Five Songs, 9/10/2017
Steady Earnest, "Scrumpy"
Dan Vitale's Steady Earnest, back with more straight ahead ska from Dr. Earnest's Nerve Steadying Spirits. It seems like it's been a while since we've had some ska around here, which seems unusual.
Meat Beat Manifesto, "10 X Faster Than The Speed Of Love [Radio Mix]"
This song was originally on the excellent 99%, but this version was on an interesting sampler, Tonal Evidence, put out by Mute Records. There was quite a range of stuff on that compilation, ranging from the dance of Meat Beat Manifesto and Renegade Soundwave, to tracks from industrial pioneers like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. It was a nice pickup at the time, and was my first exposure to several of these artists.
(NB: I've included the original version of the song here from 99%, because it's pretty similar, and I couldn't find the exact version I listened to.)
Skavoovie and the Epitones, "Wildfire"
I'm not sure if I've busted on the tendency of third-wave bands to force the work "ska" into their names, but goddammit, bands. Anyway, Skavoovie and the Epitones were distinguished primarily by having some seriously fat horns, including baritone sax and a euphonium, which gave the horn section a lot more heft than basically any of their contemporaries. Being a sucker for a baritone sax, I've always enjoyed this band.
HOW HAS IT TAKEN THIS LONG FOR FUGAZI TO SHOW UP? Anyway, we finally have a track from them, my favorite band, and I'm not even sure where to start. Fugazi shaped so much of the rock underground, both with their amazing take on post-hardcore that set the template for so many bands, but also with their relentlessly egalitarian business policies. Every Dischord record was $8 by mail order, every Fugazi show was $5. This was at a time when record stores were often charging twice that much for albums (major labels would later lose a price fixing class action lawsuit), and the prominent label on Dischord releases ensured that their prices there were always lower and more within reach.
That fierce independence gave Fugazi and Dischord a tremendously loyal following, and they did nothing to disappoint their fans on the musical front. Each release of theirs was better than the previous one for several albums, culminating in the magisterial In On The Kill Taker, my favorite rock album of all time.
In an effort to keep things relatively brief here, and to leave stuff to talk about later, I'll just simply say that 13 Songs (a combination of the two EPs, Fugazi and Margin Walker) has its ups and downs as a record, with the second half not being as strong, but was a groundbreaking release and crucial historically. And any record with "Waiting Room" and "Suggestion" on it is going to be incredible.
The Decemberists, "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade"
Goddammit, shuffle, this is a repeat! Frickin' 88 songs in my library from the Decemberists, and we get a repeat. Stupid shuffle. SIX SONGS TODAY.
Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah"
MORE SKA. This is from a very late album by the Bosstones, Pin Points and Gin Joints, which barely exists if you search for it. As in, I don't have the cover art in my library, nor does Allmusic. It still basically sounds like the Bosstones, but kind of toothless compared to earlier stuff. It isn't apparently the last of their records, which is news to me.