Five Songs, 8/29/2023
Five Songs

Five Songs, 8/29/2023

Stone Temple Pilots, "Big Empty"

I was going to say that this is the only STP track in my library, their contribution to The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack which I bought because it had a new track from Nine Inch Nails and Helmet. Anyway, I was wrong: they also contributed to a Led Zeppelin tribute album, a covers album notable mostly for David Yow getting together with Helmet for a fun "Custard Pie" and not a lot else. Anyway, STP are and always were boring, flannel wallpaper for people who thought that the only thing that the old hard rock hegemony on raido needed was more grunting.

Stubborn All-Stars, "Judge Knotte (Lets Ye Be Judged)"

Both the strength and weakness of the Stubborn All-Stars is that they explicitly referenced and sometimes did a bit of just recreation of the previous generations of ska. Sometimes that approach tipped over too much from tribute into duplication. But, it was also a strength because generally their taste was pretty good, and if you're going to borrow something, borrow from the Specials (like this tune, which reminds me a lot of "Stupid Marriage").

Marvin Gaye, "Can I Get A Witness"

I think for too many folks these days, the memory of Marvin Gaye has collapsed into just What's Going On, a perspective that erases a decade of career prior to that record. And, sure, this is just Motown stuff, but come on: it's Marvin Gaye singing a Motown song, it rules.

Prefuse 73, "Drum Machine, Cello, Headwrap"

I was going to do a little Carmac the Magnificent bit here, except for two problems: one, nobody remembers that shit, that's old person stuff and two, I couldn't figure out a bit to connect these words. "Name three things found on the floor after Yo-Yo Ma had a successful night at the club?" Come on, hacky. That's terrible shit. This feels just like failing at Codenames.

Frank Black, "Los Angeles"

The first post-Pixies single for the newly re-christened Frank Black, this song had OK traction on MTV back in the day with a video directed by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants. Frank also toured with TMBG, opening for them on the John Henry tour. At the time, I was surprised that a legend like Frank would be an opener, but his fame as a solo artist was just much, much less, so I suppose it made sense. That was a fun tour, though.

Joshua Buergel
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