Besides the recurring "variations on a theme" theme I've got going that spotlights various key indie producers/engineers, another idea I had was to do a random, recurring "5 songs" list of 5 songs that represent some particular theme. Sort of inspired by High Fidelity but not.
We'll kick it off with 5 songs by Chicago-area artists that aren't Smashing Pumpkins. I'm stretching Chicago to mean from Champaign on north to the Wisconsin border.
The most difficult bit here is picking 5 songs from about 30 artists to choose from! So this particular 5 Songs, Chicago edition may end up having multiple sub-postings.
On with it, no particular order...
In retrospect, this list is actually 5 songs by Chicago artists recorded by Steve Albini. Perhaps the next 5 Songs, Chicago edition segment will feature 5 songs by Chicago artists, NOT recorded by Steve Albini. Or perhaps not.
TAR / "Short Trades"
(from the 1990 Amphetamine Reptile LP Jackson, recorded by Steve Albini)
DeKalb, IL's finest export that's not named Cindy Crawford. These guys were known in the "scene" for their custom-built alumininum guitars, and at their last show (at Lounge Ax in 1995/1996 or so) they auctioned the guitars off to audience members (really!).
SILKWORM / "That's Entertainment"
(from the 2000 Touch And Go LP Lifestyle, recorded by Steve Albini)
Longtime friends of Steve Albini, this band (originally formed in Missoula, MT in 1987 before ultimately relocating to Chicago in the 90s) plays just good, propulsive indierock with touchpoints Neil Young and Minutemen evident throughout. Unfortunately, drummer Michael Dalquist (along with two others) was killed in a car accident in July 2005, caused by a woman attempting to commit suicide. The band essentially ended then.
the JESUS LIZARD / "Dancing Naked Ladies"
(from the 1992 Touch And Go LP Liar, recorded by Steve Albini)
A piledriving, massive, explosive attack of a song. It grabs you by the throat, swings you around and slams you onto the floor. You better shake it off.... David Yow is perhaps the most unique singer ever, at least in indierock annals.
SHELLAC of NORTH AMERICA / "Canada"
(from the 1996 Touch And Go LP Terraform, recorded by Albini/Weston/Trainer)
We ought to name a song after you, call it Canada. Imagine a country so blue, backwards it's adanac. A delightful tribute to our neighbors up North.
POSTER CHILDREN / "Water"
(from the 1991 Twin/Tone LP Daisychain Reaction, recorded by Steve Albini)
Loud guitars, amazing drum sounds, tight dynamics, the summation of the Albini sound is right here. And a damn good song as well - many believe that this record is the Poster Children's finest hour, including myself. Champaign/Urbana must be proud...
-------------------- SPECIAL BONUS SECTION!!! --------------------
Since we're talking Chicago-area acts recorded by Steve Albini, how can we forget Rockford's very own Cheap Trick???
CHEAP TRICK / "Hello There"
(from the unreleased re-recorded In Color album sessions, recorded in 1997 by Steve Albini)
(sorry for the mp3 lineage, if I find better I'll upload a new link)
From the internets:
The background (as far as I know) is this: Back in the late 90s Steve Albini produced a record for Cheap Trick. While in the studio, they got to talking about how In Color fell short, in their minds, sonically. On the spot, they decided to re-record every song (along with a few extras) from the classic album.
Here's a little more info from Rick Nielsen:
As for the re-recorded Albini In Color album, "we haven't made any plans for it, but we didn't record it for a joke," he quips. "We didn't go at it trying to come up with crazy new arrangements, but sonically we never liked In Color. The songs were good, but sonically it's wimpy and we're not wimpy. We left before it got mixed and were told 'We'll fix it in the mix' by our record company (back then) and our ex-manager. Well, they went the other way," Nielsen says finishing his thought.
So this has never seen any official release, which is too bad because it's a great album.