"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."
I dunno what this "spring" stuff is all about -- it's been summer here in south Texas for at least four months now. But here's seven songs that have formed the soundtrack to my aimless driving around lately:
1. "Hits from the Bong", Cypress Hill (Black Sunday). A more or less accidental rediscovery of this sweet single from CH's second album has led it to find a place in frequent rotation on road trips and zooted grocery runs lately. The catchy sample here is from Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man", but as with most DJ Muggs productions, there's a lot more going on than just the hook: a lot of the song's stone appeal comes from the slow-and-low bottom, some of which is made up of a terrific Lee Dorsey drum break.
2. "Mole Skin", Bobby Kool (Funky Funky Chicago). Funky Delicacies' regional funk anthologies are crammed with great forgotten funk and soul sides, and not surprisingly, the one from my old home town is a favorite. "Mole Skin" is a real oddity -- the bass and the clanging drums couldn't be more greasy-funky, but the horns and the free-riffing organ sound like some forgotten Ventures surf single. This one and the jaw-dropping "(Get Up Off Your) Rusty Dusty" by Casey Jones and the Firemen have been getting a lot of play at my place of late.
3. "Sudbury Saturday Night", Stompin' Tom Connors (The Northland's Own Tom Connors). As much as I love Canadocentric country hooter Tom Connors, he can get pretty hokey at times. Not here, though -- with its driving beat, propulsive acoustic guitar, and hard-partying lyrics about miners on a bender (Connors never sounded more convincing than when he belts out "the boys are gettin' stinko!" like he was Shane MacGowan displaced in Ontario), he could pass for an outlaw country legend. Makes one fair long for a Beer Store, it does.
4. "If You're Into It", Flight of the Conchords (The Distant Future EP). Having finally caught up with this HBO comedy after the release of the first-season DVD, I go against conventional wisdom in saying the best part of it is the deadpan character moments, not the sporadically amusing song parodies; but "If You're Into It", with its markedly confused seductive tone and bizarro-Johnny Cash choruses by Jemaine Clement, is a real winner, and it's short enough not to wear out its welcome. "Foux da Fa Fa", with its processed-cheese sound and cod French, was the soundtrack to my recent stay in Paris, but this hummable little bastard has wormed its way into my workday ever since.
5. "Bros in Arms", the M's (Real Close Ones). This terrific, underrated Chicago alt-rock outfit always gets accused of excessive Brit-popping, and there's no doubt their Kinks influence turns up in the verses, but they're uniquely American, as plenty of little touches -- from the droning keyboard that always threatens to explode to the buzzing Funkadelic guitar that opens the song -- demonstrate.
6. "Cold Gettin' Dumb", Just-Ice (Back to the Old School). One of the great forgotten rappers of the 1980s, ex-punk/proto-thug Just-Ice, straight outta Brookyln, took the rap world by storm for about five minutes before fading into just-as-instant obscurity. This was his first major single, and it's an absolute smash -- a jangling hardcore beat that sounds like a perfect blend of the old-school bare-bones mixed with the East Coast gangsta sound that was still to come, and Ice at his most lyrically sharp and aggressive.
7. "Endless Drifting Wreck", Farflung (A Wound In Eternity). Of all the metal that's showed up in my mailbox the last month, none of it has stuck with me like Farflung. At first listen, they seemed like a competent second-tier spacey stoner rock combo, but each subsequent listen has turned up weirder elements that enhance the whole thing. This one starts out with an instantly catchy heavy rock riff, but the oddly lo-fi thrashing drums, crazily echoed vocals, and the slowed-down, trippy, '70s-style break at the end of the song really push it over the top into something special.
I'm supposed to pass this warm potater on to seven other people, so here goes: y'all are up.
Neal Von Flue
And whoever the hell else wants to do it.