Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Billion Ernies - Dumpster Generation

Do you hate wearing shoes? And politcians, too? Then A Billion Ernies might just be for you! They're wobblies, but they never fall down. These Californian, Christian ska-core dudes bring the heavy like none other,  while also bringing a whole bunch of ideals and nerdiness with it. I know I should be reviewing their split with Informant, but I've never reviewed Dumpster Generation before, and it's one of my favorite albums of all time and everyone reading this and has yet to listen to it, could definitely use the incentive to get this record and blast it on repeat in the car, in your room, or in your basement while you work out! It's multi-purpose and beautiful!

When I was in a ska band, we played with these dudes in Cincinnati while they were on tour. They didn't open their set with the zelda theme song, as I've seen them do on youtube, but they still killed it. The blend of hardcore with blaring horns and occasional ska strumming is just amazing. The singer Ryan has such a great voice and is able to hit those high notes and then kick into some strong yelling pretty seamlessly. You should probably check out the lyrics to this album while you're listening to it, because the lyrics are pretty important to the overall experience (hence the band occasionally having printed lyric sheets at their shows for people to read along to their set). Let's get this bitch rolling.

The album kicks off with the Community Records compilation-ruling song "Two Kings" and lays the groundwork for what will be an incredible listening experience. You get the loud horns, the rad vocals, the hardcore breakdown, and one of the catchiest choruses ever handed to you on a silver platter. If you're not impressed yet, then I don't know what's wrong with you, but the rest of the songs will fix that pretty quickly. Next in line for kicking ass is "Used Up", which is a great song about the music industry and bands that are used by labels until they're completely useless to them, then they basically do away with them. The horn lines are infectious and will have you whistling them all day, unless you're like the bear and can't whistle, then humming will have to suffice. The drumwork on this album is absolutely superb. The bass could honestly be louder, but it's still pretty awesome.

Songs like "Reach for the Skies" and "The Existentialist's Apprentince" do such an amazing job of having the important catchy hornlines blasting at parts, while also having really cool guirar and vocal work rule the song. The former being a really awesome political song about how people place legal vs. illegal over right vs. wrong. "Point-Click" is a song about the problems pornography can cause for a society, especially with how readily obtainable it has become. It's a nice hardcore diddy with a lot of screaming and excellent horn work. This album is lacking in acoustic guitar, am I right? No, I'm wrong...there's a couple acoustic songs!

"Revolution Song" is an awesome song in the vain of some Howard Zinn shit, and reminds me of reading A People's History of the United States and Lies My Teacher Told Me. I love when Ryan does the higher pitched words into the normal octave lines throughout this song. This song has a nice cryptic feel to it. It's not exactly a gypsy influence, but it's something out there. "Redemption" follows this, and sticks in the vain of a cool punk song with nice horn lines and then a cool breakdown-esque part, heavy with horns as per the usual.  "Idea12" is probably my favorite song on this album. It's really just awesome as fuck, and has my favorite breakdown of all time. "Living in this world is getting me nowhere/I need to go somewhere/anywhere/I need to go somewhere!" It's just some awesome instrumental shit on part of the guitar and drums. As I've stated before, I can barely ever hear the bass on this album. The song hits up the blaring hornlines at times to make you feel at home in nerd heaven, too.

"Awake" starts off in a way that reminds me of the Disney movie Anastasia for some reason, and this song has some of my favorite lyrics out of all their songs. "My pastor told me that there would be streets of gold in heaven/but when I leave this place I never wanna see gold again/why would god, trancending everything material,/create a kingdom boasting earthly status symbols?" This line, combined with the lyrics of the next song "Athiest" make me think there's a reason to have hope for a smarter world. They're Christians and I'm Atheist, and yet our views are so damn similar on everything. It's really endearing to know there's hope for unity in this world of people separating themselves for whatever contrived purposes they choose. "Athiest" also has an incredibly catchy horn hook, and when they played it live at the last Block Party, Matt Wixson came on stage to do lead vocals, and sung his version of the song, titled "Gaythiest".

The last three songs don't stick out as much to me as the rest of the album. I find "Addict" extremely catchy, and get the "youuu haveeee a soulll I sweearrr" part stuck in my head all day, but it's more of the same, regardless of the 'same' being defined as pure awesomeness. No lie, I still know the lyrics to every song, excluding the final track "Thanks".

"Thanks" is another acoustic track, and it's not so much the message of the lyrics (anti-abortion), as much as it is that I just find the song really boring. I show it to people because I think the first verse is humorous, but that's pretty much all I do with this song. Well, there ya have it! You've had the entire album explained and exclaimed to you. Go out there and obtain it by any means necessary, but seriously drop these dudes some bucks on merch if you have the cash. See one of their shows everytime you get the chance, and fucking hit them up at Block Party 2011 on April 16th!


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