Five Songs, 5/27/2017

I'm not sure anybody cares about milestones, but I've now been doing this thing for more than a month. And it's still fun! According to analytics, I've had 91 different visitors for the past week, which is actually pretty cool. If anybody out there is reading, feel free to leave a comment! Here's what you came for!

Foetus, "Take It Outside Godboy"

We last encountered J.G. Thirlwell in one of his side project guises, Wiseblood. Here, we encounter his main project. First, a quick note on band names. For a fair bit of his career, he actually changed the name of the band frequently, although it always had "Foetus" in the name somewhere ("Foetus Interruptus", "Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel", etc). At some point, around the release of Flow or so, he knocked it off, acknowledging that everybody just called the band Foetus anyway. Oh, and the "proper" Foetus albums are all four-letter words for the names.

As for sound, Foetus usually gets lumped in with other industrial acts. And Thirlwell does often use some of the same abrasive noises and programmed drums that were characteristic of other bands in the genre. But he's always had a cinematic feel to his music that gives everything a much different character. Lots of horn blasts, long buildups, crescendos, and drama going on in Foetus songs.

This track comes from a live album, which are often pretty different from the studio stuff, because he brings along a full band to play with him. If you want to explore further, I think Male (another live album) is a great cross-section, with Nail, Gash, and Flow being his best studio records.

Killdozer, "The Buzzard"

Killdozer was part of the Midwest noise rock scene, focusing more on the sludgy end of things, with a fair bit of humor and Michael Gerald's unmistakable growl fronting things. At their best, they were grinding and hilarious at the same time. They also put out an all-covers album featuring incredible versions of "American Pie" and "Burnin' Love", which remains most folks' best memory of the band.

House of Rhythm, "Riddim"

Another third-wave ska band from the mid-90s, they drew more heavily from the first wave than they did from two-tone music. It made for a solid enough listen, although pretty forgettable. The sort of thing that you enjoy just fine while it's going, and forget it exists once it's done.

Johnny Daye, "Stay Baby Stay"

From early in the volume 2 of the Stax/Volt singles, this period of the label was from just after leaving Atlantic Records under acrimonious circumstances (and also just after the tragic death of Otis Redding in 1967).

The Skatalites, "James Bond Theme"

The original and most important ska band, the Skatalites, finally make an appearance here. Doing, um, the James Bond theme. Uh, whatever, it cooks. In addition to their recordings under their own name, the Skatalites also backed many of the key artists from the early days of ska, making them one of the true architects of that entire branch of music. Their early discography, like so many of their peers at the time, is a pain in the ass to grapple with now. Fortunately, the Skatalites kept going for forever, and records from their later career are both good and easier to find. If you can find them, Foundation Ska is a tremendous compilation, and Stretching Out is a great live session that features their entire lineup minus Don Drummond. If not, honestly, I've never heard a bad record from them.