Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
I know it’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these, but to be completely honest with you, the first quarter of 2012 was one of the weakest quarters I can remember for music. Last year at this time I already had at least a dozen albums I felt would merit year end top ten consideration. Thankfully, after a slow start to 2012, things are beginning to heat up with spring releases. For this edition of Five Albums in Five Minutes I’m taking a listen to four such releases coming from Mickey Avalon, Vassy, Age Sex Occupation, and Roc Doogie, and one winter album I totally slept on, but now can’t stop listening to. There’s some hip-hop, rock, and pop in here, so dig in!
Mickey Avalon Loaded Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Mickey Avalon’s 2006 self-titled debut album was one of my favorites that year, but I know I was in a select group in my appreciation of it. Some people, like me, really dug Avalon’s perverseness, and the dark debaucherous content of the record, which, despite being stories that were emotionally driven, featured a purposeful emotional detachment in Avalon’s lyrical delivery. Now Avalon is back with Loaded, and although the production, much of which was done by Cisco Adler, is a bit more rock oriented, and even, at times, danceable, it’s still all Mickey Avalon with lyrics like “while a black crackhead tranny licks my ass crack in a black Trans-Am with a cracked tranny, black.” That’s Mickey Avalon for ya - clever, visual, disturbing, and with wicked wordplay. Loaded is loaded with great songs for those who like their hip-hop a bit on the wilder side, and the changes in production should create a larger fan base for Avalon.
Foxy Shazam The Church of Rock and Roll Release Date: Jan. 24th, 2012
I have to admit, I slept on Foxy Shazam for a while, and it was all because of their name. You know that thing about not judging a book by its cover? That’s exactly the case with Foxy Shazam, which, despite having a name that sounds like it should be a Pam Grier character from the 70s, can rock the pants off of just about anyone. Seriously, bring an extra pair of pants when you enter The Church of Rock and Roll, your original pair will get rocked off. Foxy Shazam has an old school, grandiose, theatrical rock vibe that we haven’t really heard since one hit wonder The Darkness told us about how they believed in a thing called love. The big difference is Foxy Shazam should have a lot more than one hit in them. There’s an obvious Queen influence here, but in a nice twist, Foxy Shazam can actually pull it off.
Vassy Beautiful Day Release Day: May 1st, 2012
Vassy’s Beautiful Day is the first really cool, fresh, pop album of 2012. She has a Colbie Caillat vibe that also incorporates all the good, non middle finger flipping, qualities of M.I.A. (yes, there are some!). The positive, bouncy, nature of Vassy’s music makes her the pop equivalent of a pack of prozac, but it’s a pill you’ll be more than happy to take. Beautiful Day features the kind of music that creates a feel good atmosphere, even during the most dreary and depressing of days. As an artist, Vassy has a unique voice, she can really sing, and her musical sensibilities lean away from the overproduction of the drum machine generated beats we’re used to hearing, and more towards true musical sounds. In other words, there’s less thump in the album, although it’s certainly not completely devoid of it, and the result is a collection of songs that have an overall brighter, sunnier feel.
Age Sex Occupation This Side of the Fence Release Date: May 29th, 2012
When you mix indie rock with funk and soul you get Age Sex Occupation, a really dope group with a highly enjoyable debut album titled This Side of the Fence. The really cool thing about Age Sex Occupation is that you don’t have to like indie rock to like them. They don’t have the snob factor a lot of indie rock has, instead that’s been replaced by a funkiness that will get you moving in your seat. They sound almost as if a funk jam band saw an indie rock band on stage, got up there with them, and said “let’s do this!” The result is something really cool that is well worth your time to check out. Unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of their work online, so all I can pass on to you is this clip of the band recording the album’s title track. It doesn’t really do the band justice, but please believe me when I say you should definitely check them out. Oh, and NES fans may recognizing something in this clip.
Roc Doogie Roc Paper Scissors Release Date: March 31st, 2012
When people complain about the current state of hip-hop it upsets me. It upsets me because there are a plethora of talented emcees out there making great music. One of those emcees is Roc Doogie. A member of Connecticut’s famed Ant Farm Affiliates crew, Roc Doogie originally made a name for himself as a member of Phenetiks. Now he’s going the solo route, and he’s absolutely killin it. His solo debut, Roc Paper Scissors is a quick hit of music at just ten tracks and clocking in at around 35 minutes, but the shortness in length actually isn’t a bad thing as each song is something you’ll want to hear repeatedly, and the shorter format will allow you to spin it multiple times in a row. From his vocals, to his lyrical content, to the producers he works with, Roc Doogie is a true school hip-hop artist, and after one listen you’ll know why not just fans, but other emcees, love his work.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.