We have been discussing #MWE, otherwise known as Music Writer Exercise, a lot in recent weeks. The program, which was originally promoted by writer Gary Suarez over Twitter, aims to diversify the conversations currently taking place in the music writer community by challenging critics to listen to one album every single day that they have never heard before. Critics are asked to listen to the records they themselves choose and then summarize their thoughts on each release with a single tweet that includes the hashtag #MWE. This makes it possible for other writers and music fans to follow each individual’s journey, and in theory increases the likelihood of others taking a chance on those same releases. In a time when it seems everyone is racing to be the first to comment on the next big single or album from pop’s upper echelon, #MWE exists to remind us that there are countless albums worthy of discussion, and even more worthy of our attention.
With the second week of #MWE now underway we thought we would do our part to open our friends and colleagues minds to releases we feel often go under-appreciated by the industry at large. These albums, which cover numerous decades and genres, are the records we recommend to anyone looking for something other than what is currently popular in culture today. They are the albums that made us the people we are today, and each has made an impact on our lives in its own unique way. We cannot promise you will feel the same about any one release as us, but we can guarantee you will not forget the material you hear, and we feel that alone is an accomplishment, especially in the age of over-saturation.
After you read our list, please feel free to comment with recommendations of your own, both for us and the readers of the Haulix blog. We want this space to be a place where anyone looking for something to discover can find the next album or group that makes them sit back and appreciate art for the astounding thing it is. Be it metal, folk, country, rock, pop, emo, electronic, or some combination of them all, tell us an album you love and we will do our best to find time to experience it before #MWE ends.
Like hip-hop/rap? Why not try….
MC Lars – Zombie Dinosaur LP (Listen)
For over a decade now MC Lars has been writing, recording, and performing some of the most thought-provoking raps ever laid to tape. His influences range from hip-hop’s greatest icons to the most underrated characters on The Simpsons and everything in between. His latest release, The Zombie Dinosaur LP, combines everything that makes Lars great to deliver a one-of-a-kind listening experience that is impossible to forget. Whether you’re jumping up and down to “Where Ya Been Lars” or losing yourself to the Game Of Thrones inspired track “Dragon Blood” there is never a dull moment on this release.
Travis Scott – Owl Pharaoh (Listen)
Before Travis Scott became a name suburban moms recognized because of “Antidote” he was an internet sensation thanks to a crazy good mixtape title Owl Pharaoh. Featuring thirteen tracks, as well as guest appearances from industry contemporaries like A$AP Ferg, Wale, and Meek, Mill, the mixtape established Scott’s presence in the industry as an innovative lyricist with a unique perspective on life and music. Owl Pharaoh traces the origins of Scott’s now signature sound, and it offers further proof that he due to make a huge impact on that industry in the years ahead.
Clipse – Lord Willin’ (Listen)
Okay, so maybe Lord Willin’ is not considered an overlooked classic in most circles, but it is an album that is unfamiliar to those who have only just recently discovered the immense talent of Pusha T. Lord Willin is the record that introduced Pusha T and his brother Malice to the world, thanks in no small part to the success of “Grindin,” and it plays just as great today as it did when the album first hit shelves in August 2002. If you have been looking for a rap record that fits the cold of winter just as well as the height of summer, Lord Willin’ has everything you need and more.
Enjoy alternative rock/pop punk? Why not try….
Jet Lag Gemini – Fire The Cannons (Listen)
Researchers will probably spend the better part of the next millennia trying to understand why Jet Lag Gemini were never the biggest band in post-2000s punk. Every release in the band’s catalog is worthy of praise, but they peaked with Fire The Cannons and its infectious lead single, “Run This City.” You may remember the group from your older sibling’s long lost MySpace page, but now you too can take the time to familiarize yourself with their most celebrated release. It’s everything you would expect to find in a band that could headline Warped Tour, only with more heart and far less gimmicks.
