Angry Salad Fixings, Emo-With-Synth Wimps, Devilish Delusions, And A Good Amount Of Cardio

xhuxk | May 2, 2008 10:00 am

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 may become the next little thing. That’s why every two weeks Chuck Eddy will be 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 a reggae tribute to Barack Obama, a chess-playing jazzman, and some screamo guys who think they’re collectively the devil.

COCOA TEA A cheerful rallying cry by this 49-year-old hit No. 40 on last week’s Hot Singles Sales chart and is reportedly even more popular in Kenya; on his MySpace page he spells it “Barak Obamaha.” He also lists, among his influences, “the gerat bob Marley,” “gregorey issacc,” “sam cook,” and “stevee wonder,” and appears somewhat ambivalent about the spelling of his own name as well, but so what, I can’t spell in Jamaican either. An entertaining morsel from his bio: “…the 5feet 5inches rasta man who after not making it big from his first recording decide to try his hand at horse riding went to caymanas park race track where he started learning the rigors of being a jockey,but after been disloged several times by a horse called sovering set and been told to remount again after bleeding from wounds that was cause by the spills he recieved, started having second thaughts about his ability to master the trade,he went home deciding to try another occupation so he started learning to ply his trade on the high seas, his time spent learning to fish was historic and event full but all in all he had a good time doing so and never regret a moment of it because he develope the art of writing a song and kept working hard at prparing himself for the chance of getting to record a song again so he went to every dance…” And the rest is history. Both the video for “Barack Obama” and the song “Keep On Dancing” on his MySpace demonstate that Cocoa Tea has no lack of goofy sidekicks even more Flavor Flav than himself. Among the incisive political wisdom he imparts: “This is not Hillary Clinton/And it is not John McCain/ It is not Chuck Norris/And I know it’s not John Wayne.” Another verse advocates uniting races, including “the Japanese and all the Chiney man.” Though he does promise at one point to “paint the White House black,” a sentiment George Clinton will probably still appreciate.

GERALD VEASLEY The cover of his current album Make Your Move suggests that this Philadelphia “Nu-Jazz/Funk/Jazz” bassist and apparent longtime fusion veteran may well play a mean, albeit well-mannered, game of chess–possibly even including castling and everything! Of the six tunes on his MySpace page, “Thank You” is by far the funkiest seeing how it’s a cover of a famous Sly Stone song, and “Three Tears” the most melodically Bacharach/David-like. But oddly the page does not include “Slip N Slide,” which has nothing to do with Trick Daddy’s record label but which entered the Smooth Jazz Songs chart at No. 30 last week regardless. MySpace pal Elle claims the tune has a “nice little ‘twang'” to it. Longo III is even more excited: “holy cow!! you have a myspace!? this is awsome! your camp this year was the bomb diggity!!! i’m looking foreward to next year as long as i’m not going to iraq!! The “camp” would seem to be Gerarld’s “Bass Bootcamp” in Reading, Pa., which features dogtags of its own.

LETTUCE More funky jazz funk! And their brand-new album–this week’s No. 115 Heatseeker–is called Rage! Which is weird, because lettuce is just about the least raging vegetable ever. Maybe they’re Raging Against the Rabbits. Or the Vegans. Oh wait, here’s an explanation, from bassist Erick “E.D.” Coomes: “We called the record Rage! because that’s what we do. We’re ragers and that’s how we got started … by raging.” So there you go. Based in the Big Apple, they have either seven or eight members depending which part of their MySpace you believe. Like Gerald Veasley, they cover a ’70s funk classic–in Lettuce’s case, Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” with Dwele competently adding falsetto soul vocals. I also like the photo where the long-haired-and-bearded member named Jesus is shown praying.

