Five Songs, 4/29/2017

A peek behind the curtains here at Five Songs International (a subsidiary of Songsanto): I sometimes write these things ahead of time. Like the weekend ones are usually paved out ahead of time. Still the same rules, though: I pick a time, start shuffle, and write about those five songs. But, in order to keep the flow of quality (?) stuff flowing, sometimes they're not written on the day that they're posted. Like, for instance, this was written on Friday while I ate lunch. Doesn't make the songs any less good (or bad? I don't know yet!).

Royal Trux, "Sometimes"

In the mid to late 80s, there was a noise rock band called Pussy Galore that mostly existed to just make a goddamn racket. Relentlessly amateurish and punishingly sophomoric, when they managed to get out of their own goddamn way, they could nevertheless do some great stuff. The band eventually splintered, and the two biggest bands to come of it were the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (led by Jon Spencer, obviously) and Royal Trux (Neil Hagerty). JSBX took up the sound that Pussy Galore was moving towards on Dial 'M' For Motherfucker and turned it into something awesome. Royal Trux, meanwhile, tried to return to the sloppy, messy aesthetics of the early days of the band. I tried buying two albums from these folks and ended up liking neither of them. They hung around for ages, and critics seem to like them, so I'm probably just missing something.

MU330, "Tune Me Out"

MU330 is a third-wave ska band from St. Louis that is closest in style to the Bosstones. I've always enjoyed their albums, which are pretty guileless and relatively free of pretension compared to some of their third-wave peers. The band is named after the high school music class they met in, which is kind of charming. In perusing their discography, I see that they kept at it after I stopped paying attention, and apparently even headed more towards the ska end of things and away from punk. I'll have to give their latest a try and see what I think. And thus, I have made myself discover music, via the vehicle of my own collection. Of course, I have three songs to go before I can try it out.

UPDATE: I bought the album, and then went back to listen to it later. And, of course, I discovered that I did already have it, it's just that Amazon had it filed away weird. Also, it's not noticeably more ska than their other work. A+ work, me!

Kid Koala, "Cardboard Stars, Seashells"

We meed Kid Koala again, with another piece intended to accompany a book. I've put this one in the playlist this time, because the piece is more substantial than the last one.

(previously)

Rage Against the Machine, "New Millenium Homes"

I never really knew what to make of Rage Against the Machine. At times lunkheaded, repetitive, and obvious, at other times, they came across as primal, vital, and surprising. Mostly, in college, I dismissed them as a band for slam dancing bros and not worthy of my attention. I did eventually come around to enjoying them more than that, mostly for Tom Morello's guitar work. At their best, it's fun to listen to these guys as just pure catharsis.

As a side note, I often check spelling on people's names by opening a new window and letting Google autocomplete. Works pretty well, but it's super depressing how often "net worth" shows up in the suggested list for everybody even semi-famous. I mean, who looks up "tom morello net worth"?

Eddie Floyd, "My Girl"

We have our first appearance from what will be a common sight around here: the Stax/Volt singles sets. Stax/Volt was a legendary soul and R&B label in Memphis (Stax and Volt were technically not the same label, but were sister labels and were basically the same) that is mainly responsible for Southern soul and put out a huge number of songs that you'd recognize. Their history more or less divides into thirds, with the first third being the period when the label was distributed by Atlantic and Otis Redding was the dominant songwriter for the label. All of the Stax/Volt singles were collected into three collections a little while back, and this song comes from the first of those collections, which covers those Atlantic/Redding years.

The song itself is just a solid, straightforward cover of the Temptations song, so I don't have much to say about it, exactly. But we'll keep hearing from Stax as we go along, and at some point I'm going to have to talk about Otis Redding and make myself really sad.