Five Songs, 9/30/2017
Five Songs

Five Songs, 9/30/2017

Back and forth between cerebral stuff and straightforward things. It's the Five Songs way!

The Jam, "Boy About Town"

From Sound Affects, this is just a great song. I could listen to this stuff all day long.

Negativland, "I Believe It's L"

Negativland's 1997 album Dispepsi was all about advertising, with a focus on the "cola wars" between Coke and Pepsi. Constructed out of bits of found sound and with a fair number of things that might actually pass for songs, it's one of the most accessible Negativland albums, along with Escape From Noise and Free. It's still not normal, mind you, but I'm grading on a curve here. I doubt that this record would resonate with anybody who didn't grow up surrounded by these ads.

Mr. T Experience, "Hell of Dumb"

The Mr. T Experience made a cameo a while ago, but here they are for real. Part of the Lookout stable of bands during that label's heyday, the Mr. T Experience played super lightweight pop punk. But it was always pretty charming, and the band wasn't trying to be anything fancy. They just wanted to play some rock 'n' roll. And when I say "band", I mostly mean Frank "Dr. Frank" Portman, who was the singer/songwriter/main force of the band and the only consistent member. He expressed at one point the idea that he wanted to go full Starship, and have the band continue forward without him with zero original members. Anyway, the early 90s records (Milk Milk Lemonade and Our Bodies Our Selves are my favorites from the band.

They Might Be Giants, "And Mom And Kid"

This song comes from Why?, their most recent kids' record. It's hard to not be charmed by it.

Tortoise, "Gopher Island"

Huh, we haven't had Tortoise here before? When people talk about post-rock, Tortoise has a good chance to be the band they're thinking about. Based out of Chicago and centered around drummer John McEntire, Tortoise explicitly looked beyond traditional rock and roll in order to fold in as many ideas from jazz, ambient, electronic music, and anything else they could get their hands on. They also played instrumental music at a time when that was very much a rarity in the rock underground. Their first three records (Tortoise, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, and TNT) were tremendous, and set the template for so many following bands.

This song, a short piece, comes from a comeback album from last year, The Catastrophist, which actually features some vocals. It's a decent record, but not as great as their first several.

Joshua Buergel
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