Horse the Band's "A Natural Death". Probably my favorite album of all time. Its perfect for blasting loudly when you're driving dangerously on the freeway, or for sitting down with a pair of headphones and dissecting with your brain. This album will mind fuck you over and over and never get dull. Everything about this album is perfect. The guitars are precisely micro-tonally executed, balancing brutal heaviness, trickery speeds and romantic riffage. The bassist shreds harder than most any guitarist out there. The drums drive the songs like a count down ticker pushing a side scroller screen with urgency, but seriously his lines are slick as fuck and he'll keep you guessing what the fuck all night long. The keyboards are just mad wizardry buzzing from the very core of your soul where video game nostalgia hides, right up front in your brain making you want to windmill punch anyone within reach, and there's even some beautiful melodies hidden in the outside frequencies that one would normally not hear without the aid of psychedelic drugs, seriously trip out and listen to this there's some fucking incredible shit going on. And the singer constantly compelling you with his paradox within a paradox story, his screams are more intense than a Viking slaughtering its dinner, and his voice kinda sounds like a pizza delivery man from the 80s just time travelled to the present to warn you of the future. I've listened to this album hundreds of times and its never enough! This album is perfection, its got the high concept production precision of a Tool album, the psychedelic standards of a Mars Volta album, the epic story content of Terminator 2 meets Dune meets Alien meets Terminator 8 meets Urkle, and it has the intensity factor of an emergency ambulance vehicle driving off a cliff with sirens screaming in codes. And their album that follows this is even better than this one, but this is the one that got me obsessed with them.
There is only one God I pray to and his name is David Bowie. This album is a gleaming alien gem just floating around in space, ahead of its time for sure. In a time when 99% of music was the same sappy love song horse shit over and over, Bowie not only stomped on the entire world but took us for a ride of a life time. Was he the first man in human history to explore outer-space through music? Maybe, maybe not, either way he nailed it. There was also some very tasty Renaissance vibes to it, I guess you could say this album was all over the human time table, every where but the 60's, like he was just 1 up-ing the entire 60's generation by not sounding like everyone else. "The sun machine is coming down and we're gonna have a party", you can't fuck with that. The man is a genius and forever legend. But don't stop there, his entire catalogue is full of amazement and wonder.
Depending on what day of the week you ask me, I might say this is actually my favorite album of all time. From its super mathematical timings, its sacred geometric drumming, the un-replicable layered guitar tones, bass lines more complex than high school girls locker room gossip, but seriously theres some parts where i'm just like is that dude drawing a fucking trapezoid with his notes? And of course Maynard's voice of an angel being sacrificed by God himself. This album is worth a thousand listens, as long as you don't play it over and over within too close a time frame, this album never gets boring. There's a thousand things to say about this album, this album will keep you puzzled for years, but to read about the puzzle checkout that entire page about tool elsewhere on this site.
This album is absolutely JUICY!! Tera Melos, the godfathers of the math-rock-psychedelic-surfer-grunge-shred-fuck-genres genre, bring us their first full length album to include singing, and they got it so right. Some hardcore melos fans say they hate this album because they sacrificed some of the super technical aspects of their older stuff by adding vocals to be more of a "normal band", but I think they did it because it was time to and they didn't want to repeat what they already did. Anyhow, the songs are magnificent. Easiest way to describe this album is its a soundtrack to you getting lost in a big new city, your acid just kicked in, and you're having flash backs of old Nickelodeon shows coincide new situations you're encountering. Its definitely a trip, but even if you're not daring enough to take psychedelics, this album is still fucking nuts. Drums = 10, Bass = 10, Guitars = 10. This album is JUICY in the way they don't crunch the same distorted heavy riffs that most every band does, they totally take it in other directions with super viby tones and its heavy out of build rather than distortion. With Nick Reinhart's insane shreds and elaborate pedal control, he proves once again that he is probably the gnarliest and most innovative guitarist who ever lived, and now that he is singing on top of that he just reached an untouchable position as the craziest multi-tasker alive! Shamwow theres more!?! He pretty much simultaneously wrote Patagonian Rats at the same time he wrote the self titled Bygones album, which just also happened to be a complete sonic blast of insane shreds and hyper technical thrashness. The insane duo of Nick Reinhart and Zach hill was match made in heaven no one saw coming, of course the craziest guitarist and most insane drummer of all time would eventually meet and create the most epileptic album ever. And now those dudes are still killing it softly in their rap group Death Grips although Reinhart is their late coming unofficial fourth member, that music is pure fire. Shamwow theres more!?! Just a few years before all that, Reinhart wrote, directed and starred in his own full length film Snakeville, which is probably the funniest and most awesome low budget film ever, though its way too good for the label "low budget" cause its helarious and somewhat on par with the greats such as Dumb and Dumber. Anyways, the point is Nick Reinhart is legend.
