Five Songs, 4/15/2017

It's my birthday! Hooray! Let's listen to some music (you can listen along here)!

Spawn of Possession, "Spiritual Deception"

Metal, as a broad genre, is one that I've always been perpetually coming to grips with. Despite having embraced plenty of other extreme genres - noise, hardcore, lots of experimental music of all forms - I had always held metal at arms' length. I certainly listened to a few carefully selected bands, but I never really explored things fully. I mostly looked at many of the ridiculous trappings and endless subgenres, and kind of gave it a miss.

Still, I'd always sampled bands here and there, and certainly tried to stay on top of many of the most acclaimed bands. At some point, I wandered into buying this album, it being regarded as a great example of the "tech death" subgenre. Tech death is marked by a focus on complex songs, arrangements, and fretboard wizardry. And, of course, mostly bellowed Cookie Monster vocals. At any rate, not my favorite subgenre, and this album mostly didn't do very much for me. Mostly I prefer my metal like I like my coffee: black.

The Toasters, "Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down"

The Toasters were one of the initiators of the third wave of ska, being very early on the scene and also running one of the most important labels of the movement, Moon Ska. The third wave gets a lot of derision for all of the barrel scraping bands with awful pun names making terrible "hilarious" covers, and rightly so. But it wasn't all bad! The Toasters, for their part, were just a very straightforward act that really wanted to be The Specials, and nothing more. They were workmanlike, overall, and put out a series of decent albums through the late 80s and 90s which are worth getting if you can't get enough ska, and probably skippable if you can (most people can). This is the title track off what is probably their best album. I'll have more to say about ska as we inevitably hit plenty more songs - SPOILER ALERT: I was into ska in a big way.

Charles Mingus, "Ecclusiastics"

I'm not sure I'm really qualified to write about jazz. I'm not really sure I'm qualified to write about any music, frankly, but I'm doing it anyway. At any rate, I love Mingus, because I love the upright bass, and also, he's a genius. This is from a compilation, Thirteen Pictures, which is great. And everybody should listen to Mingus Ah Um. And many others.

Man, look at that picture I painted with my words, there!

Isaiah Rashad, "Menthol"

Every now and again, a record comes up in my collection that I have no recollection of getting. It doesn't happen often - usually I can not only remember when I got it, but where and why. But sometimes? No clue. This is one of those times. Decent enough, I guess. Listen for yourself!

Look, people, not all these entries are going to be winners.

White Lung, "Vegas"

White Lung is a female fronted heavy rock band that is one of those bands that sounds like ten different other bands, while still sounding like their own thing. This is one of my favorite new band discoveries from 2016. I should probably make a list of my favorite records for last year at some point.