Each week, dozens of songs and albums from up-and-coming (or just plain unknown) bands debut on the world’s music charts. Some of these bands will never be heard from again; some may become the next little thing. That’s why we have Chuck Eddy exploring the world beyond the Billboard 200, where he’ll look for diamonds in the MySpace rough. This week, his roster of up-and-comers includes an ass-obsessed country singer, a three-person big band, an orally fixated soul man, and some preppy pop-punkers who seem to be in a feud with another Warped Tour act.
“Back That Thing Up”–which entered the Hot Country Songs chart at No. 55 last week, and climbs five notches in its second seven-day period–is sadly not a country version of the clean edit of Juvenile’s 1999 “Back That Azz Up.” But it is blatantly rappy nonetheless, at least for a country hit. It opens with rooster sounds and Big & Rich-style powerchords, then proceeds to address its rhythmic pleas to a city gal who’s “scared of that cockadoodledoo” and “never milked a cow before.” “You ain’t lookin’ too at home in them cowboy boots,” Justin notes, “But them pigtails and cutoffs work on you.” One of the photogenic ladies in the song’s attendant video looks somewhat like Paris Hilton, presumably on purpose. The girls shake tailfeathers, saw through a big log with chainsaws, bottle-feed a piglet (not quite Tori Amos-worthy, but close) and–in one undeniable moment of retarded visual-punning genius-literally back up an ass, or at least a burro or small donkey. “Throw it in reverse, let daddy load it up,” requests Justin, ostensibly referring to a pickup truck. “I have seen a lot of videos on CMT more suggestive than this one,” one YouTube viewer swears, though I’m not sure which ones. Justin–whose mohawked drummer in the video wears a Clash T-shirt–is signed to Valory Music Co., Scott Borchetta’s “sister imprint” to Big Machine (of Taylor Swift fame). The other song on his MySpace is likewise ass-obsessed, in the sense that it has Justin threatening to kick somebody’s. “You are just what country music needed,” a fan named Bentley tells him on MySpace. “I bet you carry those things around in a wheelbarrow.” Bentley does not explain, however, what those “things” are, or whether Justin is able to back them up.
THE REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND
Actually, they’re not that big–only three people, apparently, all last named Peyton, including the Flat-Top Gibson-banging Reverend’s wife, Washboard Betty. Plus, Jayme Peyton on snare drum. Not quite the generations-spanning lineup you’d expect from an outfit whose new album–which entered the Blues Album chart at No. 4 last week and slips to No. 7 a week later–is called The Whole Fam Damily, but there you go. Pretty good stuff, though! Raunchy guitar, a clanking primal rhythm that stomps and dances the hokum poke’em like the blues used to 80 years ago before it sold out, with some cooking harmonica and trailer-park humor: First song on their MySpace is called “Your Cousin’s On Cops,” as in the TV show. Second song, “Worn Out Shoe,” takes its tune from “Born in the U.S.A”; “Mama’s Fried Potatoes” has a vocal that’s sort of a rap. They are said to originate from Indiana, but on MySpace list their hometown as “in our van.” A previous album was called Big Damn Nation (also kinda funny), and they share a label (Side One Dummy) with Gogol Bordello. They have also apparently been getting airplay on punk rock radio shows, despite being scheduled to open September at Rib Fest in Indianapolis.
