Five Songs, 4/21/2017

I hope people are listening to all of the songs that I'm posting here, including the ones that I'm suggesting are not for me. They might be for you! They might suck! Only one way to find out. Speaking of, here's today's playlist. Listen to it all! Or don't. I'm not your boss.

Richard Lloyd, "Connection"

Richard Lloyd was part of Television, who made one of the all-time great punk albums, Marquee Moon, but I haven't really paid any attention to any of his solo career. This song comes from an outstanding compilation, Ork Records: New York, New York, which Numero Group recently reissued. It's a document of the very early New York punk scene, and I cannot recommend it highly enough if you have an interest in that whole era.

Superchunk, "My Noise"

Superchunk, along with Pavement, were one of the bands that shook me out of my industrial rut and got me to pay attention to a much wider range of music. I suppose it's not like indie rock was that far away from some of the punk I listened to, but those bands just opened me up to so much other stuff. As this is the first time they've popped up here, a brief intro: Superchunk plays big, loud, fuzzy pop songs, basically, which are designed to stick in your head for days. At their best, it's impossible not to grin while listening to Superchunk, and I'll still occasionally jump around the room when they come on. It's like a hug for my brain.

Superchunk's legacy in the music scene isn't just a bunch of incredible albums, but also Merge Records, the label started by Superchunk's Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan. Merge has put out an astounding number of truly great records, a track record that makes them one of the best independent labels of all time. Also, because we're here for the first time, my indisputable ranking of records:

  • On The Mouth
  • No Pocky For Kitty
  • Here's Where the Strings Come In
  • Majesty Shredding
  • Foolish
  • Superchunk
  • Indoor Living
  • I Hate Music
  • Come Pick Me Up
  • Here's To Shutting Up

Not ranking in there are the various singles collections, but all three of them are solid, the first two (Tossing Seeds and Incidental Music) both being exceptional. Of that list of albums, the first six are easy to recommend without reservations, and all ten of them have at least some good stuff on them.

christian fitness, "soft power itches"

Remember Future of the Left? Andrew Falkous and all that? Well, this is his solo project, and it mostly sounds like Future of the Left, what with having the same person writing the songs and singing. If you love Future of the Left, and want more, good news! There's more! It doesn't seem like there's separate tracks broken out for this album, but the whole thing is on YouTube, and you can click through to the individual song by looking at the description. Or just listen to the whole thing.

Booker T. and the MG's, "Hip Hug-Her"

About time some soul showed up around here! Booker T. and the MGs were the house band for Stax Records, and played on so many classic soul records that it would be impossible to list them all here. They also put out some great records of instrumental soul under their own names. This song is just the epitome of cool, a conversation between Booker T's organ and Steve Cropper's guitar. If you don't find yourself enjoying this, you're a heartless monster.

Godspeed You Black Emperor, "The Dead Flag Blues"

Welp, hope you enjoyed that two and a half minutes of sunlight! What we have here is sixteen minutes of pure oblique post-rock bombast, all carefully swelling strings, strange spoken word bits, carefully managed build-up, and mid-song swerve. At 16:28, this is actually the shortest song on this album, with "East Hastings" clocking in at 17:58 and "Providence" coming in at a robust 29:02.

At their best, Godspeed is fascinating stuff - pretentious, yes, like you wouldn't believe, but dramatic and surprising in all the best kinds of ways. I think Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven is their best work, and the album that this comes from, F# A# Infinity, is probably their weakest, just because I think they were still finding their way.