Ashanti Afrika Jah, "Onyame"
One of the tremendous things about today's music scene is that we have so many quality reissue labels that are looking through the past and finding great stuff to bring back to light. This comes from the Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump compilation which is just a delight to listen to all the way through.
De La Soul, "Church"
De La Soul seemed pretty done after the second Art Official Intelligence record came out. However, The Grind Date turned out to be an excellent record, proving they still had plenty left in the tank. First Serve was also good (although, technically, it was only two-thirds of De La Soul), so they ended up having a bit of a late career renaissance.
Fluf, "Page 3 Plus 1"
There's something realy elemental about Fluf. There's basically no extra bits bolted onto their music, just the riffs and the melody, and that's it. It instantly sounds familiar, even if you've never heard it before.
Pixies, "Gouge Away"
There are times here at Five Songs when we're sort of overcome by a band, song, or whatever. It just becomes hard to really say much other than "holy shit". And, people: peak Pixies just might the holiest of shit of all. At their best, the Pixies were surprising, dynamic, strange, fierce, and essentially just perfect. Nobody really sounded like Black Francis, and nobody really could write a song like Black Francis. So much of what "alternative" became in the 90s could be traced back to what the Pixies did. It's not true that everybody who bought Surfer Rosa and Doolittle started a band (I did not!), but essentially everbody who did start a rock band in the 90s had bought those records.
Sonic Youth, "candle"
Plex is spitting fire here at the end today! Sonic Youth were another of the pillars of the 80s rock underground, and hell, who knows if Sonic Youth or the Pixies were more important to following bands. Hell, for all I know, the Pixies listened to old Sonic Youth records. Who knows! Not me, I ain't getting paid enough to actually do any research around here.
At any rate, Daydream Nation is the album when Sonic Youth put it all together. EVOL was their first great album, Sister saw them transition from noise towards rock, but Daydream Nation is where they really perfected their approach. The five album stretch from EVOL through Dirty is a hell of a run, and this is the top of that mountain.