Beck's Early Influences

On this week's Sidetrack we focus on the vibes and styles from Beck's 1994 release, One Foot In The Grave, by taking a look at some of his early influences. Starting out as a "folk teenage hobo", Beck would take his guitar with him on city buses, covering Mississippi John Hurt and other standard folktales made famous by acts such as The Carter Family.  

Episode 30

Beck - Sea Change (2002)

The anti-folk, alt pop rock legend Beck has been cranking out some of the most unique and memorable albums for the better part of the last 20 some-odd years. Back in 2002, after making a household name for himself with songs like "Loser", "Devil's Haircut", and "Where It's At", Beck flipped the script on himself and shared his hauntingly beautiful, acoustic-heavy break-up album Sea Change, shortly after his relationship of 9 years fell apart. As David Fricke of Rolling Stone puts it, "Sea Change, gleaming with twang and heartbroken strings, is an entire album of spectacular suffering."

Episode 29

Radiohead - Hail To The Thief (2003)

We continue our deep dive into Radiohead with a look at Hail To The Thief. Coming out of the Kid A and Amnesiac tunnel where Thom nearly turned his back completely on guitar-based melodies, Hail is a return to Radiohead embracing the traditional rock song format and Thom finding his voice again. The computer was still a critical component to the song-writing process, but treated like the other instruments used in the recording session. The result is uniquely Radiohead, a mashup of every stepping stone that brought them to that point.


Textual - "Cracked Halls Menthol In My Pocket" (2004)

David LeBleu, drummer for The Mercury Program (and The Album Leaf!) and all-around dabbler in sound manipulation, has been creating his own electronic music for at least a couple decades now under the name Textual. We take a quick look at his first full-length, Hindsight Sunglasses, which is the much more melodic and rhythmic side of Textual. Robot Science finishes out the episode with "Teacups", a song from his 2010 album Square

Episode 28

The Mercury Program - a data learn the language (2002)

Quentin is back from vacation and back on the mic with Travis to cover one of their favorite instrumental albums, a data learn the language, by The Mercury Program. Drummer Brian Lebleu and bassist Sander Travisano showcase their skills and unique dynamic as a rhythm section, playing in tandem with Sander's brother Whit on keys and vibes and Thomas Reno on guitar to deliver one of the most memorable instrumental rock albums of the last 20 years.


Soulfly - "The Summoning" (2018)

Travis flies solo again on this episode and decides to crank it to 11 with a quick look at Soulfly's crushing and relentless track "The Summoning". Their latest album "Ritual" marks a return to form for Max Cavalera, with a throwback to the sound and energy he brought to his first group Sepultura. Fans of both groups have something to love about this new album, a tour de force and proof that Max still has something to say 12 years since his departure from Sepultura.


Helmet - "Vaccination" (1994)

Travis takes a quick look at 90s alt-metal outfit Helmet and their track "Vaccination" off the 1994 album Betty. With their unique blend of metal and alternative rock, these guys went on to have a huge impact many of the nu-metal and post hardcore acts that followed them. And as showcased in "Vaccination", with their syncopated guitar riffs and unconventional time signatures one could even argue that Helmet flirts with math-rock, or perhaps math-metal? Either way you look at it, Helmet's originality made them stand out the crowd of grunge and alternative that dominated rock radio.

Episode 27

Radiohead - Amnesiac (2001)

No Filler kicks off the new year with another one of our favorite Radiohead albums, Amnesiac. After emerging from his musical existential crisis post OK Computer, Thom Yorke began loosening his grip on creative control and started to reach out to other band members in the songwriting process. The band ended up having over 60 sketches for song ideas and structures, narrowing down & piecing them together to give us both Kid A and Amnesiac within 8 months time.