Track One: "Suffering Jukebox" - Silver Jews
Live it's a tie: 650 torchbearers Millbrae Bros bringing Seattle to its knees with the help of a whiskey-soaked devil VS. Earth melting the brains of a hundred-plus yuppies at the Bad Seeds concert.
Track Two: "Strange Overtones" - David Byrne and Brian Eno
After requesting "Baby on Board", Lindy being picked to harmonize and become an honorary member of the Dapper Dans.
Track Three: "Old Fools" - the Magnetic Fields
Seeing WALL*E at Pixar (yeah, that's me). It ain't no Ratatouille but that first half hour is the greatest of the year. Strike that, any year. Fuck the haters (see below). WALL*E is optimistic about the future in spite of the evils of mankind taunting it in the face. After seeing this work of art constructed on robots but conceived and shaped entirely by humans, this jaded little misanthropic atheist saw a glimmer of hope too.
Track Four: "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" - Randy Newman
Speaking of hope, remember this?
Track Five: "Nude With Boots" - Melvins
The greatest band in the history of music soldiers on.
Track Six: "The Rip" - Portishead
Overhearing Nellie McKay say she's never heard of Cat Power from the booth next to me at California Vegan in L.A.
Track Seven: "Borrowed Your Gun" - Spiritualized
Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut is a movie about life and death and love and lust and art and commerce and children and parents and one's purpose or lack thereof on this planet and it made me laugh and cry and gasp and sigh and I couldn't get it out of my head for days. I woke up after dreaming about it with new revelations having come to light and I still don't know if I know what I know because it was all so fast and fleeting and full of wit and vigor and pith and vinegar. It's the most beautiful film about ugliness I have ever seen.
Track Eight: "I'm A Tide" - Broken Strings
Buried treasures: Pennies from Heaven, Zola, A Tree With Roots, The Blue Angel, Bela Bartok, The War of the World by Niall Fergusson, Rio Bravo.
Track Nine: "More News From Nowhere" - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds