The Flaming Lips, "Be Free, A Way"
On 2013's The Terror, The Flaming Lips were using their psychedelia to explore not shiny wonder but the depths of despair. With Wayne Coyne's romantic life falling apart and Steven Drozd again struggling with substance abuse, the Lips were not in a good place in their personal lives, and it comes through in the stark bleakness of their music. Piercing and melancholy, The Terror is one of their best records, although it's not always a whole lot of fun.
Kid Koala, "Blue Prints"
Another cut from Kid Koala's soundtrack to Floor Kids, the drums in this track are fantastic. Listen to it on headphones!
American Music Club, "Song Of The Rats Leaving the Sinking Ship"
OK, today is apparently super cheerful! American Music Club's reunion record, Love Songs for Patriots, isn't really a triumph. It's solid, with some nice songwriting from Mark Eitzel, but it doesn't really soar to the heights (depths?) of their classic records.
Gas Huffer, "Mr. Sudbuster"
Seattle's Gas Huffer were just straight up garage rock, with Matt Wright's distinctive rockabilly-inflected vocals providing a unique hook for the proceedings. Always fun, always cheerful, and always high energy, I'm also always happy to hear them come on.
Let's Go Bowling, "Mr. Twist"
Probably one of the great injustices I've ever seen in music was that the time that I saw the Skatalites, they were actually opening. For the Toasters and these guys. Not that Let's Go Bowling were terrible or anything, but come on. It would be like the Beatles opening up for, I dunno, the Apples in Stereo.