The Best 10 Rock Songs You Totally Missed (Plus One)
Let’s face it. Even with the advent of the iPod, radio station rotation, the number of hours in a day, and what the music industry actually decides on what and when to release, there’s only so much “music” any one person can acquire, let alone enjoy. The following eleven songs are compiled to form the best rock songs you missed from the last ten to fifteen years, either because they were buried deep inside mediocre albums or the occasional EP, marketed incorrectly, or just never caught on with the masses and generally unappreciated for the musical enjoyment they create, because as we all know, the majority of anything, is usually wrong.
Honorable Mention: Tool – Maynard’s Dick (2000)
I had to give this a shout out only because if is one was able to survive the recorded ten minute phone call to the Los Angeles County Jail set to an ear-piercing snare on Tool’s Salival box set, you were treated with this romantic gem. Maynard singing about the grandeur and magnificence of his six inch “tool.” Cast off as a garage jam that ends with belches and armpit farting, the song holds up on it’s own and stands as proof that if Tool ever decides to stop screwing around with 7/16th time changes and transcendentalism, we’ll accept a good ol’ 4/4 about hanky-panky in the farmhouse any day.
Ten: Prick – I Apologize (1995)
Way back before Trent put on the manscara and became the voice of disenfranchised youth the world over, he was opening for Culture Club with “The Exotic Birds”, the musical equivalent of every 80′s pop cliché ever, set to a Moogboard. At this time he developed a friendship with musician Kevin McMahon, so naturally, when Trent ditched the aquamarine T-shirts for black leather and 808′s, McMahon followed suit with an impressive debut CD which capitalized on themes of redemption and self-loathing. Set to quirky acoustic guitars and unique vocals, the album was poorly mishandled and faded into obscurity. Despite touring with Nine Inch Nails and opening for David Bowie, Prick was dropped from it’s label. “I Apologize” is a testament to what should have been the birth of a long and promising career.
Nine: The White Stripes – Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine (2003)
Chances are if you are a White Stripes fan, you know this song. If not, you’re missing the song that epitomizes Jack White’s musical allure. If Robert Johnson got ripped on coke, stole Chuck Berry’s guitar, and started riffing lyrics written by Mark Twain, you’d only be scratching the surface of what a deep audio landscape this song really is. Add to the fact, the album “Elephant” from which it arrives, is probably the best and well-rounded Stripes album to date. Any one who thinks or says different, never listened to good music a day in their lives and most likely would fail a Pitchfork internship interview.
Eight: Local H – California Songs (2004)
Local H had one big hit in the 90′s with “Bound For The Floor.” After that, the band from Zion, Illinois took the easy approach and began to concentrate on having fun, rather than loading themselves down with ridiculous touring schedules and compromising their own music tastes. With more and more alternative bands of their era signing the praises of California, Local H had enough of the mind-numbing lyrics that had become repetitive from the time The Beach Boys wished all the girls came from the Golden State till now. “California Songs” is the type of rock-n-roll burn that would make the Red Hot Chili Peppers question life only before throwing themselves in front a bus.
Seven: Vast – Dirty Hole (1998)
Jon Crosby is easily the most influential and incredibly underrated musician of this generation and only the people at Elektra and his current label of 2blossoms, know it. Equipped with a revolving door of equally capable musicians, he manages to take the simple question of asking possible girlfriend material “How many guys have you slept with?” into a magnum opus of Wagnerian proportions. What starts as a church organ, evolves into chain gang harmonies, distorted guitars, and an electronic bass line that makes the entire five minutes and thirty-six seconds worth a permanent slot in any iTunes folder.
Six: The Music – Take The Long Road And Walk It (2001)
British bands that make their way to the U.S. are a dime-a-dozen nowadays. And sometimes really good songs are overlooked and cast aside without a second glance. This gang of four high-school friends from Leeds take electrofunk to a ridiculous level. These bastard sons of Led Zeppelin successfully conjure flashes of Pink Floyd and The Who, while managing to stay interesting. It’s been almost a decade and I still haven’t bothered to look up the lyrics, much like Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” It’s not about the message here folks, it’s about mindless fun. The lead singer does make me want to sock him in the face because of the hat in this video but he earns major bonus points for his version of a jazz scat, simultaneously causing Jonathan Davis to hang his head in shame.
Five: Remy Zero – Over The Rails & Hollywood High (2001)
Before Remy Zero was pigeonholed as the band that does the Smallville theme song, they were lauded by Radiohead as breakout musical contenders. This coincides with several of their demo tapes “disappearing” from the record studio and ending up as cut up loops in several more popular songs by other established artists. With only three albums released during their tenure, they broke up permanently in 2003. This song is a very good representation of the overall feel of Remy Zero: passionate, intense, and powerpop at it’s finest. Also, this video was super hard to come by – please excuse the anime retardation.
Remy Zero – Over The Rails & Hollywood High – MyVideo
Four: Clutch – Burning Beard (2005)
Okay, I’ll admit it took something like a video game advertisement to discover this band. But let’s all drop our elitist method of “discovering bands” for a moment and recognize the combination of blues flying under the radar of one of the thickest and heaviest guitar medleys I’ve ever heard. Throw in one of the smartest song writers in the last ten years and you’ve got the recipe for a song that’s pure heart and makes good use of trying to blow out your speakers.
Three: Brad Sucks – Dirtbag (2003)
Internet only musician Brad Turcotte gained a wide following in the years since he’s been releasing his own music free of copyrights from his website. The fact that is not bigger than he is or signed to a label that would promote him, is a crime. Despite this, he’s managed to crank out acoustic genius in the form of “Dirtbag” from his “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing” LP. A remixed version of this song, done by Israeli trance duo Psycraft, ended up in a mash-up trailer for Toy Story 2 and Requiem For A Dream. Search it, watch it, and be amazed.
Two: Dredg – Sanzen (2002)
If you love experimental rock and true avant-garde, this is the band for you. I have loved Dredg since I bought 2002′s “El Cielo” LP. All of their albums exude confidence in the form of competent musical structure. What some view as “time wasting” tracks are building the momentum for what’s usually a great pop or alternative track. They are always flowing, never repeated, and sound like they’re having fun. Imagine if the Grateful Dead’s penchant for jamming endlessly were more controlled. Singer Gavin Hayes relates: “Creativity has been blocked and over-tasted. Maybe in time, I’ll appreciate it.” Well folks, now’s the time.
One: Lo-Fidelity All Stars – Blisters On My Brain (1998)
So, it’s technically not “rock” per se. It is however, the standard to what any other band delving into post-modern funk, turntablism, acid hip hop, electronica, and rock should hold themselves to. Their debut album “How To Operate With A Blown Mind” was hot for ten seconds but quickly lost momentum when arguably the best two members of the band, vocalist The Wrekked Train and keyboardist “Sheriff” Jon Stone, quit in the middle of a tour. The Stars have released new albums since then, but sadly, none have managed to capture the gritty, angry dance vibe of the original. This album is a must in ANY collection and this song cements the album as a modern, sadly overlooked, classic.
Side note: You’ll notice this video was shown on MTV’s 120 Minutes; proof they could do at least one thing right in their terrible existence.
Dante Villanova is an avid freelance fiction writer, movie reviewer, and video game enthusiast. He dual wields sarcasm and cynicism like twin katanas and enjoys filleting pop culture for sport.