This is the album that killed nu-metal for me and saved me. Has there ever been such hyperness? I know I just said all that jazz about Nick Reinhart being the craziest guitarist ever, but the other half of the week I think Thomas Erak might actually be the craziest guitarist of all time. Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, you name it, they got nothing on Thomas. He's not just singing and strumming rhythms, he's actually shredding lead guitar and singing lead at the same time, I've fucking witnessed this in person 10 fucking times and each time is just mind boggling. Most singer guitarists will usually base all the singing cues on accented rhythms, but Thomas Erak is just all over the fucking place, his guitars and singing can start on completely separate timings, come together, and go off in separate directions at any given moment without him ever losing control, he is truly fucking schizophrenic. His lead/rhythm/lead hybrid riffs are absolutely insane, if you can learn to play a Fall of Troy song you can pretty much play anything now. Don't forget about bassist Timmy, he can definitely pound some heavy ass riffs, I don't think i've ever heard a band before this one where I could actually head bang to the bass, and his backup vocals are always badass. And the drummer Andrew is top notch, he always manages to tie all this chaos together with slick ass drum lines.
If you couldn't tell by now, I am a total groupie slut for concept albums. This album, and this band for that matter, is the most under rated music to ever fall under the radar. Its mellow content destruction on the next level, like you popped an adderall and you're feeling super intellectual and at the same time you're just feeling totally ok that the world is about to self destruct because everything is beautiful. I'm still not really sure what the story is or exactly what the concept is, but it all seems to tie together with moods, themes, colors. The keyboards are majestic as fuck, the drums and bass always match very well, the guitars have a really nice and unique fuzzy overdrive crunch, and I love the singer's voice, he sounds so rebellious fraternity rich kid meets dark magic cult, and its just really fun to sing along to. His lyrics are pretty interesting, I guess if they're going for young illuminati prep school horror mansion drama they really nailed it. There 2nd album was also really good, and they have a handful of demos, cover and unreleased songs that are awesome. Its a shame they stopped at 2 albums, I would have loved to see where they would have gone. I was hardcore into this band when I was in highschool, it wasn't until many years later that I learned the singer is actually the son of Cher, kind of a mind blower, but its also cool knowing that he could have easily used that to his advantage and got a big record label to back them and get maximum exposure, but instead he went an almost underground approach but which also contributed to their death, that or it was a classic case of rich dudes with too much access to drugs.
Hella - "There's no 666 in outerspace". The perfect album title, no one has ever said it better. Music out of the way, both guitarists are mad ass shredders, they use very interesting distortions thats both heavy and twangy at the same time that is perfect for their weird tuned chords, noodlings and shreds. The bassist definitely knows what he's doing. Lo and behold, Zack fucking Hill, the human drum destroyer. If you can keep count of all the bands he's in, this isn't just another notch on all his amazing hyper drum work, but who's to say cause everything he does is always amazing. And the singer Aaron Ross, he's got such a weird voice and style that is just so good and just compliments all the chaos going on in these songs. Its so hard to find any info about this guy, who is he, where did he come from, what else has he done? Its a mystery. The lyrics written by both Aaron Ross and Zach Hill are pretty insane. In a nutshell the album is about getting an outer-space perspective and seeing that all religions that humans have created don't mean anything to the rest of the universe. In concept it sounds cool, but when you get down to each individual song the lyrics are well crafted and super interesting. ok go buy this album!!
