1. “A Chapter Must Be Closed” by Holy Sons: One of my most favorite songs ever. You have to see the video too. The drums are really expressive. That’s Emil Amos playing everything.
2. “Goodbye Toulouse” by The Stranglers: I love The Stranglers. Even though these lyrics are about Toulouse, I have many of the same feelings about Portland when I’m leaving the city.
3. “I Am a Scientist” by Guided By Voices: I listened to this so much on my way to shooting the show early in the morning. Robert Pollard is an inspiration.
4. “The Devil at Rest” by Mekons: The Mekons are so prolific and amazing. A lifelong art project. And Sally’s voice is so beautiful.
5. “Temporary Secretary” by Paul McCartney: I’m so happy this was reissued. All of his solo material is just the greatest. Ram especially. But this is so obviously someone having a fun time making music. I love the sequencer in this. All instruments by him.
6. “I Walked Alone” by YACHT: I’m a little jealous of Yacht. The music they make. The videos they get to make. As people, they seem to know all the right things. Jona taught me this one thing this summer that I still do today. He didn’t have a case on his iPhone, and I was like, ’Hey! No case?’ And he said, ’No! Don’t use a case!’ It makes you appreciate the design of the device. And also, you become more careful with it. I threw my case away, and really, it’s the best thing.
7. “E=MC2″ by Big Audio Dynamite: How can a song be this great? It’s perfect. Everything about it. I can listen to Mick Jones sing forever.
8. “The Energy Field” by The Eternals: So much rhythm with such sparse percussion. I love the synthesizer sounds on it too.
9. “Even Rain” by Meg Baird: A pretty song and nice for driving.
10. “Living Without You” by Harry Nilsson: Harry Nilsson is new to me in a way, and I can’t get enough of his music. I was familiar with him but never had any of his records. Then I saw this documentary and became obsessed. I love his voice! So much music; I can’t wait to discover more. Isn’t that such a cool thing about music? That there are still records out there from decades ago that you can get excited about? The same thing happened with (please don’t judge me on this) Bob Dylan. I heard ’I Want You’ and was like . . . ’What? This is incredible!’
11. “Heaven” by Eleanor Friedberger: I listened to this whole album, beginning to end, all summer while we were shooting the show. I saw her play live as well, and I love everything she does. Please get this album.
12. “Wait for the Blackout” by The Damned: They just did a tour where they played the entire album. Captain Sensible is one of my heroes. His solo albums are great as well. The Damned are a perfect mix of punk and scary. Dave Vanian has the coolest style. Wait, Captain Sensible does. They both do. Strawberries is an awesome album too.
13. “Then Our Romance” by Azita: Azita is from Chicago, and I really love her music. She sings and plays the piano, and you just have to hear it. So great.
1. “(My Heart Is) Closed for the Season” by Bettye Swann: For the season? For this year! And the next! No, not really. But I like how Swann takes a heartbreaking and beautiful stand in the name of self-preservation.
2. “Can’t Hardly Wait” by The Replacements: One of my favorite bands of all time. This tune perfectly captures the enervating effects of life on the road, the glory and the gore.
3. “Deceiver” by Judas Priest: Early Priest is the best. Before it all got a little silly, these guys were tough. This song chugs and shreds and gives you a small tease of histrionics without going too far.
4. “Ask the Angels” by Patti Smith Group: Wild, wild, wild. Indeed! Patti Smith can wrestle and reshape the sound of words without denying them their power or impact.
5. “Uptown Top Ranking” by Althea & Donna: The epitome of style and freshness.
6. “Hokey Pokey” by Linda Thompson & Richard Thompson: Is this song about sex, drugs, or ice cream? I’m not sure. Those guitar solos between the verses are more suggestive than the lyrics.
7. “Hiding All Away” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Nick Cave’s songs are so intense, they make me feel slayed, haunted, and momentarily useless. In a good way.
8. “The Boss (feat. T-Pain)” by Rick Ross: There’s being a bossypants, and then there’s being a boss. Both are useful, but it’s good to know the difference.
9. “Send Me a Postcard” by Shocking Blue: The singer’s only asking for a small sign of affection, but the plea comes in the form of a grooved-out, riff-heavy plea.
10. “Let’s Wade In the Water” by Marlena Shaw: There are many water, fish, sailing, and swimming metaphors in this song! Just dance along, and it will all make sense.
11. “Charlie Don’t Surf” by The Clash: If you don’t own the album Sandinista! in its entirety, do not delay! In the meantime, step into the undulating rhythms of this song. It’s crammed with pop and political reference, seamless as always.