Wilco, "Old Maid"
Fundamentally, I just like hearing Jeff Tweedy sing. I think it kind of comes down to that. This isn't a revolutionary song or anything, but it's a pleasant, the arrangement is nice, and Tweedy is great. That's just the bottom line for me.
Guided By Voices, "Queen Of Cans And Jars"
Like a Wilco song, if half of the players were located in a different room from the mic and the singer was in a different house.
Negativland, "Antinomian Phase"
From It's All In Your Head, yet another high concept Negativland album, this one taking on modern religion. Of course, religion has been a frequent target of Negativland, so at times, this album feels a little by-the-book. Still, as with everything they've done, it's worth at least one listen.
Rocket From The Crypt, "If The Bird Could Fly"
The lead track from the EP Cut Carefully And Play, so called because the packaging had a big ol' sticker on it that was also stuck to the cover, so you had to trim the sticker to play the EP. I know this only from legends, because I was long over vinyl in 1999. The track was collected on a comp along with a longer EP, Hot Charity. It's an excellent comp, full of the usual high-energy rock that RFTC was known for. And saxes!
The Coup, "The Coup"
Our first track from The Coup, communist rap group out of Oakland led by Bootsy Collins. This comes from their first album, Kill My Landlord, the name of which is a neat encapsulation of the Coup's politics. Politics are never far from the surface in Collins' verses, which is refreshing from the nihilism you got from most of their contemporaries at the time. Combine that with a musical approach that focused on heavy funk grooves, and you had a potent combination. At their peak, Steal This Album, there was nobody quite like them.