The Greatest American Music: Beck's "Debra"

The Greatest American Music is a companion to our Greatest American Band Debate.

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

Last Friday I wrote about how the greatness that is "Baby Driver". That movie is a classic. I also wrote in my spoiler free review about the excellent music in the movie. I bought the soundtrack, naturally, and I have been listening to it pretty much everyday since it was purchased. This is not a review of the album. The album is great, and I highly recommend it, especially for 50's and 60's soul and R&B music fans, but one song on it has rekindled my love for a musician I'm a big fan of.

The song "Debra", from Beck's best album, "Midnite Vultures", is on the soundtrack. "Midnite Vultures" is a tremendous record, and "Debra" is the highlight of the whole record. It is Beck's masterpiece, in my opinion. That is what I want to talk about today, the greatness that is the song "Debra". This is also my way of getting Beck into the Greatest American Band debate, but I just want to talk about this one song. It is enough to put him in the debate. Beck has so much other great music, but "Debra" is a step above everything else he has done, and will do.

In "Baby Driver", Baby and his girlfriend, Debora, talk about all the songs that have their names in them. Obviously Baby has a ton of songs. Debora, not so much. They mention 2 in the movie. One is T Rex's "Debora", and the other is Beck's "Debra". Lily James sings the first part of the first verse, and then immediately after she does that, I was brought back into how much I love this song. Then after listening to it on repeat for awhile, both on the soundtrack and "Midnite Vultures", I fell even further back in love with the song.

Everything about this song is perfection. First off, I heard, I think RD told me in fact, that Beck has said that this song is his own personal tribute to Prince, and it sounds like classic Prince. The song is very funky and Beck sings his heart out, hitting notes I didn't think he could ever get to. He sings some of the highest notes I've ever heard.

I started to dig deeper into the song because Debora explains to Baby that the song isn't even really about a girl named Debra, it is about her sister Jenny. I had forgotten about that. I just assumed the song was about a girl named Debra because that is the name of the song. But no, it is about a girl named Jenny, and her sister Debra. The first lyrics, the ones that Debora sings, go like this, "I met you at JC Penny/I think your name tag said Jenny". Bam! Right off the bat Beck establishes that the song is not about Debra, but it is about Jenny.

Beck goes on to say, "I cold step to you with a fresh pack of gum/And somehow I knew, you were looking for some oh no!/Like a fruit, that's ripe for the picking/ I wouldn't do you like that Zankou Chicken". That is some Barry White esque game that Beck is spitting to Jenny.

It also has classic Beck nonsense like him calling out a chicken restaurant in California. For years my brothers and I would debate what he was saying. We thought he was saying things like "cold chicken", "microwave chicken", anything but "Zankou Chicken".

He then finishes up the first verse, "Cause only you got the thing that I just got to get with? I just got to get with you and you know what we're gonna do". Again, funky as hell. This lyrics are classic throwback R&B lyrics and Beck sings them like a boss.

The chorus is tremendous. The lyrics are, "I wanna get with you/ And your sister/ I think her name is Debra". That is the first mention of Debra in the song. That chorus though, it is top notch and the guitar and drums and especially the bass, are second to none. It is classic, and extremely well played funk/R&B music coming from the weirdest dude in music. He crushes the chorus and the guitar work. I love it.

The song only gets better from there.

In the second verse, Beck explains, "I'll pick you up late at night after work/ I said, lady, step inside my Hyundai/ I'm gonna take you up to Glendale, I'm gonna take you for a real good meal/ Cause when our eyes did meet/ Girl you know I was packing heat/ Ain't no use in wasting no time getting to know each other, you never do". He then rehashes the "Cause only you got the thing" verse.

Lets unpack most of the second verse real quick. Again, super duper funky. It has all the elements of funk music. He is letting Jenny know all his plans, and what he wants to do with her. He is a gentleman obviously, by telling her he is going to take her up to Glendale for a "real good meal". He also isn't boasting when telling her to "Step inside his Hyundai". I have a Hyundai, so I know that all Hyundai's aren't fancy. He is confident, but not cocky. Then telling Jenny that they don't need to waste time getting to know each other is some of the coolest shit ever written. Beck is the man. He lets Jenny know what he wants, and if she is down, he will be having a great night. The second verse is my favorite. It is so cool and shows some of the best bravado that I have ever heard. This is where the song really hooks you.

He then goes on to the chorus again. Only the second mention of Debra in the second verse as well. It just gets funkier from there.

He goes on to close the song with, "ooh lovely lady/ girl you drive me crazy". He then repeats that a few times and finishes it off with, "I got a little bit of sympathy for you girl/ Yeah, cause I'm a grown ass man". He could not sound any cooler than he does at the end of this song. He is truly "the man". He throws down so epically on "Debra". The song closes out with some of the grooviest, funkiest guitar and bass in any funk song ever.

"Debra" is a classic. "Midnite Vultures" is a classic as well. It is songs like these that make me realize why I love not only music, but Beck specifically. He makes so much different and unique stuff, and for the most part, it is successful. Go out and listen to "Debra" right away. This song is so great, and I guarantee that you will gain a whole new level of respect for how great of a singer and song writer Beck truly is. He is like no one else that makes music nowadays, and "Debra" is what opened my mind to his genius.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He owns a Hyundai because Beck planted subliminal message's in Ty's head that said the Sonata is a car for the smoothest of dudes. Come step inside to see for yourself.

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The Greatest American Band Debate: Band of Gypsys

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

During this whole greatest American band debate on the site I have been trying to find a way to put Jimi Hendrix on it some way, any way possible. I thought about doing his first band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but Hendrix is the only American in the band. The other 2 guys are English, and if I put them in the conversation, that opens a whole new can of worms. If I were to put them in, I'd have to look at a band like The Band. They are all Canadian, with Levon Helm being the lone exception. So, since the band is 2/3 English, I decided against putting them in.

Then, I looked at doing the same thing with Hendrix that I did with Robert Johnson. I thought that maybe I could put him in based on his tremendous and unparalleled guitar playing,  but when I thought about it more, I decided against this as well. Yes, Hendrix is an all time great musician, but he is not on Robert Johnson's level. I'm sorry, but it is true. Robert Johnson wrote some of the most iconic songs ever, songs that Hendrix himself became famous for covering, and Hendrix is just not on that Robert Johnson level. Robert Johnson is a pioneer, Hendrix just improved on Johnson's invention. While Hendrix is an all timer, he is not Robert Johnson.

But, the other day, while listening to some Hendrix music, I came across my Band of Gypsys record. Now, this was a one off, live record, but it cannot be understated how great this band truly was. This was a time when 3 wonderful musicians came together and put on excellent shows, and released one of the best live albums of all time. This my friends, is how I will finally get Jimi Hendrix in the conversation. Today, I nominate the Band of Gypsys as one of America's greatest rock bands.

Band of Gypsys consisted of three guys, Hendrix on lead guitar and vocals, the incomparable Buddy Miles on drums and vocals and Billy Cox on bass and vocals. These three coming together was a stroke of genius, or "lightening in a bottle", if you will. The three of them are some of the best to play their instruments. We all know how truly exceptional of a guitar player Hendrix was. He is one of, if not the, greatest guitar players ever. He was a genius, he was ahead of his time, and he did things that no one else could ever do on guitar. Billy Cox was a phenomenal bass player, but also a pretty decent singer. His bass on this one record is so, so good. When the band plays their first song, the first thing you hear is one of his bass lines, and it totally gets you in the mood for some great psycadelic rock and roll music. He also does some great backing vocals and lead vocals on the record. Then, we have Buddy Miles. I mean come on, is their a more underrated drummer ever than Buddy Miles? He is to drums what Booker T is to keys. They are both probably the best ever, that no one talks about. Buddy Miles was a tremendous drummer. The give and take that he and Hendrix have on "Machine Gun" is made extra great by Buddy Miles drumming. Miles was also a very, very good singer. His singing on this particular record is the best of all three members. When he sings "Changes", it is one of the best mixes of R&B and rock that I have ever heard. He had a great voice. When the three of them teamed up, they created something so special, it gave me an opportunity to finally put Hendrix in this particular conversation.

Band of Gypsys did a 2 night run, consisting of four shows, that ran from December 31st 1969 to January 1st 1970 at the Fillmore in New York. These four shows produced 6 of the greatest live songs that have ever been put on an album. The record opens with "Who Knows", which has that Billy Cox bass line that I mentioned earlier. Then, Hendrix comes in with his iconic guitar and Miles hammers home the drums. The song is epic, Hendrix does some of his better vocal work and the band sounds incredibly tight. The record then follows that song with my favorite Hendrix song ever, "Machine Gun". I have already talked about the back and forth between Hendrix and Miles, but that song is so much more. The lyrics have a great message. The instrumentation is wonderful. The fact that Hendrix gets his guitar to sound like a machine gun is exceptional. Same goes for Buddy Miles on drums. The solo that Hendrix does on this recording is one of the best solos ever. I love, love, love this song. "Machine Gun" is a must listen. Then we get "Changes". Buddy Miles vocals on this track are great. He belts this song and Hendrix and Cox do some great work on a more upbeat, faster paced song. Hendrix again has a great solo. "Power of Love" has some great back and forth vocals from both Miles and Hendrix, and it is a pretty great psychedelic rock song. Again, Hendrix slays guitar, and I love Buddy miles vocals and drums. Billy Cox's bass is great as well. Another love song follows with, "Message of Love". This song is all Hendrix all the time, and it is great because of that. They close out the record with "We Gotta Live Together". This song showcases all three of them at their absolute best. It is a very great way to close out this very iconic record.

I know the album only has 6 songs, and it may seem like an unfair way, or that I'm shoehorning Hendrix in, but I seriously believe, even though they only did 4 shows and put out one live record, that Band of Gypsys is definitely one of America's greatest rock bands. I mean, Buddy Miles and Hendrix played a lot before they did this four show run. Billy Cox also showed up here and there on earlier Hendrix jam sessions and recordings. The three of them knew each other pretty well, and they used that friendship totally to their benefit when they decided to do these shows together. I love Band of Gypsys, but more importantly, I love Jimi Hendrix. He belongs in this conversation, and if I have to find a backwards way to put him in, I'm glad that Band of Gypsys put out this one record, making them more than eligible.

So yes, I firmly believe that Band of Gypsys is one of America's greatest bands for all the reasons I listed above. They also belong because these three guys are some of the all time greats at their respective instruments. If you like Hendrix, go check out Band of Gypsys, I bet you will love them.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. If you think Ty is cheating, nominate your own Greatest American Band, write for us. Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

The Greatest American Band Debate: The Coup

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

Today I'm going to get back to my greatest American band debate, and the band I'm going to nominate is a very underrated, yet super conscious hip hop group, the Coup. The Coup is comprised of 2 people, emcee Boots Riley and DJ Madame Funkress. There are other members, but these 2 are the driving force behind this wonderful hip hop group.

I was introduced to the Coup about 10 years ago by one of my brothers. I was getting into politically conscious rap, i.e., Mr. Lif, Dead Prez and Talib Kweli, among many others, and my brother had just discovered the Coup, and he thought I would enjoy them. The first record he gave me was "Pick A Bigger Weapon". This was their fifth of six albums, but it was a great gateway to the awesomeness that is the Coup. I was blown away by Boots Riley. His rhyming was fantastic. He was fast, but also clear. It was conscious music as well. I was getting angry about dirty politics, and the way minorities were being treated, I still think the stuff that is happening now is disgusting, and the Coup, but mainly Boots Riley, was telling these stories.

The opening track, "Pick a Bigger Weapon", kicked off the anger and showed that Boots had something to say. He was angry about the way his people were being treated, and he put it all out there on the opening track. Then, from there on out on the record, Boots and Madame Funkress cover everything from racism to having babies to being underpaid to starting a revolution. "My Favorite Mutiny", featuring Talib Kweli and Black Thought, has the three emcees trading verses about over taking the government and taking a stand. Each emcee crushes on this song. Kweli has the best verse, but both Black Thought and Boots Riley are nearly as good. This is probably my favorite track on the record. They follow that song up with "IJustWannaLayAroundAllDayInBedWithYou", which is just Boots talking to his lady about wanting to stay at home with her all day and make love. But, he also takes a stand against the low wages given out to the working class. He complains about his alarm clock. He just wants to be with his lady all day. But, that divulges into some great takes about being underpaid, or even worse, being paid in IOU's from a crooked boss. Boots, the song makes it seem like he is just having a conversation with his lady, really takes a stance on how the working class gets screwed over by crooked companies. It's a great, funky and heady song. Some other tracks that showcase his distaste for being underpaid and undervalued are songs like "Ass Breath Killers" and "Yes 'Em To Death". Both of these tracks have a skit at the top, and then the song starts. They are both excellent. As far as starting a revolution, the very last track on this record, "The Stand", is a 6 and a half minute epic. The track is beautiful and poignant and has Boots Riley at his absolute best. This is a great, great song that has a very important message. Boots states that he is not going to take this stuff from the big wigs, the government and the crooked bosses of crooked companies, and it still, to this day, holds so much weight for me. This is an essential track for anyone new to the Coup.

