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Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 06/ 2/2008

June Mixtape

By David Malitz

It's a very busy month so instead of a 20-song playlist, I've expanded this one to 25. Brace yourself. The summer concert season means plenty of big names are coming to town, but, as usual, the focus will be on stuff in the clubs, whether it's the lo-fi greatness of Times New Viking, throwback hip-hop of the Cool Kids, political alt-country of James McMurtry or Afro-Cuban fusion of Orchestra Baobab. Five here, 20 more after the jump.

"Triple Double" - Shot x Shot (June 3, Velvet Lounge)
Avant-jazz from Philadelphia with plenty of tempo changes and cinematic mystery.

"Elvis" - These New Puritans (June 5, DC9)
Young Brits offer a sinister and percussive take on post-punk, with plenty of angular guitars and distorted, shouted lyrics.

"How the Fast Time" - Waco Brothers (June 5, Rock and Roll Hotel)
Jon Langford of Mekons (and plenty others) fame uses this group as his outlet for insurgent country tunes, but this song finds him at his straightforward pop best.

"Cheney's Toy" - James McMurtry (June 6, Birchmere)
Songs don't come much more political than this scathing attack on the current veep, from the Texas singer-songwriter who has made one of the year's best albums with "Just Us Kids."

"Drunkest Hour" -Mikal Evans (June 6, Black Cat)
The first female act on Gypsy Eyes Records doesn't have much of the twang largely associated with the label. Instead, her sound is reminiscent of the jagged guitar rock that Jenny Toomey made with Tsunami.

"No. 1 Song" - Julie Ocean (June 6, DC9)
A local indie-pop supergroup comprised of former members of Velocity Girl, Tree Fort Angst, Swiz and others have crafted an album full of instantly memorable garage-pop gems.

"Bad Reputation" - Joan Jett (June 7, Celebrate Fairfax)
You sure don't need me to tell you how great this song is. The fact that it was used in the opening credits for the greatest TV show of all time, "Freaks and Geeks," only makes it that much more awesome.

"What Up Man" - The Cool Kids (June 8, Black Cat)
The massively hyped hip-hop duo has a decidedly old-school feel, employing simple beats, fun lyrics and limited effects.

"Herc-Jolly-John" - The Wild Magnolias (June 8, Wolf Trap)
A funk band from New Orleans ... how can this not be party music? The nearly 40-year veterans headline of the year's most reliably fun concerts, Wolf Trap's Louisana Swamp Romp.

"Darling Nikki" (MySpace stream) - Love Is All (June 11, Black Cat)
This energetic Swedish indie-pop group takes a surprisingly successful stab at Prince's delightfully dirty track from "Purple Rain."

"Saints" - The Breeders (June 11, 9:30 Club)
"Cannonball" was by far the biggest hit, but this single from 1993's absolutely perfect "Last Splash" gets my pick for the band's best single.

"Gardening at Night" - R.E.M. (June 11, Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Not that The Greatest American Rock Band hasn't had dozens of other perfect songs over its nearly 30 years together, but my favorite is this track from the debut, featuring Michael Stipe at his mumbly best.

"Blue Skies" - Jaymay (June 12, Iota)
Jaymay is 26-year-old Long Islander Jamie Seerman, who has a knack for simple-yet-moving folk-pop songs about love and love gone wrong.

"Mic Check" (YouTube video) - Aceyalone (June 14, Five)
This highlight from Aceyalone's 1995 debut album established him as one of the best -- if also underappreciated -- MCs around.

"Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid To Know About" - Tullycraft (June 15, The Red & the Black)
The twee pop anthem that likely inspired more mixtapes and college radio show titles than any other song of the '90s.

"Pocket" - Major Stars (June 15, Velvet Lounge)
Boston psych rock band brings the heavy like few others can even dream of.

"You Name It" - The Cannanes (June 16, Galaxy Hut)
This Australian group has remained a consistent force in the DIY, indie-pop community for more than two decades.

"Negative Thinking" - The Death Set (June 18, Black Cat)
The Baltimore duo is always a blast in a live setting, and their sample-heavy brand of party punk translates well to record on this song, which at just over two minutes is epic in length by their standards.