This Tennessee-based Southern soulster, who was born 62 years ago in South Carolina and whose Who’s Got the Power enters the Blues Album chart at No. 6 this week, sings about his chosen topic more than anybody ever has. And it’s a pretty intriguing topic, to say the least. His signature song “Candy Licker” was a huge hit on jukeboxes throughout the South in 1987, and it’s still the first song on his MySpace page, where his slogan is “Hey, let me be your candylicker, baby.” The chorus of the second song on his page goes “put your condom on your tongue / lick me til I come / baby, I’ll do the same for you”; toward the end of said number, Marvin includes a spoken-word part where he tells both the ladies and the fellas not to be ashamed. His sound is basically ’70s chitlin circuit, with occasional early ’80s Jheri-curl production values to keep things up-to-date; “Hoochie Mama,” for instance, features Zapp-style robot-funk freakazoids reciting the names of several of the United States. (Beat that, T-Pain!) Quality cuts on the often-gloopy 2006 Jive/Legacy comp Candy Licker: The Sex & Soul Of Marvin Sease include “I’m Mr. Jody,” a backdoor-man boast beginning with an ominous phone call, and the 12-step fix-your-life number “I Gotta Clean Up.” But though some of his cheating songs do not muff-dive whatsoever, his discography nonetheless includes titles such as 1994′s Do You Need A Licker?, 2001′s A Woman Would Rather Be Licked, and 2004′s Live With the Candy Licker. His MySpace page, sadly, has not been flooded with cunnilingual comments.
K’ARMANI FEATURING CROWN VICK
Brooklyn-born but South Carolina-based, r&b gal Kiarra Armani Rivera unveiled her “Wind Ur Body Up” at No. 85 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 13 on Hot Singles Sales (which requires people to purchase actual physical copies) last week, and though she drops off the former chart this week, she’s still at No. 20 on the latter–fairly impressive for an artist who apparently has no MySpace page, unless she just keeps it so hidden as to be impossible to find. The single, which furthers the age-old question of whether winding one’s body up is preferable to winding one’s body down, is available at such less-than-household-name sites as digstation.com, justmusicstore.com, cdconnection.com, and soul-treastures.com. But K’armani’s primary web presence seems to be on DIY haven CD Baby, where she claims her “ultimate goal is to be one of the greatest singers of all time.” As for Crown Vick, MySpace features rappers with that name from Memphis, Philly, and Jacksonville (all with fewer than 500 plays), and YouTube has one from St. Louis–though if any are the Crown Vick on this record, their pages offer no clue.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
This seemingly smug and disturbingly preppy Fayetteville, N.C. (as in near Fort Bragg) “acoustic based rock band” had Sweet Attention debut at No. 21 on Heatseekers last week, then tragically disappeared off the face of the Heatseeker Earth. I will give them this much: Their song “What Is Love” seems to employ a Grand Funk cowbell in its introduction, and “Sooner Or Later” has almost as much old-school soft-rock crap in it as it does post-pop-punk emo crap. “Pop Destroyed The Scene,” sadly, does not. That one also fails to live up to its promising title; I’m not even sure whose Pop is destroying whose scene. Though apparently certain fans of Funeral For A Friend (who have a song called “Rookie of the Year”) are ready to start a feud. (For the record, my nominations for the real musical rookies of this year would go to the three-lady country group Carter’s Chord, three-lady indie outfit the New Bloods, two-lady Latin-pop act Prima J, and one-lady rapper Lil Mama–the latter is still eligible thanks to limited pre-2008 plate appearances.)
Seemingly out of nowhere if they weren’t out on a Paramore tour where I assume there’s a pretty decent merch table on display, this Orange County whine-rock band’s admittedly stick-in-your-craw fountain of emotion “My Resolution” debuted at the very pinnacle of Hot Singles Sales last week, which means it sold more copies than any other physical single; this week, the object is being outsold by only the Cure’s “Perfect Boy (Mix 1).” I initially assumed the song concerned post-breakup survival, but now I’m more inclined to believe it’s about the bone marrow transplant that pianist and leader and inspiration-to-us-all Andrew McMahon received after his leukemia diagnosis in 2005. Which would explain why he keeps exclaiming “I’m alive.” Jack’s Mannequin, a spinoff of the even more lamely named piano-whine ensemble Something Corporate, also do a song on their MySpace called “The Mixed Tape.” Not “Mixtape,” but the far clunkier and less colloquial phrase “Mixed Tape.” What the hell, are they a band full of copyeditors?