Will we get a repeat artist again? I'd figure out the odds, but seriously, nobody has time for that. Will we get five songs? PROBABLY!
Mr. Lif, "The Unorthodox"
Boston MC Mr. Lif was one of the highlights of the early 2000s rap underground, along with others like Edan, who collaborated on this release, Emergency Rations. Concentrating on political and social commentary at a time when that was pretty rare, Mr. Lif was a breath of fresh air. After a long hiatus, he returned last year with another strong album and EP, which was a welcome development. I'd start with I Phantom for a first record, but he's been strong all throughout.
As Gob continued in their career, the music acquired more of an edge, and lost some of the pop of their first record. I think that's a shame, and that debut remains my favorite of theirs. I mean, this song has a solo in it! A solo!
Electronic artists Plaid, here found working in a mostly ambient vein although that's not true of everything they've done, are a band with a much longer discography than I've really explored. I dove deeply into this sort of music for only a couple of years, and then kind of stopped. Not because I didn't like it or anything, I think I was just having trouble discovering new stuff.
Black Eyes, "Someone Has His Fingers Broken"
The number of bands named "Black [whatever]" can be really confusing. Anyway, this one is a post-hardcore Dischord band playing driving, noisy rock driven by two entire rhythm sections. I kind of wish they were just an instrumental band, to be honest, to better enjoy the jittery rhythms.
The Clash, "Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad"
The only band that mattered! The Clash's first record and London Calling are both rightly celebrated as monumental records, and people talk about Sandinista! in terms of its ambition (and how big a mess it is). And, of course, Combat Rock had some huge radio hits. But nobody ever really talks about Give 'Em Enough Rope. It's unfair, because even though it's not as good as the albums sandwiching it, it's still a great album.