Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now
This week's curator: Michael Piantigini of Clicky Clicky Music.
1. Five Eight , Your God Is Dead To Me Now, 2010
This long-running Athens, GA band has always burned with a near-hardcore intensity onstage, but they have the soul to back it up. They don't get up to Boston very often (especially in the last decade or so), but every show I've seen them play has been memorable. The first time, singer and guitarist Mike Mantione silenced a chatty crowd with a visceral performance of "Weirdo," the title track to their '94 album, without using the PA. The second time, my wife and I were the only paying customers at a show where Mantione ended up stark naked playing a cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" with the other guitarist from Vinnie Vincent Invasion. And then there was one time where their set was cut short that still managed to be the most amazing twenty-five minutes of live rock I've ever witnessed.
Their 2011 album, Your God Is Dead To Me Now, may feature newly grown-up perspectives on God, politics, and human nature, but Mantione's never been shy about digging deep into his psyche. Angst ain't only for teens. Five Eight is for everyone who never grew out of needing rock and roll to survive.
Listen: "Your God is Dead to Me Now"
2. Wild Flag, Wild Flag, 2011
I called Wild Flag the "indie-rock Asia" after being thunderstruck by their set at SXSW, but that's not really fair. It's true that these musicans have the bona fides (Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss in Sleater-Kinney, Mary Timony in Helium and her solo work, and Rebecca Cole in The Minders) to qualify as a supergroup, but none of that matters now. This is simply a band that was meant to be together. Timony and Brownstein sound like they've been playing guitar together for years. This album will be deservedly inescapable this fall, but it's about time everyone gets to hear what the attendees of Wild Flag's teaser tours already know: this is America's next great band.
3. Big Dipper, forthcoming (no release date yet determined) album
First Mission of Burma, and now this? We're living in a renaissance period for late, great Boston bands. According to guitarist Gary Waleik, Big Dipper has been recording a new album in his basement in short bursts over the last three years but, like Burma, has no label on which to release it. The band's been sharing a few tracks on their Soundcloud page to tide us over: the unbelievably catchy "Princess Warrior," a classic Bill Goffrier nugget called "Hurricane Bill," and a homage to Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard, fittingly titled "Robert Pollard." I realize that it's 2011 and the kids, after all, will have their say, but the world has been given the gift of a reunited Mission of Burma and Big Dipper. Someone needs to put this stuff out.
Listen: "Robert Pollard"
4. Soccer Mom, You Are Not Going to Heaven, forthcoming
Boston's Soccer Mom is going to deliver their You Are Not Going To Heaven EP in a few weeks, and if there's any justice, they'll launch themselves up a level in the rock game. The EP kicks off with "(A) Natural History," a jangley, hooky driver with (okay, fine) a Thurston Moore-esque lead vocal that sets the tone for what Soccer Mom are about. There's no denying the band's strong '90s influences — with a distinct New England color — but a listen to the new EP proves Soccer Mom owns it.
Listen: "A Natural History"
5. Black Sabbath, Paranoid, 1970
I know, I know. It's a little like saying that IV is your favorite Zeppelin album, or Who's Next is your favorite Who album. Hell, I'm a Master of Reality guy myself (and for the record: a III and Quadrophenia guy, respectively). But I'd only ever ownedParanoid on cassette, so I hadn't sat down and listened to it in years until I scored a clean vinyl pressing at last year's WFMU Record Fair. Now, I can't get enough of the physical wallop that you feel when the bass and drums explode the title track into my living room. CDs just can't do this. (And covers by bands with naked frontmen can't either, however great that spectacle was.)
Listen: "Iron Man"