No, this isn’t a post about your libido..
(though we have all been there before – she was hot, okay!?)
This week, the #GuelphMusicClub asks us to list off our favourite song that clocks in at OR under 120 seconds.
Pretty cool theme.
As usual, my mind went all over the place when planning for this entry and I had difficulty narrowing it down.
Unfortunately for you, that means I was unable to do so.
Instead, I will select one song per genre of my choosing.
* * * * *
I barely listen to metal these days. It’s so bad.
But as an angry and self-loathing pre-teen, aggressive music was the first genre I really delved into.
A lot of the metal stuff coming out these days is, in my opinion, completely distasteful and the large majority of those participating seem to lack any semblance of an imagination.
Now, having said all of that, I am not ashamed to acknowledge that I found metalcore to be pretty damn interesting in the late 90s / early aughts.
The Florida hardcore scene and Trustkill Records were largely responsible for popularizing the paradigm shift from rap-metal to an over-reliance upon the “breakdown“, a heavy-metal and hardcore crutch which still pervades to this day.
Bursting onto the scene with a well-received split release alongside Luddite Clone, the band were quickly signed to Relapse Records, long established as the most respected extreme music label in America.
The band went directly into the studio and subsequently released a 4-song self-titled EP which features a total running time at just over eight minutes.
A pummeling release from start to finish, the hardcore world took notice and the buzz would result in Burnt‘s debut full-length, Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution, which was being built up as one of the most anticipated releases of 2002.
It did not disappoint.
Get a load of the opening track:
Burnt by the Sun – “Dracula with Glasses” (1:46)
from the album, SOUNDTRACK TO THE PERSONAL REVOLUTION (2002)
To this day, I consider it to be one of the most brutal album intros ever.
I can still listen to BBTS and fully enjoy it.
Although they were lumped in with the rest of the bad metalcore out there, these guys were very forward thinking, combining chunky downtempo guitar grooves with frenetic death-metal style drumming (via underground legend, Dave Witte), not to mention some of the most thoughtful lyrics in metal courtesy of vocalist Michael Olender.
And though many relevant acts of the time had no problem falsifying themselves in order to establish some perception of “cred”, Burnt tied their whole style together by rooting it in an unmistakably genuine hardcore punk ethos.
The end result was as ferocious as it was innately unique.
Tragically, the band would go on to release only two more full lengths before permanently calling it quits.
Their entire discography is phenomenal and any metalhead who isn’t already familiar with them needs to check this band.
Olender also has what I consider to be one of the most disgusting screams ever put to music.
Shit is TOUGH.
As an extra, I have to post this live version of the same track, taken from their godly performance at the 2003 Relapse Contamination Festival:
FUCK, these guys RULED.
And their entire set from that evening was recorded and eventually released as a live album.
I really miss them.
* * * * *
By the age of 18, the Count had written the material for what would become his debut album.
All the songs were recorded before he reached his 21st birthday.
True artists rarely reflect upon their earliest work with kindness and Count Bass D is no different in that sense.
However, I consider that album to be one of the most musical / most original debuts in the history of hip-hop.
The lyrics are light-hearted, the melodies are catchy, and the candor is refreshing in its honesty and humility.
Plus, the live instrumentation (the majority of which was self-played) was about two decades ahead of its time.
It is just a fantastic listen and I truly hope he decides to repress it on wax someday.
Unfortunately, it was a little too advanced for rap fans of the era and the Count was almost immediately dropped.
After putting out the Art for Sale EP, a release which showed off some giant leaps in terms of songwriting and sonic qualities, he would go on to put out what would ultimately come to be known as his breakthrough album – Dwight Spitz.
The mission of this record was to prove that Bass D could do this rap shit for real.
So, after forming some relationships with some fellow hard-knock artists such as MF Doom, MF Grimm (@PERCYCAREY), and Dionne Farris (@DionneFarris) of Arrested Development (@ADtheBAND) fame, he traded in his instruments for a drum machine and has been creating primarily sample-based music ever since.
He even wrote a song about the transition:
Nowadays, Dwight Spitz has been certified as an underground rap classic.
Since then, to say he has been prolific would be an understatement.
His discography has grown to gargantuan proportions and he has been collaborating with some very interesting people.
He is a fascinating individual who has persevered through several challenges and hardships in his lifetime, both personally and artistically.
If you would like to learn more, I highly recommend taking a look at the recently released Count Bass D documentary, Full Count.
It is a worthy $5 purchase.
* * * * *
Look, I was never much of a punk guy.
Especially not the pop-punk trash that was coming out in the 90s and beyond.
I mean, I owned Dookie just like every other shithead back when I was a kid but that was just the fake stuff anyhow.
The genre didn’t really appeal.
It was irritating.
But in high school, I went through a pretty heavy phase where I started diving into 70s UK punk and the early 80s hardcore stuff.
At the time, I was reading a lot about the history of contemporary music and I began to see a lot of parallels between the early days of punk and hip-hop.
My flirtation with punk pretty tame overall, however.
I mainly stuck to the staples.
Through all of that, I was very happy to have acquainted myself with the works of the Clash.
These fools had BALLS and their later hits tend to make some forget how badass they could actually be.
As much as they redefined themselves throughout their career, their early material is quintessentially punk, as far as I am concerned.
I am willing to bet that anyone reading this is more familiar with these guys than my two previous picks so why bore you by telling you things you already know?
Instead, I will make my pick and leave it at that:
R.I.P. Joe Strummer.