Laudable post by T. Azimuth. I'm not going to compete with his in-depth analysis. Over the the next couple of weeks, I want to get out my list, but I'm not going to cap it. I'm going to try to do five tracks at a time and add some commentary. The order of these songs does indicate some preferential treatment. They're the ones I remembered first.
Andrew Bird - "Weather Systems"
The exact moment Bird stopped being a frontman and became a chamber-pop maestro. Love the whistling at the track's end. Search out the Blogoteque version of this song with him walking down the streets of Paris with just his violin.
Deerhoof - "The Galaxist"
I really loved two songs off the Friend Opportunity album: this one and "Believe E.S.P." Both have fantastic breakdowns. I chose this one because of its internal variety; it's a two minute forty second mini-suite with compressed dynamics/pop sensibility/crazy uncanny drum figures/killer three note guitar lick in the breakdown.
Mates of State - "Ha ha"
It's in the song's first minute. The drums cut, and the keyboard plays the repeating riff over a changing bass line. The the drums come back in on fire. The day I got this album, I probably listened to that part alone ten consecutive times. Really fantastic live song too.
LCD Soundsystem - "Us v. Them"
Starts taking off about three minutes in when the hi-hat tightens up and starts getting pelted with sixteenth notes. Great bass line in that middle section too. Didn't like this song initially until they led off with it when I saw them at Virgin Music Fest in 07. Then I couldn't get enough. Terrific running song/slow burn/dance groove with intricate percussion.
My Brightest Diamond - "Golden Star"
If you don't like the last minute of this song, you don't like MBD. Her dead on female Buckley impersonation reaches a peak on the album's second track. LOVED this entire album, but would always give people this song first because her strengths are so crystallized here.