And So It Begins…
2016 is officially underway and I felt the most appropriate way to reign in the new year was to take a close look at some debut albums that really dazzled me. It’s no coincidence that many of these on the list are SUPERGROUPS and consist of people already in established bands but, nonetheless, it is still important to observe them as a separate entity and judge them fairly for their efforts in a debut album.
GUILT MACHINE (NETHERLANDS) – ON THIS PERFECT DAY (2009)
To date, this is Guilt Machine’s only album. I don’t know if more was planned, but this is a phenomenal record. Consisting of Arjen Lucassen and members of Stream of Passion as well as Arid, this album examines the idea of guilt and loss in a way that is reflective and also beautiful.
GNARLS BARKLEY (UNITED STATES) – ST. ELSEWHERE (2006)
CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse combine to create an album that not only charted #4 on the Billboard and won a Grammy Award for Alternative Music, but it also was an album that I enjoyed very much. The interesting part about Gnarls Barkley was that I took an interesting approach to them. At first, I was very resistant to the single “Crazy”, as it wasn’t really something I was really into. But, the more I thought about it, the more I considered that I may actually end up enjoying them as a group based on their style if it was applied differently. So I gave them a chance and I was pleasantly pleased with this album.
SCUM (NORWAY) – GOSPELS FOR THE SICK (2005)
Scum, not to be confused with S.C.U.M. from England, is a collection of musicians from Amen, Emperor, and Turbonegro. This project was particularly interesting because it fuses hardcore punk with traditional black metal. This album was the only released from this supergroup but it forever will be remembered as a collaboration I adore.
P.O.S. (UNITED STATES) – IPECAC NEAT (2004)
I could have included the Doomtree album, but I really feel like P.O.S. is the glue to Doomtree and it all starts here. A punk rocker who was initially averse to the idea of hip hop, P.O.S. really began to flesh out his identity in this particular album.
TRUCKFIGHTERS (SWEDEN) – GRAVITY X (2005)
I could have chosen a number of albums that fit the stoner rock criteria but this one in particular stands out because of how powerful the riffing is throughout this album. The vocals are really clean and strong throughout and it has an energy often unseen in the genre and music in general.
CARACH ANGREN (NETHERLANDS) – LAMMENDAM (2008)
Carach Angren is a great band because their lyrical content typically consists of horror and ghost stories that is bound together in one concept album. This one is no different as it discusses the Lammendam, an old castle that has become haunted. This is not their best work, but it still superb.
SHPONGLE (ENGLAND) – ARE YOU SHPONGLED? (1998)
Like Infected Mushroom, Shpongle is a musical collective that came to fruition early on by playing a style psychedelic electronica that hasn’t really since been duplicated. Like Carach Angren, their later releases are even better but this one was an amazing debut album,
AEROSMITH (UNITED STATES) – AEROSMITH (1973)
I’m actually not a fan of Aerosmith but I will listen to their first couple albums and rock the fuck out of them. This was before they ever sold out their priorities to make music with Run DMC and releasing super poppy songs like Janie’s Got a Gun and Jaded. This is pure, unadulterated Steven Tyler at his absolute best and the band when it was still heavy in the blues roots. I miss them.
RUN THE JEWELS (UNITED STATES) – RUN THE JEWELS (2013)
Man, I really tried hard to like Run the Jewels 2 but I couldn’t dig on it. The first album, however, is hip hop at its best. El-P and Killer Mike bring an intensity unrivaled and they don’t pull any punches. It is raw, gritty, and full of sick beats.
DEATH (UNITED STATES) – SCREAM BLOODY GORE (1987)
Despite the skeleton on the cover of the album sitting on the throne wearing a Snuggie, this album hits hard. Death metal was still evolving and hadn’t quite been entirely recognized as a legitimate genre (though some South American bands did a great job of predating this material) and this album is a great example of such a pioneering.
THEM CROOKED VULTURES (UNITED STATES) – THEM CROOKED VULTURES (2009)
Another situation where I was going to only talk about ten bands and SOMEONE had to mention another awesome selection to this concept. So here it is. Enjoy the Homme, enjoy the Jones, enjoy the Grohl.
Contrasting concepts coming next week.