Five Songs, 11/4/2017
Ex-Helmet drummer John Stanier joined with Ian Williams of Don Caballero to form Battles. Given the pedigree, it's no surprise that the focus was on complex, prog-y songs. Somewhat surprising, given the muscular nature of those two bands and the tough-sounding name, is the fact that Battles actually ends up playing pretty playful stuff. It's not just wall-to-wall power, but ends up instead focusing on finesse.
Merle Haggard, "Waitin' For A Train"
Haggard is back with another track from that Down Every Road compilation. One thing that I appreciate about a lot of country music is that there's a focus on storytelling in the lyrics, which can be refreshing after a lot of nonsensical, abstract, obtuse, or unintelligible rock lyrics.
Screeching Weasel, "I Will Always Be There"
With Bark Like A Dog, Screeching Weasel took a huge leap forward, going from sounding like their previous albums to sounding EXACTLY like their previous albums. I suppose there is a virtue in consistency.
Mos Def, "Hip Hop"
Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and DJ Hi-Tek made one of the all-time greatest hip hop albums with Black Star. It was, alas, the only album they made together. And yet, somehow, Mos Def went out on his own and made Black On Both Sides, an album that is the equal of Black Star. He never came close to matching those records again, and even moved on to other artistic pursuits (like, somehow, playing Ford Prefect in a movie). But most artists would kill to have one album as good as them in their history, and Mos Def made two.
When I'm done listening and writing these, I go back and put together the play list. I usually just listen to enough to make sure the video isn't mislabeled before going on to the next track. I listened to this entire song a second time.
Torche, "Shine On My Old Ways"
It's another example of Torche's "biggest and loudest pop songs around" aesthetic. It's really remarkable how they can make songs that sound this heavy and light simultaneously.