I know that I have focused primarily on this one record, "Pick A Bigger Weapon", but it was my introduction, and it is their absolute best record, in my opinion, to date. Their early stuff is great, don't get me wrong. "Genocide and Juice" and "Steal This Album" are both phenomenal and they both have the same message. You could tell early on that Boots and Funkress had some important things to say, and that comes off ten fold on their first three records. But, they really hit their stride on "Pick A Bigger Weapon". They absolutely knocked it out of the park with that record. But, as I said, listen to their early stuff too. It's a bit rougher, they weren't totally solid yet, still great though. I actually like older stuff a bit more, but there is something special about "Pick A Bigger Weapon".

They released another record 4 years after, "Sorry to Bother You", which is also pretty good. It has the same message as all their stuff, but this time around, they sound like they are having fun making this politically conscious rap music. It's a bit poppier, in a good way. Boots is still there crushing it, it just has more of a radio sound.

I have talked almost primarily about Boots Riley, but Madame Funkress is not to be left alone. She is a great DJ, first and foremost. The stuff she does on their records is truly awesome. She is also an excellent singer. She has a soulful voice and can belt it out. She can rap too. Madame Funkress is awesome and she deserves just as much credit for the success of this band as Boots Riley does.

Boots Riley has also branched out and done other stuff with other musicians that is pretty great. He started another band with Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, Street Sweeper Social Club. This band had the same mood as the Coup, but instead of beat machines, record scratching and drum machines, it's just Tom Morello playing guitar and Boots emceeing. It's like a funkier version of Rage. I really like the record they put out. And, when you put one of my favorite rappers along with one of the greatest guitar players ever, I'm going to like it. Other than his many collaborations with Morello, Boots Riley has done stuff with Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Les Claypool, Galactic, Del the Funky Homosapien and Killer Mike. That is a lot of different genres of music that he has leant his talents to. That should prove to any disbelievers that Boots Riley can do almost anything. Boots Riley is one of the most underrated emcees of all time. I know that true hip hop people and fans know him, but the common fan needs to know his name and listen to his music.

If you like hip hop, you will love Boots Riley, and the Coup. Look, this band is great and the world needs to know more about them. The Coup has gotten little to no recognition from the mainstream media, but I will sing their praises all day long. The Coup is not only one of America's greatest bands, but they are one of the most important bands too. They more than belong in this conversation. Do yourself a favor and go listen to anything by the Coup. I guarantee you will fall in love with their sound immediately.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Check out all of his nominees of the Greatest American Band. Make sure to follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Sonic Youth

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

So, it's Wednesday, and I'm going to get back to my regular writing schedule, so that means a new band is going to be nominated for the greatest American band. Today, I'm going to write about a band that has been on my mind for some time now. I didn't quite know how I was going to describe why I think this band belongs in the conversation, so I sat down and I have listened to a lot of their music for the past couple of weeks. Now, I'm going to talk about albums, or even particular songs, when explaining why I think this band is one of America's greatest. In fact, I'm going to talk about the members and, more importantly, their use of different sounds and effects. That is what made the band Sonic Youth so memorable and incredible.

Sonic Youth formed in 1981, the year before I was born, in New York. There were four of them, and looked kind of nerdy and, I bet many people thought they were a pop band, or were trying to be a punk band. Well, Thurston Moore, guitar and vocals, Kim Gordon, bass and vocals, Lee Ranaldo, guitar and vocals, and a plethora of drummers, most notably, Steve Shelley, were not a pop band. Or a punk band. Or, really, any genre of band. They would come out and perform some of the weirdest, wildest, trippiest and coolest sounding music, that almost no one had heard before. I know some people credit them, or lump them in with the "no wave" art scene, but they are the pioneers of noise rock. And more importantly, noise rock that was actually listenable. Other noise rock bands were, and are, like jam bands. They have no flow to their music. They use art as an excuse for why they are crappy. They have no band structure. But not Sonic Youth. They transformed noise rock. They made people want to hear more and more of it. They had structure. They had focus.

Kim Gordon is one of the better punk/noise rock/ rock singers that I have ever heard. She is also one hell of a bass player and a straight up rock and roller. Kim Gordon kicks ass. She is not only one of the greatest female musicians and singers of all time, she is just flat out one of the greatest singers and musicians of all time. Thurston Moore is an impeccable singer and song writer. He is also a great guitar player as well. He was kind of the heart and soul of Sonic Youth. He, along with Gordon, were the ones pushing the envelope and trying new things and they succeeded way more than not. Gordon and Moore were a match made in music heaven. No wonder they didn't get along behind the scenes. Two geniuses like that always end up fighting with each other. I know that they were married for almost 3 decades, 27 years I believe, but I can't imagine the type of bickering they did back stage. Lee Ranaldo is kind of the forgotten member of the band, but he was an integral part. He made some of the wildest sounds I had ever heard on guitar. He was the guy behind some of their iconic records and singles. He is a very under appreciated guitar player. Shelley, the most memorable drummer, was also very influential in their odd, yet intriguing sound. He had to keep the beat and add crazy fills that, had it been someone else, I don't think the band would have worked.

Let's get back to why I'm nominating them today. It is/was that sound that I keep mentioning. When I first heard Sonic Youth I was in middle school. I was starting to get into different music, pushing away from my pop-rap phase, and I was handed a few Sonic Youth records, most memorable for me, "Daydream Nation". That album was so weird and odd to me the first time I listened. I didn't have the brain capacity yet to understand why this was good. So, I stashed the record away and didn't revisit it until almost 10 years later, during my second year of college. My musical mind was much more vast and expansive and I figured I'd give Sonic Youth and "Daydream Nation" another shot. Boy am I glad that I did. I was hearing this unique, different sound from anything I ever listened to. It would start out as punk rock, turn to rock, turn into new wave, go back to punk rock, and finish with rock and some blues splashed in for good measure. Their time signatures were all over the place as well. Most bands do 3/4 or 4/4, those are the staples, but Sonic Youth was doing 5/7, 6/9, basically anything that wasn't the norm. It completely blew my mind. Then, the way they used effects on certain songs, incredible. They would throw all kinds of weird and wild distortion, loops, wah pedals, anything they could and it all worked.

The stuff Sonic Youth was doing back in the 80's and 90's was so ahead of its time. They don't need a genre or an era because their sound and their music is timeless. Well, it may not have flown in the 50's, but Sonic Youth could have been around in the 70's with psychadelia, the 80's with new wave, the 90's with grunge rock, or the 2000's as just an all around great band. Sonic Youth is an incredible band that, I feel, gets unfairly lumped in with 90's grunge. Sure, that is when they hit it big, but they are so much better and more experimental than any grunge band. I'd take Sonic Youth any day over grunge bands that I adore, like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Both Pearl Jam and Nirvana are great, but they don't hold a card to the wonderfulness that is Sonic Youth.

Sonic Youth opened my mind to experimental music and to noise rock. I will be forever grateful to them for all the trippy music they have given me, and the world. Sonic Youth most definitely belongs in the greatest American band debate. Go listen to their stuff and try and tell me that you don't agree. Sonic Youth is awesome.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Make sure you check out all the bands we have featured as the Greatest American Band, and nominate one of your favorites (No Eagles allowed). Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Iggy and the Stooges

For the greatest American band debate today, I'm going to nominate the one, and only, punk rock group that I have legitimately liked. The problem with punk rock music, at least in America, it becomes too watered down and begins to sound emo when a decent punk group gets some fame. There are too many to list, but I bet the readers know exactly what I'm talking about. In all fairness, the best punk groups come from the UK. There is no denying this, it is a statement of fact. But, Iggy and the Stooges made American punk music cool for their run as a band.

Iggy and the Stooges were the only punk group I heard and was immediately in to. I know some people will try to tell me that the Ramones were punk, they were not, they were rock and pop. The Stooges were punk. Even when they first formed and did some psychedelic stuff, it still sounded punk rockish, at least to me. And, it was mainly because of their phenomenal front man, Iggy Pop. I knew that I was going to be into Iggy and the Stooges before I listened to them, because they are from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Not only were they from the greatest state in the US, but they were from the greatest college town of all time. I was destined to like them.

I do have to say, the way I first heard of the Stooges was from a Black Keys EP where they covered their song, "No Fun". I loved the Black Keys version, so, combined with the fact that they were from Ann Arbor and my all time favorite band was covering their songs, I had to check them out. They did not disappoint. Their self titled debut record, while not commercially successful, is a very, very good album. they have some of the psychedelic stuff going on, but it is mostly straight up punk guitar and bass riffs, fast paced drums and Iggy Pop performing these songs with his signature gruff style. I think the record is very good. They may have come off as weird when they released it in the early 70's, but it still holds up today. I'd much rather listen to this album than anything the Ramones have ever released.

A couple of years later, they released their second record, "Fun House". After the release of "Fun House", that was when the Stooges got the critical acclaim. It was a straight forward punk record with classic song after classic song. During the tour after the release of "Fun House" was also when the band got into heroin and their live shows became a thing of legend. Heroin is so nasty, I assume, and it seems like every band from the 70's tried it at one time or another, but it wasn't the drugs that made them great. The live shows was were it was at, and yes, I'm sure heroin had something to do with what made these shows so epic. They used to tour with another great American band, that will surely get their due on the site soon, MC5, and the shows are still talked about today. This was when Iggy Pop would do crazy stuff like cut himself with broken glass, rub food stuffs and other things all over his shirtless body, the band was always playing incredible stuff and, during these live shows, that was when Iggy Pop supposedly created stage diving. I don't know if it is true or not, but the fact that a lot of people credit him with creating this, I mean, how cool is that. Stage diving has become commonplace now, but imagine being there when it first happened. You have to have a crowd that is really into your music, so much so that they are willing to hold you up when you dive into a sea of fans. I love that Iggy Pop is the supposed creator, because who else could it really be. Iggy Pop is so believable as the man that invented stage diving.

After many epic live shows and many problems with hard drugs, the band all got sober and released their third, and final record as the traditional Stooges, "Rough Power". They recorded this album with David Bowie, who had become good friends with Pop, as the producer. The album is hit or miss, with most of the criticism being thrown Bowie's way for over producing, but it is still an okay record. You can definitely hear Bowie's fingerprints all over this record.

The band broke up for the final time after "Rough Power". Pop has gone on to do wonderful things as a solo artist. He has worked with many great musicians and producers, guys like Brian Burton and Josh Homme, and has had a lot of success. Pop is the undeniable star of this great group, but I cannot end this blog without mentioning how great the Asheton Brothers, Ron and Scott were. They were both just as important to the Stooges sound and uprising as one of the greatest punk rock groups ever. They have since passed, as has everyone else that was first involved with the Stooges, but Iggy Pop is still plugging along.

I also cannot end until I name some of the great bands that the Stooges influenced. I already mentioned the Black Keys, but other bands like Sonic Youth, Rage Against the Machine, REM, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the late great Kurt Cobain have all said that the Stooges were big influences, and they have all covered them, one way or another. The Stooges were finally, after 7 tries, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. It was a longtime coming.

Look, I will be forever grateful to the Stooges for showing me that punk rock can be good. It doesn't have to be simplistic and the singer doesn't have to scream into a mic or be emo. You can be yourself and make great music, which the Stooges did. They are more than worthy to be called one of America's greatest bands.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Who do you think the Greatest American Band is? Come tell us all about it. Also, follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Pearl Jam

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

Today I will be getting back to the greatest American band debate and I will be getting back to the grunge era. I know that our head editor RD will disagree with this choice, but I am, and always will be a very big fan of Pearl Jam.

Pearl Jam made grunge music accessible to everyone. They weren't as influential, or as good for that matter, as either Nirvana or Soundgarden, but I find myself listening to Pearl Jam more than I listen to most music from the 90's. They made grunge music top 100 type music. Usually I don;t care for top 100 music, but I always get happy when a good band, a band like Pearl Jam, makes music that everyone deems top 100. That means that everyone can hear them, not just their fans.

I was not a fan, I had never heard of Pearl Jam, until I heard and saw the video for the song "Jeremy". This song is brutally tragic and so is the video. It is about a bullied kid coming into his school and massacring everyone and everything. This song came out before all the tragedies that happened in the 2000's, and even the stuff that goes on now. Pearl Jam was ahead of the times, by a wide margin, with the song "Jeremy". What stuck out most for me from the song was how catchy it was. It is a very sad, very gut wrenching song, but as I sit here typing this, the chorus is rattling through my brain. It made every top list the year it came out. The video was played everywhere. It had the desired effect. The song made people think about this tragic event, and people started to do things to try and curb bullying in schools. It is a very important song and everyone should listen to it at least once in their life. "Jeremy" opened the Pearl Jam door for me.

