10 UNDERRATED ALBUMS BY JUSTIN PEARSON…
Warsawwasraw S/T EP: This thing is so bad ass I’m not even sure where to start. First off, the EP features the band as a five piece. Now, the band is a two-piece… and they are still amazing, if not better. But lets get down to the music; totally harsh and violent stuff with catchy hooks and great beats. Too bad this band is stuck in France, but at the same time, totally amusing that the vocalists on the EP didn’t speak English but the lyrics are in English. The band is not actually comparable to others, but to try to explain this (which I’m not a fan of doing), its like a fine tuned modern version of Crossed out, or Jenny Piccolo, due to similar song structure and delivery. All around, a great, yet underrated album.
Men’s Recovery Project “Frank Talk About Humans” LP: One of the early releases by this highly influential band that still seems to be well below the surface. This could partially be due to Vinyl Communications releasing it, as Bob who runs the label focuses more on fixing sinks and toilets like the ones at my house thanks to Neighborhood Plumbing. I think that Sam McPheeters exiting his Born Against career into this more obscure venture threw a lot of people off guard. Don’t get me wrong; Born Against is easily one of my all time favorite bands. But the entire existence of Men’s Recovery Project was so challenging, so creative, and well ahead of its time on many levels. I mean having a song on a CD followed by a “Trail Mix Remix” well before people were doing remixes says a lot more than some of the material that Dj’s I know now have done in their entire works collection. MRP drew from all sorts of relevant and irrelevant places and this album is loaded with shocking surprises throughout the entire thing. Not to mention its funny, catchy, annoying, confusing, ass kicking, and perfect.
Bird Blobs “Stihl Life” LP: This Australian based band, well below the radar is part Birthday Party, part Captain Beefheart, and seeped in some sort of moody and dark world, while equating to something totally original. The band is post something… relevant. The album came out early 2000’s and in my opinion will stand the test of time.
The Festival of Dead Deer S/T EP: I have a serious admiration for this band. I remember being on tour with The Crimson Curse and hearing that we were playing at Zed Records in Long Beach with The Festival of Dead Deer. Never heard them, but the name alone somehow assured me that they were going to be awesome. As we hung out at the record store waiting for the show to start, an old beat to hell car pulled up, hitting the curb, and stalled. These three guys got out, looking like death itself. It was like I just ran into real life members of the Adams family, but ones that would stab me in the neck for looking at them wrong. They immediately took the “stage” and burst into some sort of driving evil rock. As the drummer hunched over looking part Frankenstein/ part Spock, the bassist well over six tall stood there with his eyes completely rolled back into his head, and the guitarist thrashing and screaming like they were trying to get through the set as fast as they could so they could get their next fix, I was sold. Months later I managed to get my hands on a super limited 7” EP consisting of most of the live material I heard that night at the record store. There were only a couple hundred pressed and I simply knew that the world needed to hear this band. Unfortunately they split up due to a slew of issues. The 7” EP actually ended up making an appearance on the band’s full-length release “The Many Faces of Mental Illness” on Three One G years after the fact, and in my opinion, still hold up to this day. The LP is one part 7” EP and two parts live radio show from KXLU. I could only imagine what an actual legit album by this band would have been like. But the EP is what it is and its one the greatest musical discoveries I have come across in my time.
Birdland (Demo): I somehow managed to get this unofficial demo by Katrina Ford a few years back. This recording was post Love Life and pre Celebration. What it captured was something rare and something very specific. The lineage of Katrina and her other half Sean have made way from Jaks, all the way up to Celebration. The duo is amazing. Where I think this demo resembles Celebration’s early material, I think it also captured a very low-fi feel, almost like an odd garage band from the 60’s or 70’ that might have come from some related community of This Heat or Silver Apples. Birdland was the two musicians I have mentioned here, creating something beautiful and real.
Buraka Som Sistema “Black Diamond” LP: I stumbled upon this on tour thanks to the dudes in All Leather. It was really interesting to hear something as unclassifiable as this album… which is a great thing. For one, it’s seeped in Brazilian rhythm and beats, while delivering some pretty aggressive vocals. I suppose for lack labeling a group, you have something that even the electro world, or DJ’s cant wrap their heads around. This stuff makes you want to move your ass, start a riot, and denounce boring western culture all at once.
Crime Desire S/T LP: A local San Diego band that takes classic hardcore to a new level. The main draw I had to this album was the vocals. Ironically, on their previous albums, the vocals were a lot like The Crucifucks, which I also enjoy. However, the stuff on this album has such a great tone and delivery. People into punk and hardcore revival need to take note here.
Jaks S/T Single: Years ago someone asked if ever heard the Jaks 7”. Being from San Diego, and the fact that this band never made it out of the Midwest, I missed this entirely. Since the band was “pitched” to me by someone who played in Born Against, UOA, Moss Icon, etc, I had to investigate, I somehow managed to get my hands on a copy of this single, and let me say this: the packaging alone is worth purchasing. The silkscreen “gatefold” cover, looking like some sort of Halloween decoration was a nice thing to dress these two songs in. The tracks seem fitting for something on Gravity, or Vermiform back in the day. A post-punk delivery with some of the best vocals ever, weird drum lines, and great guitar work. The short-lived band released a CD adjacent to the single and called it a day. Lucky for me, I was able to join forces with the band and re-release the bands entire catalog on one CD called “Here Lies the Body of Jaks” on Three One G. This is easily one of my favorite albums, which has still managed to hold up for well over a decade. Many bands have come and gone; wishing they could harness the sonic creation here within the body of Jaks.
Made In Mexico “Guerillaton” LP: Lets just get this out of the way here and now… yes, this band features a member of Arab on Radar. And while Arab on Radar are one of my all time favorite bands, I think that Made in Mexico brought a whole other “world” of musical aspects to the stuff they created. Heavily influenced by Latin beats and rhythms, and by adding the growling political vocal delivery that Rebecca adds, this band is something amazing all on its own. Everyone involved in this band are amazing people, and so creative. The band fit well on Skin Graft, but still managed to stay fairly low key.
Pre “Epic Fits” LP: Pre randomly opened for The Locust in London a few years back. I had never heard this band, and I have to say, I was blown away the second they went on. Pre has so much energy, they are so angular, and are so much fun. Great musicianship, instrumentation, vocals, and perfect oddities added to the material that band created is exactly why this band rules.