Greezy Balls, Lonesome Thugs, Orlando Christians, Timid Midwestern Roots Schlock, And “Scotland’s Only Tank Regiment”
Each week, dozens of songs and albums from up and coming (or just plain unknown) bands debut on the pop charts. Some of these bands will never be heard from again; some of them may become the next little thing. That’s why every two weeks Chuck Eddy will be exploring the world of Billboard‘s Heatseekers and Hot Shots, looking for diamonds in the MySpace rough. In this installment he tracks a Miami rapper with a questionable crotch, religious goth-rockers scheduled to play a Salvation Army (possibly near you!), a military pipe and drum band that now shares a label with Slim Shady, a chubby reggae quartet, and many more:
More potential stars of the future, burning up the bottom of the top of Billboard‘s charts:
BALLGREEZY I wouldn’t think greezy balls would be an attribute one would want to advertise, but “Shone,” this Miami (Little Haiti, to be precise) rapper’s “smash hit”–that’s what his MySpace page calls it; hey, it entered the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 99 last week, after all–is super catchy. And if the first line of the remix featuring Rick Ross is to be believed, it is addressed to Lil Mama! It’s also about going to the club, popping pills, and meeting someone who will “follow me home and suck me off,” greeziness or no. A fellow named Boss B performs an intricate dance routine to it in the video posted below:
LONESOME THUG LADY Or, as her MySpace page spells it, *L®NS©ME THUG L?DY*™ AINT LOOKIN 4 A HANDOUT!, born in El Paso, now based in Fairfax, Virginia (“the heart of the 703”). “Down 4 Whateva” was No. 14 last week on Billboard’s Hot Singles Sales chart, which tracks actual physical singles, not those download things. At any rate, she is apparently lonesome, a thug, and a lady, all in one, which adds up to an interesting mixture especially if you toss in a few tattoos. Not to mention “an independent solo musician until my brother is released from incarceration.” The Mantronix-reminiscent electro-funk tinkling in both her mini-hit and “Me Against The Gun” sound ominous enough, and she enjoys making threats: rhymes “don’t trust your dick” with “gon’ cut that bitch.”
Lonesome Thug Lady [MySpace]
FIREFLIGHT These Orlando kids (two girls, three guys) entered Top Christian Albums at No. 15 last week, and this week they’re No. 27 on the Heatseekers chart; way to hang in there! On their album cover the more zombie-eyed blonde transports an oversized candle, and needless to say they sound a lot like Evanescence or Flyleaf–urgent female power-ballad emoting over suburban-mall goth-metal bombast. They are involved in campaigns against “cutting” (watch out, Lonesome Thug Lady!) and Cambodian sex slavery, and their album’s Bionic Woman-broadcast title track “Unbreakable” is said to be sung from the point of view of an adulteress saved by Jesus from being stoned to death. Spring shows are scheduled at several coffeehouses and Protestant churches, a Salvation Army, and something called the “Creation Festival” in Shirleysburg, Pa. MySpace comments come from friends such as “Llamas r CUTE!!!” (which is true!), “Wear your theology on your Theolotee!!!,” and “Eileen: Boo Boo Bunny Expert.” But despite their name, Fireflight do not cover Final Solutions’ excellent song “I’m A Lightning Bug.”
SAVING ABEL Not Christian rockers. In fact, they share an obsession with Ballgreezy: “I’m so addicted to the things you do when you’re going down on me between the sheets.” Hinderback-style clod-rock from Mississippi, seeking heat at No. 22 with their self-titled album this week; and here you thought touring with Sick Puppies couldn’t sell records. They sure have lots of slutty-looking MySpace friends, though. And OK, “New Tattoo,” about what happened with a pierced 5’6″ hitch-hiker during a summer ’96 road trip–“she unzipped her pants and said lookee here”–kinda kicks dumbass ass. Too bad they do slow songs.
Saving Abel [MySpace]
BODEANS Wow, these old snores are still around? They must be, seeing how their appropriately titled new He & He Records album Still entered the Billboard 200 at a staggering No. 194 last week. 22 years ago, their bland Wisconsin roots schlock was the toast of flyover-state rock critics; Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams finished No. 21 in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll in ’86, though nobody born since then has heard of the band. But now they’re apparently up to eight studio albums, their (MP3s available!) new one is “once again” produced by T-Bone Burnett, and their MySpace page lists Woody Allen and Sting and Emmylou Harris as friends, not to mention some cowgirl named Achishalom who is seemingly fond of handcuffs. Who knew? Glad to hear they made a career of it. The music is still timid Wisconsin roots schlock, though. (And I say that, by the way, as a middle-aged Midwestern guy who worships at the altar of early John Cougar.)
ROYAL SCOTS DRAGOON GUARDS “The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Scotland’s only tank regiment, have signed a record deal with Universal Music, home of artists from Eminem to Pavarotti,” we learn on the MySpace page for this happening young act’s new album Spirit of the Glen, which re-entered the Top World chart at No. 9 last week, and checks in as this week’s No. 97 Heatseeker. “The disc of traditional Scottish tunes and classical numbers has inspired soldiers for centuries, from the battle of Waterloo to the assault into Basra in 2003.” I bet you didn’t even know CDs existed centuries ago! Well, in Scotland they did! “it’s a gr8 album,” their MySpace mate Gary Mac Falconer raves. “plus you got some fab vocals on it.” For instance, they perform “Mull of Kintyre,” which went nowhere in the U.S. when Wings first did it in 1977 since nobody understood what the hell its words were about, but which topped the British charts for the next two decades. What a canny cover choice for stateside success!
Spirit Of The Glen [MySpace]
REBEL SOULJAHZ I read “Souljahz” as “soul jazz” at first, but I bet it’s meant to be pronounced “soldiers,” right? Anyway: Not soul or jazz or bagpipes, but mellow multi-harmony reggae from Hawaii! Bubba, Will, Mike and Kulani may well weigh in at half-a-ton between them, and the 709 copies that Nielsen SoundScan says their Nothing To Hide album sold makes it the No. 115 Heatseeker this week. They croon about “keeping the vibe” and “skanking the night away” at their “Irie beach party,” and Mike wears an XXL Bob Marley T-shirt.
Rebel Souljahz [MySpace]
TEYANA TAYLOR This “multitalented 17-year-old”s Jazze Pha-produced single, which snuck into the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 100 last week, is titled “Google Me.” So I tried, and I got a link to “WikiAnswers: What is taylor swift’s phone number.” Then I corrected my spelling of Teyana’s first name, which led me to her MySpace page, which opens with Teyana reciting her phone number, or at least her “Jack Up,” which is (678) 701-4342. The “teen president” from “the Planet of Harlem” digs Star Trek and My Chemical Romance. Sitting on the bus stop in her ice cream top she can make the traffic stop, she boasts in another bubbly tune, seemingly inspired by both L.L.’s “Around the Way Girl” and the Pack’s “Vans.” Best of all, she taught Beyoncé how to Chicken Noodle Soup!
Teyana Taylor [MySpace]