After hearing "Jeremy", I went out and bought the album "10", which featured "Jeremy". It also had mega hits like "Even Flow", "Alive", "Porch" and "Garden". These songs are quintessential grunge songs, especially "Alive" and "Even Flow". Those songs are timeless and it gave the world Eddie Vedder's incredibly unique singing voice. I love that, still today, I can put the "10" on in my car and be shocked back to when I was a 10 year old in the early 90's, rocking out to this incredible album.

With the success of "10" Pearl Jam put out "Vs", another classic. "Vs" has choice hits on it like, "Daughter", "Animal" and "Dissident". Again, Pearl Jam was writing thoughtful rock music that appealed to the masses. I don;t think there is a sadder, more poignant song than "Daughter". Go listen to it right now and try not to be moved by how sad those lyrics are.

Having only released two albums Pearl Jam was proving to be some of the best song writers on the planet. They had more hits than pretty much any grunge band and the songs that were hits had meaning behind them. They weren't pointless pop songs, they were rock songs with a message. Two years after "Vs.", they released "Vitalogy". Now, full disclosure, this was the last Pearl Jam record I bought. It is not as good as "10" or "Vs", but there is till some very good songs on the record. I personally really enjoy songs like "Not For You" and "Immortality". They show a more grown up version of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. It is still grunge music with a message, but the band is a bit tighter and they sound like they fully formed on "Vitalogy", especially on "Not For You" and "Immortality". But, "Vitalogy" as a whole isn't that great. It's good, but not as good as their earlier stuff. I admit, it has to be hard to try and follow up two great records, but Pearl Jam tried their hardest and it almost worked. They continue to release albums, but they just don't match the greatness that was "10" and "Vs".

Pearl Jam became much more active politically and socially throughout their careers. They had the huge lawsuit with Ticketmaster. They believed, and I agree, that Ticketmaster is a bunch of thieves. They charge you the face value for the ticket, but then they surcharge the hell out of you. Pearl Jam thought this was wrong, so they took them to court and let the world know that Ticketmaster was taking advantage of them. I will be forever grateful to Pearl Jam for doing this. I used to buy all my stuff through Ticketmaster, but after reading and hearing about this lawsuit, I jumped ship as soon as possible. Now, I will only go through bands, comedians or venues webpages to buy tickets because I know that Ticketmaster can't do a damn thing to me. They cannot add charge after charge on my bill and all my money goes to the artist and the venue. Sure, the artist doesn't get all of it, but at least Ticketmaster isn't gouging me and the artist can control the price of everything. That is all due, for the most part, to Pearl
Jam. They have always been the champion the of the little man. The people that aren't the 1 percent. Pearl Jam wants to help out anyway they can. I don't see a lot of artist do that, but Pearl Jam does it, and then some.

Then there is Eddie Vedder. Me personally, I adore Eddie Vedder. I thought he was the perfect front man for Pearl Jam, and he has proven to be an excellent solo artist. He is extremely multi talented and will continue to have a very long career in music. When I saw him at the Fox in Saint Louis about 5 years ago, not only was it one of the best concerts that I have ever been to, but he crushed the show. It was during his ukulele phase, and the show was incredible. Vedder is, by far, the biggest "rock star" that I have ever seen live, and he totally delivered. The show lasted for almost 3 hours and I could have easily watched another 3 hours and I would have been enamored. Eddie Vedder is what every "rock star" should strive to be. He stands for all the right things, he fights for the little guy and he does his best to help everyone, be it through his music or otherwise. I adore Eddie Vedder.

I also adore Pearl Jam and they 100 percent belong in the greatest American band debate. Tell me why I'm wrong RD. I await your ruling.

ed response: In the podcast, I did not say Pearl Jam is bad, I said they were overrated. They made one good song, and have been playing variations of that same song for decades. Mic drop.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Who is the Greatest American Band, Ty has many nominees you should take a look at. Get to know the next Greatest American Band by following Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Nirvana

For the greatest American band today, I'm going to go back to the grunge era. Grunge was pretty pivotal in my life. I was a pre teen and teenager right when the music style became huge. Grunge was a newer style of music that I had never heard before and I was into it. I liked the drums, guitars and the gruff singing that came along with it and it got no better than Nirvana.

Nirvana may be the greatest grunge band of all time. They are definitely the most influential, and I don't think that is arguable at all. Nirvana exploded on the scene with their mega hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". This was like no other song that I had ever listened to before. The guitar would start out kind of slower and quiet, then it would build and get much more rough, in a good way, and Kurt Cobain would squeal the chorus. That chorus, while it may be impossible to know exactly what Cobain was singing, is the most memorable chorus from the 90's, in my opinion. The video was pretty groundbreaking as well. The band playing in a school gym with some cheerleaders and kids dancing to this very gloomy song about the plight of teenagers. The video was sad, but it was made to be sad. The teenagers were brain dead, that is what the song is essentially about.

After seeing the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit", I needed to hear more music from this band. I was very intrigued by their sound. They only released three albums of original music, but I only ever bought two of them. "Bleach" was put out a few years before "Smells Like Teen Spirit" hit it big, but I never really listened to that record. But "Nevermind", that was where it was at. That record is wonderful. It is the best grunge album, hands down. It takes every good thing about grunge music and makes it truly great. There is obviously "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the record, but there is some other big time hits on that record. Songs like "Come As You Are", "Lithium", "On a Plain", "Drain You" and "Polly". Let us not forget their 20 minute epic, it's actually 13 minutes, then 10 minutes of silence, to close out the album, "Something in the Way". That song is their best Velvet Underground impression, and it sounds like something that could have easily been on "White Light, White Heat". But, those other songs I mentioned, they are grunge classics. They use distortion and loud drums and exceptional bass playing and Cobain's perfectly written lyrics are phenomenal. The songs on this record are, by far, the best music of the entire grunge era. Nirvana came at the exact right time and they capitalized on their gift for writing and playing grunge music.

Once Nirvana had the enormous success that was "Nevermind", they released "In Utero" two years later, and that album is also very fantastic. There are some mega hits on that record as well. "In Utero" has songs like "Heart Shaped Box", "Dumb", "Pennyroyal Tea" and "All Apologies". I mean, come on, those are some massive hits just two short years apart. No matter if you like or dislike Kurt Cobain, you have to admit, he was one of the greatest songwriters of all time. He had a knack for writing some touching, yet very sad and very gloomy music, and in the early 90's, that's what the people wanted to hear. Most people were sick of bubble gum pop and how boring and generic rock and roll had become, but then here came this band singing and playing sad, touching and poignant music, and the majority of the country was enthralled. The video for "Heart Shaped Box" was almost as weird and scary as Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun", but both of those songs were great. I prefer "Heart Shaped Box", but that's just me. "Pennyroyal Tea" is a beautifully written and played song. It is one of my all time favorite Nirvana songs. "All Apologies" may be the saddest song to ever make the top ten of the Billboard charts. That song is heart wrenching, but damn if that chorus is not catchy as hell.

With "Nevermind" and "In Utero", it seemed like Nirvana was going to be making great music for many years to come. But, Kurt Cobain took his own life, if that is what you choose to believe, because he couldn't handle the fame. I'm going to go on a bit of a rant here, but I don't think, for one single second, that he killed himself. At the time of his death, Cobain was married to another musician, Courtney Love, and I firmly believe that she was incredibly jealous of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain's fame, and I will go to my grave believing that she had something to do with the death of Cobain. I am not the only one who believes this. She couldn't handle the fact that her significant other was so much more successful and, quite frankly, better at making music than her.  Cobain's death gave her immediate fame and people came to her defense and started talking about how good her band, Hole, was. Courtney Love became the poster child for someone that lost someone they loved way too soon and she started to get more acting jobs and Hole was a band that everyone wanted to play at their venue or their festival. Many people think Courtney Love did something, I don't know if she actually killed him, but I have my thoughts. You will never shake my belief of this.

After Cobain's untimely death, the remaining members of Nirvana, who are the exceptional Krist Novaselic and the still working Dave Grohl, released a couple of albums posthumously. A lot of them are straight up greatest hits records, but they released their "MTV's Unplugged" record almost right after his death, and that record is incredible. The band was stripped down and they did mostly covers and it is one of the best records of all time. It is, by far, the best of the entire "Unplugged" series. Kurt Cobain, who was usually stand offish and quiet and could even be mean during one on one interviews, seemed to be happy and was cracking jokes and playing and singing some great, great songs. Cobain seemed at peace doing this unplugged sets. That record is exceptional and everyone should go out, buy it and listen to it right now. You will be amazed at how great of a band Nirvana truly was.

I don't know any other word to describe him, but Cobain was a musical genius. He had a knack for written lyrics and composing music. He was the lynchpin to Nirvana being as famous as they were. The other members of the band were very talented as well. Krist Novaselic was and is a great bass player. He can play almost any style of music and play it well. He is one of the better bass players of all time. He is still making music to this day as well. Then there is Dave Grohl. Everyone that has heard any music knows something about Dave Grohl. He is the front man for Foo Fighters. He has produced many metal bands, especially RD's favorite, Probot. He has a great HBO series that is all about the roots and start of music. He has done tons of things with Tenacious D. Basically, Dave Grohl is one of rock and roll's hardest working men. And he is pretty darn good at making and playing music.

Look, we couldn't do this debate without adding Nirvana. I feel like, as the millennial of the website, it would be best that I write about them because they were so influential in my formative years. I love Nirvana and they are definitely one of America's greatest bands of all time. I do not think anyone will disagree with me.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He may buy into some conspiracy theories surrounding Nirvana, but he does not buy that Kurt Cobain faked his own death and is really Rivers Cuomo. That is just silly. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Widespread Panic

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

For the greatest American band debate today, I'm going to dip my toes into the jam band scene. Full disclosure, I went through about a decade long jam music obsession, but that time has passed me by now. I can sit through a 2 hour show, at most, now. I do not have the patience I once held for jam music. Also, the band I will be talking about today has put out a lot of very good records, but their studio music is not why I am nominating them, it is for their live performances. They have been on the road for nearly 30 years now and have built a rabid fan base that will follow them from city to city to see them play live. They are in this discussion for the live shows, the touring and the massive fan base they have created, not for studio work. The band I'm going to nominate today is Widespread Panic.

The band Widespread Panic was discussed on the podcast before when I interviewed another brother of mine, Seth, and we talked about his idea of the greatest American bands. Seth is one of the rabid fans that I just spoke of earlier. I was a very big fan for a long time too. Widespread Panic made their name through word of mouth and talk at live shows. They didn't get played on the radio unless it was in their hometown of Athens, Georgia. They weren't widely known to the pop or even rock music listening circles. They didn't have their music videos played on MTV or MTV 2 or even VH1. Widespread was, at least when I heard of them, a band that friends who had seen them play live told you that you had to listen to. I was exposed to them by Seth and my other brother Ross while going through my jam band phase. I had listened to bands like String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon and Keller Williams, just to name a few, but none held a candle to when I first heard Widespread Panic. My oldest brother played a live CD of theirs and I was absolutely blown away. They did things that other jam bands didn't do. They played old blues songs. They played old rock songs. They played old funk and R&B songs. Their originals were also fantastic and had their particular sound.

What separated Widespread Panic from other jam bands was the structure behind their epic jams. The jams didn't just go aimlessly in any direction, there was always a flow. They seemed to have their jams almost timed out, they worked that well. Fans knew when it was going to be a certain member of the band's turn to rock out. We knew when the drums would take over for 8 minutes. We anticipated the wonderfully fantastic guitar solos that JB and Mikey would perform. We knew that there was going to be a moment when Schools, the bass player, was going to shine. It all had a specific structure. That's what drew me to this band in the first place. Leftover Salmon and String Cheese Incident never seemed to have this structure. They played like a poor man's Grateful Dead, and you all know how I feel about Grateful Dead. Their jams were misplaced and misconstrued and unstructured. It was like all the worst things about experimental jazz. But, Widespread Panic did not do that. They always made sure the jam portion flowed within the song and they were always very easily able to return to the bare bones of whatever song they would be performing. This was a very big deal to me back then.

