Lilz Martin and Patrick Barry are not music journalists, and are wholly unqualified to conduct criticism of albums that have been infinitely more successful than they could ever hope to achieve. They’re just two local musicians from Massachusetts who have a strange fascination with bad music.
From The Shaggs to Attila to Threatin, share their love on Jukebox Zeroes, the podcast that takes a retrospective look at historically-hated albums.
067 - Trapt - Shadow Work (2020) (with Aimee Hauthaway)
2020 saw the release of nu-metal C-listers Trapt's 8th studio record Shadow Work, amidst an intense atmosphere of intense internet mockery and scorn. As far back as 2017, the band's frontman Chris Taylor Brown had developed a vitriolic presence on Trapt's various social media outlets, attracting controversy by claiming institutional racism doesn't exist, joking about sexual assault, and outright bullying users unprovoked, among many other things. This persona was jacked up to ridiculous extremes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and almost certainly influenced Shadow Work's lack of sales, which only amounted to around 600 copies in its first week of release.
But is it at all possible that there's something more to Shadow Work, hiding just below the surface? Could there be some hidden treasure amidst all the controversy and furor?
This album is absolutely putrid, and we refuse to pretend otherwise.
Join Lilz & Patrick on a new Jukebox Zeroes, along with return guest Aimee Hauthaway, as they take every opportunity to tear Chris Taylor Brown's "legacy" to shreds, while pretending to impartially listen to the post-grunge garbage fire that is Shadow Work.
Local Music Feature: Surfliner - "Pocono Bay"
066 - Billy Joel - River Of Dreams (1993) (with Scott Kurland)
In 1989, 70s piano rock crooner Billy Joel released his eleventh studio record Storm Front, which sold well and rendered seven Billboard singles, but was roundly rejected by critics. It would take Joel four years after Storm Front to put out a follow-up album, four years filled with behind-the-scenes turmoil in Joel's private life, multiple embezzlement lawsuits directed towards members of Joel's team, bouts with depression and anxiety, and a rising sense of middle-aged existential dread.
These experiences would color the material on Billy Joel's twelfth record River of Dreams, which in addition to containing markedly more serious, insular, and dark material than had been on previous records, would signal Joel's exit from pop music songwriting. Critics and fans were sharply divided upon its release, and in spite of its commercial success River of Dreams generated a great deal of controversy between people who couldn't decide if the album was a grand finale on Joel's storied career, or a glorified mid-life crisis.
That's what we're here to find out. On this episode of Jukebox Zeroes, Lilz and Patrick herald the long-awaited return of frequent guest Scott Kurland to dive deep beneath the surface of River of Dreams. Will the trio unearth buried treasure and wonders aplenty underneath the waves? Or come down with a violent case of the 90s soft rock bends in the briny murk?
Local Music Feature: Beauty Is The End - Kiss Them
065 - Elvis Presley - Having Fun With Elvis On Stage (1974) (with Nate Nemitz)
The singer/musician/actor Elvis Presley may be best known by the moniker of "The King Of Rock n' Roll", but his discography is by no means perfect. In the 1970s, during the twilight of Elvis' career, his manager Col. Tom Parker (A figure already infamous with a reputation for exploiting the singer for all he was worth) compiled a record titled "Having Fun With Elvis Onstage", seeking to put out an Elvis record in which his parent label RCA would not make any money off it. (RCA would find out about it anyway and put it out themselves)
The record was a baffling mixture of stage banter, anecdotes, and jokes normally intended for the pauses in between songs. Removed of their proper context the whole record seemed like a blathering, incoherent mess. Though the record charted on Billboard, it was roundly lambasted by critics, and almost certainly pissed off a lot of Elvis fans.
On this episode of Jukebox Zeroes, Lilz & Patrick take on one of the oddest challenges they've ever faced: Reviewing a record that's roundly despised in a historical context, while technically not having any music on it. Nate Nemitz of Must Watch Movies joins them for all the action, as nonsensical stories, unprovoked crowd reactions, and Presley's own inaudible mush-mouth abound.
