Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Music Library: Soundgarden, South Park, South San Gabriel, Southern Culture On The Skids, Spacemen 3, Spain, Spank Rock, Sparklehorse

Soundgarden - Louder Than Love (1990). But quieter than hate! I'm not much of a Soundgarden fan after they started to incorporate the pop, but this one is pretty good.

South San Gabriel - Welcome, Convalescence (2003). This is an offshoot of Centro-Matic with Will Johnson making glitchy-electronic folk-rock. It's mopier than Centro-Matic usually is, but it's pretty rewarding music, too.

Southern Culture On The Skids - Too Much Pork For Just One Fork (1991), Peckin' Party EP (1993), Ditch Diggin' (1994), Dirt Track Date (1996), and Zombified (1999). So much fun, these guys are. Ridiculous fun. SCOTS re-recorded a number of the songs from Too Much Pork and Peckin' Party for their major-label debut Dirt Track Date, and yet both versions are excellent. Ditch Diggin' flat-out cooks. And Zombified brings the SCOTS love of garage goodness to the horror rock extremes. So much ridiculous fun. Can't believe I haven't bought more of their albums.

Spacemen 3 - Dreamweapon (1988), Performance (1988), Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To (1990), and Forged Prescriptions (2003). There has never been a more accurately titled album than Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To. Spacemen 3 (so named despite there being only two members of the group) played heady drone music heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground. All of these albums are great. Dreamweapon is the only proper studio album of the ones I have. Performance is live. Taking Drugs is a collection of demos, and Forged Prescriptions is a collection of alternate takes and b-sides.

Spain - Spirituals: The Best Of Spain (1994-2003). A dreamy, romantic, shoegazey, gauzy sort of band led by bassist Josh Haden, son of Charlie and brother to the triplets of that dog (including my not-so-secret longtime crush Petra). Their best known song is "Spiritual," which has been recorded by a number of other artists. Here's a latter-day version of that song from KCRW with the Haden triplets on backing vocals.

Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYoYo (2006). Baltimore-based hip-hop dude with a nerdy flow and Kool Keith-style obsession with sex.

Sparklehorse - Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995), Good Morning Spider (1999), It's A Wonderful Life (2001), Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain (2006), Live At Lollapalooza 2007, and In The Fishtank 15 (Sparklehorse + Fennesz, 2009). One of my favorite weirdos to fall out of the 90s alt-country movement, where he was an ill fit anyway, Mark Linkous aka Sparklehorse made songs of Tom-Waitsian beauty and intensity with his own Appalachian bent. All of these are amazing albums in their own way. They are all full of quietly creepy songs of astonishing beauty and vision. Vivadixieetc. may be my favorite but mainly because it was the first one I discovered. Much of it was made with David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. The supporting tour had Linkous opening for Radiohead and he managed to hurt himself badly when he passed out from a near-lethal drug combination and pinned his legs underneath him for the better part of a day. With damaged legs and a damaged brain, he had to learn to walk and play guitar again, and the result is Good Morning Spider, which adds a lot of noise and power to his songs. With Wonderful Life, Linkous's heroes began turning up on the album, including Tom Waits hisownself and PJ Harvey. Dreamt has him working with Danger Mouse (as he would again on the collection Dark Night Of The Soul) and everything is firing on all cylinders. The live EP is ok, as is the Fishtank EP, which has a lot of Fennesz's trademark electronic clutter all over it. Linkous killed himself a few months after his friend Vic Chesnutt. David Lowery has blamed this on money and health problems, making him another victim of our idiotic healthcare system. But that's another story. And man, that just makes me sad. Here are some of his songs for your enjoyment:


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