Five Songs, 5/25/2017
I'm excited to see what comes up today! After yesterday's contrasts, what twists and turns can we expect?
Toots & the Maytals, "Reggae Got Soul"
One of the great bands of the first wave of ska, Toots and the Maytals delivered some of the most memorable songs of that period, including the oft-covered and incredible "Pressure Drop". Toots Hibbert is also credited with coming up with the term "reggae". Like a lot of his peers, his discography can be a little confusing to follow, as a lot of his stuff was spread out across a bunch of places and there are innumerable compilations that you can find, with overlapping track lists. The Very Best of Toots & the Maytals is an excellent compilation as a starting point, though.
The Minus 5, "Revival of You"
The Minus 5 return, with a cut from their best album, Down With Wilco. For this record, Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck were backed by the entirety of Wilco, coming off the triumphant Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The album to my ears sounds very 60s in feel, with the Kinks or Beach Boys being a reference point.
Elvis Costello, "You Belong To Me"
As I was discussing on Twitter, This Year's Model is extraordinary for having no duds on it at all. Many otherwise incredible albums suffer from having at least one off track, but the worst song on This Year's Model ("Night Rally"? "Little Triggers"? It's hard to say.) would be the best song on plenty of lesser albums.
Jawbox, "Desert Sea"
As was mentioned in the entry on Office of Future Plans, the band that J. Robbins is best known for is Jawbox. They played a more melodic version of the noise rock that the underground was pumping out at high rates in the early 90s. During the post-Nirvana feeding frenzy, they signed with Atlantic, a heretical move for a Dischord band. Defying critics, though, they delivered their two best albums for that label, 1994's For Your Own Special Sweetheart and 1996's swan song, Jawbox. This song comes from the latter.
Minutemen, "Love Dance"
Self-proclaimed purveyors of "scientist rock", the Minutemen were the most inventive and interesting band associated with west coast hardcore. Started by teenage friends D. Boon and Mike Watt, and later filled out by George Hurley, the Minutemen restlessly played music from the entire spectrum of rock, all informed by a punk sensibility. D. Boon would tragically die in an auto accident at the height of the band's powers, leaving me to wonder what he would have later accomplished with the band. Watt and Hurley would continue with the underrated fIREHOSE, but most folks lamented the all-too premature end of the Minutemen and never gave them a chance.
As for the song, this is from their monumental double album Double Nickels on the Dime, one of the pillars of 80s hardcore. But it doesn't often much sound like a hardcore record, they were simply informed by that scene and were part of it. There's a very good documentary on the band, We Jam Econo, that I recommend, but be warned, it can get pretty dusty in the room.