That band I wish I knew about sooner. 2007 right before they broke up, they were touring with Coheed and Cambria. I had never heard of the Blood Brothers before cause I wasn't that cool. Friends and I went to the show to see Coheed. I remember driving to the venue we saw this crazy homeless looking man with big puffy hair, he was riding around on a bicycle a mile away, and I just remember us starring and agreeing he looked crazy. Then the show starts, Blood Brothers was the opener and were setting up, we saw that crazy man setting up, oh he must be a roadie? Nope he was the guitarist, badass. Keep in mind I had never heard this band before, just 2 seconds into their first song my jaw just dropped, 2 singers come out screaming their asses off, it was fucking intense!! Immediately my mind was blown, I have never seen a band with 2 singers before, besides linkin park but they don't count fuck them. Best way to describe them is Super Fucking Hyper!! Those dudes deserve their own energy drink named after them. The very next day I went bought all their albums. "Young Machetes" an absolute tornado wreck of beauty and horror. With a spastic heart attack onslaught of drum attacks, gnarly dirty grimy yet melodic and intricate guitar work, bass lines that sound like 80s funk, 90's grunge and 2000's hardcore all layered on top of each other in perfect strokes. This chaotic swan dive of music is the perfect back drop to the alternating conniption fits of Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney. This album particularly has such a radical maniac surfer vibe that I just can't get enough of. Both singers are awesome, but Johnny Whitney in particular I am a huge fan of, the music he has made with this band and his two following bands "Neon Blonde" and "Jaguar Love" is just amazing. He's got the super high vocal groves of Abba, the head slamming attitude of Blondie, the scream intensities of Chino Moreno, the lyrical agilities of Dr suess writing death threats to Edgar Allen Poe, he's more punk than punk itself, all wrapped up in his own brand of sugary super hyper radical awesomeness.
Holy shit. I swear to god I listened to this album front to back literally over 100 times the year it came out. Those guitars are just fucking insane, the leads are a dizzying calibration between fast, fucking fast, so fucking fast, and what the fuck!! And if you took the lead guitars out, the rhythm guitars have enough complexity and brutal assault that you wouldn't even notice anything is missing. And if you take all the guitars out, the bassist is riffing more notes than a Steve Vai solo album. The drummer is so intricate, so precise, so fast and heavy, and at times so subtle, like heart palpitations thumping into a stethoscope which is plugged into an arena sound system. And of course singer Rody Walker, what a majestic madman, I think he's really the first person who has figured out how to actually sing over metal rather than just yell, sure there's always been good singers in metal but Rody just takes it to an entirely new level. This entire album is just perfection through and through, it makes you want to thrash and headbang, it makes you want to fall in love, it makes you want to sing to the world the inner workings of law and peace. And the ending of the album was just so fucking amazing, seriously the best ending I've ever heard. After obsessively listening to it over and over, you have to ask yourself how could they possibly ever top this album? Yes, their next album is even more fucking amazing. And then their 6 song EP following that is a waterfall of pure gold.
Oh its impossible to pick just 1 Xiu Xiu album. Every album is so different, and every song is so different from the next. He's so all over the place, thats why the song playing isn't even on the album shown. Singer and song writer Jamie Stewart, founder and only consistent member of the band, he is just such an artist, even after the word has burnt out and bastardized into every gimmick and has become completely meaningless, Jamie Stewart is the only man who gives the word "artist" meaning again. Seriously he just turns everything that he touches into Mona Lisa's obsessive artsy ex-boyfriend stalker. Its hard to describe just anyone of his albums because each one is song after song of brilliance and despair. His songs have everything from beautiful melodic instrumentations, crazy whacky sound contraptions, unorthodox noise experiments that become so catchy, and just about every instrument someone could randomly grab from a music shop during a mass protest city riot. His lyrics and singing are always so lush and natural. But be prepared with a raincoat and a box of tissues because most Xiu Xiu songs are incredibly dark, depressing and internally soul crushing, they seriously make Nirvana songs sound wholesome and family friendly in comparison. I always have to be sure I'm in a healthy mental state before I go on a Xiu Xiu loop because its very easy to fall into an emo suicide pit when listening to Xiu Xiu. But all that aside, Jamie Stewart is a music God, he's better than Kurt Cobain, Jemi Hendrix and John Lennon combined. I might say he's actually better than David Bowie himself, yes its true. Its just fucking mind boggling how unknown he is, with only 64,000 followers on facebook, which is somewhat average for an underground band, but still Xiu Xiu deserves platinum magazine cover status, it just makes me want to suicide bomb Rolling Stones headquarters. I promised myself I would never get another band tattoo, but fuck that I'm gonna get a Xiu Xiu tattoo.