- An overlooked 90's era alternative band. Not only do they have a cool Rock meets Fuzzy Happiness style name, their lead singer has a wonderfully non-standard rock voice. Pop Heiress
is the best of a collection of good albums.
- The Lonliest China Place - This is the song that made me love the Chainsaw Kittens. It has a simple, clean melody played with just the right amount of distortion to the guitar, and the lead singer's voice is perfectly suited to the song
- Heartcatchthump - "You look worn out / You've been worn out like a cheap dress on the town" The only unfortunate bit about the song is it's habit, if I'm not paying attention, to make me think my phone's ringing. There's a noise that sounds just like my phone on vibrate. Eerie.
- I've only heard one album from him, and I'm almost afraid to hear another; Gorgeous George
is an amazing alt-pop album hitting just about everything perfectly, having just the right amounts of polish and edge with, intelligent lyrics and solid musicianship
- A Girl Like You - The single from the album, it also appears on the Empire Records soundtrack. "This old town's changed so much / don't feel that I belong / Too many protest singers / Not enough protest songs / And now you've come along"
- This Music Won't Take You Higher - Any list of Important Music needs a song that takes some of the self-importance away from the list, and this, as the title might suggest, is that song. "This music won't take you higher / unless you're a moron"
- A band from Belgium who mostly play fairly standard alternative music. Other than Sarah Bettens' slightly smoky voice and these two stand out songs, there isn't a whole lot else to highly praise in their catalouge, but if these work for you, the rest of their stuff is quite competently done.
- Not an Addict - Their big hit (from their second album, Paradise in Me) and still occassionally heard on q101.
- Virgin State of Mind - From the first Buffy TV series soundtrack album, this is a really good atmospheric song.
- Mazzy Star excels at the slightly fuzzed out slow embers of songs. Hope Sandoval's voice is just amazing.
- Fade Into You - This song needs to play at the end of a movie (romantic comedy, perhaps?) set during a warm October day, and the principles are walking amoung newly orange leaves, holding hands.
- Five String Serenade - I've never in my life had as much respect for the tambourine as a percussive instrument.
- Her self titled album might be a bit of an abomination when seen through the eye of the rest of her catalouge, and I have no opinion on her newest, as I haven't steeled myself enough to pick it up. Her first and third, though, were excellent moving from raw and impassioned to polished and wiser without losing too much fire.
- Divorce Song "And you put in my hand / and then told me not to fire it / when you did the things that you said were up to me / and then accused me of trying to fuck it up"
- Perfect World - I don't know why I love hearing the fingers sliding against the frets, but it makes the song a little more real, more human and more ragged without it turning into melodrama
- Polyester Bride - Before the overly produced and unexciting songs that recently hit the radio (Extraordinary, Why Can't I) this is the song for which she was best known. It's funny and a little bit sad and it has all the emotion that was leached out of her newer stuff.
- Stuck on an Island - "I wasn't dumb but I was so naeve / I saw the signs but I didn't believe / and now it's dark and I'm tired / all my messages got erased / and I don't know where my friends are"
- Uncle Alvarez - This song has a nice little bit of quirk about family.
- I'm not quite sure that I ought to put them on this list. My hesitation has nothing to do with whether they belong, for they do, but their subject matter isn't very all ages friendly. In the end, whatever. They're a good band and these songs are either literate or pointing out certain dangers.
- Commercial for Levi - A plea for someone to clean up their life, where the singer knows what a drug/sex/drug lifestyle offers and also what it does. "I understand the fascination / the dream that comes alive at night / but if you don't change your situation / then you'll die, you'll die, don't die, don't die / Please don't die"
- Special K - This is just a good rock song, with a good tempo, strong hooks and a pretty clear drug motif. Whatever else it does, it rocks.
- They're not the most musically adept band, but their lead singer has a great voice and they craft very solid songs. Almost purely power-pop/punk-pop, they excel at shorter songs that they seem to tear through. I've not been able to gather any sort of taste for their earlier stuff, though; it lacks style and substance.
- Gotta Know Right Now - A gem of a song that, while not quite as simple as Yesterday, captures the need to know what your loved one is thinking with elegant, simple style.
- Let's Hear it for Love - "Let's hear it for letting someone totally ruin your life / Let's hear it for love / Let's hope it's everything you'd hoped it would be"
- Need You Around - I love this song for many reasons, at least one of which is how I came to know of it. Beyond that, the song perfectly captures . . .
- Pretty Pathetic - "She used to call me baby / Softly. Sometimes."
- Pure Imagination - The only cover of I've heard from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and other than some hysterical acoustic version of some of the Oompa Loompa songs, the only one I'd want to hear.
- Rubella - This song clocks in at 2:02 and wastes not a moment of time infecting you with pure musical joy.
- Another artist like Edwyn Collins who put together one absolute gem of a record, and while I do own another one of his, I can't give it a fair listen Girlfriend
is just too strong an effort.
Tegan and Sara
- Does She Talk? - An angry takedown of girls who think all they need to be is hot to be loved. The rythym guitar line is simple, but it's excellently suited to the song and pairs so well with the drum beats.
- Girlfriend - A nice play on the Jefferson Airplane song Somebody to Love. Fans of Guitar Hero II will have heard a version of this song, but the vocalist on the game leaves a lot to be desired. The guitar has a sound somewhere between fuzzed out alt-rock and 1950's Chuck Berry, which is a really neat quality.
- Thought I Knew You - It's not often that a song featuring acoustic guitars sounds anywhere near so bitter. Matthew's found one lemon of a girl and is doing his best to make something sweet out of her.
- Twin sisters front this band. They're from Canada, whatever that might mean. They've also been featured on Grey's Anatomy.
- Living Room - This song would be creepy if you didn't know that Tegan and Sara weigh about 100 pounds each. "I hope I never figure out who broke your heart / but if I do, If I do / I'd spend the night losing sleep"
- Speak Slow - They neither speak nor do anything else slowly in this quick little song.
- Where Does the Good Go? - "Look me in the eye and tell me you don't find me attractive"
- You Wouldn't Like Me - "Well I can't stop talking for fear of listening to unwelcome sound / And you haven't called me in weeks, honestly it's brining me down"
- A quartet that moved from punk roots to a more polished pop sound while embracing the violin at every step of the way.
- Every Time I Try - A pretty straightforward pop song that has always felt very well timed.
- He's Kissing Christian - A solid rocker that takes a break at the halfway point to let the violin take the lead.
- Minneapolis - Another All Time Favorite Song with some great "Girl meets Boy, feels really awkward" lyrics that give an awkward guy a bit of hope.
- Ms. Wrong - "So he said 'want to go to the movies' / So she thinks 'What do I want to do' / So he said 'I think you're pretty' / So she thinks 'I wish I liked you'"
- Punk Rock Girl - Such a sparse song, and not at all what you might expect from a song with a chorus of "Punk-rock girl will rock your world." Also, violin.