Five Songs, 5/13/2017

I think we're on a streak here, with another strong collection of songs for this entry. Take a listen and see if you agree.

Willie Nelson, "Undo The Right"

This is from Crazy: The Demo Sessions, a compilation of very early demos of Nelson performing a bunch of his songs, some of which ended up becoming very famous. "Crazy" as recorded by Patsy Cline, for instance. The songs on this album are all pretty spare arrangements, mostly just Nelson and his guitar. I'm far from a Nelson expert, so I have no real pointers on where to go with his discography, but this album is very good. Makes for a disorienting duet when you have two copies of the song going at once, though.

Yo La Tengo, "Superstar-Watcher"

Yo La Tengo has now been going for more than 30 years, which is an amazing milestone for any band, especially because they can still put out good records. This song, a short piece from Painful, is from arguably their first great album (depending on what you think of Fakebook). Painful is the album where they really reconciled their pop side with their noisy freakout side. They would later top it (I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One) and match it a couple times (And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, I Am Not Afraid Of You and I Will Beat Your Ass), but it's still a top notch album.

Bob Marley & The Wailers, "Hold On This Feeling"

There are some compilations, The Complete Wailers, which aim to collect a bunch of his pre-Island work, a laudable endeavor. The compilations are sadly out of print as far as I can tell, a problem which plagues much Jamaican music of the period. A lot of it was put out on small labels that disappeared, and then it pops up on various re-configured compilations, disappears again, etc. This is the first volume of the comps, and they're all worth having if you feel like tracking them down.

(previously)

DJ /rupture, "Mutamassik - Show 2 Show (DJ /rupture remix)"

Somewhere near the electronic noise experimentation of Kid 606 and the like lies DJ /rupture, who is at his most interesting when bits and pieces of recognizable tunes pop through the noise and make themselves clear. There are times that I really like putting on this kind of noise, and when I do, nothing else works for me.

Son Volt, "Automatic Society"

Legendary alt-country (indeed, the first band I can remember being labeled "alt-country") Uncle Tupelo broke up after four albums and spawned two following bands. Most people reading this have probably heard of Wilco, Jeff Tweedy's band that has put out their appealing mix of country, pop, folk, and dad rock for something like ten albums now, depending on how you count them. Fewer people have heard of Son Volt, Jay Farrar's band. That's largely because Son Volt isn't as good as Wilco.

Truthfully, the two bands are more similar than they are different. The approach of Uncle Tupelo, of taking traditional forms of music and seeing what you can do with them in a more modern rock context, is still present. If you like Wilco, you probably are going to like Son Volt. Start with The Search if you're curious.