1. I'm Down, by Beck Song Reader featuring Jack White
A few years back, folk legend Beck instead of putting out a new album wrote a bunch of new songs and released them as sheet music for other people to perform. Personally I find that to be pretty neat and innovative, but it's no surprise considering Beck is known for doing all kinds of stuff like this all the time. Anyway, this country blues type tune is done ever so delightfully well by Jack White and his solo band. The vocal harmonies hit you in all the right ways and it has a laid back enough groove that you can either dance or relax to it.
2. Battle of Evermore, by Led Zeppelin
As if there weren't enough reasons to love Led Zeppelin already, this song is pretty much about The Lord of the Rings. This wasn't the first time that Zeppelin referenced J.R.R. Tolkien's classic trilogy in their music, but certainly the most potent. It has a heavy world/folk music vibe to it while still keeping the focus very much on the fact that this is still rock n' roll despite the fact there are mandolins and other odd instruments playing. Definitely a must listen for fantasy genre fans.
3. Creep, by Postmodern Jukebox
This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever had my ears blessed with in my entire life and is honestly one of the few occasions where the cover far outshines the original. As I have mentioned before, Postmodern Jukebox takes newer hit songs that we're all familiar with and turns them into various forms of jazz. The way this comes together is so perfect. The singing is just so soulful and powerful, making the lyrics and the message they convey that much more potent.
4. The Decisive Battle (Final Fantasy VI Boss theme), by Daniel Tidwell
Letting my nerd side out to play again, I couldn't not put this tune in the playlist this week. This is a heavy metal version of the boss battle music in one of my absolute favorite video games of all time: the RPG Final Fantasy VI. Even if you're not into video games or at least haven't played this one in particular, it's a pretty awesome solid track and this arrangement of it makes it that much more kick-ass and fun to crank up and jam to.
5. Giant Robot, by Giant Robot (Buckethead)
Who knew that the theme song from a 60's Japanese kids show could be turned into something so badass and cool? Buckethead has never been shy about expressing his fandom of odd and nerdy things, including the show Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. In the early 90's he turned the song into one of the biggest, most stomping metal tunes of all time. It definitely carries a great deal more emotional weight to it than it ever had before, although the interlude of the song is an extended funky jam. Still comes together quite nicely, though.