Music Library: Slovenly, Slow Dazzle, Sly And The Family Stone, Small Faces, Smashing Pumpkins, Patti Smith, Smiths, Smog, Smokey Robinson, Snuff, Soft Boys, Soft Cell, Soft Pack, Soft Set, Solex + M.A.E.
Slovenly - Thinking Of Empire (1986), Riposte (1987), We Shoot For The Moon (1989), and Highway To Hanno's (1992). It is unjust that Slovenly have been so overlooked. This was an SST band with legs, and all of these albums stand up just as strong today. Slovenly had the Beefheartian eclecticism of The Minutmen, the jagged edges and fearless exploratory spirit of early Wire, and a genuine guitar hero in Tom Watson (who still tours and records with Mike Watt). These albums are sadly out of print now, and Allmusic seems to reviewed them more hamfistedly than usual. But Allmusic is wrong; Slovenly still packs a punch, even when they are out in guitar-god skronk-and-melody heaven.
Slow Dazzle - The View From The Floor (2005). A more insubstantial sideband of then-married Timothy Bracy and Shannon McArdle of The Mendoza Line. It's not terrible by any means, but it don't have the greatness of the Mendoza Line at their peak.
Sly And The Family Stone - A Whole New Thing (1967), Dance To The Music (1968), Life (1968), Stand! (1969), Greatest Hits (1970), There's A Riot Goin' On (1971), and Fresh (1973). It is fascinating to compare the utopian funk of Sly's 1960s albums, all the way up to the three singles ("Hot Fun In The Summertime," "Everybody Is A Star," and "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again)") on Greatest Hits. Then Sly's drug use got out of control and he made his version of Exile On Main Street, There's A Riot Goin' On, which took the funk and imbued it with dread palpable to turn the joyous funk of "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again)" into the terrifying, heavy drizzle of "Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa." Fresh is more upbeat without releasing much of the darkness at the heart of Riot.
Small Faces - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (1968). A half-daft concept album that practically reeks of marijuana smoke from the moment you start it, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake manages to be fun and witty, even if only half-baked nonsense. Or all the way baked, as the case may be. I mean, check out the sheer rock and the whimsy on display in this clip.
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream (1993). Ugh. I liked this when I was 21. Not so much now.
Patti Smith - Horses Live (2005). As the name and date say, this is a live version of every track from Horses from 2005 that accompanied the re-release. I've covered Patti Smith elsewhere at length. Just wanted to mention this. It's not really worth owning on its own, but any reason to own a copy of Horses is a good reason.
The Smiths - Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986), Strangeways Here We Come (1987), and Singles (1987). I never listened to these guys when I was a teenager because, basically, I was afraid of them. The tiny punk scene where I grew up had some strong limitations on one's music intake, and the Smiths were on the other side of the line. So when I picked these up in the mid 00s, the Smiths were basically new to me. And I liked them! Then I took up smoking cloves and wearing black nail polish and calling my dad a few times every day just to let him know that eating meat is so bourgeois.
Smog - Dongs Of Sevotion (2000). Bill Callahan has been doing this for a long time, I think, but I'm not that much of a fan. This is ok without ever blowing me away.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - Anthology (1967-75). The thing that surprises me most about this is that these songs are from the late 60s and early 70s, not a decade earlier like I had somehow always thought. But these are the tracks you think of when you think of Mr. Robinson and the Miracles he fronted.
Snuff - In The Fishtank 4 (1999). This is the last of the Fishtank EPs before Konkurrent, the label that put the series together, realized that they should be getting dissimilar artists to work together. Snuff is a British punk band that I gather believes that they are funny. Thus there are variations on "Yes, We Have No Bananas" all over this EP, and it suuuuuuuuuucks.
The Soft Boys - A Can Of Bees (1979) and Underwater Moonlight... And How It Got There (1980). These are freakin' excellent albums. Underwater Moonlight, in particular, is brilliant. Robyn Hitchcock was pointing the way for psych-folk aficionados of the future while Kimberley Rew was laying down the best shimmering power-pop since Big Star.
Soft Cell - "Tainted Love." What other song would someone have by Soft Cell?
The Soft Pack - The Muslims (2009). The name of the album was the name of the band, but they changed it because of all the racism they encountered. Who could have guessed? I saw them at SXSW in 2009 and they were ok. But this song, "Bright Side," is excellent.
The Soft Set - The Soft Set (2000), Only Lovers Left Alive (2004), Unrequited Love's A Bore (2006), and a whole bunch of unreleased tracks (2006). Fantastic Go-Betweens-y/Smiths-y indie pop band that I was in at one point. Led by William Crain, who is an encyclopedia of rock. And now you can't hear them anywhere, which is a shame. Wish I could share some of these songs with you.
Solex + M.A.E. - In The Fishtank 13 (2005). This is a Fishtank EP from after Konkurrent had their big idea and it works pretty well. I know almost nothing of either of these artists, but the result is interesting, with electronica and horns playing off each other.