Puscifer — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:17:24
Maynard James Keenan Photos
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
9. Puscifer – Conditions Of My Parole
In many ways, Conditions Of My Parole [Puscifer Entertainment] is the most emotional record that Puscifer mastermind Maynard James Keenan [Tool, A Perfect Circle] has made to date. It's a poignant, passionate, and powerful mosaic of musical movements and lyrical musings that remain literary and cinematic throughout. His words practically drum up rain in the desert during the lush and lithe "Monsoons," while "The Green Valley" could double as a reprieve in a Sergio Leone score (in outerspace). The valleys of Arizona turn into musical canvas as Maynard and his co-conspirators—Carina Round, Mat Mitchell, Matt McJunkins, Jeff Friedl, and Juliette Commagere, among others—assemble a grittily gorgeous collection.
There are those aforementioned moments of vulnerability and solace, but then the energy reaches a cathartic boiling on the industrial stomp of "Telling Ghosts" or the paranoid guitar tick of "Man Overboard." At the same time, the title track combines a snappy acoustic with a "punk" beat and outlaw swagger that's equally fiery and fun. It's a rip-roaring rager that offers a perfect counterpoint to the likes of "Oceans" and "Tumbleweed."
Alternative music gets a different kind of life from the Puscifer collective. It's never been more lively than it is on Conditions Of My Parole either. You'll feel every word and note.
Watch the Video for "Conditions Of My Parole"
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!
See Five Reasons We Need a New Pusficer Album!
'Conditions of My Parole' by Puscifer is available on Puscifer Entertainment.