David Byrne’s site has a radio which playlist changes monthly:
July - 2006 - Standards
A standard is something that we use to measure other things. It is the Ur thing, the original hidden Platonic thing that casts the shadows on the cave, which we then perceive as all other things. These songs, most of them written between the last two world wars, are popular songwriting carried to a level of melodic, harmonic and sometimes lyrical sophistication that was rarely superceded. The Bossa Nova composers maybe were their equal, the Philly soul of Thom Bell, Burt Bacharach and others — but those were all afterwards. In North America, between those wars, due to the symbiosis of the songs with musicals and films, the belief and confidence that there could be a new kind of popular music really took hold. Talent arrived by the boatload. Immigrants. Uh huh.
Though they are often referred to as standards…