In Rotation, a listicle for music lovers, and seekers of new and different things to listen to. So, if you’re looking for new music, something different, or maybe music to suit your mood this week, here is the place to get a diverse offering each week.
In Rotation this week, we have a Horror Rock/Punk/Metal/Prog. Rock operatic group, a Japanese shamisen/Surf Rock/’50s-’60s Rock Instrumental artist, an Indie Rock/Grunge group, a Psychobilly/Horrorbilly band, a popular ’80s/Rock N’ Roll/ Rock N’ Roll Revival group among soundtracks of the decade, a Horror Surf Rock/’50s-’60s Rock Instrumental group, an Experimental/Grunge/Indie Rock/Jazz band, and lastly, a Japanese Jazz artist.
You’re in for one mixed bag of treats, so get the insulin ready, and lets dig in!
Horror rock music is nothing new, but a band that has occasionally been called the female lead version of My Chemical Romance proves to be something different entirely. Schoolyard Heroes started off in a mixed genre style, lyrically and instrumentally, but on this final album, they truly came into their own. Between the uber talented, operatic Ryann Donnelly that ranges from vibratos, screaming, and screeching, Steve Bonnell’s punk/Metal/Prog. Rock playing, and Jonah Bergman’s screaming coalesce into the unique sound that, sadly, only once was the band Schoolyard Heroes.
This album really shines as a Horror Rock Opera, but their past albums had more Hardcore, Riot Girl, and even some Fusion elements. Their whole catalog is recommended, but this one is this writer’s favorite. Take it for a spin.
Album: Seichô Takeuchi Bushi
To those who think of Surf Rock/’50s-’60s Rock Instrumental, and even if they have managed to overstep the narrow-minded view that The Beach Boys are emblematic of the genre, they still would never see Takeshi Kerauchi coming a mile away.
All the usual elements are in the mix within his music, but it is the Shamisen guitar playing and other traditional Japanese influences that really make this artist and his band much more than your average Surf Rock/’50s-’60s Rock Instrumental group. If you like, love, or even have a passing fancy about Surf Rock/’50s-’60s Rock Instrumental, you must listen to this album.
Neutral Milk Hotel
Album: On Avery Island
Neutral Milk Hotel, a band that exists in obscurity at this point, other than to be covered and/or mentioned by the more popular band Brand New, kicks things off with On Avery Island. Whereas Grunge does not always bring you on an emotional ride like Emotive music does, Neutral Milk Hotel does with both musical genre styles. Distorted Acoustic guitars, trumpets, and shakers all add to this strong debut that too few people have heard. Look it up. Listen to it. Listen to it now.
Psychobilly has become a catch-all genre identity these days, and very few new things have come out that do not sound like their predecessors. Koffin Kats’ debut self-titled album is an eight track kick-off with horrifying lyrics and that Rockabilly, leather-clad, motorcycle driving attitude that gets a Punk Rock enhancement, and is pure bliss for anyone that loves anything in the -Billy suffix genre. Spin it immediately.
Huey Lewis and the News
Album: Greatest Hits
Huey Lewis & The News were never an acquired taste, but if VH1 is to be believed, they are now. Succinctly put, you can describe them as ” Rock N’ Roll,” but there is there is something “revival” about them that some Rockabilly Revival groups carried with them in their genre, and ultimately pulled them out of their overarching genre classification.
They owe their enduring R n’ R charm to films such as Back to the Future and American Psycho, due to the front and center exploitation of the band and their popular tunes. This album is a great starter and encompasses their best songs. This is likely why it is called their “Greatest Hits” album. Ignore VH1, give it a spin!
Artist: The Terrorsaurs
The Terrosaurs’ music is certainly in keeping with the traditional Surf Rock/’50s-’60s Rock Instrumental sound, but it deviates into the Metal and Horror realm often enough to give the band their own twist on the classic genre. They even managed to throw in the trumpet that is so often in a lot of early ’60s Rock music.
If you are a long time listener of Surf Rock and love anything Horror, then this album should already be playing in your CD Player, Record player, or digital music medium of choice. So, go forth and listen-eth.
I am the fun blame monster!
Menomena is an obscure, hard to genre identify or categorize band from the Pacific Northwest. Experimental/Grunge/Indie Rock/Jazz/Piano Rock all can, to some extent, explain this bizarre spin into the unknown. Menomena is actually on the same label as Say Hi, another band mentioned in this column in the past, and also Death Cab For Cutie. The Pacific Northwest appears to be home to some interesting music.
I am the Fun Blame Monster is a unique, eclectic entry into In Rotation, but it deserves to be listened to. At least once. So go listen to it. This writer can promise you that, at the very least, it is not boring.
If you did not know that Japanese artists played Surf Rock, then you might also not know that there are also Jazz musicians on the other side of the pond… that isn’t England. Some of Ryo Fukui is somewhat common, stereotypical, smooth Jazz music, but this particular album kicks it up a notch, and has the most going for it.
Well, of the two albums in his repertoire that this writer has listened to. Jazz fans should take it for a spin, but also those looking for something new should as well.
This concludes this week’s In Rotation music listing, and come back next week for another eclectic helping of the new, the old, and the weird in music.
[Images Courtesy Of The Respective Bands In This List]