1996 – The Verve Pipe – Villains

You remember the song Freshmen, but what you didn’t know is all of the other great music you missed on this album. Villains, the 1996 album from The Verve Pipe, highlights the talents of of the band and features driving melodic alternative rock. It’s an album filled with minor chords and the kinds of lyrics that make you think. Even the song you know backwards and forwards, The Freshmen, if you send yourself back to the first time you heard it, it is still a fantastic song.

I absolutely love every track on the album. When I was young, I loved songs like Reverend Girl, Cup of Tea, and Photograph. Now I’m drawn to Drive you Mild, Penny is Poison, and Ominous Man. But songs like the titular Villains are so enjoyable that, if you remember what alternative music was about during the 1990’s, then you’re going to and enjoy this.

2002 – Lucky 7 – Lucky7

In the late 90’s and early part of this century, there was a website that combined an emerging technology, with emerging musicians. This website was the original MP3.com. This website introduced me to an electronica band called Trance][Control who I haven’t been able to find since those glorious days. There was another band, Lucky 7, who put out a second album, after the MP3.com era had come and gone. But Lucky 7 was destined not to be, and the California pop-punk band never took off to the mainstream. But I loved them at the time. I bought both of their albums: their debut, Miss Fortune, and their self titled second album. When the self titled album arrived, I remember the package had been pracically crushed in shipping. But the disc was still good. Miss Fortune, to this day, is one of my favorites. Shortly after I ordered, the band’s website (feelingluckypunk.com) went offline, and I assume the band members all went on to get office jobs.

Lucky 7 has more energy than any CD should be able to contain – and some of their songs have a sugary sweet romantic side that the girls in my high school just loved. It’s been a decade, and the songs might not hold up as well, but when you listen to the samples on Amazon you have to admit that California Girl is catchy, Come Monday is introspective, and Face the World showcases their talent.

It’s funny to listen to the sample for Be The One, because that is one of the MP3.com free downloads I specifically remember. Why I remember this 10 years later is unknown to me, but in the original release of the song, the lead singer recalled “eating at Denny’s after 3, and watching Real World on MTV.” In the album version of the song, and as you can hear in the sample, he merely says “on TV.” It’s those slight differences that stick in my mind from my younger days and make me wonder what this band, which MP3.com highlighted their “unique drumming,” is up to these days. But sometimes it’s better to not know, just sit back, and listen to the music.

2009 – Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – Tell 'em What Your Name Is

When I was first brought Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t heard of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears and I had no idea that they had only recently put out a previous album. In the years the followed I forgot to check up on them, but the band is still together putting out new music, and it’s very exciting stuff. The band is an unexpected turn from what you hear on the radio these days. I don’t know where they get much air time, but I’m glad a band like this exists to challenge pop music.

Now, these Music Monday posts aren’t intended to be music reviews, they’re just here to help you find something you may not have heard before. Although you may not consider funk and soul your typical genres of choice, I’ll let you judge for yourself whether or not you can resist tapping your foot along to their song Sugarfoot:

2012 – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Out of Frequency

It’s not often you get a new album with fourteen tracks. It’s also twice as rare for that many tracks to be consistently good throughout. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour brought us just such an album earlier this year. You may remember The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from their 2008 single, Around the Bend.

What you’ll hear from 2012’s Out of Frequency music is definitive “head-bob” music. A funkadelic ska band that is trapped somewhere between the 70’s and 80’s and blessed with the gift of time travel that lets them come forward to today and listen to our current generation of acid-rock bands like MGMT, Air France, or Washed Out.

There is no doubt in my mind that The Astroids Galaxy Tour is not for everyone. People will detest them. Psychedelic can be redundant, it can drag, it can get too “out there” for a lot of people. But I love listening to this album and hearing all of the influences that have made them in to a band. You go from a song with a church organ right into a synthesizer that sounds nearly like chiptune music, but if that chiptune song were inspireed by the disco song Kung Fu Fighting.

The album has a few misses, but beginning to end it entertains me and brings enough different influences to the forefront that the variety makes up for the songs you may not enjoy. You can tell that the band members are students of musical history, taking lessons from the chart toppers of decades past. if I were on a long car drive, I wouldn’t hesitate to have Out of Frequency
in the rotation. If you still can’t figure out what genre of music I’ve been describing, that’s because it is very hard to pin point, but I’ll simplify it for you: I can all but guarrantee that at least one song from this album will be featured in an iPhone commercial this year.