Guest Collector: Envy On The Coast
Thu, 03 Apr 2008 14:48:04
Rising from the ashes of three former Long Island rock bands, Envy On The Coast are not a group easily pigeonholed in a particular genre. Punk urgency, hardcore rhythms and alt rock melodies all find a home on their 2007 debut LP, Lucy Gray. A band with such a wide-ranging sound is sure to have a record collection just as varied, and that's exactly what we found when singer Ryan Hunter took the time to tackle our Guest Collector feature. Along the way, he gives respect to high-minded rap, melodic pop and unappreciated punk for starters.
Stevie Wonder - Hotter Than July
Stevie Wonder can sing and play any instrument better than anyone I know. The instrumentation on this record is incredible (“Master Blaster” & “Did I Hear You Say You Love Me”). Stevie’s vocals are particularly aggressive on this record, which is why it’s one of my favorites. Music fans normally equate heaviness with Marshall full-stacks and James Hetfield. Personally, I find it most impressive when artists can portray a passionate sentiment in an unconventional application. Stevie has a particular delicateness up in his higher register, yet still maintains the most immense amount of power throughout his full range, which I’ll forever be jealous of. The moral of the story is…put down the flying-V and buy this record.
Talib Kweli - Quality
I had been listening to a few hip-hop artists prior to discovering this record, but hearing Quality truly made me fall in love with hip-hop. The beats and samples on this record are unbelievably soulful and tasteful (“Get By” & “Good To You”). Kweli is a prime example of not only focusing on what you say, but how you say it. He’s a phenomenal lyricist and proves it on this record. It’s a difficult task to rhyme about positive concepts and ideas and still retain your “cool” factor, but the thing I love about Kweli is that he writes what he feels and doesn’t restrict himself strictly to speaking of his injustices. Quality is one of the most versatile and tasteful records I own.
Bilal - 1st Born Second
During a period of my life when I was in dire need of some new music, a good friend of mine handed me this record along with a plethora of others. A lot of the records he gave me were good, but this particular record has been played incessantly in our van since they day we received it. Bilal is one of the most underrated artists I’ve ever encountered. If you were wondering where the soul went in today’s music…go buy this record. This record made me think of singing in an entirely different light and really made me treat my voice differently during a time when my spirits were low and my anxiety was out of control. This record saved me.
Millencolin - Pennybridge Pioneers
My first true punk rock record. I was 12 years old and my friend brought over this record and played it for me on a stereo in my basement. I remember being baffled by the concept that this was one of many records that his brother owned that he had to go out and “search for.” I was in utter shock over the fact that this record was so much better than the crap that people had shoved down my throat for years via radio and television. The record was simple, but it was more honest than most of the stuff I was listening to at the time. Pennybridge Pioneers still stands out amongst all my punk rock records, because it contains musicianship and demonstrates song writing that many other punk rock records don’t include (“Penguins and Polar bears” & “No Cigar”), yet it still maintains a punk rock ethic. Four dudes that love to skate and play music…that’s what it’s all about.
Radiohead - Kid A
“Idioteque” is how I fell in love with Radiohead, which is ironic considering that many Radiohead fans aren’t fans of the song due to the fact that it’s a bit of a mockery of dance music of that time. I thought it was one of the most intriguing approaches to song writing that I had ever heard. As a whole, this is one of the most congruent records I’ve ever owned. I feel guilty listening to songs off this record because I feel as though it’s an absolute necessity to listen to this record from front to finish to appreciate its true value. I listen to this record when I go on nature walks. You can’t help but feel complete after ending a hike with “Motion Picture Soundtrack”.
The Exit - Home for an Island
This record should have changed the way musicians in this “scene” think about music. Jeff’s vocals on this record have Aretha’s soul and Jeff Buckley’s intimacy (“Home for and Island” & “Darlin’”). Every player in this band is ridiculously talented, but the most impressive part about this band is how they groove and fall into a pocket with one another (“Don’t Push” & “Back to the Rebels”). Buy this record and you’ll understand how angry it makes me that bands like the Exit have struggled throughout their career.
Foo Fighters - The Colour and the Shape
I started as a drummer before I picked up guitar, and this is the record that inspired me to beg my parents for a kit. After seeing Taylor Hawkins play in the end of the “Everlong” video, I needed a drum set. Although that was 10 years ago, there’s still a lot that I pull from this record. I love that this record has great song writing and plenty of melody but still retains a rawness and organic feel (“Hey, Johnny Park!” & “Wind Up”). I’ve always loved the slower jams on this record as well. “Walking After You” is one of the best Foo Fighters’ songs ever released. As a musician, I never wanted to be in a “hardcore band” or a “punk band”. I just wanted to make music that incorporated everything I enjoyed about music. Very early in my life, this record taught me that you can do that and that you don’t have to feel polarized by the labels that people toss your way.
Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come
You’ve got to have balls to name your record The Shape of Punk to Come. It’s pretty unbelievable that this band was doing everything that everyone started doing in 2001 back in 1996. It’s just a shame they couldn’t receive more credit for it back in ’96 when they were doing basement shows. If you’re a drummer and you’re feeling uninspired, sit down and figure out all of David Sandström’s parts on this record (“The Deadly Rhythm" & “Protest Song ‘68”). Although I play guitar, I think like a drummer, and was taught early on by my father how important a sense of rhythm is. It’s the most soulful hardcore record of all time.
Third Eye Blind - Blue
Most people laugh when I tell them that a few of us in the band are huge Third Eye Blind fans. They’re pretty bewildered by our liking for ‘that 90’s band with that hit single’. However, most people don’t appreciate how incredible these dudes are. Stephen Jenkins completely changed the way I think about lyrics and language (“Wounded” & “Slow Motion”). Critics trashed the hell out of this record, and hated most of the songs that I hold as my favorites (no surpise to me). Listen to “Camouflage” and “Darwin” and try to pin them as another typical 90’s band. The combination of Jenkin’s lyrics and Kevin Cadogan’s innovative approach to guitar playing made this record one of my favorites of all time.
Rage Against The Machine - Renegades
A lot of people favor some of the older ‘Rage’ material as opposed to the later stuff, but I think that ‘Renegades’ is their best work. The grooves on this record are ridiculous. If you break it down, it truly is a funk record at its most inner core. I think this record also contains a congruence that I longed for in their other records but couldn’t find. Perhaps my favorite portions of this record are the times that they deviate from the typical formula and take some chances (“Kick Out The Jams” & “Maggie’s Farm”). There’s a fair balance on this record of true Rage material that you expect to hear, and risky ventures, that in my opinion, stand out as gems in the Rage Against The Machine catalog.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff