20. Tommy Keene – In The Late Bright
19. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
18. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
17. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
16. Antony & The Johnstons – The Crying Light
15. Regina Spektor – Far
14. The xx – xx
13. Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care
12. Muse – The Resistance
11. Robyn Hitchcock – Goodnight Oslo
10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
9. Jay-Z – The Blueprint III
8. Tegan and Sara – Sainthood
7. Steve Earle – Townes
6. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
5. Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
4. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
3. Pet Shop Boys – Yes
2. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
1. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years
Matt’s commenters are skeptical that the band Anvil, from the amazing documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” are anything more than a hoax. Trust me, they really are a 30-year old band. From a concert review by Kathi Whalen in the Washington Post, published December 3, 1988:
Ten years have given Anvil’s playing a sheen few others in the heavy metal underground share, but it still can sound pretty dull.
Some early self-deprecating antics made the band’s 9:30 club show Wednesday look promising at first — lead singer Lips mugged and posed maniacally while the band dredged through numbers like the unprintable one whose opening riff was from the “Beverly Hillbillies” theme and “Concrete Jungle,” which was spiked with a jungle beat.
Still, once Lips decided the gag was over, the set speedily disintegrated into long-winded self-indulgence, topped off with an excruciating solo from drummer Robb Reiner.
Opener Death rooted every number in a hard-core beat and let the guitars flail from there. Although “Open Casket” was the one song with a genuine sense of rhythm, the most striking thing about this speed-metal band was how ridiculously artificial the overreverbed vocals sounded without a sepulchral video to accompany them.
So you see why critics forgot that this band existed.
Several days ago my friend Ray Lehmann called together a mix CD party. Here was my contribution, titled “das Weigelmusik.”
1. “Sheep and Tides” – Michael Nyman
A short instrumental from Nyman’s 1988 soundtrack to Peter Greenaway’s film “Drowning by Numbers.”
2. “The Choice Is Yours” – Black Sheep
Ah, remember when rappers would sample fat-assed jazz bass grooves? This 1991 track is as good or better as anything by A Tribe Called Quest, and wasgiven a little boost of longevity when Fatboy Slim sampled the hook (“You can get with this or you can get with that”) for “Weapon of Choice.”
3. “Real Estate” – Cadence Weapon
The single (whatever that means anymore) from the Canadian rapper’s 2008 album “Afterparty Babies,” his second album of shamelessly nerdy and provincial (literally!) rhymes with just-amelodic-enough clangy samples.
4. “Pity You” – Devo
Snark-pop directed at a loser (“here’s to you, I know you’ve really got a problem”) who would probably be confused by the trampoline synths that infested (in good way) every Mothersbaugh/Casale project of this period.
5. “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” – Guadalcanal Diary
Any GD track’ll do, but this 1985 non-hit is one of their most R.E.M.-y moments, start-stop pop with ENORMOUS DRUMS and fucked-up Rudyard Kipling lyrics.
6. “Big Blue Sun” – Adrian Belew
I can take or leave the “looka-me!” guitar noodling that defines most of the man’s work, but I love love love the Beatles pastiche side of Belew. This is exactly what you’d expect, naive McCartneyish pop about “summer clouds” and “lazy days,” and a signature Belew guitar squeal riding atop the choral hooks.
7. “I Gave My Suitcase Away” – Andy Partridge
The agoraphobic XTC frontman retired with 8 CDs (around nine hours) of unreleased material and demos, from which this lazy (in lyric and in feeling) slice of pop is drawn.
8. “Letter Never Sent” – Trembling Blue Stars
Long-ago music blog hero Glenn MacDonald introduced me to this band, a bunch of twee Brits who write like they’re hiding in the bathroom from the bullies.
9. “Math Wiz” â€“ Luna
Dean Wareham can do no wrong.
10. “Haunted” – The Pogues
Probably one of my favorite songs on the planet, written by Shane McGowan, and later rehabbed by him for a ridiculous duet with Sinead O’Conner, but sung here by the lost Pogue Cait O’Riordan. Arranged here, for the soundtrack of Alex Cox’s “Sid and Nancy,” it is revealed as cracked girl group tribute, a lost Joe Meek production with insane lyrics (“you were so cool, you could have put out Vietnam”) and a singer who barely, barely rises to the occasion, but in doing so makes this version a heartbreaker.
11. “Flower” – Pansy Division
A little offensive fun, a cover of the twisted Liz Phair song by the queens of queercore.
12. “Morgengruss II” – Popol Vuh
Back to instrumentals, and back to the movies. This is the guitar track from “Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes.”
13. “Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled” – Porcupine Tree
Finally, some goddamn prog rock.
14. Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis) – Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
15. It Happens – Primal Scream
16. Counting Out Time â€“ Genesis
17. Sweet Baby James – The Pooh Sticks
18. I Love You (Listen to This) – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
19. Nite Flights – The Walker Brothers
20. I Almost Forgot – Matthew Sweet
21. Don’t Do Anything – Sam Phillips
22. Dream Baby Dream â€“ Suicide
23. Tejbeit – Ethiopian Musicians
Here is my interview with Shunda K of Yo Majesty, the greatest piece of music journalism I’ve ever done. God, I love Yo Majesty.
My friend, not me, because I don’t illegally download music.
“The Freed Pig” (Sebadoh) = Children’s Music
“Typical Girls” (The Slits) = Sweetness
“Don’t You Want Me” (Human League) = Blues