"(I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp" by the Soft Boys
I remember when my friend Goose told me to drop everything and buy the Soft Boys' Underwater Moonlight. He called it "Eric Music" as it mixed punk rock with garage rock and jangle-pop (some of my favorite styles of music). I had him burn me a copy as I wanted to be 100% sure. He was totally right. "Anglepoise Lamp" is not on Moonlight, but it has everything on it that makes the Soft Boys the greats they are.
"Champagne from a Paper Cup" by Death Cab for Cutie
This version is from the You Can Play These Songs With Chords compilation. Ben Gibbard sounds more like Doug Martsch than Ben Gibbard here. That said, this is a nice little short song from the band's early days (an era I'm slowly rediscovering).
"Kingpin" by Wilco
Bluesy country from Wilco's transformation album, Being There. Though the band doesn't play a lot of material from this era now, this song has been played quite a bit in the last few years. Wilco has been on a streak of slowing migrating into different styles with each passing album. Their forthcoming album may be an ornate All Things Must Pass-like album, but I'm not sure.
"Frank's Wild Years" by Tom Waits
Its intro reminds me of The Ladies Man sketch on SNL. However, the tale of Frank burning his apartment is everything but funny.
"Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners
I've heard some nice cover versions of this song over the years (including Save Ferris and the City on Film), but the original still ranks the highest with me. I guess it's because of the violin, piano and banjo.
"(I'm) Stranded" by the Saints
This is the song played during the Desert Island Jukebox pick every week on Sound Opinions. I like it, but I have yet to find it as praiseworthy as I've seen it elsewhere.
"Nowhere Again" by Secret Machines
One of my favorite songs from the band's debut album, Now Here is Nowhere. It's a pretty damn catchy tune from this former Dallas-based trio.
"Monkey" by Counting Crows
I've met a few people who don't claim to be Counting Crows fans but they love their second album, Recovering the Satellites. Count me in as one of those people. While I dig some of their songs on other albums, this one is the most consistent. Plus, "Monkey" mentions Ben Folds in the lyrics. I believe this was the first time I ever heard of Mr. Ben and it certainly wasn't the last.