Five Songs, 8/8/2023
Five Songs

Five Songs, 8/8/2023

Hammerhead, "Evil Twin"

Hammerhead's initial three-album run with Amphetamine Reptile is probably my favorite on the label, and it's the second and third albums (Into The Vortex and Duh, The Big City) that are the real prizes. The first record is good, but the latter two are two of my favorite noise rock albums by anybody ever. But it wasn't like Into the Vortex just thundered out of the sky out of nowhere. It was heralded by the 1993 EP Evil Twin, which showed how much of a step forward Hammerhead had taken. What stands out to me is how propulsive it sounds. Hammerhead is going places, and nothing is going to stop them, and they will just run you over if you're in the way. That sense of groove moderates the aggression into something that is compulsively listenable to me.

Office of Future Plans, "FEMA Coffins"

After the end of Jawbox, J. Robbins has led a series of bands that lasted for just an album or two: Burning Airlines, Channels, and Office of Future Plans. Collectively, it's four albums and a handful of EPs, and the quality is excellent across them. The first Burning Airlines record is my favorite of the lot, but I enjoy them all, and they really could just have all been issued by "Untitled J. Robbins Project" and it would have been perfectly descriptive. Anyway, it's good! If you're looking for melodic punk, he's your guy.

Baroness, "The Birthing"

I have never, in my life, spelled Baroness correctly the first time. Even right there, where I had just typed it once immediately before, I still tried to put in a double-r. Usually, I spot it - it looks wrong with two rs, which is when I then attempt to put in two ns. Every time. I'm just not sharp.

Pond, "You're Not a Seed"

Pond (the Portland version) released three records, with the third finding its way to a release by Sony. It's a great record, a worthy follow-up to their Sub Pop work, and it did absolutely nothing in the market. Sony wasn't really entirely sure what to make of it, and it was becoming apparent that the appetite in the wider market for grunge and grunge-adjacent music really wasn't all that deep. It was to be their final album, and I vaguely remember that tension with the label led to that result. Yet another Lost 90's Gem around here. Which should be a tag, but is not.

Jesus Jones, "Move Mountains"

The official position of Five Songs LLC is that live albums are mostly a waste of time, and it takes an extraordinary live record to transcend that basic truth. It is also a basic truth of Five Songs LLC that we're big dummies over here, so there are a fair number of live records that will pop up because we bought them despite knowing we don't like live albums. Will any of them be as inessential as a five-song live EP from trivia answer grebo band Jesus Lones? Doubtful!

Joshua Buergel
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