For some of us, finding the right song as an introduction to a new band can be a pretty daunting task, so I decided to compile a list of 10 songs that are the perfect intro tunes to some new bands.
Up first, the Lansing Michigan punks Hot Mulligan.
With the band's unique blend of poignant lyrics and howling vocals, their sound is something different to what you'll find most bands doing in the scene today, making Hot Mulligan the perfect band to add to your playlist.
The band has rapidly taken the underground punk scene by storm and it's easy to see why. Their latest full-length effort Pilot, is easily one of the best pop-punk albums released this year, and better yet, they have a whole slew of EPs and a few singles that make their catalogue a dream come true for any punk kid looking for some angst-ridden lyrics and aggressive guitars.
So, without further ado, here's 10 songs from Hot Mulligan that you should check out...
1. "The Soundtrack To A Missing Slamdunk"
The boys in Hot Mulligan have a pretty extensive list of music from their few EPs and full-length debut, and this track is one of the best introductions to the band that I personally could think of. Marking the second single from their latest effort, 'Pilot,' it's a track that showcases the band's signature brand of punk.
With its infectious and easy-to-scream lyrics, the song is practically a pop-punk anthem (you know, of the Good Charlotte kind.) The track has biting vocals from both the band's vocalists, Chris Freeman and Tades Sanville, and a steady backing beat, making this track one of the shining stars of 'Pilot.'
The track has a pretty distinctive sound, and while the band is still fairly up-and-coming, the song helps set the tone that these guys are doing something different to what any of the bands are doing in the scene right now. It's the perfect song for a first-time listener to get acquainted with this band's catchy brand of pop-punk.
If there's one song that pops-up pretty often when searching through Hot Mulligan's songs, "Dary" is one that comes up quite often, and for good reason. The song is a fairly easy track that packs a major punch...literally, go to a Hot Mulligan show to see the crowd's reaction when they play this song, my body still hasn't recovered from being front row (and that was days ago!)
Not only does this track have some pretty relatable lyrics, it also has a catchy melodramatic chorus perfect for screaming out the heartbreak of loving someone who is just using you for their own selfish gains.
3. "Wes Dault Can't Find The Madison Falcon"
The song, like most of this band's songs, is well-written and lyrically, it's an incredibly catchy song that you'll be screaming the lyrics to after a listen or two. The lyrics themselves make this track impressive, but once you pair it with the song's heavy guitar riffs and aggressive drum beats, you'll find that this song is the perfect punk anthem you've been dying to find.
While the backing to Sanville and Freeman's vocals are pretty upbeat, the band still kept it fairly simple to showcase the vocals of the track, which gives listeners the chance to listen to the duo deliver some pretty angsty lines. Between Sanville's raspy and lively take on most of the track and Freeman's backing, it's a song that showcases just how well the two blend vocally.
The track is a perfect blend of everything that works in Hot Mulligan, and it just keeps getting better after every listen.
4. "I’m Turning To O - Positive”
Much like one of the songs you'll find a bit further down on this list, "I'm Turning To O-Positive," is one of the songs you'll find that was created in the band's early stages.
While it's a bit of an older track, it's a fairly dynamic song that sounds like it could be something the band just recently put out. The guitars and drums paired with the howling vocals of both Freeman and Sanville make for a really captivating and engaging song.
It's a sing-along track that still conveys a strong and emotional undertone; making it the perfect song to show that this band can not only write a catchy track but deliver it in a way that still showcases just how raw the emotions of the lyrics are.
Album: Honest And Cunning
5. “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?”
The four-piece threw listeners for a loop when dropping this vocal heavy song. It's easily a different sound than the rest of the album, and while it stands out for its vocal-heavy delivery and toned down instrumentals, it still fits the mould of the band's catchy and lyrically-driven sound.
With Sanville's raspy and dynamic vocals, paired with the experimental keys and rhythms, it makes for this track to be one of the most catchy and diverse in the band's entire catalogue. While it's different, it still keeps that classic HM flair, you know, with the interesting song name and roaring delivery of the lyrics.
This track is a clear definition of what it means to be a punk in today's scene. The band took a risk in the track and it clearly paid off.
6. “I Replied To Tyler With Three Blue Cars”
This song is truly a masterpiece.
It's a gritty song that delivers a punch, between the band's raw delivery of the vocals and the hard-hitting lyrics, it's hard not to feel some sort of way after listening to it.
While it's more on the slower side of things, that doesn't stop it from being one of the rawest songs that can get any crowd of 20-somethings going. It's easy to feel the pain and discontent of the band due to the angst-driven lyrics and screaming vocals, and you'll want to yell the lyrics right with along with them.
