Five Songs, 12/15/2017
Five Songs

Five Songs, 12/15/2017

Maybe the most dangerous of the year-end roundups is Bandcamp's, which always results in a lot of stuff for me. As for today's music, well, I really like two of today's songs an awful lot. The other three are a little...slapdash, let's say.

The Skatalites, "Wood and Water"

We get a lot of third-wave ska acts around here, and usually, we make fun of them. Or, at least, a good percentage of them. We get enough of them that maybe a quick refresher is worth our time? When we talk about waves of ska bands, we're referring to:

  • The first wave, the originators of the music, centered around Jamaica and Studio One primarily in the 60s, with the most important band being the one we have today, the Skatalites. Other musical styles grew out of ska, including rocksteady (slowed down from ska) and reggae (slower than ska, but faster than rocksteady, and incorporating other elements of Jamaican music).
  • The second wave, centered around the Specials and the Two Tone label in the late 70s. The second wave took the sounds of ska and added a lot of the punk attitudes of the time to generate a more aggressive sound.
  • The third wave, starting in the late 80s and early 90s, which moved in a couple directions, either taking the innovations of Two Tone and adding even more punk and rock (ala the Mighty Mighty Bosstones among many others), or throwing back to some of the more traditional sounds of the first wave (ala the Slackers). The most important label was probably Moon Ska, which featured a lot of the more traditional bands.

OK, so, back to the Skatalites: they rule. Thank you.

The Beautiful South, "Speak to Me"

Paul Heaton in confessional mode here, on a B-side to the "My Book" single. One day, we'll get "Women in the Wall", and I won't stop talking about it.

Botanist, "Erythronium"

Another track from Botanist, who remember, is playing all this junk on hammered dulcimer, not on normal guitars. So nifty!

Pavement, "Recorder Grot"

Remember when I was making fun of Pavement's legendary quality control, and you were maybe listening to "Baptist Backtick" and thinking to yourself "I dunno, this is pretty badass". Well, yeah, here's another cut from Westing.

Propagandhi, "Fine Day"

Where Quantity Is Job #1 is one of the finest names for a compilation record ever. And, yeah, it acknowledges that this stuff is kind of a mess. As much as I like their studio albums, this album is gloriously unnecessary.

Joshua Buergel
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