Widespread's live shows were also a thing of beauty. This was the closest I have ever been to that "community" feel that longtime concert goers speak of. Everyone had their place at these shows and everyone was welcome. I'm a jock and a non drinker or smoker of anything, be it tobacco or drugs, but I was never looked at as a square or a narc, I was accepted by these people. They knew that I was there to enjoy the music and they loved that. Sure, I'd venture a guess to say that about 90 to 95 percent of the crowd was stoned, but there was that 5 percent that was just like me, but we were all welcomed with open arms because the music and the show brought us together. Widespread even had tents at their live shows where all the sober people could hang out. I made a lot of concert friends at those shows in those tents. But, we didn't just stay in our tents, we mingled with everyone because everyone was accepted. That is one of the greatest aspects of a live Widespread show, the togetherness of it all. Then, the band would be on stage just absolutely killing it. They would play so many songs and the show would last for 3 to 3 and a half, and sometimes even 4 hours. They were the first band I ever saw live that did an intermission. Usually, after the first drum jam, they'd break for about 45 minutes, this would be 90 minutes into the show, then they'd come back out and play another 90 minutes or 2 hours. It was long, but it was epic and for jam fans, it was the best.

I've seen Widespread Panic at festivals and at outdoor venues like the crummy Riverport here in Saint Louis and the crowd would be very hyped. But, nothing compared to the few times I saw them at the Fox, my favorite concert venue in Saint Louis. The Fox is an old, very nice, very well established venue with a ton of history and beautiful art work everywhere you look. Most of the shows I've seen at the Fox are sit down, respectable shows, but something about Widespread just makes the fans want to get up and move. The Fox was as raucous as I have ever seen it, and it was great. Nobody was sitting in their seats, we were all dancing. I'm pretty quiet and calm at shows, generally I just want to watch the musicians perform, but even I was moving my feet and arms and every other body part because I was into the music. Those shows at the Fox were some of the best that I have ever seen.

Widespread is also the band I have seen the most live. I have seen them 10 times. It was during my jam phase, but I still remember how great and inviting and cool and awesome those shows were. I wouldn't go see them again, but I'm glad I got to see them and I wouldn't change a thing from the past. I have great memories from those shows. I got to go see them in Red Rocks when my brother Seth still lived in Colorado. That place is Mecca for concert goers. Every person that loves live music needs to see a show there, it will change your life. They played everything at those shows too. Their originals are always great, but the covers, those were dynamite. They did some of the best Talking Heads, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield and, my favorite, Robert Johnson covers I have ever heard. They put their unique spin while sticking as close to the source material as possible. The covers were my favorite part of those live shows.

While that jam phase has passed, I still have great memories and I still think Widespread Panic is one of the greatest American bands of all time. As I said before, they have studio albums, but to get the real experience, you have to see them live. Seth told me recently that they aren't going to tour for awhile, but they have said that before and they come back and they sound better than ever. If you like jam music, you have to see Widespread Panic. But, if you are just a casual fan of music, I'd still recommend checking them out because they are truly one of America's greatest bands.


Ty is the Pop Culture Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He once attended a jam concert and 30 minutes in realized that he had stumbled upon an Insane Clown Posse show. Ty has never been to a jam concert since. There is this thing called twitter, and Ty is on it. Go follow him @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Soundgarden

For the greatest American band debate today I'm going to take my first, but definitely not last, plunge into grunge music. There is a lot of influential grunge bands out there and the first one I want to highlight is Soundgarden.

Now, let's get this right out of the way at the start, I did not listen to Soundgarden until much, much later in my life. I mean, they had been broken up, reunited and broken up again before I came to their music. When they first hit the music scene, they were not anywhere near my radar. I was listening to more hip hop and comedy records when Soundgarden made their first appearance. But, as I got older, in my late 20's, I "rediscovered" Soundgardean and, my god were they incredible.

The stuff I heard sounded like grunge mixed with psychedelic music. It was intense and weird, but it was also really good and very interesting. I obviously remember "Black Hole Sun", but to be quite frank, that video scared the hell out of me. All those weird, melting faces with permanent smiles, it was terrifying. But, listening to the song as an adult, it is incredible. I love that a song like that got so much airplay and so much face time on MTV and popular radio stations. That is a dark and depressing song, but it sounds catchy, so the people at those radio stations and at MTV deemed it okay enough to be played. The song is basically about an apocalypse of sorts. Lyrics like, "black hole sun, won't you come and wash away the rain", I mean, that is some depressing stuff. Or, you get stuff like "boiling heat, summer stench, beneath the black the sky looks dead" and that is immediately followed by, "call my name through the cream and I'll hear you scream again". Those are some of the darkest lyrics I had ever heard on pop radio and MTV. This song is about death and decay, but it's got Chris Cornell's unique voice and the band wailing away on their instruments to perfection, and it sounded oddly upbeat. This was a great way to get airplay back in the 90's. You could write dark and depressing stuff, but if it sounded nice, filled with major chords and a kick ass guitar solo, you got airplay. And Soundgarden did it all so well on "Black Hole Sun". Now, in my 30's, not only do I really like the song, but I also LOVE the video. It is so weird and bizarre, but it is perfect for what that song is about.

Soundgarden isn't just about "Black Hole Sun" and Chris Cornell, not by a long shot. First of all, the band behind Cornell is dynamite. Matt Cameron is a very good drummer. They've had five or six different bass players that are all very good, Cornell, while being lead vocalist, also played guitar, but then there is Kim Thayil on lead guitar. Thayil is a master guitar player. The way he used effects and distortion and reverb was quintessential 90's grunge and he was damn good too. He was a joy to watch play. He would whip his incredibly long hair while thrashing away on his guitar. Some of his solos are some of the best that I have ever heard. Thayil was, and still is, one of the greatest rock guitar players of all time. In fact, I personally think Thayil is a much better guitar player than a guy like Slash, but he doesn't get the acclaim. That's a shame. Go back and only listen to Thayil and be amazed at how wonderful and unique and awesome his work is on guitar. Thayil is a legend. Chris Cornell has his place, but I think he is a bit overrated as a singer and guitar player. He got very lucky to be in a band with Thayil. But, without his unique vocals, Soundgarden may have never hit the big time. Cornell has gone on to do other things, but nothing comes close to comparing his work in Soundgarden. The band that he and the members of Rage Against the Machine, minus Zack De La Rocha, started, Audioslave, is a joke. Don't listen to Audioslave. Listen to Rage or Soundgarden. They are both far superior. 

Then there is the actual music. I have mentioned and talked about "Black Hole Sun", but that whole album, "Superunknown" is awesome. It was their fourth album, but it is the one that put them on the map and it is the only one of their albums that really needs to be mentioned. "Superunknown" is incredible. It perfectly melded grunge with rock and had elements of psychedelic music as well. We have the aforementioned "Black Hole Sun", but there is also some great songs like, "Spoonman", "The Day I Tried to Live", "My Wave" and "Fell on Black Days". All these songs are dark and depressing and beautiful. The musicianship is incredible. These guys know how to play and play very well together. I know I said before that I'm not a big fan of Cornell's, but his vocals are perfect on this album for this genre of music. As I said before, I came to this band very late in my life, but this album one hundred percent holds up. They made some records before, and even 2 after "Superunknown", but we don't even need to touch on those because "Superunknown" is so great and such a perfect representation of grunge and 90's popular music. I'm serious, go back and listen to that record and you will be transported to wherever you where in that time of your life. I hear it now and I think back to hearing it for the first time and not understanding it and being scared by it. I was too young to get it when it first came out in 1994. But, 22 years later, I understand and recognize how truly great that record is. That album gave the whole world Soundgarden. Before then, the only people who knew of them where people that lived in Seattle and big time grunge nerds that needed to listen to every grunge band. "Superunkown" unleashed this incredible band for everyone to hear. It is truly one album that allows me to put this band in this conversation. Most of the other bands I have written about have multiple albums that makes it easier to put in the debate, but Soundgarden, while having 6 full EP's, only really needs just this one, and it's more than enough to put them up for greatest American band.

I'm a pretty big Soundgarden fan now. They have tried to make it work recently, but they will never be as good as they were in 1994. They came along at the exact right time for them and they grabbed their chance and ran with it. I really enjoy Soundgarden, especially Thayil, and you really only need to hear "Superunknown" and I think you will agree with me.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Have you missed any of our previous Greatest American Bands? You can find them all right here. Ty has a twitter, go follow him @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: N.W.A.

Getting back to the greatest American band debate for me today, I'm going to dip back in the world of rap and nominate N.W.A.

N.W.A. are one of the most influential bands of all time. Their members were creators of an all new genre of rap music. They, for all intents and purposes, created listenable gangster rap. Their music wasn't just for the people from Compton, it was for everyone everywhere in the US. They made gangster rap accessible. Sure, people that lived in the suburbs of Missouri, Michigan and Tennessee didn't want to visit Compton, but N.W.A painted such a clear picture through their words, you knew what they were talking about, or you at least had your own idea.

What makes N.W.A. even better, they did all of this on one album. The group only released one full length record, but that record is so influential. Sure, they released other albums under the name N.W.A, but nothing compares to the magnitude of "Straight Outta Compton". That album is an absolute masterpiece. As I said, it gave the entire world a view of the gangster lifestyle and how tough it was to be a young, black man in the ghetto. I have not spent one single second in a ghetto, but this album gives me a vision of a horrible, scary and ruthless place. They do such a great job of portraying this. The album is also full of all time hits. Songs like "Straight Outta Compton", "Boyz in the Hood", "F&^k tha Police" and "Express Yourself" are absolutely phenomenal. When you open the album with "Straight Outta Compton", it lets you know and hear how great the members of this group truly were. Ice Cube explodes on the record, rapping with a vicious and ferocious rhyme scheme and it is awesome. He rips apart the lyrics and just crushes his verses throughout the whole song. When you hear the first lyrics, I get goosebumps and I'm ready to hear one of the greatest rap songs of all time. Dr. Dre kills it on the production and scratching of this song. He was/is truly a musical genius. He was pretty much the catalyst for this group to get started and you can hear his influence on this track. Eazy E is incredible, as he is on all of their songs. He has that high pitched, almost whiny cadence, but damn, it is infectious and he is a master on the mic. I really like his voice and I still haven't heard anyone like him to this day. "Straight Outta Compton" is the most perfect gateway song to the world of N.W.A. It tells you almost everything you need to know about this band.

Right after "Straight Outta Compton", we get what may be their most popular and most recognizable song, "F&*K tha Police". This track is a masterpiece. This song came from all the abuse that the members took from the police in Compton and, once again, they paint a very real picture that almost everyone can imagine, but not relate to. I've been harassed by the police before, in my teen years I had dreads and listened to a ton of Bob Marley, but I never experienced anything they rap about on the song. Once again, Ice Cube is at the forefront of this track and, once again, he is truly killing it. Ice Cube, who is very famous, and I will touch on that in a bit, but he is the most underrated person in N.W.A. He is just as important as Dr. Dre and Eazy E, but not everyone talks about him the same way they do about the others. On "F&*k tha Police", he comes out and calls the police racist and points out that, since they have authority, they choose to only go after minorities. His words and his lyricism are timeless and incredible. This song is so true and so bleak and so heart breaking, but it is so good. I, much like every fan of N.W.A, love this song.

"Express Yourself" is Dr. Dre at his best. He didn't rap a whole lot when he was in N.W.A, but his producing and beat making are top notch and this track is a primary example of his genius. He samples an old funk/rock song, that goes by the same name, and puts the emcees, Eazy E, Ice Cube and MC Ren, on full display. "Express Yourself" has one of the best beats in all of rap music and it is 100 percent due to Dr. Dre. It is a really, really good song.

Then, there's Eazy E's introduction to the world on "Boyz in the Hood". This song introduced us to the tiny, whiny, but super infectious cadence of Eazy E. When he starts rapping on "Boyz in the Hood", I can't help but rap along with him. When he starts out, "rolling down the street in my 6 4", I know that I'm in for a great time, accompanied by Eazy E's super unique style of rapping. This song is so great and Eazy E is so great. I love that he was a dope dealer, was friends with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, and they just threw him on a track, and he absolutely killed it. I love that song.

N.W.A is one of the greatest rap groups of all time. Hell, they are one of the greatest groups of all time. They gave us gangster rap. They made it accessible for everyone. They painted a real picture of how tough it is to be young and black in the ghetto. They are pioneers and they did it on one record. Imagine what they would have become had Eazy E not gotten sick with AIDS. Eazy E was a great rapper, but he needed those other guys with him. He was the guy that bank rolled the group in their early years, but he became a star while recording with N.W.A. MC Ren was a very good rapper and was a perfect fit in N.W.A. He had a hard edge to his voice and was a great counter to the style of Eazy E. He has done some other stuff, like creating his own label, but he is most famous for his work in N.W.A. DJ Yella was a great DJ, but he pales in comparison to Dr. Dre. He's done other stuff, most notably with the group the Wrecking Crew, with Dr. Dre, but he will also be best known for his work in N.W.A.

