Five Songs Special, 7/4/2021
Five Songs

Five Songs Special, 7/4/2021


I wanted to do a special, and decided to search for "explosion" in my library. That turns out to be an album from Explosions in the Sky and a whole shitload of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. And so, fuck it, here's five random Jon Spencer Blues Explosion tracks! Happy 4th!

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Train #2"

I think I've told this story before, but one summer, my job included about a month stretch where I pulled staples from telephone poles. All day long, just moving from telephone pole to telephone pole with a screwdriver. It was miserable, the summer Spokane sun beating down on me as I wrecked my wrists digging into those hateful things. Sometimes, my screwdriver would slip, and I'd drag my knuckles into the splintered surface. The only nice thing I can say for it is that I worked alone, and was able to smuggle headphones in under my hardhat (required by safety rules because I was working next to a road, as if the hardhat was going to save me when someone plowed over me in their F-150) despite the rules against it. Mostly, I listened to the same handful of albums over and over, one of which was Extra Width. This album kept me sane that summer, and a certain dusty heat has clung to it in my memory as a consequence.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Water Main"

The first JSBX album was kind of disorganized. There's still more than a little Pussy Galore hanging around the record, with that sort of spastic songwriting still at the fore. Things would settle into a groove on the next record, but that first one is still finding its way. Oh, and that's John Linnell on sax there!

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Soul Typecast"

[panicky, trying to think of another story about Extra Width] Uh, uh...uh...remember digipaks for CDs?

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Talk About The Blues"

This is the version from Extra-Acme, the companion to Acme featuring alternate takes, extras, and other ephemera from those sessions. Acme is great, but there's a reason that most of this stuff wasn't on the album, you know? Still, even b-list JSBX is worth listening to.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Fuck Shit Up"

I put on this record the other day, making sure to turn it on in the bedroom where Megan was as well. I'm sure the opening scream scared the shit out of her. Sorry, Megan! Anyway, after the sweaty, groovy, funk-flecked brilliance of Extra Width and Orange, JSBX decided to take it back to their punk roots with Now I Got Worry. It's deliberately retrograde and prickly, embracing noise and chaos in a way that they had largely gotten away from. This song, for instance, really underlines the approach on the album. It's a bracing contrast to the previous record, and it's an album for a different mood, but sometimes this anarchy is what you want. Like, say, you're trying to startle somebody.

Joshua Buergel
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