Rx Bandits – The Resignation (2003)
Rx Bandits have been a favorite since my freshman year at SUNY Oneonta. Their album Progress was released in summer 2001, but I did not get word of them until August. Having this band help kick college off was a great thing. The ska/punk band started off on Drive-Thru Records, which fell apart after this listed release.
When Westcott Street in Syracuse’s university section housed Planet 505, I was able to see this band play their first and only Upstate New York concert in this small venue. It was an amazing show, and I could see why Matt and band preferred the independent label. The Resignation is not the band’s sophomore album, but the album signifies the turning point, the recognized album where the music matured. They ventured from the punk/ska-inspired emo–lyric-blended music to a more alternative-quasi-reggae prog form. The decision was valiant, and it has proven more suitable for the guys.
Every Time I Die – Hot Damn! (2003)
The original video that was going to be posted was ETID’s “Ebolarama,” but it may have been distracting for some. A college friend, Christine, introduced her hometown-of-Buffalo’s hardcore band to me; this included showing the music video for the said track above, which had the band performing in the middle of a skating rink, reminding me of the now-closed Skate ‘N Place in Westvale. The band’s name is as radical as the band is, and its aura is complete with sarcastic lyrics.
Every Time I Die became another favorite, adding to a expansive music taste and allowing people to question my library of tunes. Would I see these guys again? Of course. Where you could once find me in the middle of a mosh pit, it’s not so much true anymore.
My cousin, Candace, is awesome. She got a Genesee Bock beer can signed by Keith Buckley, lead singer. Glad to know they support the New York state breweries.
(No, Keith, I definitely was not awesome enough to drink that beer.)
Jack Johnson – Brushfire Fairytales (2001)
This album edged out G. Love and Special Sauce’s self-titled album, and not by much.
Like Nick Drake, the simplistic music rises above the most complex, and sometimes four chords are all that you need for a song. As stated many times in the past, an ideal vacation does not involve staying in a resort and relaxing on a beach for several days. It’s not putting it down, nor is it putting down those who prefer to do so, but it’s not at the top of my list. Spending relaxing moments on a California beach, however, always seemed like a fun time to me, the New Yorker. I’m actually considering ukulele lessons. After a commenting thread with Sandra of Square One Notes, a friend of mine posted his offering ukulele lessons.
Coincidence? I. Think. Not.
[Insert digression and delete it.]
Dear Ian: Your challenge has gotten the best of me at this point. I should have just listed the damn albums like you had. But nooooo.
To wrap this up: Jack Johnson provides a poignant simplicity to the soundtrack that accompanies my life and many others. Johnson is road trip music, beach music, a night staying in and playing games music, and music to dance to.
(Perhaps its music you can dance to while on a beach, under the stars.)
Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming (1994) Dave Matthews Band has to make the list, undoubtedly. DMB beat out Soul Coughing, Mike Doughty’s brainchild, and I’m sure Mr. Doughty would not contest to this. Don’t worry bud, I belt out your “Unsingable Name” almost daily. However, since the melody and strength–especially the presence of ukulele–of the band’s “Sweet,” how it is stuck in my head——
(Everyone already knows Dave Matthews Band and the band’s impact on me. I can make a wiser choice, and let it be a choice without a ukulele.)
Deftones – White Pony (2000)
For years Deftones have blown minds with their variety of sounds and designations have included: metal, hardcore, rock, alternative, experimental. Since 1995’s Adrenaline, which came out with screaming and raw energy, Chino Moreno and crew have been tenacious with defining their own niche of the music world. There will be no other band that will sound or compare to them.
Deftones, as a band, is definitively experimental. The lyrics and music are separate entities that mix together so well and especially in the least likely of songs. Deftones took a step to the side with their follow up, Around the Fur, but the third White Pony allowed skeptics to reevaluate the band’s direction. Chino’s screaming is still there, but his vocals are so hauntingly smooth and intriguing; those who have dismissed his roles on the previous albums have a change of heart. The music is still heavy yet polished, the lyrics are metaphorical and darker, and the album is mature.
White Pony itself is a cliffhanger, and at the time of its release allowed my friends and I to wonder what was next for the band. Today, they are still taking risks, melodic risks, and bold choices that have worked out for the best. Rest in Peace, Chi Cheng, the band’s bass player who passed away last year.
Led Zeppelin – Untitled / Zoso / IV (1971)
“Misty Mountain Hop” had me hooked at a very young age. Seeing this album in my parents’ vinyl collection had me wondering what the hell album this was. Kicking said album off with “Black Dog” is one of the best choices for a band whose album incorporates hard rock, blues, and folk. It’s like a genetically engineered child; you love it and you want more of them. This is how Led Zeppelin became one of my favorite bands.
Sure “Stairway to Heaven” is in the running for the band’s most well-known song, but the other tracks work so well together. It’s a fantastic collection of eight songs that define this band’s legacy.
The first tattoo that I’ve always wanted to get were of those symbols. Cliche, possibly; but the ink work would define me.