I'm thoroughly bummed that the Amazon widget doesn't seem to work anymore. In cases like this I tend to assume that Blogger/Google and Amazon are having a hissy fit with each other (did Google steal Amazon's boyfriend?) and Google has decided not to play with Amazon ever again. Took me ages to find another way to slip those links in here. Hope it works!
1. Moments Like This / Maria Muldaur
From A Woman Alone With the Blues (2003)
Nice little bit of jazz from Maria Muldaur, in her best kittenish-sultry voice. I've been a fan of Maria's ever since the Jim Kweskin Jug Band days, though my favorite album of hers is definitely Waitress in a Donut Shop. If all you know of her is "Midnight At The Oasis," please investigate further.
2. The Good Old Days / The Lodger
From Life Is Sweet (2008).
Catchy indie pop number from this Leeds trio -- "Could it be the start of something? / Could it be the end of a phase? / Could it be the start of the future? / Could it be the good old days?" Way too upbeat for the break-up subject matter, but I'll never turn down bouncy hooks like this.
3. One to One / Joe Jackson
From Beat Crazy (1980)
Joe Jackson may have started out wearing a New Wave suitcoat, but it never really fit. By the time of Beat Crazy he was already skewing toward jazz -- we shouldn't have been so surprised by the next year's Jumpin' Jive, though who could have predicted the Latinized glory of Night and Day? The metronomic drum tick of this track is downright hypnotic.
4. I Don't Wanna Talk About Love No More / Amy Rigby
From Little Fugitive (2005)
"I'm tired of emotional discussions / I'm tired of repercussions...." Amy Rigby's such a hoot; she really tells it like it is, our most reliable guide to spunky chick desire.
5. Redneck Friend / Dave Alvin
From West of the West (2006)
Nice cover of a Jackson Browne tune, on Alvin's album-long salute to various of his fellow native California rockers. Alvin's gravelly voice adds a sexy intimacy to this tune, perfectly complemented by a slouchy jazz arrangement. More people should cover Jackson Browne, IMHO.
6. Rush Across the Road / Joe Jackson
From Rain (2008)
Joe again! And 28 years after Beat Crazy, listen to his muse in full flower on this riveting album, one of the best of the past decade. On the track before this, he rips our hearts out with "Solo (So Low)" -- only to let joy burst in again with "Rush Across the Road," a soaring paean to how love can take you completely by surprise.
7. Stick To Me / Graham Parker & the Rumour
From Stick To Me (1977)
Early GP, and great stuff -- dig those edgy rhythms and driving energy. I swear, this song just crackles out of the speakers.
8. Hate to Say I Told You So / The Hives
From Veni Vidi Vicious (2000)
Well, talk about edgy rhythms and driving energy -- it's the Hives' turn, dialing up the punk with those grating guitars and pounding beat, sweetened with just a dollop of playfulness.
9. Say Yes / Elliott Smith
From Either / Or (1997)
I know very little about Elliott Smith, but the handful of folky tracks that somehow landed on my iTunes always make me wistful. Was this song in the movie Garden State? Sounds like it should have been.
10. You Are A Tourist / Death Cab for Cutie
From Codes and Keys (2011)
"When there's a burning in your heart / An endless yearning in your heart..." I love the layered textures of this track, with its incantatory chorus, spooling guitar riff, and plinging echoes. Even endless radio play this summer couldn't spoil this number for me.