Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Music Library: Skeptic?, Skew, Slade, Slayer, Sleater-Kinney, Sleep, Sleigh Bells, Slick Rick, Slim Gaillard, Slint, Slits

Skeptic? - What You Were Told EP (2010) and Now Look What You've Done (2011). Birmingham, AL's greatest and possibly only hardcore band brings the hammer and passion. In the interest of full disclosure, that's my awesome brother-in-law Jeff rocking the Eastwood Stormbird in the video below.

Skew - "Doom Vs. Doom." I don't usually include one-off singles in these reviews, especially mashups, but this one, which marries DOOM's (nee MF) flow with the rumble of Sunn 0))), Earth, and Jehu, is awfully fun.

Slayer - Reign In Blood (1986), South Of Heaven (1988), and Seasons In The Abyss (1990). There are many excellent metal albums, but few perfect ones and fewer still able to claim a three-album streak of near-consensus perfection. Slayer brings thrash speeds, delightfully evil lyrics, crazy double-bass drum polyrhythms, and out-of-control locomotive dual lead guitars to the table. And then they clear the table. For Satan!

Sleater-Kinney - Sleater-Kinney (1995), Call The Doctor (1996), Dig Me Out (1997), The Hot Rock (1999), All Hands On The Bad One (2000), One Beat (2002), and The Woods (2005). I did not love Sleater-Kinney at first, but I grew to really like them a lot. Their progression on these albums is pretty interesting, too, as they learned how to lock their guitars by Dig Me Out and then turned into classic rockish guitar fiends by the last two.

Sleep - Volume One (1992), Volume Two (1992), Sleep's Holy Mountain (1993), Dopesmoker (1999), Jerusalem (1999), and Live At ATP (2009). Holy cow, the albums in this post! Sleep is the legendary stoner/doom band that split into High On Fire and Om. Sleep played metal with a definite 70s influence, specifically Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, so they cranked through very loud, often slooooooooooow, very fucking heavy anthems, which culminated in the hour-and-three-minute opus Dopesmoker. Their label balked at releasing it, so they re-edited it into a 52-minute, six-movement piece, which, unsurprisingly, the label liked even less. But the label was wrong, and their legend grew after their breakup to the point where they're playing again. I apparently missed them at the local festival Hopscotch this year, where they played all of Dopesmoker. Regrets, I've had a few.

Sleigh Bells - Treats (2010). Ah, yesterday's summer jams.

Slick Rick - The Ruler's Back (1991). The school, she is old. This is from Slick Rick's comeback, recorded while the seemingly harmless rapper was out on bail awaiting sentencing for shooting a couple of guys.

Slim Gaillard - Slim & Slam (1938) and various tracks. The great Slim Gaillard was so cool - excuse me, vouty - that he could make up his own slang/scat language for all of his songs and still come across as the voutiest rooster who ever set out to swing. And goddamn, this clip from Hellzapoppin'! Oh, and right, he was a big influence on that rock music that used to drive the kids wild, which you can hear in the bluesier track in the first clip.

Slint - Tweez (1989) and Spiderland (1991). Slint was a very interesting band from Louisville who became very influential later. They combined elements of hardcore and punk with a near-ambient soft touch, an experimental approach to song structure, and creepy whispered/spoken vocals. Tweez is good, but Spiderland is great.

The Slits - Cut (1979) and The Peel Sessions (1977-81). In the last entry of a post that increasingly seems to be filled with first-class innovators, the Slits were an all-female British punk band who were an excellent argument for how punk allowed musicians who were not proficient on their instruments to make astonishingly great music. While I probably should post "Instant Hit" or "Shoplifting," check out how the band uses reggae to reinvent "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."


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