First, Rigamaroo by a band called Sleepy Sun. I love the album cover in the video, but not as much as the song.
I first heard this song in a supermarket a month or two ago. Googled its lyrics, noted its name and then found it on YouTube at home. I doubt the younger generation understands how elusive music was before the Internet. If you heard something amazing on the radio, you might never hear it again. The announcers didn't always name the titles and the bands, and record stores carried a tiny fraction of what you can now see online.
When lyrics first became searchable I found a long list of songs I dreamed of hearing for ages. Not everything though. For example, there was this incredible song by a young English woman whose name I forgot. I remember the style and exactly how it made me feel, but unfortunately none of the lyrics, so it just can't be found.
Back to the Decembrists, here's a live version of Down by the Water from NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. It's not as good as the album track, but look at the fiddler. A very attractive woman. This, with her, her brother and a pianist, is also good.
I love the Tiny Desk Concerts in general. I've never found anything wrong with the SWPL aesthetics or sensibilities, just with the politics.
This is great for example. But the best Fountains of Wayne song I know of is Sink to the Bottom. Even though the singer speaks with an American accent, he was born in Britain, which is where the humor in the lyrics obviously comes from.
Here's Suzanne Vega's Tiny Desk Concert. The song I Never Wear White was new to me. It's like Left of Center with colors, but she's an amazing lyricist, probably the best female one I know of, so she can make simple ideas like that work great. The best Suzanne Vega songs I'm aware of are the original a capella Tom's Diner (of course), Marlena on the Wall, St. Clare, The Queen and the Soldier, A Small Blue Thing, and Knight Moves.
The last time I did a post like this I mentioned the Canadian band Metric. I love this song of theirs.
Years ago someone correlated people's musical preferences, as revealed on their Facebook pages, with the average SAT scores of the colleges they attended to produce a list of the smartest and dumbest musicians. Number two, behind Beethoven, was a guy named Sufjan Stevens. This whole post has gone in a very SWPLy direction for some reason, and there's really not much more SWPLy in life than this song of his. But it's also good. And he does sound smart.
The Cranberries aren't SWPL, which may have something to do with the fact that their Tiny Desk concert isn't representative of how awesome they are. My favorite Cranberries songs are Disappointment, Twenty-one, Pretty (these two have a similar mood; I wish there was a third song like that in the Universe), Not Sorry, Empty, No Need to Argue, Dreaming My Dreams, I Still Do, How, Waltzing Back, Ridiculous Thoughts, Sunday, Yeat's Grave, Linger (which was the first one I heard of theirs), Ode to My Family (which was the one that made me buy a cassette tape of theirs in 1994 or 1995), I Can't Be With You and So Cold in Ireland. The quality went down after the second album, but there are some good things in this song and in this solo single too.
By the way, if for some reason your taste in music is similar to mine, you might enjoy this other post of mine.