Less Than Jake, "Automatic"
As the majors decided that ska, and especially ska-punk, was Really Hot, a bunch of bands signed contracts even though it probably didn't make a ton of sense. But, honestly, Less Than Jake wasn't a bad bet by the labels. There's enough catchiness in their songs that you could see Green Day's audience becoming interested, and ska was also pretty trendy. It made some sense, and given that there were some pretty huge hits from similar bands, there's no reason one of those couldn't have been LTJ. But, it didn't quite work out, so only two records came out on Capitol Records before they moved back to smaller labels. Good record, though.
Alex Chilton, "Bangkok"
After the Box Tops and Big Star, Alex Chilton went out on his own and retreated away from the sort of pop songwriting that had made him famous. He produced a bunch of underground bands, made some of his own punk, and spent a lot of time in the bottle. I'm not sure that any of his stuff from this time period is really great, so this is mostly of historical interest.
The Meters, "(The World Is A Bit Under The Weather) Doodle-Oop"
Long-time reader/listeners know that we here at Five Songs consider compilations to be kind of a mixed bag. For many bands, their best material all finds its way onto albums, and the comps are just kind of a mess. A major exception to that general rule are older bands, as the singles market was enough of an important outlet that bands would release great stuff on singles. So, when you've got a band as mighty as The Meters, their singles comp is going to be amazing. And it is: A Message From The Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 is an incredible album, just stuffed to overflowing with jams.
This album, 1998's Obscura, is considered a landmark in extreme metal, a death metal album that broke new ground in dissonance and rhythmic invention. The variety of techniques, textures, and atonal noises in any of these songs continually surprise you when you encounter it. The record really demonstrates that metal can be truly avant-garde and not lose any of the aggression. One of the masterpieces of metal.
Goddamn, I love this album.