Calibretto 13 – Enter The Danger Brigade (Listen)
Folk punk has been around so long no one can really tell you when it began. If we had to guess, it probably happened while some aspiring folk artists was writing angsty songs about an ex-love or a dispute with their parents gone awry, but whatever the case the genre appears to be here to stay. Calibretto 13 were the premiere folk punk group on Tooth And Nail Records at the turn of the century, but for one reason or another they never broke through in a big way with the label’s fans. We still spin the group’s debut every few weeks around HQ, and now thanks to services like Spotify you can too.
The Money Pit – Yeti (Listen)
One of 2015’s best releases, the debut album from The Money Pit blends classic punk ethos with the chilled out vibes of Southern California to create an exciting listening experiences that goes down like lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Most people don’t associated punk music with dancing, or at least not in the classic sense of the word, but we believe no one will be able to resist tapping their toes and grooving along with this infectious mix of material. “Killing Time In Hawaii” may be the best song of last year. You decide.
Candy Hearts – All The Ways You Let Me Down (Listen)
At the risk of giving it more credit than some may say its rightfully due, we believe All The Ways You Let Me Down to be one of the catchiest pop punk albums of the last decade. Despite several irresistible singles and months of promotional touring the band behind the record, Candy Hearts, are still struggling to establish themselves as an industry staple. That is, to be quite honest, total bullshit. This band rocks and so does everything they have release, including each and every track on this album. We were sold by “Michigan,” but you could choose any song and find a good excuse to never listen to anything else ever again.
Need something a little heavier? Why not try….
See You Next Tuesday – Intervals (Listen)
There was a time just over half a decade ago when grindcore was still a happening genre filled with promising bands capable of supporting themselves with live shows and whatever album sales they could muster. It pains us to say that time has since passed, but the music created during that time endures, and few artists offered more chaotic musing than those of Michigan’s See You Next Tuesday. Intervals was intended to be the album that helped the band to their career to the next level, but an extremely early leak derailed those plans and forced the band to scramble in order to recouped lost sales. No additional releases ever surfaced, but this incredibly short album has never left our digital library. If you like your music to be unpredictable, look no further than this record when considering your next #MWE selection.
Blood Brothers – Young Machetes (Listen)
We encounter a lot of people who tell us they know people who admire The Blood Brothers, but that they have never made time for the group themselves. It’s stories like this that justify the existence of #MWE as it provides an opportunity for people to dig into older releases they may have never previously had an excuse to spin. Any record in the Blood Brothers’ catalog would surely make for an interesting listening experience, but there is something so wonderfully mesmerizing about Young Machetes that it had to be the album we chose to promote in this feature. If you can make it through “Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Crash” without falling head over heels for this group you may need to check your pulse and ensure you are, in fact, among the living.
Showbread – No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical (Listen)
Zombies, horror movies, and an unquenchable thirst for religion. Sound like an odd mix? Don’t take our word for it, just make time this month to discover the debut album from the now defunct hard rock masterminds known as Showbread. Much like The Blood Brothers, Showbread was a band that found a way to reinvent themselves on essentially every track they ever released. No two tunes sound the same, yet when heard in the order they portray a vivid and colorful world that is hard to leave. Try “Mouth Like A Magazine” and see if you can resist listening to more. Go on, we dare you.
Need something a bit more classic? Why not try….
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Live Bullet (Listen)
The Haulix staff would not be what it is today with the music of Bob Seger. The Michigan native was one of the first artists we were exposed to in our youth, and as we have each aged our appreciation for the man who taught us about “Night Moves” has only continued to grow. Live Bullet captures Seger and his band during one of their most successful tours, and all these years later you still feel as if you were present for the recorded show every time the record plays. Maybe this is due to the fact the album was recorded analog style, with no bells or whistles being used to clean up the show, but it’s also due in part to the indescribable power of the music itself. Seger has written more hits than we could hope to name off the top of our head, and on this release he performs many of his biggest songs with a band that is just as talented as the man himself. If you want to experience the true power of raw rock and roll, please give Live Bullet a bit of your time.