16. "Bring It On Home to Me" / Sam Cooke Although "A Change is Gonna Come" and "You Send Me" are both important, influencial songs for very individual reasons, it's the genuine yearning on "Bring It On Home to Me" that really tugs the heart strings. It's the classic don't-know-what-you-got-'til-it's-gone story, but Cooke's croons an undeniably convincing plea on the timeless 1961 hit.
"Untitled (Part 1)" (Kill Rock Stars) Don't let their name fool you. The Punks are not a raucous three-chord trio of Ramones wannabes. This experimental track of feedback and abstract rhythms from their upcoming album Unanimous Bangers is your proof.
"Too Many Rivers to Cross" (Insound) The John Lennon-produced Harry Nilsson record Pussy Cats from 1974 was studio buddy session that featured a collection originals and classics sung by a sick and vocally impaired Nilsson. The Walkmen have recreated the album track by track -- boozy, gravelly sound and all.
"Medicine Blues" (Jagjaguwar) Omaha's Simon Joyner releases his tenth album, Skeleton Blues, on Nov. 12. The CD is supposedly somewhat of an homage to rock legends of the past. Whether emulations interest you or not, "Medicine Blues" is a sharp duplication of Velvet Underground.
17. "You Really Got Me" / The Kinks The loud, simple guitar riff of The Kinks' number one single remains one of the most recognizable five chords in rock history. Still strikingly sexy today, "You Really Got Me" not only became one of the most successful hits of The British Invasion, but it also influenced every hard rock band to follow.
"Sorry for Laughing" (Domino) Domino Records attempts to resurrect the quirky post-punk sound of Scotland's Josef K, in much of the same fashion that the label gave new life to the band's homeland cohorts Orange Juice. This remarkably fresh sounding track from the their forthcoming collection Entomology proves that this band was ahead of its time.
18. "Superstition" / Stevie Wonder Stepping away from the traditional Motown sound for the first time, Stevie Wonder's chart topping funk explosion from Talking Book finally put Little Stevie to rest and ushered in an era R&B innovation that would make him a legend.
19. "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" / Marvin Gaye No other song from Marvin Gaye's classic album What's Going On? embodied urban struggle quite as fully as "Inner City Blues". The song simmers with feelings of frustration and hardship from beginning to end and proved that soul music could produce intense mood way beyond the bedroom slow jam.
Suddenly, it seems like Scarlett Johannson isn't satisfied with her super-stardom only being centered around Hollywood. The young actress not only centerpieced this Dylan video directed by Capote's Bennett Miller, but it was announced today that she may be releasing her own album...of Tom Waits covers. Lesson to all those other music-minded starlets out there: why spend so much time pretending to co-write pop songs when you can seduce aging rock legends into working with you?
"You're the Kind of Girl" (Mixel Pixel) This spacey electronic funk track appears on Mixel Pixel's new album Music for Plants (in stores on Halloween). It's pleasantly reminiscent of the Gorillaz, only less animated.
"Desperate" "Car Crash" "Killing Time" "King of the Mountain" (WalkingBicycles.com) Promising Chicago-based alt band Walking Bicycles recently released their latest EP Disconnected on their own label Highwheel Records. Inspired by upbeat '80s new wave and post-punk, the band melds familiar sounds from past eras. But their mesh is so refreshingly different than today's other retro revivers that the regurgitation is welcome.
20. "Pump It Up" / Elvis Costello The anthemic single from This Year's Model may not exemplify Elvis Costello's complete work as a musician, but the song is certainly his most fun and unforgettable. A pivotal point in the transition from punk rock to post-punk, the song had become a staple in both football stadiums and Williamsburg dance parties.
"Solstice" (Thrill Jockey) Chicago trio Pit Er Pat prides itself on its eclecticism. This song from their new album Pyramids reinterprets jazzy electronic lounge and adds Suzanne Vega-esque vocals, all verging on a sweet, siren-like seduction.
"Go Lucky" (Asthmatic Kitty) The Curtains unveil their first disc as Sufjan Steven's labelmates on Oct. 24, when Calamity hits independent record store racks. Bask in the bliss of this track, which reaches a new level of twee that would even cause Belle and Sebastian to let loose a few agreeable sighs.
"Spring House" (Insound) Califone's slow, steady climb toward recognition in the music world continues as their latest, Roots and Crowns, receives the best reviews of their career. On this track, they sound like a minimalist orchestra, achieving a lush sound with only rudimentary instrument play.
"Unstick" (Kill Rock Stars) Bitch makes her first album sans Animal and if you feared she might create something other than politically-minded alternative folk for strong females, than worry no more. Her new album Make This/Break This offers just what we expected.
"Jacket" (Secretly Canadian) Apparently, Secretly Canadian is so eager to get the word out about their recently signed young artist David Vandervelde that they are rushing out a single next month. And making that single free to download in the meantime. On this snarky little ditty, the Chicago musician models his sound from late '60s British pop.
"Hang You Up to Dry" "Hospital Beds" "Tell Me in the Morning" (Insound / ColdWarKids.com) Released today, Robbers and Cowards, the debut album from California's Cold War Kids, mostly contains tracks that appeared on EPs put out earlier this year, plus a couple of new songs. The pure rock and roll attitude of Cold War Kids constantly veers into unexpected places, making them the kind of indie art rock band that could stay in the scene for a long, long while.
"There You Are in Me" (Toolshed) After troubles at her old label Columbia, everyone's favorite uncategorizable piano songstress is finally releasing the anticipated Pretty Little Head on her own label Hungry Mouse (with distribution by SpinArt). This track from the double-disc is a good sign that the wait just might have been worth it.
"Trophy Wifey" (Insound) Former Bratmobiler Allison Wolfe is back with a new band and ready to bring the world more unladylike political punk. Zombie Terrorist, the band's debut LP, is available Oct. 24.
The old Listening Room was kind of silly. We at The LARRY Page have concluded the kids will like this better.
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