Five Songs, 8/5/2023
Five Songs

Five Songs, 8/5/2023

Pyramids, "The Echo of Something Lovely"

Experimental post-rock band Pyramids released their first record on Hydra Head Records, which is how I ended up being exposed to them. They're honestly pretty all over the map on this record, which kind of lurches around between various styles. I've only got this and their last record, 2015's A Northern Meadow, and that's similarly a restless record. I don't really love it, but I think it's at least interesting, so that's a good thing.

Gastr del Sol, "The Seasons Reverse"

More experimentation! It's a little absurd, honestly, that I'd describe both this and the previous record as "post-rock", now that I think about it. Post-rock tells you...what, that there are some rock-ish things about it, but without the structures of a rock song? I'll probably keep using the term, but there probably should be different terms for the jazz-inflected version and the metal-inflected version.

Beastie Boys, "Shambala"

I think it's kind of fun when bands replicate the structure of a record and kind of turn in a second version of a successful album. I know I should maybe be annoyed by it, but I find it kind of charming. Anyway, Ill Communication is really following very closely in the footsteps of Check Your Head. It's not exactly the same record, but it definitely rhymes with it for sure. It's a less obvious case than, say, Metallica re-doing Ride the Lightning, but they're very similar records.

Skinny Puppy, "Scrapyard"

There are bands that I kind of lose track of, and as a result they get frozen in amber in my brain. By the time this album rolled out in 1992, I was kind of getting away from industrial, and as a result this is forever "the last Skinny Puppy album". And, yes, they did say at the time that they were breaking up, but it very much was not the last Skinny Puppy record. But it always will be in my head. Anyway, it's probably my second favorite record from them, so they went out on top, and good for them. (They did not go out.)

John Oswald, "Angle"

Experimental musician Oswald created what he called "pluderphonics", music composed entirely of samples of other things, often chopped up beyond recognition. This sort of thing has become very familiar these days, but at the time Oswald was working and especially with his early work, it was pretty unusual stuff. He would run into legal trouble for various releases when he would fly a little too close to the sun, but kept at it for forever. At any rate, this is music for the head, not the heart, but it can be fun to just try and figure out how it all hangs together.

Joshua Buergel
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