7. "Visited Salmon, I Mean Transit Balcony "
I debated throwing this song in this list, but it's just so good I couldn't pass it up when creating this list. The song is one of the band's earliest, and while you may find it not as mature sounding as something you might find in later Hot Mulligan songs, it's a track that really helped establish the band's pop mixed with punk and a little emo sound.
The song is fairly lively, with its upbeat pace and biting vocals, and it is one of those songs you can't help but scream the lyrics to.
8. "Deluxe Capacitor"
Before I give you my spiel about this wonderful track, I'd like to mention that the band also has re-energized, upbeat, take on the song, which you can listen to here.
Anyways, back to the acoustic version of the song...taking the time to slow things down, the band dropped this acoustic track that showcases that they are a band that can wear many hats, not just the upbeat emo punks that we've grown accustomed to throughout their catalogue.
The acoustic take on the song not only gives the band's vocalists Chris Freeman and Tades Sanville the opportunity to put their powerhouse vocals to the forefront of the song, it also allows the listener the time to really digest some of the lyrics, showing that not only does this band put out some fantastic songs, they also take pride in putting out deep lyrical content.
9. "All You Wanted By Michelle Branch"
You'll be surprised to find that this song isn't a cover of Michelle Branch's 2001 release "All You Wanted," but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out this song (though I'm sure we all wouldn't mind seeing the guys tackle a real-deal cover of the song.)
The track is a lyrically-driven breakup anthem that the Lansing band has an arsenal of. The poignant track may be heavy, but that hasn't stopped the band from providing heavy guitar-driven riffs to make the sad song a vibe-worthy sing-along.
You'll want to add this song to your playlist (and yes, I hate myself for including this last line...)
One of the band's earlier songs, "Legen" is on the band's split record with Everyone Leaves. Since the song was featured on a record with another group, the band really focused in on what makes them unique.
Keeping their signature brand of pop mixed with a little emo, the little over a minute track is a fast-paced punk song that is raw and chopped full of emotion. With its gritty vocals and guitar heavy backing, you'll find that the quick song is one of the gems hidden in the band's catalogue.
It can be pretty hard finding the right songs to listen to when you first discover a band, but these 10 songs are the perfect introduction to Hot Mulligan!
Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments below!
This story was originally published in The Odyssey. You can read it here.
People may have said they were monkeying around, but that didn’t stop The Monkees from becoming one of television’s most influential shows of their time.
Debuting in September 1966, The Monkees were first created to capitalize off the success of Beatlemania, as reported by AV Club. In order to replicate the massive success of the Beatles, producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, decided to create the American version of the fab-four and they did so in the way of throwing together a group of four strangers that somehow managed to hit it off, making the show and the fictionalized band a force to be reckoned with during the tail end of the 1960s.
When it first came into fruition, the producers of the show knew they wanted four “insane” boys around the ages of 17 to 21 to act in a television series about a band trying to make it into the music industry, all the while documenting their hilarious misadventures along the way to becoming rock stars. With an ad that drew in a crowd of 400 plus boys to try out for the role, it eventually became an even split between actors and musicians when the final four were chosen. History.com cites that the show’s producers didn’t look at the musical or acting talent of the guys auditioning, rather they wanted four boys who could play themselves and after going through a whole mess of people, they finally settled on Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike.
Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz (who, might I add, is the current love of my life) started the band with more acting under their belts while Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith were the band’s musicians. The four may have came from varying backgrounds, yet that didn’t stop them from creating hilarious episodes every week adding trippy music video mid-show performances during each episode. That success didn’t stop just from the show either, the boys also managed to win two Emmy awards for the show, get three #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, outsell The Beatles and The Rolling Stones during their peak and they also, not to mention, have been able to steal the hearts of teen girls everywhere…50 years and counting.
Their success outside and inside the show cannot be argued with, yet there are some people who take problems with the “made for television” band. After the first season of the show, the band couldn’t have expected their success to take a hit. Unfortunately, The Monkees did face some controversy that still somewhat follows them to this day and that happened when news broke out that the band didn’t play their own instruments, nor did they write their own music. Labeling them as imposters and looking down at the massive success they managed to receive during their first year, the guys decided to officially take their show on the road, touring to show that they could be the real deal.
Throwing in one more season of the show and a movie called “Head” into the mix of Monkee madness, the band still has a legacy after all of these years. There’s countless reasons why the band were successful, and influential to the television industry, yet four things that really made The Monkees important was their appeal to the counterculture, the incorporation of music videos, the show’s narrative style, the story and their after episode segments.
For The Monkees, appealing to a younger crowd was definitely the way to go when they first debuted in 1966. The seeds of the hippie counterculture were just starting to make its appearance and having four long haired men playing rock and roll was just the right recipe for girls to fall in love and parents to hate every second of it. The added factor that the show featured no adult figures to stop the boys from pursuing whatever their next crazy antic, also added to their appeal. The timing, the boys themselves and the added factor of no adults helped appeal to the counterculture because it was a show that they could call their own, which is something parents probably didn’t like too much.
