Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

The Friday mix: Powerful and catchy alt-metal from Incubus

I probably won’t be turning anyone onto Incubus today. Most everybody knows who they are, but they are in my top 5 of bands I discovered in the last 10 years so today I’m putting together a mix of my favorites.

I will say right off the bat I don’t have their first two releases, “Fungus Amongus” (1995) and “S.C.I.E.N.C.E” (1997), but I actually just ordered them both. So none of the music from those albums will be included in my mix today, but if I like them, I’ll write them up singly later on.

An incubus is a demon that lays on women to have sex with them while they sleep. Classy.

There’s a lot to like about Incubus. Lead singer Brandon Boyd has a stellar voice and a knack for picking out pleasing melodies. Mike Einziger’s guitar work is both technically proficient and beautifully creative. Jose Pasillas percussion work is spot on and he’s comfortable pounding the drums or picking out a funky little groove. Ben Kenney filled Dirk Lance’s big shoes on bass in 2003. Neither man just lays back and drops steady bass lines. The bass adds a lot of color and occasionally steps to the front of the mix. Finally, Chris Kilmore does some fine keyboard work and I love his turntablism.

I have mixed Incubus into several party mixes and they are universal crowd pleasers. Here are my faves from their last four albums.

  1. Privilege – I hear elements of grunge in this, but it is the next step beyond grunge. Combining the dark lyrics, grinding guitars, and heavy choruses with scratching and brighter pop melodies. Love it.
  2. Drive – Rock solid songwriting. When you listen to this song in another 15 years, it’s going to sound just as fresh as it still does now, 11 years after its release. The song’s simplicity and clean production allow this to age really well.
  3. Nice to Know You – The quiet, tricky little intro gets crushed under the guitars when they finally crash in, but they back off for the verses. This is a great opener for the disc with great, syncopated percussion work, a cool melody, and absolutely minty fresh guitar work. I love the lyrics, too. “I’m beginning to notice how much this feels like a waking limb. Pins and needles. Nice to know you. Goodbye.”
  4. Wish You Were Here – This one got a lot of radio play and I can see why. It features fantastic turntablism, atmospheric guitar work, a rocking chorus, and interesting lyrics. Good stuff.
  5. Warning – This is a song that is made better by its video. The song is already cool, but this video is intriguing – almost impossible to look away from, actually.
  6. Echo – Now THIS is a love song. A beautiful poem set to great pop music. I’m guessing teens have been putting this on prospective girlfriends’ mix CDs for years. Assuming kids still do that.
  7. Are You In? – I love this song. It is my ring tone. I turn it up without fail when it comes on. “It’s so much easier when sea foam green is in fashion.”
  8. A Crow Left of the Murder – Great bass and guitar work on this track but the real attraction is the chiming notes Boyd belts out in the verses.
  9. Talk Shows on Mute – This is a lower energy tune. Everybody lays back a bit, but it’s still a great melody. More importantly, if I’m turned on by the women dressed up as cats in this video, does that make me a furry?
  10. Made for TV Movie – Something about this song makes me think of Weezer, but it’s probably just me. Maybe it’s the plodding tempo and thundering guitar on the chorus.
  11. Here In My Room – These guys aren’t the first to sing that love is a verb, and this isn’t even my favorite song that contains that line (‘Teardrop’) but I do love this song.
  12. A Kiss to Send Us Off – Their last album was “Light Grenades” in 2006. They were still writing at a high level. This has the heavy sound and interesting effects and bridges.
  13. Dig – The verses in this sweet pop song are nice, but the hook at the chorus is just irresistible. Good video, too.
  14. Light Grenades – Like a little punk with your pop? Incubus has your back. This kind of energetic, chancy song sounds like you would find it on a first album, not a 6th album.
  15. Diamonds and Coal – Here’s another track that’s going to find its way onto a lot of mix CDs for girlfriends. It’s a cool song with a great message.
  16. Rogues – I’m impressed that Incubus can sort of regress to a more raw sound instead of becoming more processed. This is as urgent and vital as anything they’ve written.
  17. Paper Shoes – This slightly mellow song is a good closer. The percussion work on this track is outstanding.

Word has it Incubus is getting back together to record again. I would like that, as I would like another extensive tour so they can hit my town. Enjoy with a traditional gin and vermouth martini, because that’s what I’ve been drinking lately. Two olives. Have a good weekend.

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March 26, 2010 - Posted by | Alternative, Hard Rock, Mix CD, Popular, Rock

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