Local Music Feature: Clamb - Triangular Fÿord
064 - Vanilla Ice - To The Extreme (1990) (with Matt Fanale)
Generally when people refer to the 90s MC Vanilla Ice, it's in the context of a joke or mockery. Born Robert Van Winkle, the Miami/Dallas-based rapper achieved unheard of commercial success on the back of his mega-hit "Ice Ice Baby", and in doing so marked the occasion of the first ever rap song to top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Furthermore alongside MC Hammer, Vanilla was one of several pop-rappers to help mainstream the then burgeoning genre, and in a sense paved the way for the genre's future success. Often these important milestones are forgotten in the grand scheme of music history, and should be recognized for their significance along with Ice himself.
...too bad his music kind of blows.
All the historical importance in the world can't forgive some terribly aged 90s white dork hip-hop, as Lilz and Patrick soon discover on an all new episode of Jukebox Zeroes. Joined by the industrial-grade snark of Matt Fanale (Caustic / Klack) the three of them discover that some nostalgia simply cannot be reckoned with, as they face Vanilla Ice head on by listening to his mega-selling full-length debut To The Extreme.
Local Music Feature: Transdusk - "Deathblow Automatic"
063 - Talk Show - Talk Show (1997) (with Clinton Degan)
In 1997, Stone Temple Pilots were on the cusp of a major tour in support of their latest studio release "Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop", when frontman Scott Weiland abruptly exited to check into rehabilitation for drug problems. Rather than wait for Weiland to recover, the rest of Stone Temple Pilots connected with the frontman of obscure California band Ten Inch Men to record and tour without their beleaguered vocalist. They christened themselves Talk Show and released a self-titled debut in 1997, but failed to catch on among audiences despite a plush opening touring slot with Foo Fighters and Aerosmith. The album sunk into obscurity just as quickly as it arrived, and Talk Show disbanded in 1998 as Stone Temple Pilots reunited.
Talk Show has gone down in history as a nebulous oddity in both the history of Stone Temple Pilots and 90s alternative rock in general, but there could be so much more. On a new Jukebox Zeroes Lilz and Patrick intend to find out. Return-guest Clinton Degan joins them once again for a rousing discussion of Talk Show and some much-needed silliness, as they touch upon cardboard boxes, monkeys, sleigh bells, and mispronounce Dave Coutts' name a lot.
Local Music Feature: SATURNIIDS - "Springtime"
062 - Doug Walker & Rob Scallon - The Nostalgia Critic's The Wall (2019) (with Jenna Sokalski)
Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall was a theatrical progressive rock album based upon lead songwriter Roger Waters' own feelings of alienation, isolation, and mental anguish. It has gone on to be one of the highest selling records of all time, made major hits out of tracks like "Hey You" and "Another Brick In The Wall (Pt. 2)", and has been cited for helping define the concept album.
It's considered a very good album by a lot of people.
In 1982, the story behind The Wall was adapted into an experimental film directed by Alan Parker.
37 years later, The Nostalgia Critic's The Wall was released to YouTube. A parody of the feature film, it was written and performed by internet reviewer Doug Walker under his moniker The Nostalgia Critic, with internet musician Rob Scallon arranging and performing the backing tracks. It was presented as a love letter to both the album and its movie version, but was roundly criticized for being cynical, snide, and nasty in its humor, as well as failing to do the proper research necessary for clever satire.
It and its soundtrack are considered very bad by a lot of people.
On a new Jukebox Zeroes, for some reason Lilz and Patrick decided to listen to Nostalgia Critic's The Wall for themselves, with assistance from Jenna Sokalski of the Twitch series Weird Crushes, and the podcast Geeks vs Nerds.
It did not go so well.
Local Music Feature: Agitation Trips - "Institutions"
Well-researched and very entertaining
Lilz provides a ton of research on terrible or at least maligned albums, and Patrick is there to riff on them. Good stuff, good guests.
Excellent and surprisingly fair reviews of some of the most critically panned albums ever. I especially like the host who sounds like one of the nerds in Revenge of the Nerds. He’s SO quick witted.
Fun, Hilarious, Well Done
The Tears for Fears one was really enjoyable! Can’t wait to hear more.