The show also played with narrative style. Each episode of the show, as Rosanne Welch points out in her book “Why The Monkees Mattered,” kept the viewers guessing because the show played with a variety of styles. The genre of each episode ranged from rom-coms to surrealist parodies, and it’s due to this that all 58 episodes were different from the next; if something happened in one episode, it was never mentioned in the next week’s show. The show also tried their hand at breaking the fourth wall, which isn’t something that many television creators like doing. Whether it be Micky walking off set to talk to the writers or Davy asking for his line, the show made sure the fans could realize that this isn’t your typical show.
Narratively speaking, the show was unlike anything that people have ever seen before, but that’s not the only thing that The Monkees’ creators did to set them a part from the rest. The show’s story, while not coherent, told the story of four guys just trying to make it into the music industry. It showed their struggles as a band and it had them in situations where they just had to make do and figure it out. It, in a way, helped people see just how much of a real life struggle it could be for musicians to make it big. Yes, while some of the crazy situations they faced wouldn’t be something all bands would deal with, it still helped future bands see that it’s okay to struggle in the cut throat world of music.
One of the most interesting things that the band did during their time on television is after episode segments where fans could get a look into the lives of the actual Mike, Micky, Davy and Peter. While they didn’t happen too often, if an episode ran short the guys would sit down and talk about wide range of topics – some fluff and some actual real-deal questions that gave their political views a chance to take the stage. The most documented and easily found after episode segment being the one where Micky talked about the Sunset riots, uh, demonstrations, saying that journalists only called them riots because riot is a four letter word. It was these types of after segment episodes where fans could really see where the boys were coming from and it gave them a further insight into them as people and not just their character on the show.
The most important out of all of these was the fact that the band practically created music videos, well, early music videos anyways. During each episode of the show, the guys would incorporate some music video-esque segment where they would play their biggest singles at the time. While some related to the episode at hand, others didn’t, yet it was something to look forward to during each episode. It was these music performances filled episodes that helped plant the seeds to what music videos would eventually become.
While the show started off as an idea to recreate the hype of The Beatles, nobody could imagine just how important The Monkees would be during their career. It’s been a little over 50 years since the boys debuted on the small screen and since then they’ve paved the way for other bands to try their hand at the ever evolving music industry. They may have faced some major backlash during their time as a band, but hey hey they’re The Monkees, after all.
Answering the phone with a quick hello, the bubbly duo of Ashley Blasko and Missy Long quickly ease their way into a 20-minute conversation about their indie rock act the Willow Tree.
The group formed a handful of years ago with Long and another person. About a year into the band's formation, Long met Blasko through church, and the pair hasn't looked back since.
After their fateful meeting in the church, the two didn't actually start playing music together until a little while later. According to Blasko, the first time the two sang together was in the church bathroom's shower pods while on a mission trip.
"I was humming to myself in the most makeshift little shower thing you've ever seen, and I hear in the one next to me a harmonizing hum. I'm like 'wow,' and then we started singing," Blasko said. "[After that,] she [Long] was like 'oh, that was you singing in there,' and I was like 'yeah, that was you singing in there too,' and then we actually played a song from the talent show on that mission trip and the rest just went from there."
After that initial performance, where Long noticed that Blasko was not only musically talented but that the two meshed really well, the pair soon began working on the Willow Tree as a newly put together duo.
Now a group for roughly six years, the two have been sure to keep the band something that blends their own style. Between the music they take inspiration from to the actual name of the band itself, both Blasko and Long have made sure that the band is an accurate representation of each of them.
The name, that Long came up with right from the start, was inspired by a science fiction, sort of "Beauty And The Beast"-inspired short story by Ursula Wills-Jones called "The Wicker Husband."
The book follows a magical sorcerer who makes a husband for a woman that isn't well-liked in her village. Creating the husband out of the bark of a willow tree, the town's people start to notice that the husband has caused the woman to become more beautiful and confident.
Wondering why he treats her so kind, the sorcerer explains that the reason for the husband's kindness is because he made him out of the bark of a willow tree, which is "the kindest and pliable tree," known to man. Finding the idea of this whimsical tale interesting, Long decided to name the band after the story.
"I thought it was an interesting concept and I feel like it was well rooted with us as far as a band," Long said. "As people, we just want to be kind to others, and through being friends with Ashley for so long, I know we've always tried to get along with each other and the people we meet. But I also feel like we're very strong individuals, like the willow tree being strong and pliable, and that's kind of who we are as people and I thought the message [from the story] was cool [and fit our band.]"
Story originally appeared on The Odyssey. You can see it here.