Dr. Dre is ultra famous. I think we all know that. He was the driving force behind N.W.A and he was easily one of the harder workers and that shows in his later work. After leaving N.W.A, he and Suge Knight founded Death Row Records. In doing this, he discovered and helped some of the best talent to ever rap. He introduced the world to Snoop Dog on "Nuthin But a G Thang" on his classic record "The Chronic". Snoop was a very little known rapper until he met Dr. Dre and then he absolutely blew up. Dr. Dre also worked a ton with Tupac while both were on Death Row Records. They recorded some of the best rap songs of all time, most notably, "California Love". After leaving Death Row, he started his own label, Aftermath, and he has achieved great success. He discovered guys like Eminem and 50 Cent, just to name a few. Dr. Dre also created his own line of headphones, Beats by Dre, that have taken over the world. His hard work has paid off, and then some.

Then, there's Ice Cube. He left N.W.A after recording "Straight Outta Compton", due to not getting what he deserved, and went on to have an incredible solo career. He released many great solo records that went platinum a bunch of times. He solidified himself as a great rapper, but more so, a great lyricist and writer. He had a knack and a way with words that was incredible. He is a genius. He also has expanded into the world of acting with great success. He had a star making turn in "Boys in the Hood". He wrote and starred in every version of "Friday". Two of the three of those are very good, especially the first one. He has done some not so great stuff, but he usually delivers in the movies he has bit parts in. Just reference his small role in both "Jump Street" movies. He is hilarious and does a great job. So, yeah I'll deal with an "Are We There Yet" or a "Ride Along" if I can get a "Friday" or a "21 Jump Street". He has become a major, major ultra famous star in music, television and movies.

N.W.A. was incredible and they belong in the conversation. Side note, the movie "Straight Outta Compton", that came out last year, is so good and a great representation of what this group went through and how they dealt with their problems. It's a really good movie. I love N.W.A and I know a lot of people do too. They were great.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He thinks N.W.A. is 1000 times more deserving to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than KISS. Gene Simmons has no idea what real rock music is. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

Greatest American Band Debate: Any Band that Prince Was In Part I - The Revolution

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

Dig if you will Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, sitting alone playing the piano. He is working through the construction of his groundbreaking opera The Magic Flute. Later in the week he invites friends over to his home, and Mozart plays through the entirety of his masterpiece, just the man and his piano. The assembled guest would probably have been blown away. The master, his music, and his piano. Once the last key has been struck, Mozart would tell the guests that his music can only truly be appreciated with a variety of people playing various music instruments together. There needs to be a variety of vocals to complement the complex score. Mozart is a genius, but his genius can best be experienced with a band working in concert with the creator. Every great artist has become transcendent with their often forgotten bands who elevate the music to its true greatness.

The death of Prince has rekindled an intense interest in the artist's incredible music. With a catalog that starts in the late 1970's and ends late last year, Prince left a musically legacy that has very few peers. This legacy began in Minneapolis Minnesota when a very young Prince was gathering friends together to perform music that had never been heard in human history. The loose group of friends, later known as The Revolution, would play clubs in the twin cities creating what would be known as the Minneapolis Sound. Hit songs like  Controversy, 1999, and Little Red Corvette were not directly credited to the Revolution, yet the band members were instrumental in crafting these hits. It would be a few more years until the general public was fully aware of The Revolution.

In 1984 the film and album Purple Rain hit America. The music on Purple Rain is some of the most famous pop music to have ever been made. Songs like When Doves Cry, Lets Go Crazy, I Would Die for U, and Purple Rain have more than stood the test of time. The members of the Revolution not only contributed to the album, but they also played fictional versions of themselves in the film. Wendy Melvoin on guitar and vocals, Brown Mark on bass guitar and vocals, Lisa Coleman on keyboards, piano, and vocals, Matt "Doctor: Fink on keyboards and vocals, and Bobby Z. on drums - this was the most famous, and prolific, version of the Revolution. Coleman, Fink, Mark, and Z were with the band at the beginning, but the addition Wendy Melvoin catapulted the Revolution's sound.

After the success of Purple Rain, Prince would continue to expand the Revolution with members from other bands. Morris Day's band The Time and Sheila E's The Counter-Revolution would add members to the Revolution's line up. The albums Around the World in a Day and  Parade added more hits with songs like Raspberry Beret and Kiss. The band also released a live album in 1985 simply titled Prince and the Revolution: Live. 

Each new hit single also brought a new music video to the young, and still music video playing, MTV. The Revolution was becoming instantly recognizable outside of their iconic leader. Everyone started to know why Matt Fink was called Doctor Fink. Former band mate Dez Dickerson face and voice was instantly recognizable because of 1999. The many videos for the hits off of Purple Rain heavily featured the band with scenes from the movie. Prince, along with his band, had conquered everything music had to offer.

In 1986 Prince and the Revolution started to plan out and record the double LP Dream Factory. The band was having a lot of trouble getting along. Many members were frustrated with how big the Revolution was becoming due to all the new additions. Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin quit due to not be able to get along with Prince. The duo has had an extremely successful career post Revolution. Brown Mark left after one of the bands tours and went on to become a producer. Bobby Z was replaced by Sheila E on drums and went on to release a solo album in 1989. Matt Fink stayed with the band until it's eventual dissolution 1991 and has gone on to make music for video games and work at K-Tel Records. The final Revolution album Dream Factory was never released. 

In the early to mid 1980's no body was making music as innovative and exciting as the Revolution. Many people to this day credit these hits solely to Prince. The artist that Prince was has no equal. His genius left an unmatched mark on music. Like Mozart that genius needed input, and talent, of others who were singularly talented. The Revolution could match Prince's genius and create incredible music. Dearly beloved. we are gathered together to celebrate The Revolution. When you listen to their contribution to Prince's genius, you will go crazy.


RD Kulik is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is nowhere near done with highlighting the greatness of Prince. Next up - The New Power Generation. Do you have a Prince band, or any other band, to praise? Come write for SeedSing



The Greatest American Band Debate: We Miss Deadboy and the Elephantmen and also Ben Kweller

Instead of singling out one band for the greatest American band debate today, I want to talk about one band and one musician, that I'm a huge fan of both, that just kind of disappeared in the last five or six years. I was very high on both when they released new records, but one day, they both just vanished. I still listen to them in my car, but there has been no new music, at least to the best of my knowledge, from these two in a long time. This won't be like one of my previous blogs when I talked about bands I used to like, like Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and the White Stripes, who I don't care for anymore. And it will not be like another blog when I wrote about bands on the cusp of greatness, like Alabama Shakes and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. These two each had potential, but they just up and vanished and I have been craving new music from each of them, but I don't know that it will ever happen again.

First, I'm going to address the band. The band that I'm talking about is Deadboy and the Elephantmen. This band was, and is still, great. This was a two piece band, consisting of guitar and drums. They came out in the early to mid 2000's and really used the two piece phenomenon to their advantage. The White Stripes and the Black Keys both started to gain notoriety in the mid 2000's , and a lot of 2 piece bands starting showing up. I listened to most of them, but besides the Black Keys, Deadboy and the Elephantmen really stuck with me. I really enjoyed their sound. It was one guy and one girl. They did the White Stripes thing, the guy playing guitar and being the lead singer and the girl on drums. They did branch out a bit, letting the lady do lead vocals on some songs. They sounded awesome together.

You may be reading this and saying that you have never heard of this band, but I know that you know at least one of their songs. The song that introduced me to this bad was called "Stop, I'm Already Dead". This song was played a ton, and it is still being played. In fact, it's the opening theme song to the show "I Zombie". It was a great, hard rocking song. They sounded a bit like early Black Keys, so I was on board. I loved the single, and I bought the whole album almost immediately. The rest of the record is fantastic. They play mostly rock songs, but there is also some slower, ballady type stuff on the record. I was really intrigued by their sound and I thought that they could take it in all kinds of different directions. I listened to the record on repeat for a long time. I figured they'd be coming out with new stuff soon because their debut album was awesome.

Eight or nine years later, and there is nothing. I don't know if I missed new material or if they just stopped after one record. I really liked this band a lot and I was hoping for a lot of records from them over the next decade. That unfortunately hasn't happened and I don't know what happened to them. I love and miss Deadboy and the Elephantmen. I truly expected great things from them, but I guess I will have to settle for their one record. At least it is a very good, very solid album.

The next person was one of my favorites. He's a solo artist and he is extremely talented. There were rumors that he'd play every instrument on the recordings of his records. His concert is one that RD and I have mentioned on the podcast a couple of times. That artist is Ben Kweller.

Straight out of high school, I loved Ben Kweller. I saw the video for "Wasted and Ready", and I was enamored. Kweller perfectly blended the lines of rock, pop, and even threw some punk in there for good measure. He also knew how to write a beautiful, acoustic love song. This dude was awesome. His first album, "Sha Sha", is about 35 minutes of some of the best rock/pop music that has ever been released. Every song on the record is awesome. The aforementioned "Wasted and Ready", "How it Should Be", "Family Tree" and "Lizzy" are all great and they are all mixed genres. This album was crucial listening in my town house for me and my roommates, one of which was RD. I was hooked on Ben Kweller after this. Just two years later, he released "On My Way". It wasn't as good as "Sha Sha", but I still loved it. This record was more love songs and more ballads, but, as I just said, it was great. I listened to it, and learned a lot of it on guitar, in about 2 weeks. Kweller was still big in my life as an early 20 year old. I anxiously awaited his next album, and two more years later, he released his self titled album. This was good, but it was a bit of a letdown for me personally. There wasn't much growth. He was really honing in on the pop/rock, and I had heard the same thing for two straight records. I still listened to the album, but I wanted something different from Kweller.

With his next album, I got exactly what I wanted. A lot of people aren't huge fans of "Changing Horses", but I think it is wonderful. I wanted different and "Changing Horses" is just that. This record is pure folk. Kweller wrote and plays everything on this album. He can write one hell of a folk song and he is masterful on slide guitar. I loved this departure from the norm. It was a breath of fresh air. He showed me, and his fans, that he could do something different. He didn't just have to write pop songs, he could really branch out. I think this record is a classic, but a lot of his fans will disagree.

I was hoping Kweller would take more chances. But in 2012, he released "Go Fly A Kite", and it was back to his pop roots. It's still good, but after the masterful "Changing Horses", I couldn't help but feel let down. The best thing about "Go Fly A Kite" was the fact that he released the tablature for the whole album. This made it even easier to learn his songs from this album on guitar. But, since then, Kweller has not released any music. It's been four years now, and I don't know if he quit making music, if he got bored of making music, or if he just wanted to focus on being a dad and husband, but I miss his music. I still have all his albums, but "Changing Horses" and "Sha Sha" are the two I listen to the most. Hopefully, he will return to making music, but you never know, and four years is a long layoff for someone that is not that famous.

I loved, and still love both Ben Kweller and Deadboy and the Elephantmen, I just wish they kept making more music. They were both unique and interesting in their own ways and I could only imagine how much better and more experimental they could have gotten, had they continued to make music. I miss you guys and I hope you reunite, Deadboy and the Elephantmen, and I hope you get the urge to write and record more, Ben Kweller, because the music business and the fans miss you.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Did you know Ty likes guitar music? He even has a favorite kind of guitar. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: What is Hip and Cool is Always Changing

So, I never really thought I was getting old until very recently. Now, I'm not old by any means. I'm 33 and I'll turn 34 near the end of 2016. But, working with younger kids has made me feel kind of old. I will reference players that I assume everyone knows, even if that everyone includes children that were born in 2010. I made a reference to Shaquille O'Neal and Shawn Kemp during basketball season, and the kids, especially the 5 and 6 year olds stared at me blankly. I didn't realize they have no idea who those guys are and Shaq is a sure fire hall of famer. But, the younger players only know of LeBron James and Steph Curry. At least most know who Michael Jordan is, even if it only means they know about his sneakers, they at least know the name.

But, sports aside, I am getting pretty old when it comes to pop music and music played on the radio. I recently sat down with my 12 and 9 year old nieces, you'll hear them on the podcast tomorrow, and the people they were telling me about, I maybe knew 1/3 or even a 1/4 of their names. I looked at them as blankly as my young athletes looked at me. I consider myself a pretty hip and knowledgeable person when it comes to music. But, with that being said, I do not care for pretty much all of modern pop music. There's a few people I enjoy. I like Hozier, I've written about Alabama Shakes and I'm a humongous Black Keys fan, but I was also told by my nieces that those aren't really pop bands and musicians. Their music is more rock they said.

This was the exact moment when I felt old.

This must have been what my parents felt like when I was listening to Puff Daddy and Mase and I told them that their music was old and stuffy and uncool. I finally understood what they said to me back then. I would get older one day, and what I like will not be popular anymore, if it ever was. I thought they were crazy, but they were right, as they always have been. My nieces threw some bands and singers at me and they may as well have been speaking a foreign language. As I said, they will name all these people on the podcast, but I still don't remember the names. I know of people like Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and One Direction, which the 9 year old rants about, but those people weren't even really on their radar anymore. They've already moved on from these bands and found new singers and bands to adore.

