Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Back-up Plan part 3: The Botch Boys

The Beach Boys - Sounds Of Summer (I always think I like The Beach Boys more than I actually do. I mean, how can you not like them? They're The Beach Boys! They're the band that might have introduced me to rock n' roll; I've liked them since I was 6 years old. And they're arguably the greatest American band of their era. In spite of all this, I rarely get the urge to listen to them and haven't bothered to hear much besides this and Pet Sounds. There's something a little too wholesome about them for me. It reeks of skeletons in closets and forced innocence caused by repression. But every now and then I'm in just the right mood for that.)

Bear vs. Shark - Terrorhawk
(a band from Michigan that broke up a few years ago. They had a nice aggressive sound that was somewhere between mainstream and underground rock, which is a niche that I feel not enough bands fit into.)

The Beastie Boys - License To Ill
The Beastie Boys - Anthology: The Sounds Of Science (Was License to Ill truly a groundbreaking rap record or were The Beastie Boys just a bunch of idiots who got lucky because they right place right-timed it? And did they push the genre into new and exciting places, or are they ultimately to blame for the "rap-rock" era and the rise of a thousand Linkin Parks and ICPs? I'll leave that for other people to debate while I go put "Sabotage" on repeat.)

Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
(I first heard of B&S in the mid-90s, but I only heard this album for the first time five years ago. Just as well. If I'd heard it at the time, I would've thought "this music is way too wimpy for me". Without knowing it, what I'd mean is "I really like this, but I'm afraid admitting it will make me feel effeminate or even homosexual in some way, because apparently my grasp of masculinity is so shaky it feels threatened by enjoyment of the wrong type of music." Anyway this album is good. I have this and Boy With The Arab Strap. Remind me to hear more stuff by this band sometime.)

Benton Falls - Fighting Starlight
Benton Falls - Guilt Beats Hate
(Band from Santa Rosa, California that released two records on the Deep Elm label before disbanding. The first album is sad and slow, with heavy emphasis on dual guitar arpeggios. The second is still sad, but rocks harder and with more thought put into the arrangements. Sounds like they consciously tried to become a more dynamic group, but couldn't escape the sadness. I hate to overuse a word, but their singer has probably the saddest-sounding voice I've ever heard. He sounds like a guy who's never smiled in his life. That is dedication.)

Black Eyes - Cough (Black Eyes' best songs sound like a cross between Ornette Coleman and a kitten being set on fire. Two singers, one just talks and the other screams in an insane high-pitched voice while the band plays this weird jazzy, African-sounding music behind them. If you're in the mood, the effect is rather awesome. But if you're not, it's just a headache-inducing mess. Speaking of headaches...)
The Blood Brothers - This Adultery Is Ripe

The Blood Brothers - March On Electric Children
The Blood Brothers - ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn
The Blood Brothers - Crimes
The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes (Of all the bands that started off as a standard hardcore/screaming outfit and gradually began to incorporate more diverse influences, Seattle group The Blood Brothers were the wildest. With their youthful voices and freewheeling approach to structure, their songs often evoked images of children screaming for more cotton candy at a carnival. They made one album too many and began to feel redundant near the end, but at their best no band was more fun in a "laughing as the world burns" sort of way.)

Botch - American Nervoso

Botch - We Are The Romans (Another Seattle band, often cited as a forerunner to all the "experimental heavy" groups that materialized after they broke up in 2002. Their members ended up in lesser bands like Minus The Bear and These Arms Are Snakes. Botch gets a little too much credit for their contribution to the genre. Sure, it's a sound that plenty of bands have borrowed, but that doesn't mean it was any more adventurous than what similar bands were doing at the time. In the early days of Youtube I used to search for videos of this band and mostly all I could find were terrible live recordings. Isn't it great how far we've come since then?)


Austin said...

I love the Beach Boys, never thought it sounded forced.

And the Beastie Boys are responsible for bringing rap to the mainstream, rock rap or just rap or whatever, simply because they were white.

I'm just glad they were good, too.

Jacob I. McMillan said...

Beastie Boys actually contributed quite a lot to gangsta rap, despite being rich white Jews. You can hear their influence in N.W.A. and others. They should get more credit for that, even though most gangsta rap sucks.