DEBBIE ROCKER The Debster, whose spiritually titled Pedometer Plus: Intermediate Level re-entered the New Age album chart at No. 14 last week, has a “passion for changing people’s lives, not just their bodies,” her WALKVEST®’s web page claims. Among those celebrities whose lives-not-just-bodies the NYC-born/L.A.-bred world-record cyclist has assisted: Ellen Barkin, Valerie Bertinelli, Rachel Hunter, and Rod Stewart, plus countless more whose names I don’t recognize, probably because I wasn’t paying attention. What exactly this has to do with Debbie’s undoubtedly rocking if undeniably pedestrian music, if she has any, is not exactly clear, though if you search her CD title on Amazon you’ll find it associated with a certain “Walking Fit Kit.” YouTube videos, for their part, deal with “cardio endurance.” Suggested cover versions: “I Walk The Line,” “Walk Don’t Run,” “Walk This Way.”

THE WHITE TIE AFFAIR Hey fellas, wouldn’t naming our album Walk This Way invite damning comparisons to Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. and Debbie Rocker? Well, maybe not if we put a shapely pair of lady’s legs with yellow Converse high-tops on the cover! Great idea! And how about if we wear ties on our MySpace page, but not white ones? That’ll confuse ’em! Also, how about if we include lots of “widgets”; you’ve heard of those, right? Like, we could have a teensy little chat room with scintillating dialogue such as: “sulman_lateef: hello / sulman_lateef: how are you all / sulman_lateef: any body there / mehran: hi / sulman_lateef: asl / rajpans7: hi”! And we could sell a “White Tie Affair Bundle,” featuring our No. 44 Heatseeker-this-week album, an “instant download of the smash single ‘Mr. Right,'” an “awesome slim fit T-shirt,” and “TWTA knock arounds,” all for $17.99, for a limited time only! I don’t know what “knock arounds” are, but we’ll put a picture of sunglasses there, just in case! Maybe nobody will even realize that we’re sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired (as we whimper in our lead MySpace track) emo-with-synth wimps from Chicago! As of Wednesday, at least 38 of the 50 comments visible on our MySpace page came from girls! That’s 76 per cent! How dreamy of us!

DESTROY THE RUNNER The title of their album–Heatseeker No. 25 last week and No. 144 this week–is I, Lucifer, clearly a lie since the devil would never whine like a bootlicking Clear Channel screamo mollycoddle, and nor would he think it clever to identify his genre as “Experimental/ Metal/Reggaeton” on his MySpace page. Also, Bob Seger already told us he was Lucifer, way back in 1970. (Amazing song. Reached No. 84 in the Hot 100; did better in Detroit.) Interesting, though, that one of this San Diego band’s MySpace friends is named Adam, possibly of Garden of Eden temptation fame: “Great album, guys. Screw the haters, they don’t understand that bands change and evolve.” A friend calling himself matronmali celtim begs to differ: “Ahh, disappointment at its finest. You won’t be seeing me at any of your shows.” Now Brvce: “I love love love love the new cd but not in a gay way.” Mark, for his part, gets specific about the music’s evolution: “from a kind of generic sounding rock/screamo band to something I had no clue as to what to compare it to.” Me neither!

ARSIS Cover art on We Are The Nightmare features two goop-drippingly horned hobgoblins from the black lagoon sticking their skinny fingered tentacles into some poor bald sap’s mouth, all surrounded with seaweed; the album entered Heetseekers at No. 22 last week, and slips to No. 56 a week later. The band’s logo is sneakily constructed to resemble a palindrome, even though it isn’t one. Music–“melodic death metal” from Virginia–thrashes in a tolerably wankful way until the singer starts barfing. Opening seconds of title track and intermittent instrumental interludes thereafter demonstrate that Arsis conform to the decades-old tradition of extreme metal bands being more skilled at being beautiful than being noisy. Best song title on MySpace: “Lust Before the Maggots Conquer,” because once they conquer, who’ll have time for lust, right? Comment from Black Johnny, about their DVD: “Great shit. Who was the guy with the box on his head running in the field? Who ever that was is my hero. Have fun with your wine ha ha.”