Five Songs, 5/24/2017
Five Songs

Five Songs, 5/24/2017

Today's entry is probably the most divided one we've ever had. Two songs of pure pop (separated by over 40 years), two disparate slabs of uncompromising noise, and one song of old, yet futuristic sounding hip hop. That's the stuff.

Lily Allen, "Him"

Lily Allen's first album, Alright, Still is thoroughly charming, pure pop delivered with wit and tons of catchy songs. One of those albums that's hard not smile your way all the way through. Her followup album shares at least some of those same attributes, but I never found it as bouncy or memorable as the first record.

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, "Nowhere to Run"

An instantly recognizable song, "Nowhere to Run" was a deservedly huge hit, and continues to be played all the time. This, of course, comes from those delightful Motown singles collections, from the 1965 collection.

Krallice, "Over Spirit"

From the joys of Motown to the depths of black metal. Sorry, everybody. Krallice, out of New York City, brings a stunning amount of technical skill to the black metal formula, providing for incredible twists and turns. This stuff is really dense and usually needs several listens to really grasp, but Krallice is probably my second favorite metal band going right now after Deathspell Omega.

Cannibal Ox / El-P, "Raspberry Fields"

Long before El-P wisely hooked up with Killer Mike for the incredible Run the Jewels, he was still making those icy, futuristic sounding beats. This Cannibal Ox album, The Cold Vein, is a great example. You can hear some of the same types of sounds he would employ to such great success in his later career. One of the great things you can say about it is that it still sounds fresh, sixteen years later.

SWANS, "This Is Mine"

From the early days of SWANS, the Young God EP (which would later be appended to reissues of the Cop album), this is as bleak as most of the other music they were making in this period. SWANS at this time were mostly focused on making the most nihilistic, ugly, and punishing music that they could. With a focus on repetitive pummeling, and of course Michael Gira's snarling out his degenerate lyrics, SWANS were as brutal as music got. It's interesting to contrast this with the Krallice track above. They are both aiming for the same kind of dark atmosphere, and get there in such different ways.

SWANS ended up having one of the most interesting careers for a rock band ever, transforming their sound radically during their first incarnation as they went along, breaking up for fourteen years, and then reforming for a series of four monumental and ambitious albums that probably top anything they did in their first incarnation. We'll have plenty more to say about them as things go along.

Joshua Buergel
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