Aden, "New Fast"
During the early 90s, parallel to grunge, there was a growing movement of indie pop bands that didn't make a lot of headway, but were a recognizable subculture. As the 90s went on, a billion of these pillowy soft indie bands popped up. The pressure from all these bands ensured that, eventually, one or more of them would break through (it was Death Cab for Cutie, mostly).
Anyway, Aden was one of them. This is relentlessly pleasant.
Marv Johnson, "I'm Not A Plaything"
Geez, feels like it's been ages since we've visited Motown. (checks) Oh, it has. Anyway, we're in 1965, with one of the early Motown stars here, sounding like a million bucks.
They Might Be Giants, "Tiny Doctors"
This is one of the bonus tracks from their year of doing Dial-a-Song, with a new song a week. So, yeah, let's just say that the leftovers from doing 52 songs in a year (when they also recorded a normal album) aren't all going to be winners. Or, you know, not have dogs barking them.
Lightning Bolt, "on fire"
HELL YEAH LIGHTNING BOLT
There are a bunch of bands that sort of compete to see how big of a ruckus two people can make, and let's face it, Lightning Bolt is the winner. I read a positive mention of Wonderful Rainbow somewhere back in the day, dutifully wrote it down on my list (using my Blackberry!), and picked up the record next time I was at Sonic Boom records in Freemont (RIP). I brought it up to the counter, the clerk gave me an approving nod, and I brought it home to try it out. And if you've ever wondered why I look so funny to this day, it's because my face melted clean off.
What I love about this shit, besides the fact that the snare sounds like it was recorded from three rooms away, behind a couple closed doors, is that while it sounds like it's spinning out of control, it never actually does. That melding of precision and chaos is really rare, and just makes me really happy. They're still going, and may they make a ridiculous racket forever.
Firewater, "Paint It Black"
Firewater released Songs We Should Have Written, a covers album featuring a bunch of old warhorses alongside some artists that Firewater really did need to do (Tom Waits, for instance). It's hard to make a song as old and crusty as this sound fresh, and they don't, not really. But doing it in the Firewater style works just fine for me, and while the album is inessential, it's still a fun listen.