Hüsker Dü, "Somewhere"
One of the greatest bands of the 80s rock underground, Hüsker Dü took a big leap forward with this album, the sprawling double album Zen Arcade. They went from a (great) hardcore band to a band that explored the limits of what hardcore was capable of. Along with their contemporaries and label mates the Minutemen, Hüsker Dü seemed capable of just about anything. By refusing to be constrained in any one style, Hüsker Dü inspired countless future bands to keep exploring and keep moving rock forward. Zen Arcade is one of the key albums in understanding the evolution of the American rock underground.
Zoom, "Ephedrine Breakfast"
Zoom is a band whose debut showed up at WRCT, and I quickly fell in love with the band. And they promptly disappeared from view. I couldn't find a copy of their self-titled debut record anywhere. I did keep finding records from other bands calling themselves Zoom, but they real deal became my white whale. Eventually, Megan actually dug up copies of the debut album for both of us in some obscure record store, and it was as great as I remembered. And then I discovered that they put out a second record, Helium Octipede, which is also a lot of fun and gives us today's song. Another one of those 90s bands that doesn't deserve to be forgotten. And here's to a good obsessive search!
They Might Be Giants, "Toddler Hiway"
There were some real throwaways on their debut album, you know? Of course, that album also had "She's An Angel" and "Don't Let's Start", so all is forgiven.
Goddamn, Calexico are so good. What do I have, nine albums from them, all of them at least good and most of them great? That track record puts them towards the very top of the list for bands in my collection. Anyway, they rule, this song rules, viva Calexico!
Blackalicious, "First In Flight"
Here, we've got a track off the second Blackalicious record, Blazing Arrow. Gift of Gab is just one of the most impressive rappers I can think of when he's really on. This entire album smokes, for the record.