OK people, you know the drill.
1) Maybe Maybe by Pavement- This is the version from the Brighten The Corners deluxe reissue, which I think is some kind of radio station/John Peel session piss take. Somehow it's even sloppier than the original lo-fi version you can hear on the Westing (By Sextant And Musket) compilation. Anyway, this kind of song wasn't made for a full band so it doesn't come off well here.
2) The Smallest Weird Number by Boards Of Canada- This short track reminds me of how fascinating this band is even on a small scale. Though a bit over one minute long, it is perfection in microcosm, packing in all kinds of interesting textures and sounds.
3) Puttin' On The Dog by Tom Waits- Ah, one of those gin joint, roadhouse blues stomps from Tom Waits. Someday there really oughta be a movie made of Charles Bukowski's work that has songs by Waits as a soundtrack. Listening to a song like this, you feel as though you're in the dark corner of a dive bar nursing a scotch and water that you bought with the last four bucks in your wallet, wondering what you're going to do now. Then a woman walks by and makes you feel something after you assumed you couldn't anymore, and hell, you figure you have nothing to lose...
4) Shooting Star by Elliott Smith- Man, if he had actually finished From A Basement On A Hill, it would've been one weird album. It already is a helter-skelter affair in its half-finished, post-humous state, but there truly is a paranoid late 60s pop/rock atmosphere that runs through it, recalling The White Album and the unfinished-until-2004 Smile project. This six minute song proves that Smith could've really made something out of a full touring band kind of sound rather than the lonely singer/songwriter stuff he's known for or the studio perfectionist, borderline orchestral pop of Figure 8 and XO. The guitar stuff around the 3:35 mark is especially good--hell, who knew he could play like that (assuming it isn't a sessionman)??
5) Back Of Your Head by Cat Power- It's too bad (for me) that Chan Marshall is caught up in 60s soul/R&B-isms and being all happy, because her earlier work is impossibly sad and beautiful. As much as I love Nico's The Marble Index, I think that Cat Power's Moon Pix is more enjoyably dower. 'Back Of Your Head' is a lonely willow of a song, its lyrics reminding me of so many bittersweet, and simply bitter, moments in my own life and romances. Also, "you hold the big picture so well/can't you see that we're going to hell?" is a chilling summation of a relationship that always gets to me. Sniff....