"Right and Wrong" - The Muslims (June 18, DC9)
Did that third Strokes album not quite do it for you? Then get yourself acquainted with this San Diego group that plays the same sort of brash, instantly familiar garage rock. Highly recommended.

"Nijaay " - Orchestra Baobab (June 19, Birchmere)
The Senegalese legends of the 1970s reformed in 2001 and are still unparalleled in their fusion of African, Cuban and Caribbean sounds.

"On Winter Blues" - Frog Holler (June 21, Iota)
The often-rollicking roots rockers tone it down a bit on this gentle country number.

"My Head/R.I.P. Allegory" - Times New Viking (June 25, Rock and Roll Hotel)
Awesome lo-fi indie rock: equal emphasis on the lo-fi and rock, extra emphasis on awesome. One of the rare bands that sounds less muddled live than on record.

"Shine" - Ulrich Schnauss (June 27, Velvet Lounge)
A modern take on shoegaze, with ethereal soundscapes created by using layers of keyboards.

"That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" - Mission of Burma (June 28, Black Cat)
I usually argue that indie rock started with Mission of Burma. (Those are some seriously pointless arguments, let me tell you.) The equally angular and anthemic '80s group is performing its classic album "Vs." in its entirety at this show, so here's that album's best song.

"Black Cat" - Ladytron (June 28, Merriweather Post Pavilion)
This band long outlived the forgettable electroclash trend it helped spearhead because it has always showcased memorable songs and not just stylish looks.

By David Malitz  | June 2, 2008; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Music  
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no frightened rabbits? i'm excited to see them.

Posted by: catherine | June 2, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

No Pearl Jam (June 22) songs ?? Shame on you.

Posted by: ashburn | June 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Frightened Rabbits just missed the cut. As for Pearl Jam, well here's a good video I just found on YouTube, an SNL rehearsal of "Not For You," before "Vitalogy" came out. I remember that being one of the rare shows when the musical guest played three songs instead of the standard two. It's when Eddie Vedder was just starting to play guitar, he takes his couple of chords very seriously.

Posted by: David | June 2, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

no Bell X1, White Rabbits or Pearl Jam. For shame.

Posted by: boo | June 2, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

We get it - you are trying to include as many obscure/artsy/indy acts as possible to boost your "cred". Well done, you win the prize for knowing all of the "it" bands to see. Next time try including a few bands that the rest of us have actually heard of (Joan Jett and REM notwithstanding, obviously). How about a shout out to Pearl Jam and Tom Petty (too mainstream for you, I guess), 2 great acts that kept their integrity intact over many years and still put on killer shows!

RE: David - Great PJ video link!

Posted by: blah | June 3, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

My cred don't need no boostin', blah. And that was me who posted that PJ video, by the way. And of course I love Tom Petty, only communists don't like Petty and I bet even they get down to "Don't Do Me Like That." But, as I've said before, I like to try to offer up some new things instead of just the popular stuff everyone's already heard of. You like Pearl Jam and Tom Petty? Try checking out James McMurtry, Waco Brothers and the Muslims. You'd probably dig them.

Also, the more popular bands aren't as good about offering good MP3s.

Posted by: David | June 3, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

David -
I didn't read the opening paragraph closely enough, so my criticism of the lack of bigger artists was a unwarranted given the parameters as you described them. I will give those bands a listen, thanks for the tips.

Posted by: blah | June 3, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

anybody hear anything about an Eagles of Death Metal tour? I'm waitin' on that with the new album coming out!

Posted by: Samantha Sunshine | June 5, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Interesting selections-- James McMurty just keeps getting it right. Check out The Princes of Hollywood -- at their myspace page for good new folk stuff.

Posted by: Robert | June 5, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Just my two-cents... Toad the Wet Sprocket is reuniting for two shows in our area - Friday, the 13th at Rams Head Live, and then Saturday the 14th at the festival in Old Town Alex. Also, if you want some great Texas-style folk ala McMurtry, check out Shawn Colvin on June 25 at the Birchmere. She has an amazing sound, and downloading "These Four Walls" is worth every bit of the $10.

Posted by: Mary | June 6, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

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