While this makes me feel old, I also feel like this is a big problem with modern pop music. No one sticks around that long anymore. Sure, some will have two or even three hits, but the majority are new versions of "one hit wonders". There's so many bands and singers that have one hit song, but they never do anything after that. At least nothing that's played on the radio. This doesn't make them bad singers or bad bands, it just means they capitalize on one song and on a very young fan base who's musical taste isn't fully developed yet. This is not meant to be a slight, I just said I listened to Puff Daddy and Mase, but then I grew up and, in my opinion, I got way better taste in music.

I also listened to what my dad said and listened to the music he lent me the older and more mature I became. My dad introduced me to Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Robert Johnson, among many, many others. This makes me hopeful that my nieces parents will do the same. Their dad is my oldest brother and he and I have similar taste in music. I hope he does what our dad did for me, but I also know that he plays good music, like Radiohead and TV on the Radio in their house, so the girls are being exposed to good music, they just don't recognize it yet, just like I didn't when my father was playing good music in the house.

I know they will come around at some point, with urging from their parents, but it was equally fascinating and upsetting at their knowledge of modern pop music. They both really do listen to everything they can, that's great and very fascinating. They devour as much pop music as they can. It's awesome that young kids still listen to so much music, even if it's stuff I don't care for. But, it's also upsetting because this is the first time that I have truly felt old. I just had no idea of what they were talking about at times and I was that old man berating young kids and their music these days. I feel like I will try and listen to some of the stuff they mentioned, but I know I won't like most of it, even before I listen to it. Modern pop is just not for me, but it has its many fans and its many fans are very young.

Both my nieces give some wonderful insight and they make me happy because they truly do love music. Music makes everyone happy and there is something for everyone. You will get old and young kids music will sound weird to you, but just think of how you felt when you were a kid and your folks wanted to listen to their music. It took me 33 years, but what I thought would never happen happened. I felt old, but it's not that bad. That's what's supposed to happen. As we get older things change and change can be odd and weird, but you will always have your thing and your music. That will never change.

I also would like to thank my nieces for talking to me and trying to open my mind to new music. It didn't work, but they put out an excellent effort. Listen to the podcast tomorrow because it's was a delight to record and I know everyone, be they 80 or 8, will really enjoy the two conversations I had with my two nieces. They were funny, insightful and a lot of fun to chat with, even though they made me feel old.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Like Grandpa Simpson, Ty was once cool, but what was cool to Ty just changed, and now it is scary. Listen to the X Millennial Man Podcast tomorrow to hear the tale, and make sure you follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: The Moldy Peaches

For the greatest American band debate today, I'm going to nominate a band that is way off the realm from almost any band I've written about to date. You could call this band genre-less or you could say that they span many, many different genres of music. They play folk, rock, metal, ballads and they even rap on a few songs here and there. They also only put out one official album. They had LP's and EP's, but they only truly released one record in their short run. Now, I absolutely adore this band and they were also the first band that I heard that made me think, professional music can be easily done, if you know how to manipulate equipment the right way. They also did everything themselves. They recorded, produced, wrote and released everything on their own dime, to the best of my knowledge. This band will not be a popular pick for some, but as I said, I adore this group and I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize how influential they were and how they gave me true and real hope of becoming a professional musician. The band that I speak of is the Moldy Peaches.

I LOVE the Moldy Peaches. I first heard them when I was a teenager and my love has only grown from there, and they only have one real album. I cannot stress that fact enough. I don't know how they crept in my mind and stayed there for so long with such little material, but dammit, they have stuck around. I still listen to their self titled album in my car to this day. Sure, they released live and rare stuff that only hardcore fans of the band like myself own, but their self titled is the only real commercial record they have. And it is great. They have had as many as 11 unofficial members in the band, including Toby Goodshank, who I saw recently and he is great, but the Moldy Peaches is primarily, and most importantly, all about Kimya Dawson and Adam Green.

Everyone by now knows of Kimya Dawson. She is a folk singer that did all of the original music for the movie "Juno". She kind of blew up after that soundtrack and movie were released. It was well deserved because she has a unique voice, can play decent guitar and writes poignant, beautiful and silly songs. She has continued her musical career post Moldy Peaches very well. She tours and records new stuff to this day, but I will always love the Moldy Peaches stuff the most.

Adam Green may not be as well known as Kimya. Yes, he still plays and records, but he hasn't gotten the acclaim that his former girlfriend and bandmate has achieved. This is partly his doing and partly the industry's doing. He's very talented, but he is also heavily involved with drugs and art and making weird short films that make no sense. He does art with Macauly Caulkin. In fact, they have had a show and boutique of their drawings and paintings and they are very, very bizarre. Green has also played music with a lot of people including Ben Kweller, Binki Shapiro and Har Mar Superstar. He is a much better musician than artist or filmmaker, in my opinion. He, much like Dawson, knows how to write and craft sweet, but very silly and very weird songs. And, also much like Dawson, I enjoy his Moldy Peaches stuff the most. I have seen him live, and we discussed the show on a previous podcast, but, that show was weird and he walked off stage after playing wrong chords and singing wrong words. But, while I enjoyed the majority of his show, before he walked off stage, this was were I decided to buy not only his solo album, but the Moldy Peaches album.

So, this wacky and wild show was my gateway to one of my favorite bands. I went home the next day, listened to Green's solo album first, enjoyed it, then listened to the Moldy Peaches record and immediately adored it. It played on repeat in my car stereo and apartment for the next two or three months straight. Friends and family would come over and be very confused with what I was listening to, then that confusion would turn to, typical Ty, listening to some weird folk music. Everyone, with my brothers Seth and our editor RD being the lone exceptions, blew off this weird band I was suddenly enamored with. That didn't stop me. I listened to this record so much, I knew all the words to all the songs within a week. I love every song on this record. There are some great tracks like "Lucky Number Nine", "Nothing Came Out", "Downloading Porn With Davo", "Steak for Chicken", "Anyone Else But You", "Little Bunny Foo Foo", "Who's Got the Crack" and "Lazy Confessions". In my mind, these are all classics. These songs span all kinds of genres of music and they do it quite well, considering that they seem to be recording on either a tape recorder or an old school eight track recorder. I love that. "Lucky Number Nine" is a great, folksy opener to the album. It's very simplistic in it's skeleton, it's just drums, guitar and bass. But, Kimya Dawson's vocals are very good and Green's backing vocals are great. It's an awesome song. "Nothing Came Out" is also a very slow folk song, but it's also dirty and silly. Quintessential Moldy Peaches. "Downloading Porn With Davo" is raunchy, pop punk, silly and awesome. I'm not a big fan of pop punk music, but the Moldy Peaches do it extremely well. "Steak for Chicken" is so weird and absurd, but the music is classic rock and roll, with Green playing some really good, really underrated guitar. It's like Andy Kaufman wrote a song and the Moldy Peaches recorded it. It's a perfect marriage. "Anyone Else But You" is probably their most famous and sweetest song. You may think you don't know it, but you do. It's the song that Michael Cera and Ellen Page sing to each other at the end of "Juno". The song shows love from both the man and woman's perspective, but the woman is more aggressive and the man is a bit of a whipping boy. I absolutely adore this song. This song should be played at every wedding everywhere. It's wonderful. "Little Bunny Foo Foo", the old traditional kid song, is turned into a punk rock song, with Dawson yell singing the vocals by the end. I love it. "Who's Got the Crack" is everything that is great about Moldy Peaches. They sing slow and fast. They pay their instruments slow and fast. And the song is one of the most absurd and one of the dirtiest songs I've ever heard. It's incredibly vulgar and weird, but it is also tremendous. "Lazy Confessions" is a return to slower folk music and I absolutely love Dawson's vocals on this song. The whole album is great, but these particular songs are my favorites.

I love how weird and how primitive the Moldy Peaches were. Both Green and Dawson are still kind of primitive in their solo stuff, but nothing compares to what they did in the Moldy Peaches. Dawson has achieved more success, which isn't surprising, but I'm kind of shocked that Green isn't more famous. Anyway, I love the Moldy Peaches and I could not continue with this greatest American band debate without mentioning them. Don't listen to them with your kids, but listen by yourself and I can almost guarantee that after three or four listens, you will get what I'm saying and you will become a fan.

Did I mention that I love the Moldy Peaches.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Do you have a greatest american band nominee? Tell us all about it. While you think of your favorite band, follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: The Mars Volta

For the greatest American band today, I'm going to nominate the Mars Volta. I truly adore this band, but it took awhile for me to get on board. When I first heard them, I just didn't get it. It sounded loud and weird and very distorted. I'd be lying if I didn't say, it kind of felt unlistenable. But, I gave them another try and I'm very happy that I did. I started to get it after three and four listens. I started to understand what they were doing and the type of music they were playing.

This could be a surprise to some, but Mars Volta was my first taste of prog rock. I had never heard anything like it before, so I feel like that's why it may have been so weird to me at first listen. But, before I gave them a second try, I started to listen to bands like King Crimson, Tool, Procol Harum and ELO. I allowed my musical mind to be expanded to different and newer types of music. I was instantly intrigued by both King Crimson and Tool. Those two bands are absolutely incredible. I've already made quick mention of King Crimson on the site before, but they're not eligible for this debate because they're from England. Tool, who I will most definitely write about at a later date, is eligible and they are some of the most talented and eccentric musicians that I've ever listened to and seen live. They're awesome. Procol Harum was a bit more rock heavy, but they still did prog rock stuff and it was great and way ahead of it's time. And ELO, a band that I avoided for years and years because I thought they were too poppy, is so good. People out there, give them a listen, especially if you like prog rock, because they are tremendous.

All  this new prog rock I had found made me want to give Mars Volta another chance. They also had a semi popular song come out around the same time that I revisited them. That song was "The Widow" off the album, "De-Loused in the Comatoruim". I loved the song. When I heard it on MTV, yes they still had videos and played songs once upon a time, I couldn't get enough of it and I also couldn't believe it was from a band that I once thought was not very good. The song was weird, but in a good way, loud, but in a good way and the distorted vocals and guitar were there and they were excellent. This is one time on my life when one song actually made me change my mind about a band. "The Widow" converted me to a big fan after one listen. It's a great and epic song from Mars Volta. 

After falling back in love with this band, I did some research on them so I could learn more. I learned that the two founding members, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, were in a band before this called At the Drive In. I researched and listened to them, and while they are good, they lean a little more emo rock and they are not as good as Mars Volta. I also learned that Bixler-Zavala was a pretty heavy drug addict and he barely survived after At the Drive In broke up. Thankfully, he had a great friend and a real professional musician, Rodriguez-Lopez, that helped get his head back on straight and convinced him to get back to making music. After getting clean, Zivala teamed back up with Lopez and they formed Mars Volta. What a great friendship and band they had after getting clean.

Their sound was weird prog rock, and after my first misstep, I'm so glad that they stuck around long enough to make excellent and weird music. I've already mentioned "The Widow", but they also have some other great, classic prog rock songs like, "Roulette Dares", "Televators", "Viscera Eyes", "Wax Simulacra", "Goliath", "Since We've Been Wrong" and "The Malkin Jewels". Now, when listening to these songs, know that most of them are 8 minutes plus and they go in very weird and odd directions. They constantly change time signatures, chords, keys and drum beats, but it all works to perfection. Zavala's vocals are some of the loudest and most ear piercing words I've ever heard sung, but he makes it so good. Go and listen to "Roulette Dares" and "The Widow" and be blown away by how extremely awesome his singing is on those songs. It's incredible.

But, the crème de la crème of Mars Volta is Lopez's guitar playing. He is a wizard playing six strings. He does some of the weirdest and wildest stuff that anyone has ever done on guitar. He is my generations Jimi Hendrix and no, I don't think that's blasphemy. Lopez is a guitar genius. I love guys like Dan Auerbach and Tom Morello and think that they are some of the best guitar players ever, but Lopez is better. While I may like the overall music of the other guys better, the things Lopez does is like nothing I've ever heard before. He uses distortion like no one has ever used it before. His pedal board holds all kinds of different effects and noises that he manipulates wonderfully. When I saw them live about 7 years ago, I was amazed at what he was doing and I couldn't take my eyes off him while he was on stage. Lopez held my attention for the entirety of the show and I couldn't have been happier. Lopez is one of the best guitarist of all time and he is probably one of the most underrated as well. The dude is a wizard.

Mars Volta has won Grammy's and been in the Billboard 100 multiple times and they've had their albums ranked in top 100 lists by most publications, but they never seemed to get mentioned as an al time great band. Well, that changes today, because they belong in our greatest American band debate for all the reasons I mentioned above. I may not have liked them at first, but I adore them now and I will adore them forever. Mars Volta rocks.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. For ever a decade he thought height of prog rock was Styx. He has since learned of better music. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

For the greatest American band debate I'm going to nominate Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band.

