favorites of the third wave, but this one isn't quite in that league.
Lambchop, "If Not I'll Just Die"
One of the amusing things about Lambchop is that Kurt Wagner feels free to use profanity even in songs like this, which presents as this ornate, genteel chamber song.