Five Songs, 6/16/2017

Just narrowly missed "Buffalo Soldier", as played on a xylophone today. Dodged that bullet! Here's what we do have today.

Taylor Swift, "Style"

I try to not be totally ignorant of current pop music, but let's be honest: I usually am pretty ignorant. Every now and again, though, I'll just pick up an album that's been getting really good reviews, and I'll often enjoy it as a break from the usual grim frowny stuff we typically have around here. All of which is a long way of saying that, yeah, this album is pretty good.

Wu-Tang Clan, "The M.G.M."

It took about four years for the Wu-Tang clan to make the follow-up to the bombshell that was Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), what with all the solo albums that were made in the interim. By the time they got around to making Wu-Tang Forever, they decided to go for a double-album. Making a double-album isn't usually a great idea for anybody, and in rap in particular, usually leads to unfocused albums with far too much filler. Alas, Wu-Tang Forever is no exception. While there's enough great material on there to have made a fantastic single album, it's too stretched out as it was presented. I should go back and edit it down, but I'm too lazy.

Voodoo Glow Skulls, "Shoot The Moon"

Voodoo Glow Skulls are back with the usual "hardcore with horns" thing, this time the opener to their second album.

(previously)

Firewater, "Strange Life"

Firewater is the band started by bassist Tod Ashley after the breakup of noise rock stalwarts Cop Shoot Cop. Started as a bit of an underground supergroup, Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard), Yuval Gabay (Soul Coughing), and Kurt Hoffman (who worked with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) all contributed to the great first couple albums. Driven by Ashley's dark lyrics and sardonic delivery, Firewater also mixed in influences from many non-rock musical traditions, including things as diverse as waltzes and klezmer.

After the re-election of George W. Bush and the breakup of his marriage, Tod Ashley traveled around the world, picking up even more non-Western influences as well as a new collaborator, Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box), which brought all kinds of new sounds. The next two records made by the band, 2008's The Golden Hour and the album this song is from, 2012's International Orange, are their best records, and really don't have many points of comparison. Probably Tom Waits is the closest? Anyway, they're one of my favorite bands.

Descendents, "Mr. Bass"

Snotty punk band Descendents were a staple of my high school years, with their fast but catchy tunes mostly about women and food. For a teenager, really what more do you need? I'm not sure the Descendents have been surpassed in that area, honestly.