I can't count the number of times I've listened to "!!!!!!" by The Roots, which is the song I get if I go to all my songs and hit play without turning on shuffle. I'll probably get really confused if and when I ever hit it legitimately. Here's today's tunes.
Johnnie Taylor, "I Ain't Particular"
I kind of wish I was a better historian of these old soul records. I'm mostly familiar with the big names, but I can't tell you anything much about a lot of these folks. It's a shame, as I'm sure there's some great stories for many of them. Well, at any rate, this is from the first Stax/Volt collection, coming at the very end of the Atlantic run (this is actually the last track from that set).
Aquabats, "Chemical Bomb"
Ska-punk weirdos The Aquabats mostly make manic, upbeat stuff, often centered around their ridiculous superhero personas. At their best, it's cartoony, charming, and infectious. Here, they're in a relatively sedate mood, although of course their unique lyrical sensibilities are on display.
Barbara Lewis, "Ask the Lonely"
Here's a track from the second Stax/Volt set, the middle years when Stax was independent, and putting out some of its most vital music. This track is pretty dramatic, compared to a lot of stuff on the label, perhaps because it's a Four Tops song.
PJ Harvey, "50ft Queenie"
This song, from Harvey's thunderous Rid of Me, got a fair bit of radio play, and deservedly so. Pissed off in all the right ways, this is a tremendous song (and album). I particularly like the separation between the guitars and the rhythm section, seeming to pull the song in two different directions.
Big Black, "Ergot"
Probably the most important band in what turned into the noise rock scene, Steve Albini's Big Black turned two guitars, a bass, and a drum machine named Roland into some of the best racket around. He would later also go on to shape the sound of so many bands as engineer, including Rid of Me, among many other classic records.
Songs About Fucking is an album that my friend Bill bought mainly to try and annoy his mother, but it turned out that we both ended up liking it a lot. I seem to remember him getting carded in the record store trying to buy it, and then just trying again with a later employee. It seems very strange that they used to card kids trying to buy records.