Let me be clear: Liking this stuff (and these things) in no way causes anyone to be hip. I don't know how to be hip and never have. I know some of the hip people, but when we hang out it's always kind of awkward, because I'm clearly not one of them. My T-shirts are like, at least two steps behind the times, and I make mashups for Pete's sake. So not hip! But don't worry about me! Worry about yourself, and enjoy.
10. Groove Armada "Get Down" (Calvin Harris Mix) (from their BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix)
This track from the UK duo's upcoming album is a bit dull in its original form (although see the amusing bunny-riffic video here); this mix ups the intensity just enough. Listen to it on their site here.
9. DJ Moule "Sympathy for Teen Spirit" (Rolling Stones vs. Queen vs. Nirvana) (via the Bootie Top 10)
This French producer is one of my favorites; this time he layers Mick Jagger and Kurt Cobain over Queen's disco beat with surprisingly coherent results.
8. El-P & Cat Power "Poisenville Kids No Win / Reprise (This Must Be Our Time)" (from I'll Sleep When You're Dead on Definitive Jux)
The new album from this Brooklyn hip-hop producer has guest stars like Trent Reznor and Aesop Rock, but he morphs into Portishead when Chan Marshall sings along.
7. Ginger Snaps (in the cookie aisle)
Who first thought, "let's dig up that weird spicy root and bake it in a cookie?" Because, I love you. Here's my thing: Get a tub of vanilla frozen yogurt, let it soften up a bit, then use your ginger snaps as crunchy, delicious spoons. Repeat until eyes roll back into head.
6. Digitalism "Pogo" (mp3 via Fluo Kids)
The always-solid German electro duo venture even further into the rock-oriented sound that they've just hinted at on previous tracks like the brilliant "Zdarlight."
5. Neil Young "Old Man" (from Live at Massey Hall 1971 on Silver Bow)
This just-released live concert CD captures a solo Young with perfect sonic clarity at a fascinating moment in his career. "Old Man" is everybody's favorite but here it takes on new life.
4. Amerie "Gotta Work" (mp3 via Idolator)
Her 2005 single "1 Thing" was one of my favorite tracks of the year; she's back with another brassy number that will give Beyoncé a run for her money.
3. J Dilla "Nothing Like This" (from Rough Draft on Stones Throw)
This track from the long-awaited reissue of Jay Dee's first solo album is awe-inspiringly strange: more like goth-rock than hip-hop, a distorted, backwards monster.
2. LCD Soundsystem "Someone Great" (from Sound of Silver on DFA)
The most immediate and purely electro track from the New York producer's excellent new album, like the Chemical Brothers covering the Human League.
1. Willie Nelson (and former UN ambassador Richard Holbrook) on The Colbert Report, Tuesday Night, Comedy Central (video here)
I thought the gay-conversion segment on The Daily Show couldn't be outdone, but then Colbert manages to up the ante, with this awe-inspiring setup. Richard Holbrook!!! My head wants to 'splode!!! God bless America, and God Bless Stephen Colbert.