This is today's random walk through our iPod Best Of playlist, the songs that make us shout "Yes!" and pump a fist when we hear them.
The KLF, "Kylie Said to Jason"
This was what the KLF was about, also known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, furthermore known as the JAMMs.
Rush, "Time Stand Still"
Yes, '80's prog rock.
Joy Division, "Warsaw"
The first and last monster Joy Division riff.
808 State, "Spanish Heart"
The vocals by Bernard Sumner elevate this beyond the band's usual generic techno.
The Beatles, "Get Back"
A fantastic groove pinned down by Billy Preston's keyboards. We love George's understated rhythm guitar. It must have taken great discipline to keep it simple.
The second best track from the last great KMFDM album, the best being "Anarchy."
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Red Right Hand"
We imagine a barren western scene, continuously panning across bleached skulls, saguaros, and distant silhouetted figures.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, "Cold Shot"
Recorded in the early morning after a long, otherwise fruitless session. The desperate energy is evident in this lucid, faultless take.
R.E.M., "Orange Crush"
The second best track from Green, the first being "Turn You Inside Out."
Keller Williams, "Freeker by the Speaker"
Silly, groovy pop with ultratight rhythm and Williams's liquid acoustic guitar work.
The Magnetic Fields, "Long Forgotten Fairytale"
The synthpop gem from the stylistically diverse triple album 69 Love Songs.
Sublime, "Get Ready"
The casual listener may be forgiven for assuming that the singer hailed from Jamaica. What a voice.
Frank Zappa, "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"
A great Zappa blues guitar solo extracted from a live recording and given a typically goofy title.
They Might Be Giants, "Mr. Xcitement"
TMBG with a beat and an idiosyncratic guest rap from Mike Doughty.
The KLF, "3 A.M. Eternal (Original)"
From the unreleased soundtrack to their White Room film.
Edvard Grieg, "In the Hall of the Mountain King"
We hope Michael Binkley achieved his stated goal of dancing the lead in Peer Gynt.
Depeche Mode, "Enjoy the Silence (Single)"
It seems naive now, but in 1989 we high schoolers wondered how a band like this could make such a huge impact without a drummer.
Amoeba Crunch, "Weights and Measures"
This is an unreleased song from 2005, though we are looking into clearing its samples for a possible future release. Or so it seems. Mostly we're having fun exchanging emails with business associates of the late, great Richard Feynman.
The Beatles, "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
Notice how the repeated bass figure wraps around to the next bar, propelling the groove forward. This was just Paul and John. Paul is behind the drum kit, as he was on "Back in the U.S.S.R." when Ringo briefly quit the band. This reminds us of John's dry answer to the question of whether Ringo was the best drummer in the world: "He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles."
Venus Hum, "Soul Sloshing"
Venus Hum deserves to be more popular. They have a lot of talent and are nice folks to boot.
Mindless Drug Hoover, "The Reefer Song (Grass Garden of Child's Mix by the Orb)"
Hilarious lyrics and delivery, and much improved by the Orb's double time dance hall backing track. Give yourself a laugh and check this out. You'll be singing it for weeks.
Nine Inch Nails, "Sin (Long)"
Classic teenage angsty NIN.
The Magnetic Fields, "Epitaph For My Heart"
Another from Stephin Merritt's tour de force, 69 Love Songs. We admire anyone who can work product warranty legalese into a poignant lyric. The only fault is that it's too short.
Erasure, "A Little Respect"
The cover by Wheatus is even better.
New Order, "Ceremony (Trio Version)"
"Ceremony" is our second favorite N.O. song.
Venus Hum, "Hummingbirds"
Deep, deep bass drum. This was great live. Twice.
Massive Attack, "Angel"
Great song, great video, which was all the better for the surprise ending that proved they had a sense of humor after all.
The Doors, "Peace Frog"
The Doors did techno ten years ahead of everyone else.
Belle and Sebastian, "Step Into My Office, Baby"
This has a unique sound. We heard it on Philly's WXPN, ran out and got the Dear Catastrophe Waitress CD, and were not disappointed.
Medeski, Martin, & Wood, "Bubblehouse"
Supergroovable jazz funk track, frequently heard as NPR interstitial music.
Van Halen, "Hot For Teacher"
Anyone who grew up in the '80's can dig this.
Us3, "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"
This popular cut from 1993 is based on Herbie Hancock's fantastic jazz number, "Cantaloupe Island."