One thing comes to mind when you think of bands from the first decade of the new millennium. Indie bands that started with ‘The’. But the decade offered more musical delights than just indie. Here are seven underrated rock albums that defined the noughties.
7. At the Drive-in – Relationship of Command (2000)
The noughties rock albums were partly defined by a healthy post-hardcore scene. One of the pioneers of the scene were At the Drive-in. The American quintet saw in the new millennium with their third album, Relationship of Command. Ironically, the band split twelve months after the release of this album. They were riding a wave of success and acclaim, but exhaustion caused them to call it quits. Although they have reformed in recent years, this album was one of the best. Their first two efforts may have defined that aggressive post-hardcore sound they are known for. But this release showed that they were more than a one-trick pony. It was also the album that influenced a slew of post-hardcore bands in their wake.
6. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want to Be (2004)
Where You Want to Be was the second album from American rockers Taking Back Sunday. Formed in New York in 1999, they have released seven albums to date. Where You Want to Be was the band’s second release from 2004. Their debut two years earlier gained good reviews and created a buzz for the band. This effort brought the band into a more mainstream route, but without losing their edge. It was 2006’s major-label follow-up that propelled them into the stratosphere but forget that. Where You Want to Be is stuffed full of edgy yet melodic anthems that feature vocals from both heaven and hell. Standout tracks such as A Decade Under the Influence and The Union showcase that meeting of styles perfectly. This album defined the alt-rock-hardcore scene of the 2000s. It was also one of the best-selling independent releases of the year.
5. System of a Down – Steal This Album! (2002)
Often considered as a collection of B-sides that never made it on to Toxicity, Steal This Album! is a cracker. It is true that the songs were unfinished works from the Toxicity sessions, but they are musical gems. There’s no doubt that Toxicity transported System of a Down to dizzy heights. And that regular airplay on MTV helped hugely as Chop Suey became a massive hit. But Steal This Album! snuck in the back door a year later and features the band at their best.
There are still political themes running through the songs, as you would expect. But the brilliance of the songwriting really shines through. Innervision and I-E-A-I-E-I-O are beautifully bonkers. It’s like they took Toxicity and raised the crazy factor by a thousand. Yes, the former is more well-known and successful. But Steal This Album! showcases what System of a Down do best – make music that batters, inspires, confuses, but ultimately leaves a huge grin on your face. The album that defined the band.
4. Blink-182 – Blink-182 (2003)
This was the fifth album from the pop-punk titans. It was 1999’s Enema of the State and 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket that made Blink-182 one of the biggest pop-punk bands on the planet. MTV and radio had played the songs constantly for a few years and the albums influenced many an outfit in their wake. It was 2003’s self-titled effort that really saw the band evolve into mature songwriters. There are so many gems to pick, but Miss You and Always are obvious examples. Gone is the toilet humour, and it is the clever, experimental and mature songwriting. They still have that sharp melodic edge and superb vocal interplays that are inexplicably Blink. Give it another listen and it shows a band at the peak of their creativity.
3. The Hives – Tyrannosaurus Hives (2004)
Tyrannosaurus Hives was the third offering from Swedish garage rockers The Hives. Known for their smart stage suits and glistening hair, their brand of raucous rock hit the big time with 2000’s Veni Vidi Vicious. That album gave us Hate to Say I Told You So and received universal acclaim from critics. This follow-up from 2004 is an even better album in my opinion. It still has that bouncing scratchy sound that the band are known for, but with a constant flow of dance floor anthems. Walk Idiot Walk and A Little More for A Little You are sun-kissed rock gems. This is a noughties offering that rises above all the other indie rock bands albums from this decade. Quality, timeless songs that remind you of the good times.
2. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief (2003)
Radiohead is a band that often divides opinion. Hail to the Thief was the sixth offering from the Oxfordshire-based experimentalists. It was the late 90s that brought the band critical acclaim and success. Mostly due to the success of OK Computer. Hail to the Thief took the bands musical experimentation on to the next leave. Dabbling with orchestral sequences with synths it creates quite the aural experience. Lyrically, Thom Yorke is addressing the so-called war on terror with titles like A Wolf at the Door and We Suck Young Blood. There is a lot of electronic tinkering on this album and any more would probably send it into self-absorbed twaddle. But with this album, they’ve nailed it to perfection.
1. The Black Keys – Attack & Release (2008)
Hailing from Ohio in the US, The Black Keys have been on the scene since 2001. Attack & Release was the band’s fifth album and released in 2008. Interestingly, this was the first album they recorded in a professional studio with an outside producer. It’s certainly has a polish to it that makes it stand out. Not only that, but it also has some rather brilliant garage rock songs on it. I Got Mine in particular makes you want to pour a Jack Daniels. In a decade that was littered with sound-a-like indie bands, The Black Keys wound up the decade with something rather special. It’s an album that takes a few listens but when you get it, you really get it.
