The internet is at its best when it's a Wild West of open-ended content, and although those days are most likely numbered, sites like YouTube are a perfect example of everything that is right about the web. YouTube is a hidden treasure trove of rare music videos, bootlegs, live performances, and other general oddities—all of which make it the best place to help waste away the hours and avoid being productive at work
Often times I wonder how my unfortunate date of birth allowed me to witness multiple Soul Asylum concerts, but never one by the Replacements. This is where YouTube comes in, as there are numerous 'Mats videos online—the best being this cluster of early material filmed in 1981 at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis. I'll never get sick of watching the greatest-band-that-never-was torch through "Takin' a Ride," "Staples in Her Stomach," and a perfectly sloppy version of "Careless," back from when they were too young to give a fuck.
Live from the UK television show The Wedge, Joy Division is captured on their all-too-brief peak as they perform a live version of "Transmission" that is about as punk as anything you'll ever see on television. As a live band, Joy Division were far faster and looser than their stiff recorded sound; plus watch in awe as Ian Curtis frantically dances nonstop throughout the clip without ever actually moving his legs. The only odd part of all this is that when the camera pans back, it reveals a crowd of six people. Too bad the studio audience wasn't more substantial, especially given the musical history they were witnessing.
Dead Prez—"Hell Yeah"
There was no way that MTV, or any video network, would ever play the full version of this amazing video. Perfectly capturing the fears of middle-class white America, the video opens to the first-person camcorder view of a very typical white family on vacation—who after a few comical wrong turns into the ghetto—end up getting carjacked by Dead Prez and friends. What follows is theft, sex, and a shockingly violent beating of a poor pizza delivery boy that looks too real to have been staged for the sake of video.
Tom Waits Sells Dog Food
The amount of hidden Tom Waits gems on YouTube is astounding, and between the rare live performances and odd talk show guest spots, nothing tops Waits' commercial for dog food. The outspoken activist against using music in commercials somehow lent his boozy, sandpapered voice to a saxophone-heavy pitch for Purina "Butcher's Blend." The dimly lit ad is clearly the Sin City of dog food commercials, and never has "the first dry dog food with three meaty tastes" sounded so appealing.