Five Songs, 8/14/2023
Five Songs

Five Songs, 8/14/2023

Elvis Costello & the Attractions, "New Amsterdam"

Costello was in the middle of his 10/10 run of albums (ignoring the covers record), with Get Happy!! being maybe the most distinctive of the lot. It's not my favorite (that's probably This Year's Model followed by Imperial Bedroom), but the soul focus of the record means that it stands out a bit more from the rest of the group. Although Imperial Bedroom is also pretty distinctive, with the lush, orchestrated songs. I'm really not strengthening my point here. Anyway, good record.

fIREHOSE, "Brave Captain"

Born out of D. Boon's tragic death, the first fIREHOSE record was certainly a pretty big break with the previous band. But for me, I actually encountered the bands backwards. I read a bunch about their 1991 release, Flyin' the Flannel, and got curious about the band even though I really only knew the Minutemen as a band I needed to catch up with. I had a lot of learning to do in the early 90s. I ended up with this record first, and given a baseline expectation of "smart hardcore", this wasn't at all what I expected. But I loved it, it was so different from everything I was listening to at the time, and it hit me hard. It was pretty, even, which wasn't a thing I was prioritizing at the time, but it made me love the record just that much more. As I learned more about both bands, I of course adored the Minutemen, but due to my backwards approach, I have a softer spot for fIREHOSE than most seem to. At least, most of the people on Usenet in 1991.

Public Enemy, "What a Fool Believes"

New Whirl Odor, the 2005 effort from Public Enemy, is mostly just dispiriting. Chuck D barking the 5Ws over an uninspired, repetitive beat isn't exactly cutting edge. And, you know what, he actually only does four of the Ws. Just shoddy stuff.

The Isley Brothers, "Make Me Say It Again Girl, Pts. 1 & 2"

Recorded with their "3+3" lineup, The Heat is On is full of rock-inflected soul. Or funk-inflected soul. Or, uh, rock-inflected funk? Funk/rock/soul? Oh, and some R&B. It's a fusion of everything sweaty, basically, whether it's a ballad like this or a funk ripper like "Fight the Power". A truly great album from a truly great band.

Grenadine, "In a World Without Heroes"

Grenadine was an indie-pop supergroup, with Jenny Toomey (Tsunami), Mark Robinson (Unrest), and Rob Christiansen (Eggs) as members. They put out two albums, and they sound more or less like what you'd expect them to sound like. Robinson's songs sound kind of like Unrest, and Toomey's songs kind of sound like Tsunami. So if you love those bands and want more, you can just look here.

Joshua Buergel
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