1. Wisdom Without Worship - Instrinsik Simplistiks (from Pervasive Dark Energy, 2013)
Black-death-doom-whatever from Cornwall, this is what underground music is all about - no commercial or stylistic agenda, not much in the way of technical skill instrumentally, but enough ability to put their music across with intensity and conviction.
2. Scott Walker - It's Raining Today (from Scott III, 1969)
Peculiar but beautiful mixture of old-fashioned crooning and dissonant, ominous strings. It's equally easy to see why his popularity decreased and why his fans became more fanatical.
3. Black Widow - Madman Song (1971, collected on See's the Light of Day, 2012)
Creepy/groovy song sung by Kay Garret for a solo album that was never released on which she was backed by rock/jazz/blues Satanists Black Widow. Very 60s for the 70s.
4. Todd Rundgren - I Saw The Light (from Something/Anything, 1972)
Eric Carmen reckons that Todd was inspired by the similarly great Raspberries song of the same name. Maybe so, both are sweet & catchy pop-rock classics.
5. Cliff Edwards - I'm Going To Give It To Mary (With Love) (1936?)
Risqué masterpiece from 'Ukulele Ike' Edwards, probably best known nowadays as the voice of Jiminy Cricket.
6. Claes Andersson, Kalevi Seilonen, Erkki Kurenniemi, Otto Donner - Track 13 (from Sähkö-Shokki-Ilta, 1968)
Strange electronic experimentation-meets spoken-word 'happening' from Finland
7. The Youngers - My Love, My Love (single, 1968)
Despite the slightly psychedelic-sounding intro, this plaintive pop song has one of the best beat-group guitar riffs ever.
8. Morrissey - Boxers (single, 1995)
Morrissey had one of his periodic renaissances in the mid-90s and this lovely single wherein he romanticises the somewhat double-edged nature of being punched for a living is one of the better ones he released at the time.
9. Black Sabbath - Danger Zone (from The Seventh Star, 1986)
Much maligned Tony Iommi solo album that had the Sabbath name foisted on it by the record label is actually pretty okay 80s hard rock; Danger Zone has a great riff.
10. The Chocomates - Surfer Girl (from The Chocomates, 2009?)
The Sazanami label (http://www.sazanamilabel.com) has some of the best punky guitar pop bands in existence signed to it, and The Chocomates are one such band. This lovely cover of the Beach Boys classic comes from their debut album.
11. Burzum - Sôlarguđi (from Sol Austan, Mani Vestan, 2013)
Varg's latest synth album has a brighter, less elegiac sound than his older ones and this is just a beautiful piece of music.
12. Jex Thoth - The Places You Walk (from Blood Moon Walk, 2013)
Tuneful, atmospheric doom with Ms Thoth's excellent vocals; good!
13. John Cale - Leaving It Up To You (from Helen of Troy, 1975)
Anguished, ranting and somewhat unhinged-sounding bluesy song from one of his 'pretty good' albums.
14. Joy Zipper - Held The Hand (from I Killed The Monster, 2006)
One of Daniel Johnston's strange, sad songs from his religious period, given a cool, melancholy treatment.
15. Klaus Nomi - Simple Man (from Simple Man, 1982)
A camp and slightly silly New Wave pop song, rather than an operatic dirge, but none the worse for that.
16. The Beach Boys - Meant For You (from Friends, 1968)
Lovely song from (perhaps overly) lovely album.
17. Kollektivet - I Can't Get Erection from the Election (2011)
The last word on politics by the Norwegian comedians, with some Rick James funkiness thrown in.
18. The Blue Project - Sweet Ground (from Adrift, 2013)
Luscious Italian electronic mood music with beautiful singing.
19. Megadeth - Looking Down the Cross (from Killing is My Business... 1985)
Megadeth's debut sounds pleasingly cheap with a lovely scrabbly, rattly guitar tone, even though the band later ruined it by remastering and producing it properly. There probably is a better moment in 80s speed/thrash than the instrumental break after Dave Mustaine sings his 'beckoning you in' bit, but I can't think of one.
20. Happy End - Kaze wo Atsumete (from Kazemachi Roman, 1972)
The lovely, wistful folk rock classic was used appropriately as the end theme to the lovely, wistful Lost in Translation. No idea what they are on about but the title means 'Gather the Wind'.
21. Daniel Johnston - Fish (from Fear Yourself, 2003)
Elsewhere in this blog I've recommended AKA Lurholm's ska version of this song, but the original is great too, rueful and generally sad but somehow upbeat; pretty much a Daniel Johnston trademark.
22. Gene Clark & Doug Dillard - Why Not Your Baby (1968)
Lovely, (not surprisingly) Byrdsian folk rock, even the banjo is nice!
23. Cheap Trick - Taxman Mr Thief (from Cheap Trick, 1977)
Great sluggish dinosaur riff meets the Beatles' Taxman for a tongue-in-cheek hard rock classic.
24. The Mothers of Invention - Plastic People (from Absolutely Free, 1967)
Typically virtuoso-meets-smart arse performance, with chunks of Louie Louie thrown in and a semi-serious point at its heart.
25. Goat Semen - Pachacamakgod (from En Vivo en Lima Hell, 2007)
Raw and potent Peruvian black metal from their superbly ragged 2007 live album; drums, guitars & vocals makes for extremely primitive but intense black metal. For this song the band is mostly the duo of guitar/drums only. Here, Peruvian BM is the hot, fetid antithesis of the freezing Scandinavian style.
26. My Little Airport - Victor, Fly Me To Stafford (from The Okay Thing to do on Sunday Afternoon is to Toddle in the Zoo, 2004
Bittersweet classic from MLA's first album.
27. Wongraven - Over ødemark (from Fjelltronen, 1995)
Richly atmospheric medieval mood music from Satyricon's Satyr, here aided by Emperor's Ihsahn.
28. The Smiths - This Night Has Opened My Eyes (from Hatful of Hollow 1984)
One of The Smiths' most enigmatic songs, and one of Johnny Marr's most affecting melodies.
29. Broken Doll - Nothing But A Good Time (from Reach for the Sky, 2012)
Punky, squeaky Japanese dayglo pop cover of the immortal Poison anthem; probably not everyone's cup of tea.
30. Carpathian Forest - The Pale Mist Hovers Towards the Nightly Shores (from Through Chasm, caves and Titan Woods, 1995)
Carpathian Forest don't get the credit they deserve, perhaps because they have unspectacularly stayed more or less true to their strangely emotive version of 'second wave' Norwegian black metal. Doubters should seek out this EP though, as it anticipates the whole 'depressive black metal' subgenre every bit as much as Burzum's Filosofem and because Nattefrost is one of the great BM frontmen.
31. Membous - 窓 (from Honey Chapatti, 2011)
Beautiful, childish, barely in tune song from an extremely fragile and possibly twee album. Almost as if The Shaggs were Japanese and unhappy.