Happy birthday to my oldest! 10 years! Mind blowing. Let's see what shuffle pulls up to celebrate!
One of the things to like about the Arsonists is the way MCs are coming into and out of this song, weaving their verses. I love that kind of thing.
The Adjusters, "It's Like That"
A soul/ska act out of Chicago, the Adjusters were lumped in with the rest of the third-wave, which was a little bit of a mischaracterization. They were probably more reggae than ska, for starters. For second, the soul side of the band was substantial, and probably more of their songs would be soul songs than ska or reggae. When they were on, they were amazing, particularly when Joan Axthelm and Jessica Basta were doing the lead vocals. They also stood out for having an explicit political view for their music, as avowed socialists. This song comes from their third album, Otis Redding Will Save America, but I think their second album (Before the Revolution) is their best.
Torche, "Without a Sound"
Torche, a descendent band of Floor, play basically the heaviest pop music around. Or the most melodic metal around. It's hard to tell sometimes, but they're at that intersection of bright songs played with heavy instrumentation. It's a super fun hybrid, and I highly recommend their stuff.
And I got through that entire paragraph about Torche without mentioning Nirvana! Well, yes shuffle, in a lot of ways the obvious thing to mention is probably Nirvana's Nevermind, which also had more than a little pop sensibility at times. But this song comes from Nirvana's debut album, with the Melvins' Dale Crover on drums. In my head, Bleach is a heavier album than Nevermind, with something like "Floyd the Barber" or "Negative Creep" not really having any parallels on the later album. But as I listen to this song, and pull up "Floyd the Barber", I think that's crap, and there's a straight line between the two albums.
Circus Lupus, "Pacifier"
Post-hardcore band originally from Madison and signed to legendary label Dischord, I always kind of wished they were an instrumental combo. I really like the band, but sometimes Chris Thomson's vocals kind of get in the way more than I'd like. Solid Brass is my pick from their two albums, but both are excellent. I was always bummed that drummer Arika Casebolt never played in any other bands.