I fell in love with this band right after I discovered the Black Keys. I read an article where Dan Auerbach called Captain Beefeheart one of his biggest influences in music and I had to hear this guy immediately. It was awesome. The first record I bought was "Safe As Milk", and let me tell you, this thing is the earliest form of garage rock that I ever heard and it was totally awesome. The sound that his band made with their instruments, the distortion and reverb from guitars, the fuzzy bass, the weird drum lines and fills, and Beefheart's voice, it was incredible. I had heard stuff like this before, but not this good. I like garage music. Bands like the Black Keys, the White Stripes, the Hives, Bloc Party and the Heavy are all in my normal rotation, except for the White Stripes now, and it is all great, but it is not Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band.

Look at some of the songs on "Safe As Milk". You have stuff like "I'm Glad", "Abba Zabba", "Zig Zag Wanderer", "Grown So Ugly" and "Sure 'Nuff n Yes I Do". All classic and all very different from each other. That's the sign of a great songwriter and a great band. When you can change genres in the course of one album, that takes a boat load of talent and ingenuity. "I'm Glad" is a slower, almost love song, but with the funky instruments playing very fuzzy riffs makes it awesome. "I'm Glad" also has some beautifully written lyrics that come off as legit poetry. Beefheart opining for the good days, saying stuff like, "when we met I was sad, at times I felt really bad, but now I'm glad, I'm glad about the good times, oh, that we had". Wonderful. His backing band, almost sounding like doo wop, is such a great added bonus. "Abba Zabba" is a classic throwback rock song with Beefheart gruffly singing the words to perfection. When he needs to hit higher notes on "Abba Zabba", he knocks that out of the park as well.

Beefheart, his real name is Van Vilet, is one of the greatest writers and musicians of all time. "Zig Zag Wanderer" is your typical 60's rock and roll song made that much cooler by the Magic Band. The guitar and bass are distorted perfection and I could listen to this song over and over again. "Grown So Ugly" has some of the most unique and interesting time changes I've ever heard in one 2 and a half minute song. They start out fast with a heavy guitar riff and Beefheart screaming the lyrics, then just stop completely, come back slow for the verse, then do that over and over again for the glorious duration of the song. I love the Black Keys version of this song,  but the original is so much better and so phenomenal considering when it was recorded.

The opening track to "Safe As Milk", "Sure 'Nuff n Yes I Do" was the perfect gateway to their music for me. It starts out with a fuzzy slide guitar riff, so I'm immediately on board, and it just gets better from there, growing louder and faster and ending with a boom. This song opened my mind to true, original garage rock. Captain Beefeheart and his Magic Band have put out a ton of albums, 9 to be exact, but "Safe As Milk" is the cream of the crop for me. Don't get wrong, their other stuff is very, very good, I just really love "Safe As Milk".

What I really want to touch on for the rest of the blog is the many, many bands that they have influenced and Captain Beefheart's relationship with Frank Zappa. Let's look at the people they have influenced first, There's the afformentioned Black Keys and White Stripes, but they also made a mark with bands and musicians like PJ Harvey, Beck, Franz Ferdinand, LCD Soundsystem, Kurt Cobain, Black Francis of the Pixies, John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my brother Seth's favorite, Tom Waits. That is a murderer's row of very famous singers, bands, songwriters and musicians. I mean, a guy like Beck, who bends all genres of music, calling Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band is a huge feather in their cap and shows how great of a band they truly were. Even a band like LCD Soundsysytem, that mainly dabbles in the electronica notes how influential they were and covers some of their songs on their records. They may be one of the underrated American bands as well as one of the greatest American bands. That list of people they influenced could go on and on.

Beefheart's friendship and relationship with Frank Zappa helped explain a lot of things abut his musical stylings and just the flat out bizarre stuff he did as a musician. They met each other when they were teenagers and bonded over their love for blues and R&B, according to Wikipedia. They also recorded very early, like when they both broke into the industry, and Zappa helped cultivate the Captain Beefheart persona. Before Beefeheart, Van Vilet was just your everyday studio musician and he performed live with Zappa's band, the Mothers of Invention, who I will definitely write about at another date. As they got older and grew in the industry, sometimes their friendship would turn into a rivalry, like when two brothers fight. They fought because they couldn't tour independently due to contract obligations, thanks again Wikipedia. They fought so much at this time, they wouldn't speak to each other, much like when two brothers fight. They went their separate ways for awhile, but when Zappa was diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually take his life, they reconnected. They went back to recording together in the studio and put out some great songs. Stuff like "Muffin Man" and "Willie the Pimp". They remained friends through Zappa's untimely death and I'm positive they were happy they buried the hatchet and became friends again. Anyone that can work with and be almost as musically accomplished as Frank Zappa is a genius in my book and Van Vilet AKA Captain Beefheart is just that.

I suggest, for the young kids out there, if you like the Black Keys and other similar bands, go back and check out Captain Beefeheart and his Magic Band. That was where they all got their influence.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. His early musical influences included Rockapella, The Zack Attack, and The B Sharps. Be influenced by Ty and follow him on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Rick Rubin and Brian Burton

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

In lieu of talking about another band today for the greatest American band debate, I'm going to talk about two producers. These guys are legends in the music business and without them, we would never have gotten some of the greatest bands of all time. They're both mainly producers, but one also doubles as a pretty good musician. The two people I'm going to talk about today are Rick Rubin and Brian Burton, AKA Danger Mouse.

Let's first start with Brian Burton. Danger Mouse bust onto the music scene with the legendary "Grey Album". This was a "mashup" of the Beatles "White Album" and Jay Z's "Black Album". This record was incredible. He perfectly blended Beatles with Jay Z. We had never heard anything like this before. Now, it's commonplace for DJ's and producers to do "mashups", but Danger Mouse was one of the first. This record was also impossible to come by. He didn't get permission from the powers that be to make it, so the few that got released were hard to get your hands on. You had to know someone who knew someone that had a copy just so you could get one. It's a masterpiece.

With the acclaim that followed "The Grey Album", Danger Mouse was in high demand. He began to work with a lot of artists. He, along with Cee Lo Green started the band Gnarls Barkley. An awesome concept for this band. Green did the vocals and Danger Mouse did everything else. They put out two awesome albums. The way he met Green was working with him on the "Danger Doom" album. This was Danger Mouse and MF Doom. MF Doom is an awesome, but under appreciated rapper. Their "Danger Doom" record is an excellent concept album. They used Adult Swim cartoons as their base and wrote rap songs to go along with it. Some Adult Swim people that appear are Master Shake, Harvey Birdman and Meatwad, to name a few.

Later on, Danger Mouse was called upon by the Black Keys, one of my all time favorite bands, to be the first outsider to produce one of their albums. He came to work with them on "Attack and Release", their first real ambitious album. He's since worked almost exclusively with them, making their sound more complete. He's added bass where needed and piano as a cherry on top of their unique sound. He was one of the driving forces behind their most recent and most ambitious record, "Turn Blue", and I will be forever grateful to him for making the Black Keys take some much needed steps to further their sound and push the limits.

Danger Mouse also has the band Broken Bells. This is him and Shins frontman James Mercer's side project. This is a great platform for Mercer to step away from the indie rock sound and really take some big vocal chances. He has to hit so many high notes with Broken Bells and he does great. That's something he would have never done in the Shins. Broken Bells is great.

Danger Mouse has also done work with a lot of other famous artists, Jack White, Norah Jones and Sparklehorse among many, many others. Danger Mouse is probably the second most in demand producer right now, and everything he's done so far has been pretty great. He's a top of the line producer.

The only guy that may be more in demand than Danger Mouse has got to be Rick Rubin. I mean, the dude co created Def Jam Records first of all. Just google Def Jam and look at all the ultra famous people that have been on that label, it's astonishing. He and Russell Simmons created an empire. They both created probably the best rap label of all time. Bands like Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and Run DMC owe their fame to Simmons and Rubin. Even a guy like LL Cool J they made famous. Rubin is a total recluse, but when he emerges from his cocoon to work, this guy never disappoints. He was the producer on the "Black Album", Jay Z's best in my opinion.

Rubin has worked outside of rap music as well. His clientele includes  the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, the Avett Brothers, the Dixie Chicks, Adele, Rage Against the Machine, Slayer, Mars Volta, Mick Jagger, the list could go on for days and days. He's even done stuff with Lady Gaga, Shakira and Ed Sheerhan. He has definitely expanded his grasp on all music.

The one thing you hear when people talk about working with Rubin is what a great professional he truly is. He has a knack for hearing and knowing great music. Before him, the Avett Brothers were just another run of the mill folk group. Rubin made them great. Same thing can be said about the Dixie Chicks. He produced their only listenable record. Rage Against the Machine knew they were working with a legend and let him do his thing, ending with great results. Lady Ga Ga, Shakira and Ed Sheerhan should thank their lucky stars that Rubin agreed to work with them. That's a huge compliment. Slayer and Mars Volta made their best stuff with Rubin on board. He's a genius, there's no other word that better describes him. Rubin's talent was on full display when he  got the absolute best out of an almost dead Johnny Cash. Those last two albums of his are masterpieces and a lot of that has to do with Rick Rubin being the producer.

They may not be a band, but we cannot talk great American music without mentioning these two guys that have helped produce so much of it. I can't wait to see what Danger Mouse and Rick Rubin do next.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. As a kid he thought Puff Daddy was the only producer in music. He has since become aware of others. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Booker T. and the M.G.'s

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

Today for the greatest American band debate I'm going to nominate the first, and possibly only, all instrumental band. Instrumental music can be a hard sell for a lot of people, but these guys did it funky with a ton of soul and made it very enjoyable. Of course I'm talking about Booker T and the MG's.

Chances are even if you don't think you know who Booker T and the MG's are, or one of their songs, you've heard them before. They have been around forever, still performing today, albeit very limited and not the same guys that started the group, and their sound has been used by very famous singers. They were one of the first backing bands that went out and did their own thing and garnered a good amount of success doing it.

Booker T and the MG's formed in the early 60's in Tennessee. They helped shaped, and probably pioneered, the "Memphis sound". They were the funkiest backing band that I have ever heard. Booker T Jones was the organist and piano player, Steve Cooper was on guitar, Lewie Steinberg played bass and Al Jackson was the drummer. After forming, they quickly became the house band for Stax Records. They performed with legendary singers like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Bill Withers, Sam and Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas and Albert King. Basically, any big time artist that Stax had, they wanted Booker T and the MG's to be their backing band. They have had to played on hundreds upon hundreds of hits when you look at those musicians that they performed with. Songs like "Walkin the Dog", "Hold On, I'm Comin", "Soul Man" and "Try a Little Tenderness", just to name a few, they were the ones bringing the music to the lyrics. Those are mega hits that not only soul music fans know and love, but just fans of music adore. "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Comin" really show you Booker T and the MG's signature soul/funk/rock sound. Great guitar, followed by great bass and thumping drums and then the cherry on the top that is Booker T's exceptional piano playing. They could even do slower stuff like "Try a little Tenderness", but they had to throw their sound in to make it a little funky and have a touch of rock and roll. When that song jumps up in tempo, I get goosebumps listening to it. It's a perfect song that perfectly showcases not only Otis Redding, but mainly Booker T and the MG's.

The band would also record and release their own material while still performing with these uber famous singers. They have put out a ton of their own stuff, but their biggest hit has to be "Green Onions". Believe me, you know this song. The first place I heard "Green Onions" was in the movie "The Sandlot". I was in fifth grade, my dad took me out of school early to see this baseball movie, and while the movie is one of my all time favorites, with the scenes of the kids playing being phenomenal, I kept asking my dad about "that one song that had no words". I couldn't shake that song. I loved it as a 10 year old and I still love it now. "Green Onions" is the personification of the "Memphis sound" and, more importantly, perfectly sums up the greatness that is Booker T and the MG's. The organ and the drum that starts is awesome. Then, the simple guitar riff, that is just chords, absolutely wonderful. Then, Booker T really shines on the organ, playing the most distinct notes anyone has ever heard. I guarantee you know the song when you hear that organ in the first verse. The guitar keeps adding reverb and gets a bit more complicated throughout the three minute song. Then, it's back to organ, with a downright funky bass line being played. The drums, keeping perfect beat the whole time, are just incredible. When I hear this song, I can't help but dance or move my feet or bob my head to it. It's a classic.

