We kick off our 2018 edition of the Essential Project where we dig deep into a particular genre, bringing you the important records and historical context you need to be a true Album Nerd. This year we're focusing on NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) and Funk music.
Our first NWOBHM record is from a 'what-could-have-been' band named Angel Witch and their 1980 album by the same name. They helped to pioneer the fast, metallic, proto-thrash style that would mature into the modern metal sound we know today. While the band dealt with production and marketing issues, there's no denying the catchiness and pure fun they captured on this release. If you're down with guitars and songs about witches and demons, this is essential listening.
On the funk side, we start with the roots of funk - 60s soul music and the incomparable James Brown. In 1973 the hardest working man in show businesses released 3 soundtrack albums, the third of which is among some of his best material of his career. The super-tight playing and soloing by his backing band largely carries the record, but Brown peppers in plenty of his own flourishes to keep things interesting. Clocking in at over 70 minutes, The Payback is a more than generous dose of pure funkiness.
This episode has been certified 100% essential nerd.
We complete our 2017 year end countdown of our favorite records of the year that was. In this episode we cover numbers 5-1.
Mastodon - Emperor of Sand (Dude)
The seventh studio album from the Atlanta, GA progressive metal band that sees them returning to their concept record roots.
Downtown Boys - Cost of Living (Andy)
A raucous, post-punk rock record with lyrics focused on social and economic inequalities.
Pallbearer - Heartless (Dude)
The third full-length album by the American doom metal band that continues their strong songwriting and blend of 70s and modern metal sounds.
Pile - A Hairshirt of Purpose (Andy)
The sixth full length from the Boston, Massacheuttes underground indie-rock band featuring strange song structures and peculiar lyrics.
Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold (Dude)
The ninth studio album from the larger than life rock band self-described as "hard rock extremes and pop sensibilities collide".
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Flying Microtonal Banana (Andy)
Prolific Austrian psychedelic rock band perhaps most accessible album of their career is a study in microtonal tuning.
Vant - Dumb Blood (Dude)
The debut (and perhaps final) record from British alternative rock group whose lyrics focus on equality, education and the environment.
Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent (Andy)
A heady post-rock record that can be unwrapped for multiple satisfying listens.
Colter Wall - Colter Wall (Dude)
An autobiographical and intimate soulful country record from the Canadian newcomer.
Billy Woods - Known Unknowns (Andy)
The 6th solo studio album from the left-field, Brookyln-based rapper that sees him adding more melodic song structures.
Join us next week as we kick off our Essential Funk and New Wave British Metal series for 2018.
Special thanks to John Riggs for the countdown vocal sample, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8R3if22A0L4
Happy Nerd Year!
It's the close of another year and that can only mean one thing - year end countdown lists! In a bold move of originality, we count down our top 10 favorite records of 2017. In this episode we cover our honorable mentions and numbers 10 through 6.
Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper (Dude)
A heavy, dark doom record that sounds open and spacious.
Hiss Golden Messenger - Hallelujah Anyhow (Andy)
Fun, enjoyable folk rock record that should mesh with most music fans taste.
One Bad Son - Made in the Name of Rock and Roll (Dude)
A hard rock album that will please fans looking for a modern take on their favorite 80's metal.
Tennis - Yours Conditionally (Andy)
A husband and wife duo put together a record of lo-fi, dreamy pop music with a nod to the 70s.
The Steel Woods - Straw in the Wind (Dude)
The debut album from Nashville-based rock band that combines elements of rock, blues, folk, gospel, heavy metal, Americana, soul and bluegrass.
Algiers - The Underside of Power (Andy)
Intriguing mix of punk, blues and spiritual music with a political slant.
Chris Stapleton - From a Room Vol 1&2 (Dude)
A double record of country and roots rock music from the Grammy winning American singer/songwriter.
Juana Molina - Halo (Andy)
An eerie, edgy and atmospheric record from the Argentinian folk musician.
Midland - On the Rocks (Dude)
A country record that follows in the footsteps of Dwight Yoakam.
Julien Baker - Turn out the Lights (Andy)
Memphis singer/songwriter puts out a sad, heartfelt record that deals with spirituality, personal growth and relationships.
Tyler Childers - Purgatory (Dude)
A modern sounding country record that feels lived-in, filled with songs etched from hard-earned experiences.
Colter Wall - Colter Wall (Andy)
The wise beyond his years, 21 year old put out a autobiographical set of songs that sound lived-in and genuine.
Join us next week as we count backwards through our top 5 favorites of 2017.
Happy Nerd Year!
Holiday music can get old fast. It's the same set of songs, over and over again. Luckily your favorite Album Nerds are here with a couple holiday album recommendations that feature some excellent original songs to help you celebrate your Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-Festivus Day in style.
Our first pick was released in 1973 by country legend Merle Haggard. The economy was in a recession and many families didn't have extra money to spend on the holiday. Merle taps right into the hearts of these families on the A-side, especially on the opening cut, "If We Make it Through December". On the B-side, Merle's voice shines through a series of Christmas standards. It's an excellent choice for relaxing in the glow of the Christmas tree.
Our second pick has a 70s sound, but was released just two years ago by soul and funk group Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. It features toe-tapping original songs, like "8 Days of Hanukkah" and "Ain't no Chimneys in the Projects". The tracklist is nicely sprinkled with funky takes on holiday standards such as "Silent Night" and "Funky Little Drummer Boy". Let Sharon's joyous vocals and the Dap King's super-tight accompaniment help get your holiday party going.
We've got two new release recommendations for you this week.
Veteran gospel singer Mavis Staples latest release is a beautifully written statement of love and togetherness, focused on lifting up minorities.
And Canadian rockers, One Bad Son, have added yet another solid rock record to their ever growing catalog.
Help us spread the message of good music by cranking that nerd to 11!
Hard to believe it's been a year since we started our Essential Project deep-dive into Blues, Country and Jazz music. Today on the show we recap the albums we highlighted throughout the year as well as share how the project has effected our listening to modern day music.
Crank that essential nerdiness to 11.
Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane, all the way back to the year 1994. We cover some of the movies and pop culture that was going on, but our focus is on 2 influential albums from that year.
Lesser known and underappreciated group King's X put out a great record that managed to fit Beatles-esq harmony's into the hard rock sound of the time. And a new punk rock group called Sunny Day Real Estate put out a record that would come to define a new genre.
Sag your pants, put on your flannel and crank that nerd.
Everyone loves a good story. We talk over 2 albums that not only are interesting musically, but also take the time to tell a story.
In 1988 metal group Queensryche released their an ambitious record detailing the adventures of a brainwashed hit man working for a secret organization trying to overthrow the government. It's pretty much a an action movie set to music.
And we also dig into the lore surrounding The Mars Volta's haunting 2008 release that involves a Ouija board, an evil spirit and a flood. You gotta hear it to believe it.
If you love albums like we do, you probably love vinyl too. Today we dig into our vinyl collections to highlight 2 records that we think sound best on wax.
Andy recommends a Zappa record that nicely balances his musical genius and goofy sense of humor.
The Dude picks out a deluxe version of a Lenny Kravitz's 1993 record, Are You Gonna Go My Way that includes some lesser known tracks.
Spin that black circle!
We've got 2 hot 'n fresh new release recommendations for you this week.
The Dude steps outside of his comfort zone and picks an experimental record from doom metal band Bell Witch. Andy selects a zany electronic record that certainly is unique and has the dude scratching his head.
Don't be a turd, turn up that nerd!