Monday, December 14, 2009

The Decade's Most Underrated Albums

Both you and I have had a chance to list our favorite bands of the decade. Today, contributing writer Casey Buckler gives us his list of the decade's most underrated albums.

10.) Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R
When the band Kyuss broke up, I knew Josh Homme would go on to bigger and better things, but I had no idea he would write several of the best rock albums of the upcoming decade. This album was just the beginning and you could hear that dirty as fuck Kyuss distortion all over the writing. The single, "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret," proved the band was on the right track. What's so hard to get over is the fact that no one seemed to pay attention to these guys until their second album came out. This is where it all started and it is highly overlooked. Look again.

9.) First Wave Hello - God Bless, Devil You
If you took the keyboards from The Cars and smashed them together with the band Failure, you would have a good idea of what this band sounds like. Sadly, they only made three albums, the last of which was produced by my hero, Ken Andrews. Their albums are chock-full of Fuck-Yeah rock riffs and pounding drums, mixed pleasantly with fun synth textures. It's surprising labels aren't pushing more bands like this - a band so talented they could have been the next Nirvana. Don't believe me? Check out the song "Two Propellers."

8.) Autolux - Future Perfect
I'm glad something came from the ashes of one of the most underrated rock bands of all time. I'm speaking again of the band Failure. Greg Edwards played bass in the band but has moved on to guitar in his new band Autolux. The album, Future Perfect, doesn't borrow anything from anyone- it is uniquely in a league of its own. A very eclectic mix from one song to the next, which keeps you guessing. Unfortunately for Autolux, the album came out while emo was everywhere, and the noise of that movement didn't give them a chance to shine through. And speaking of noise, if you get the chance to catch them live, take earplugs, these guys love their feedback and loud guitars. Check out "Turnstile Blues" and wait for their next album, due in January.

7.) Strata - The End of the World
This one took a while to grow on me. The songs were so well written that at first I believed that it was just 'too poppy' and I just wasn't in to poppy. But once I saw them live, opening for the band Dredg, I was knocked down and blown away. This album received basically zero press and the press they did receive was just constant comparisons to other bands. Those comparisons mattered little as everything about Strata is unique. For a taste, listen to the song "Coma Therapy."

6. Dredg - Catch Without Arms
This album did receive more recognition than El Cielo, mainly due to their constant touring and expanding of their fan base. By the time this album came out the Deftones had taken them under their wing during a great tour and helped Dredg gain notoriety to hard core metal fans that would never have listened to them otherwise. Check out "Planting Seed."

5.) The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex - Life Begins Again
I don't think I would have found out about this album if it weren't for the fact that Chamberlin was already one of my drumming heroes. I knew it just had to be some of the most God-like drumming ever recorded so I didn't hesitate to buy it when I saw it on the shelves. With, Life Begins Again, the drummer for the on-again, off-again Smashing Pumpkins made a musicians record (i.e. not for people with short attention spans). Which is probably why most people have never heard of it. Try listening to "Streetcrawler."

4.) Sigur Ros - Takk
I don't care how much recognition this album received, it's simply a life changing record. Listen to "Saegpur" and see for yourself.

3.)Quitter - Self Titled EP
An amazing band from Los Gatos, California, that had an amazing, up-lifting, refreshing sound that gives you chills from the lower back all the way up to your fingertips. Unfortunately,true to their name, the band said they were calling it quits due to a lack of interest from labels. I once read a blog on their website that stated they had received an offer from a label but the label had forgotten to add a couple zeros to the offer. This band's 4 song EP was the stuff dreams are made of. What a shame nobody knows their name. Check out "Contrails."

2.) The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart
A timeless album. Unfortunately this one came out when every other band had the prefix "The" in front of their names, so The Stills got confused with all the other "The" "The" bands and were considered to be just more noise. Boy, was everyone wrong. This album from front to back is just pure gold. Listen to this Canadian masterpiece in its entirety or just check out the amazing, "Lola Stars and Stripes."

1.) Dredg - El Cielo
I was turned on to this band by a friend who said, "Dude, this band will change you and the way you think about music." He was right, it was a watershed moment in my life and I listened to this album for two years straight. I took it everywhere I went, it was like a drug, only better. Every song on this album will take you places you never thought of. It does what no drug can do by making you disappear - just close you eyes. I have seen these guys live six different times and each time was a different experience. It was hit or miss to be sure, but when they hit, it was like a religious experience. They take chances, they take risks and that's what makes a band unforgettable. Do yourself a huge favor and buy this album. Just listen to the track, "The Canyon Behind Her," and you'll see what I mean. Hopefully it moves you too.

-Casey Buckler

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