1. “Ghosts Of Princes In Towers”, The Rich Kids
This one goes back to before we were born, back to the waning days of the first wave of Punk. Glen Matlock, former guitarist for The Sex Pistols, formed The Rich Kids after his old band broke up, and they lasted about a year and a half before breaking up themselves. This is the title track from their one album ever, and it’s a nice, ahead-of-its-time, slice of UK Power Pop you’ll totally love. I can easily see this song being covered by some hip new band sometime soon, so go listen to the original while you’re still “ahead of the curve.”
2. “Mourn [remix]”, Apoptygma Berzerk
I have dj_avatar to thank for this one. We were waxing nostalgic about the late, lamented goth club Man Ray and I mentioned some song I’d half remembered that went something like “why are you still hiding?” that I’d liked, and she countered that it was actually “why are you always hiding?” and that it was this song by Apoptygma Berzerk and, of course, she totally had it on her computer, because she’s that awesome. It sounds like a hundred other idm/goth-pop tunes, but it’s very catchy and invigorating nonetheless.
3. “I Just Make Faces”, World/Inferno Friendship Society
World/Inferno Friendship Society, who to me has always come across as a mix between Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, The Beat Circus, and the Manson family, has always had this thing for Peter Lorre. So, naturally, they’ve gone and written a rock opera about the life of Peter Lorre, which is quite good. This one’s based on a quote of his: “I don’t act, I just make faces.”
4. “Add It Up”, The Dresden Dolls
At the CD release party for their first album, The Dresden Dolls covered “Add It Up” by The Violent Femmes (you know who else played that show? World/Inferno Friendship Society. Oh yes, ’twas a fine evening…) This was back in 2003, and I’ve been looking for a copy of that performance ever since, as it was one of the best covers I’ve ever seen live. And now, you can hear it, too. You’re welcome.
5. “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here,” Buffalo Tom
An adverb is a word
(That’s all it is! And there’s a lot of them)
That modifies a verb,
(Sometimes a verb and sometimes)
It modifies an adjective, or else another adverb
And so you see that it’s positively, very, very necessary.
Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here.
Father, son, and Lolly selling adverbs here.
Got a lot of adverbs, and we make it clear,
So come to Lolly! (Lolly, Lolly, Lolly)
I was vehemently against ’70s nostalgia in the mid-’90s, back when everyone was totally into ’70s nostalgia. So, naturally, I refused to purchase Schoolhouse Rock Rocks! Somehow, though, I did wind up with an MP3 of Buffalo Tom’s sugar-high rendition of “Lolly Lolly Lolly”, and I’ve been listening to it a lot lately. Sometimes, Amelie will sing “Andy, Andy, Andy get your adverbs here,” which is cute of her.
6. “Timebomb”, Beck
Beck sort of snuck up on us and dropped this song as an iTunes only digital download. It’s destined to be a dance floor classic: it’s like a little shot of funky frothy synthy sunshine and it’ll be in your head all afternoon.
7. “The Great Escape”, Boys Like Girls
Is there a more emo-tastic name for a band than Boys Like Girls? The whole point of modern emo-punk seems to be “Boys Liking Girls, Who Won’t Give Them The Time Of Day, So They Go Home And Write Sad Songs About It.” But “emo” is really just… well… emotional music. Music about what it is to feel, I suppose, and some of it can be ridiculously adolescent. This song is no exception, but at least it’s adolescent in a manic mood swing – it’s about getting out and escaping and being free and young and, god bless em, they seem like nice kids.
8. “She’s Gone”, stellastarr*
stellastarr* was/is probably my favorite hipster-indie-retro band from 2004, and oh there were a lot of ’em that year. stellastarr*, though, didn’t just rip off The Cure and The Pixies; they also seemed to have a fundamental understanding of what worked and what didn’t about those two bands. “She’s Gone” is another “single-only” release, and it came out last year when no one was paying attention, but it’s great, and it’s certainly better than anything off of their kinda-disappointing second album.
9. “Already Yours”, Curve
If you can dig this one up, it’s worth it, especially if you like Garbage. Curve was doing the Garbage-thing roughly five years before Shirley Manson and Butch Vig ever met. Doppleganger is the album, and it’s one of those obscure classics people are always going on about, but really, in this case, they’re totally right. Pity it’s mixed so poorly, but no one’s gonna notice that but me.
10. “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?” Lonnie Donegan
My parents used to sing this when I was a kid, and I always thought they were making it up. This sort of big, goofy, music-hall UK pop is called “Skiffle,” and it’s the sound that bands from the UK like The Fratellis and The Kaiser Chiefs occasionally mine when they want to sound “workin’ class.” Really, really fun.