Now, "Green Onions" isn't their only hit as a band, they also have the song "Time is Tight". This song features the great organ by Booker T, but the other musicians shine just as bright. The guitar is just as front and center as the organ and it's awesome. The solos are fantastic. The drums are great, this time, not just keeping time, but playing awesome fills and having a very full sound. The bass is just as good. It's minimal, but it is necessary and it is good. I know bass always gets a bad rap and people make fun of bass players, but in a soul/R&B/funk group, bass is very important. It keeps time, just like the drums do. They have many other hit songs, but these are the two that everyone, even if they think they don't know them, know these songs. Hell, "Green Onions" is a staple in most movies and on a lot of TV shows.

Booker T and the MG's are owed a great debt by many musicians, especially ones that fancy themselves funk musicians. Without what these guys did, we may have never gotten that funky soul sound that they brought to the listening public. They are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but I feel like they're a very underrated band. They are all extremely technically skilled musicians that all the big names in soul music wanted to be their backing band. Booker T and the MG's, in my opinion, are the best backing band of all time. I know people will throw out singers and musicians from the movie "20 Feet From Stardom" or the band from "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", but for my taste, it gets no better than Booker T and the MG's. These guys created a sound that was all their own. They are inventors and masters of their craft. They still perform today, with mainly new members, but Booker T is still there hammering away at his organ, and that's all that matters. As long as he is still around, the MG's will continue to be a great band.

Here's to you Booker T and the MG's, you guys are pioneers.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. He feel bad for being mean to the bassist from his high school rock band. The dude kept good time. Hear all about the glory days of The Redshirt Freshmen by following Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: The Avett Brothers

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

For the greatest American band debate today I'm going to nominate one of my personal favorite folk rock groups. The band I'm going to talk about today is the Avett Brothers.

The Avett Brothers are a four piece with the "Brothers" part being banjo player and co lead vocalist, Scott Avett and lead guitar and co lead vocalist, Seth Avett. The rest of the band is bass player, both upright and electric, Bob Crawford and they have a cello player named Joe Kwon. They have other musicians sit in on drums and piano from time to time, but those are the four main guys.

I was introduced to this band about 7 or 8 years ago via an article in "Rolling Stone" I read. They had just started to work with Rick Rubin and I pretty much like anyone that brings Rick Rubin on to work with them. This was kind of a departure for Rubin, but he had been doing mainly rap for awhile when he found the Avett Brothers. He worked with Johnny Cash and he was doing some other stuff with rock bands as well as working with Jay Z and many other rappers, but he had never really produced any folk music, at least not to my knowledge (ed note: He did also work with The Dixie Chicks, I guess they are folk-like). All I needed to see was that this band personally asked Rubin to come in and produce their record. I was going to listen no matter what.

That Rubin produced album was "I And Love And You". This is an absolutely phenomenal album. It was a great way for me to be introduced to their sound. This record is perfection. The way they mix folk and rock is just incredible. They also do beautiful slow songs and when they rock, they really bring it. The opening track, "I And Love And You" is one of the most bittersweet songs ever. They talk about falling out of love with their partner and saying that those three words are very hard to say. The piano they use, as it builds and builds, is downright beautiful. The louder the piano gets, the more pain they sing with and it's awesome. It is a great song. But, when you have had all the sadness you think you can endure, they hit you with a great love song, "January Wedding". This is a great, great first dance song, especially if you have a wedding in the month of January. "January Wedding" features some excellent solo banjo playing from Scott Avett and beautiful vocals from Seth Avett. Another great song. Then, they hit you with a rock song. The song "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise" is a great rock song. It starts out slower, like a folk song, but when they hit the bridge and then the third verse, it turns into a straight up rock song, with loud drums, banjo and guitar. They also up their vocals and knock it out of the park. The rest of "I And Love And You" is a great example of how to mix rock with folk and Rubin is at the top of his game producing this album. I could write a whole piece just on this record, but they have a lot of other music that is equally great.

After listening to "I And Love And You" on repeat for about 6 months, I decide it was time to dig into their older stuff, the stuff that is mainly folk music. I went out and bought "Four Thieves Gone: The Robbinsvile Sessions", "Emotionalism", "Country Was", "Mignonette" and "A Carolina Jubilee" and listened to them all almost immediately, one right after the other. "Country Was" and "A Carolina Jubilee" are very similar, in the fact that they are straight up folk records. Sure, they rock out on some songs, but it's all acoustic and it's all great. There are some classic Avett Brothers songs on these records like "Love Like the Movies", saying that movie love is fake, and I agree, "Pretty Girl From Raleigh", which finds them opining an old love and "I Killed Sally's Lover" which is a dark song, but the tone is upbeat. All great, early songs from the Avett Brothers.

Then I listened to "Four Thieves Gone: The Robinsville Sessions". This record, in my opinion, is a masterpiece. This album showed the band stretching what I thought was folk music, and had them exploring rock, and on one song, Scott Avett is almost rapping. It's a really good album. Go listen to songs like "Colrshow" to hear them rock out and yell sing lyrics awesomely or "Matrimony" which is about the plight of marriage, but there precision on vocals and instruments is on full display. Some other great songs are "Four Thieves Gone", which has them back to their roots with a ballady, slower folk song or "Pretend Love", which is a great mixture of rock and folk. My favorite track is the opening song, "Talk On Indolence". This song perfectly captures the bands love for folk and rock and both brothers vocals are just excellent.

"Four Thieves Gone" is so great. I didn't think that they could get better on the other albums I had, but, I was floored by what I heard on "Mignonette" and "Emotionalism". Both of these albums show real growth and exploration from this awesome band. On "Mignonette", we get some classic Avett Brothers tunes like "Swept Away", just an absolutely beautiful love song, "The New Love Song", which shows that this band is really unsure that they have ever truly been in love, you can really hear the hurt in this song, "Letter to a Pretty Girl", which has them, once again, opining for a lost love and "Salvation song", that is so good, it should be gospel. "Mignonette" is a really good album. But, "Emotionalism" is better. On "Emotionalism", we get great songs like "Paranoia in B-Flat Major", which is one Avett Brothers song that every fan knows and they play it at most live shows. There's also the beautifully heart breaking song "The Ballad of Love and Hate", which has hate being a jerk, but love loving everything about hate, no matter what. A great folk/rock song on this album is "Pretty Girl From Chile" which has a lady read an old love letter right in the middle of the song, then they proceed to rock for the rest of the song. "Hand Me Down Tune" is a great, slower folk song that is about the love of old music. It's awesome.

I was now hooked on Avett Brothers music. I was ready for their next record to come out because I needed new Avett Brothers music. They released "The Carpenter" in 2012 and I adore this album. It is one great song after another. "Once and Future Carpenter" is a typical folk song made great by this band. "Live and Die", which some of you may know from a GAP ad a couple of years ago, is a really sad song about death, but made upbeat by the vocals and instruments. "Pretty Girl From Michigan" is a great throwback Avett Brothers song that has them rocking and being very folksy at the same time. "Down With the Shine" is a perfect folk song. The instruments are great and when Scott Avett and Seth Avett trade off on vocals, I love every second of it. "Geraldine" is a very short, but very awesome rock song. Great electric guitars and great, very fast vocals. "Paul Newman vs. The Demons" starts off as a rock song and continues to rock harder through all 4 minutes and 43 seconds. It's the first straight forward rock song from the Avett Brothers and they crush it.

Then, one year later they released "Magpie and the Dandelion". This album is great, but it's not as great as their other stuff. I like that they take a ton of chances on this album and play a lot of electric instruments, and it is still very good, it's just not up to par with the other stuff I've mentioned today. Still good and worth a listen for fans though.

Other than what I've mentioned above, the Avett Brothers have a lot of EPs and they have put out three live albums and one live DVD. It's all great. The EPs are very early so they are mainly folk with some country splashed in. The live stuff is great. I've seen them live three times and every time they are awesome. They have a great energy that they bring to their live shows and when they slow it down, their ballads are beautifully done. Go see them if you want to experience a great, high energy live show.

I'm very excited to see what the Avett Brothers have in store for the near future. They are a great band that has put out a ton of music, but they are still fairly young and they have a lot of music ahead of them. I adore the Avett Brothers and they belong in this conversation. I know they lean more folk, but they are one of America's greatest bands.


Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. He liked to strum the banjo on his front porch, but had to stop because the neighbors that it was creepy. Make sure you follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.

The Greatest American Band Debate: Eric B and Rakim

SeedSing is filled with music lovers. We can not agree on who is the best band from the States. The Greatest American Band Debate will be a regular feature where we discuss and compare bands who started in the good old USA. If you have any suggestions of bands we should debate Contact us

For the greatest American band debate, I'm going to get back to a band, although it's a duo, and I'm going to get back to rap. The band I'm going to nominate today is Eric B and Rakim.

Eric B and Rakim may be the most influential rap group of all time, even more so than Sugarhill Gang. Eric B and Rakim proved that you could make great music with only two guys. I know that I nominate and talk about a lot of two piece bands, the White Stripes, Ratatat, Run the Jewels and the Black Keys to name a few, but, at the very least, there would be no Run the Jewels if not for Eric B and Rakim. They are the quintessential two piece rap group. They had a short, but very prolific run in the music industry.

The duo exploded on the scene very early on, only a few years after rap became a big thing. Their first record, "Paid in Full", was released in 1987 and it was a hit. It was helped by the huge single "Eric B For President".  According to Wikipedia, this album, although rushed to release, influenced huge hip hop stars like Run DMC, KRS-One and Chuck D. This record showed the world that smooth, yet profound flow of Eric B. It also introduced us to the wizardry that was Rakim. He was a master of making beats and could write the hell out of a song. So could Eric B. He was a lyrical master. The song "Eric B For President" is a master class of rhyming and flowing that hip hop artists nowadays owe a huge debt to. Without this song's structure, a lot of famous rappers wouldn't have a clue at how to put their flows to a beat. "Eric B For President" laid the groundwork for modern hip hop cadence.

After the release and success of "Paid in Full", they signed a deal with MCA. They were now with a huge label and expectations were high, and they did not disappoint. Their second album is one of the all time greatest albums. In 1988 they released "Follow the Leader". This record is a masterpiece. The title track, "Follow the Leader" is epic. The song has a great beat, great lyrics and the message is fantastic. They basically shouted to the hip hop world that they were the leaders of the movement, and it's hard to argue with them. No one, at that time, was even close to how awesome Eric B and Rakim were. They owned the throne of hip hop. "Lyrics of Fury" is another classic. This song is another example at how great of an emcee Eric B was/is. He is a lyrical genius. And the way he raps on "Lyrics of Fury", watch out because he destroys the song. It's an incredible rap song. "Microphone Fiend" is another great track on this record. I love this song and it was introduced to me through Rage Against the Machine, a band I've already written about, but Eric B and Rakim's original version is the best. I love the angst and anger that this song brings and I love that, instead of fiending for drugs or money or violence, Eric B wants only a microphone. That's what he's fiending for and I love it. He needs that microphone to spit his lyrics out to the world and we, the audience, need it as well. It's my favorite song from the entire Eric B and Rakim songbook. The rest of that record is just as phenomenal, but those are the three standouts. The fact that it took so long to be acclaimed, it didn't get good early reviews and it wasn't until the late 90's and early 2000's that it became a classic, is shocking. the first time I heard this record, as a 20 year old, it immediately blew me away. I love this album.

In 1990 they released their third album, "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em". it was okay, but it doesn't get the critical or commercial acclaim that their first two albums eventually got. The record is still really good. Songs like "Set 'Em Straight", "Untouchables" and the title track, "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" are all classic Eric B and Rakim and they all still, 100 percent old up as all time great hip hop songs. This album was also the first album to get a 5 mic rating in "Source" magazine. That's a huge honor and they were the first to earn it. This is a good album.

They released their final album as a duo in 1991 called "Don't Sweat the Technique". This was just another example of their awesomeness. They weren't getting along great in the studio, but they still made a very good album. Two of the songs on the record were also used in two big time movies in the early 90's. The song "What's on Your Mind" appeared in "House Party 2" and they recorded the theme song to the very underrated movie, "Juice". Both of those movies were huge at the time. "House Party 2" doesn't really hold up, but "Juice" is just as good now as it was in 1991. They broke up shortly after this album's release and they both did solo and side projects, but they never hit the same nerve as they did when they recorded together.

Eric B and Rakim were on the ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they didn't make it on their first try. That's insane to me because I believe they are the most influential rap group of all time. Eric B's writing and rhyming laid out the example of what a true emcee should sound and rap like, and Rakim's ear for looping and beat making is second to none. They belong and deserve to be in the Hall of Fame much more than some of the bands that are already in there. Eric B and Rakim are one of the best rap groups of all time and they are definitely the best rap duo of all time. They belong in this discussion for all the reasons I laid out.

Eric B for president indeed.


Ty is the Pop Culture Editor for SeedSing and the other host for the X Millennial Man podcast. He is constantly fiending for the mic, but Ty only talks and does not rap. Yet. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.