Although my taste has evolved over the years, I will always have a place in my collection for the artists that made me feel alive. Good music that gets me excited or instantly gets me up and moving is not easy to come by. And while I strongly feel that indie rock is the most intricate, well-written music available on the market, it is not a genre you go to to get pumped up. A much better style is energy infused rock that, if pulled off correctly, takes you for a trip and makes for memorable moments in life (Just discovering them is an experience all in itself)). However, a lot of bands fail at this and the final product is just some hard rock garbage that has been done a dozen times before. Bands like Nirvana, Silverchair, and Collective Soul would be the ones I consider the best at creating this type of high energy in their rock. Other groups like Linkin Park and Chevelle are near misses. While they do produce songs that are heavy and carry lots of emotion, they generally lack that higher level of complexity and songwriting that the better ones possess.
But the whole point of this blog is to expose you to the songs/artists you may have missed at some point along the way. So I will not be posting any Nirvana today; although if you can’t get psyched up after listening to “Breed” with the volume cranked, I would start worrying because there’s a good chance you don’t have a pulse. This first offering is from a group that most people have likely never heard of. Their name is The Exies and they have produced a few albums in their run over the last decade. I first heard this song on guitar hero, coincidentally. Since guitar hero is not a place I would look to find new music (not to say that no video games contain original quality tunes, because they do), “Hey You” was a rather nice discovery. I had heard their other hit “Ugly” and was never a huge fan of it. Too defensive and ho-hum for me. “Hey You” I liked from the beginning. It’s starts out with a subtle guitar line and escalates into a catchy riff. The song gets very interesting at the bridge (@0:29) and gets chaotic and grungey at 0:38. Then all of sudden the song goes into a different, exciting direction for the chorus. It contains a serviceable guitar solo but I think the strong point of the song is how well it harnesses and releases the high energy that is prevalent throughout the whole song. Frontman Scott Stevens vocals are smooth and while I think he over-sings in some of their other songs, he keeps it in check here which goes along with the flow of it all…that of a just a straight up cool tune.
I simply cannot get enough of Richard Patrick’s ongoing project Filter. Unlike most hard rock groups, I find them to be listenable. Patrick’s anger (which I normally only like in small amounts) is expressed so well and his song writing talent is the main factor in that. He may not be quite as bad-ass as his brother, Robert (see here for example), but his body of work speaks for itself. Filter is a tricky group to classify. They are harder than almost all alternative groups but are so much better than most hard rock line-ups. They have been labeled industrial rock before but Patrick has dissuaded that as many of their songs do not have an industrial sound to them whatsoever. “Heavy alternative” would be the closest tag I could place on them.
The song I have posted is “Take Another”. It is one of several raw, gritty tracks available on Short Bus. And in my opinion, it is the best right up there with “Dose”. It starts out with some sad, almost indecipherable lyrics and quickly picks up shortly after (@0:42). After looking at the lyrics, it appears to me that Patrick is expressing his remorse or regret for some happening yet he is not able to discontinue going back for more. I’ve never really understood the meaning all that well. The strength of this song lies in Patrick’s vocal range and the guitars during the chorus (@2:29). Together they create a angst-driven, heavy aura that I find to be brilliant. Fortunately for me and many others, this was just the beginning of something great.
Probably the most poppy of out of these three by far would be the next track. It is “Hunting for Witches” by Bloc Party. If you’re not familiar with Bloc Party. they’re an English indie group that produced their first album back in 2005. They feature a nice blend of punk, electronic, and indie influences. This track is off their ’07 release A Weekend in the City. The reason I think it connects to the previous tracks is because of the fast paced, energetic flow that the song carries. It’s much softer than the other two but it’s more unique and crafty. It contains a clumsy, yet intriguing intro and outro with some very scrambled audio . The guitar carries a funky guitar riff that almost seems to whine at you until the chorus where the rhythm guitar joins nicely (@1:14)and climaxes @1:23. This song also holds some fun lyrics. Kele, the leas vocalist, describes his need to prey on this long feared supernatural force. Perhaps the “witches” represent some form of symbolism but some of the lyrics appear to sound more literal which makes me think otherwise. My favorite set of lyrics wold easily be ” I was sitting, on the roof of my house, with a shotgun…
And a six-pack of beer,” If that’s all witch-hunting entails, sign me up! Nobody’s gonna fuck with a guy in that position, not even the ghastliest of enchantresses…
All joking aside, enjoy “Hunting for Witches”