Five Songs, 5/3/2017

Just wall-to-wall rock today, except for the bonus track. These things are going to happen! On another note, I stuck in some analytics to see how many of you are reading this. Something like a dozen. Not bad! As always, listen along with me, won't you?

An admin note: the Dillinger Four track has been excised from YouTube on copyright grounds before, and when I tried to upload it, they rejected it again. Because of that, I've done a sixth song here, so there's still five in the playlist.

Dillinger Four, "Define 'Learning Disorder'"

Not to be confused with The Dillinger Escape Plan, the Dillinger Four plays punk rock in the vein of, say, Husker Dü. At any rate, that's the inevitable comparison, given the shared hometown. Not that you can hear them, because they're bozos.

The Apples in Stereo, "Try to Remember"

The Apples in Stereo are probably the key band of Elephant 6 (which we last encountered with the Minders). As with that band, you're looking at very bright, sunny pop songs with lots of harmonies and more than a little overt Beatles influence. The Apples do it well, so if you're going to listen to an Elephant 6 band (and for whatever reason don't want to listen to the Beatles), they're the ones to listen to.

Floor, "Tales of Lolita"

Apparently we're going to be looking at pop through a few different lenses today. While the Dillinger Four play it fast and loud, and the Apples in Stereo play it light and bright, Floor play it really heavy. Really heavy. Floor was very fuzzy and used odd tunings, including "bomb notes", which were really loud notes from detuned strings. But above all that, you still had a lot of the structure and tunes of pop songs, leading to a fun mix. Floor would put out some material, disband, start several other bands (Torche and House of Lightning among them), and then come back many years later for a very good comeback album. There is a collection of all their pre-reunion material, Below and Beyond, which is excellent.

Elvis Costello, "Stranger In the House (BBC Version)"

This is one of the bonus tracks from the deluxe re-issue of This Year's Model, which I consider to be a flawless album. The bonus tracks are uneven, as is always the case for bonus tracks, but there's still plenty of good stuff in there. If you're not familiar with Costello, I think This Year's Model is his best album, so I'd start there.

David Mead, "Echoes of a Heart"

And we hit another album that I have no recollection of getting. It's a little embarrassing when that happens. Oh well! At any rate, I don't know why I picked this up, but it appears that Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne) produced this album, and so I suspect that might be the connection. And you can hear some of the echoes of that band here, and certainly the shine on the track reminds me of Fountains of Wayne. But honestly, I'd rather be listening to them, not this.

The Ethiopians, "Woman's World"

The Ethiopians were an early Jamaican band that was important in the transition from ska to rocksteady (which had slower rhythms) and later reggae. I'd actually suggest this album is as good an example of rocksteady as anything, if anybody is wondering what the differences between these styles. Tommy McCook, a founder of the Skatalites, played on this record, incidentally. In general, in this period, many of the musicians were moving around pretty fluidly between bands, which sometimes makes it hard to keep track of things.