That’s our list of seven underrated rock albums of the noughties. Did we miss any? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about musicians who nearly died on stage HERE.
9 Actors Who Are Awesome Guitarists
There are a few actors that are partial to shredding the metaphorical axe. Some are better than others, but here are nine actors that are awesome guitarists.
1. Jack Black
Ok, let’s get one of the most obvious ones out of the way first. Being one half of Tenacious D means Jack is slick on the guitar. Yes, it’s acoustic with Tenacious D, but remember School of Rock? The musical comedy is now iconic. It features Jack as a failed musician who lands a supply teacher job after posing as his teacher friend. He certainly shows off his skills in that film. He got his big break in the Jim Carrey film Cable Guy but has been wowing us with his acting and guitar skills ever since.
2. Tim Robbins
Actor Tim Robbins was one of the main guys in one of the greatest films ever made. In my humble opinion. The Shawshank Redemption was released to critical acclaim in 1994. And along with Morgan Freeman, Robbins delivered a superb performance. In addition to his acting skills, he’s also an accomplished guitarist. In fact, he’s a songwriter and respected folk artist. His band, The Rogues Gallery Band, have played to many sold-out crowds in recent years. Check him out online, it may just surprise you.
3. Hugh Laurie
As one of Britain’s finest actors, there isn’t much that Hugh Laurie hasn’t done. He’s had a professional partnership with Stephen Fry and was part of the comedy series Blackadder. But he’s also famous for the cynical doctor House, and he does it all with aplomb. But he’s also a fantastic singer/songwriter. With two blues albums under his belt, he plays festivals all around the globe. And he has a superb voice to go with it. Not to mention his obvious ability on the guitar. He has quite the collection of guitars as well, including a Gibson Flying V. I bet you weren’t expecting that. He is also competent on piano, drums, and saxophone.
4. Ricky Gervais
The comedian behind The Office, Extras and Afterlife is also an excellent guitarist. Those of you who are fans of his David Brent character would have seen his guitar skills in the recent film. He’s done a host of tutorials on YouTube as David Brent. He also had an early brush with fame in the early 80s in a New Wave pop-duo called Seona Dancing. Releasing two singles that flopped they quickly disbanded. Although one of the tracks became huge in the Philippines. Strange how life goes!
5. Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler has a long history of combining his talents on guitar and vocals with his comedy movies. His guitar has accompanied him on many movies over the years. Even his stand-up routines had a guitar nearby. If you’re not convinced of his six-string abilities, then check out a recent jam on American talk show Conan. He shreds through the solo of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Another one worth checking out is a jam session he did with Don Cheadle. He can certainly make both the acoustic and electric guitars sing.
6. Kevin Bacon
Another actor who featured in one of my favourite films of all time, Tremors. He’s had a glittering film career over the past few decades, including many blockbusters. But did you know that he’s in a musical duo with his brother, Michael? They have the rather unoriginal name The Bacon Brothers, but there’s nothing unoriginal about the music they make. It’s a mixture of blues, folk, and bluegrass, and it’s rather good. Not only does Kevin have a great voice, but he also has the chops on the guitar. Check out the myriad of videos that are available online of their gigs. Those boys have talent.
7. Kevin Costner
I must admit, this one was a surprise. Who knew that Robin Hood could play the guitar, and play it very well? He’s won Oscars and has made a host of blockbusting films. But since 2007, he’s fronted his own country-rock band, Kevin Costner and the Modern West. As the genre suggests, its country-influenced soft rock, but don’t let that put you off. It’s rather good. The band have released four albums so far. 2012’s ‘Famous for Killing Each Other’ even made the top fifteen of the Billboard Country charts. Their song ‘Outlaws and Legends’ shows off Kevin’s vocal and guitar abilities perfectly.
8. Johnny Depp
Now, if you were going to pick an actor who would be a guitarist in a hard rock band, it would be Johnny Depp. He certainly looks the part. And who better than to form a band with than Alice Cooper and Joe Perry? They even managed to come up with a suitably evil name – Hollywood Vampires. Unlike Keanu Reeve’s band Dogstar (who were terrible), Hollywood Vampires have released one album since their inception in 2015. They’ve even played the Grammy awards. Apparently, Depp is that good on guitar that Joe Perry asked him for some lessons. Check the video on YouTube of him soloing with Alice Cooper. He’s got the skill on the strings.
9. Steve Martin
Ok, so this one is a bit tenuous as comedy acting legend Steve Martin plays the banjo. They can still have six strings, so he makes our list. Steve’s been making comedy albums for years. He’s also won Grammy awards for his bluegrass albums and co-wrote a musical that ended up on Broadway. That’s no mean feat. Check out the videos of him playing the banjo online. He has some serious picking skills that would be worthy of any guitar.
That’s our list of nine famous actors who are excellent guitarists, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about nine drummers who became lead singers HERE.
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