Five Songs, 8/3/2023
Five Songs

Five Songs, 8/3/2023


Do I still remember how to do this? I guess I'll find out!

I took a break from the grind of daily music blogging last October, because it was starting to wear me out. Needing to figure out something to say about these songs each day felt like I was really straining, and it wasn't serving the purpose of a creative outlet nor a reminder of songs I'd forgotten about it. It was a slog, unfun, and I had proven to myself that I was capable of blogging every single day but I no longer wanted to do so. This project is, in the end, for myself. There are no ads, no monetization, and frankly, no audience. If I'm not having fun, there's no point.

So why am I back? It's been nine months or so, and I find myself a little adrift creatively. I have a game I'm slowly working on, but having a thing that I work on periodically to get the creative juices flowing sounds like a good idea. Will it spark creativity in other places? Probably not! Will it be interesting? History suggests no! Will I be glad to have done it? Absolutely.

Back to it, then. For those who are unfamiliar, the premise here is simple. I have a server I operate here with all my music on it. All my ripped CDs, all my digital purchases, everything. I just fire it up, hit the random function, and write up a bit on each song that surfaces. It's accompanied with a playlist of the tunes, and you can see if maybe you discover any new favorites. I'm not really a music writer, I'm just a guy who has (bad) opinions, but maybe this is useful? (It will not be.)

How often will I update? I'm not sure I'm going to commit to every day, that would be foolish. I'm going to permit myself to have some days off when I'm feeling it. But most days? At any rate: I'm back! For at least a little while! LET'S HEAR SOME FUCKIN' TUNES!

Nickel Creek, "New Blood"

Ooh, 2023 release. TIMELY. Nickel Creek, the bluegrass band that won wide acclaim including at least one Grammy (I'm not going to look up how many), ended their first iteration in 2005, after the great Why Should the Fire Die?, an album that took their kind of progressive approach to bluegrass about as far as it could go. Oh my god, look at that run-on sentence. I'm bad at this!

Anyway, "progressive" in the sense that it wasn't especially bluegrass. The members went on to do their own things, and that was that. But they got back together in 2014 for A Dotted Line, and then went away for the equivalent length of time. So, another nine years later, and it's a new record for 2023. Is Celebrants good? Well, I like their thing, so yeah. It's good. It's not ground breaking, or at least not breaking any ground they hadn't already broken. But I don't listen to much that's even really adjacent to this, just Nickel Creek and Sturgill Simpson, really. Variety is important in one's musical diet, and the occasional thing that isn't guttural mouth noises over guitars cranked to a thousand is refreshing. Maybe your chocie of changeup is different, but I hope you have one.

J Church, "Bomb"

A thing that J Church always did well, among the many things they did well, is that their album titles were always dialed in. Camels, Spilled Coronas and the Sound of Mariachi Bands is fantastic. Verbose, sure, but there's an atmopshere to the name that is really evocative. The tunes, of course, are the sort of picture-perfect melodic punk that J Church always nailed. This is one of their many compilation records, collecting their prolific non-album tracks, the first one of those. Generally, for a punk band, the assumption should always be that their earliest material is their strongest, so is this their finest comp? Reader, it is not. That's Nostalgic for Nothing.

Beulah, "Fooled With The Wrong Guy (UK single)"

This is from Rarities, Demos & Besides, an EP that came with the initial release of Yoko. A collection of singles and demos given as a throwaway bonus to a record release sounds inessential, and you know what? It really is.

J-Zone, "I Smell Smoke"

From the last J-Zone rap record, it was clear by Fish-n-Grits that he was ready to move on to a new challenge. The drums were very front and center, and it seemed like J-Zone was more interested in them than the actual rap. After this record, he would start the Du-Rites, and not look back. It's still a really interesting record, but primarily to me as a transitional album between his rap career and his new funk career. This track, an instrumental outside of the vocal samples, is a great example of that transition happening.

Kool & the Gang, "Jungle Boogie"

What's the whitest way to discover how great Kool & the Gang were back in the day? That's right, from pursuing a song after it appeared on the soundtrack of a Quentin Tarantino movie. At least it led me to an appreciate of Kool & the Gang. And it's still not whiter than how I learned about Public Enemy.

Joshua Buergel
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