1) Sweet Charles – Soul Man
Cover songs are sweet. Discovering songs that have been sampled by Pete Rock and Brand Nubian is sweet . The Captain’s Crate is sweet. Playing bass for James Brown is sweet. Charles is Sweet.
2) The Budos Band – Chicago Falcon
Somewhere in between the El Michels Affair and Antibalas lies the Budos Band. Their 2005 self-titled debut is a favorite of mine…good to hear some new stuff.
3) Ofege – Nobody Fails
Psychadelic afro-funk. The blog With Comb & Razor has been killing it since Afkap decided to start blogging about African music. So much good stuff.
4) Founder 15 – Be My Own
Like the song above, this is off the comp Flashback: A Decade of Hits 1970-1980…a sweet little African soul ditty.
5) Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – I’m Not Gonna Cry
Amy Winehouse has blown the eff up this year (see: covers of Rolling Stone & Spin). I’d like to think it’s partly because of her inclusion on my January and April mixes. However a more likely reason is because she’s been touring the country with the support of a kick-ass backing band: the Dap Kings. Well, it’s time for the Dap Kings original leading lady, Sharon Jones, to get some shine. Oh wait, I forgot about the rule that 50-year-old black ladies aren’t allowed to be pop stars. VH-1’s loss.
6) Sheila Jack – I’ve Got to Have You
Off of Eccentric Soul: Mike Lenaburg.
7) Mystiques – Put Out the Fire
Off of Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation. For some reason, I picture this song being played in the club where Ron Burgandy did his flute solo.
8) The Dynamic Tints – Package of Love Pt. 1
I’ll take “Dirty Song Titles” for $1000, Alex.
9) Wilco – You Are My Face
While I thought Sky Blue Sky was pretty boring, I really like this song. But I think I speak for all of us when I say: Get back on the drugs, Tweedy! (While I’m at it…you, too, Drozd!).
10) The Sea & Cake – Up on Crutches
If Wilco isn’t satisfying your desire for laid-back rock music, may I suggest you try the Sea & Cake? A good one for sitting outside and enjoying a cocktail on a warm early-summer night.
11) Feist – Past in Present
Most of her album sounds like something that should be sold at a Starbucks or something ( oh wait). But I like the handful of more up-beat songs, especially this one.
12) Schooner – Trains and Parades
Chapel Hill bands are pretty good.
13) Arctic Monkeys – Do Me a Favour
I like these guys even though they’re borderline frat-tastic. They aren’t doing anything groundbreaking…just making good, fun rock n roll. This song is a bit atypically subdued, which helped it stand out from the more uptempo stuff on their album.
14) Of Montreal – Du Og Meg
From the EP Icons, Abstract Thee. Most of the EP – just like the album Hissing Fauna – deals with his divorce from his wife. This one, however, is about how they met, and contrasts (in a refreshing way) with the depressing lyrics of the rest of their recent stuff.
15) The Rapture – Crimson Red
The good people at Adult Swim have given away lots of good free music recently. However, most of Warm & Scratchy was disappointing to me. It sounded like bands were just tossing Adult Swim their throwaway tracks. But this Rapture song is as good anything on Pieces of the People We Love.
16) Baron Zen – Burn Rubber (Dam Funk Remix)
Have you ever wanted theme music to come on whenever you walk into a room? I would be ten times cooler if this was my song (and yes, I realize that infinity coolness times ten is still infinity coolness).
17) Chromeo – My Girl is Calling Me (A Liar)
Chromeo make some sweet early 80’s electro-funk. Like if Zapp & Roger had babies with Hall & Oates. Yeah, it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek…especially this song. But you gotta love the ending phone conversation between Dave-1 and Pee Thug. The whole album is pretty nails.
18) Bonde Do Role – Solta O Frango
Release the chickens! I don’t know what these crazy Brazilians are singing about, but I like it.
19) Bonde Do Role – Gasolina
Here, I know what they’re talking about. Gasoline. And beating you like a gorilla. And Afrika Bamabaataa. And Paraguay. And other stuff that sounds cool. Damn, I wish I was Brazilian.
20) UGK (feat. T.I.) – Hit the Block
If you told me nine years ago that I’d one day grow to enjoy the work of Swizz Beats, I’d of thought you were crazy. But his beats are sick these days. The UGK album could be a monster (see also “Players Anthem” from February).
21) Lil’ Wayne – Swizzy (Remix)
As good as Swizz Beats is behind the boards, he’s awful on the mic. Thank God Weezy F. decided to show us how it’s done over the “It’s Me B**ches” beat (“I’m dirty, I get my Bill Laimbeer on”). This comes from Weezy’s Da Drought 3 mixtape, which is highly recommended. But if anyone can find a copy where the volume isn’t so low, please hook me up!
22) Phat Kat – Nasty Ain’t It?
You knew Dilla had to make an appearance somewhere on here. Phat Kat’s got a couple of Dilla beats on his very solid album, including this one. He mostly keeps it to braggadocio, but he’s got some punchlines, and an ear for choosing quality beats.
23) Brother Ali – Pedigree
Brother Ali’s The Undisputed Truth is definitely the best album by an albino this year. I wanted to put one of his songs on this thing…I think this is the best one, but all of the songs are at least pretty good.
24) Outkast – B.O.B. (Stimulated Remix)
Found this one on the Okayplayer message boards. Wow. You might want to put this one on repeat.