The last time I went to visit my parents in the States (yeah, I call the U.S. "the States" now), I had a few record orders waiting for me. My favorites of the bunch were Lovejunk and this CD by Marshall Artist. This album would actually make my best of 2012 list, except that it came out in 2001.
I was familiar with Coldfront Records (Limp, Moral Crux, Wynona Ryders) and remember reading at least 1 glowing review of this album somewhere when it came out. But I don't think I have ever seen another physical copy of this before. Somehow I never came across the CD on my weekly trips to Amoeba Records in S.F. either. And I still don't know anyone who has even heard of them.
For some reason, that glowing review (which I can't actually remember in detail) has always stuck with me, so in old school fashion, I ordered this CD late last year having never heard the band (Barnes & Nobles, sealed, $1!). When I found it waiting for me at home, I was a little dubious at first. The artwork and layout wasn't much to look at. But it came with a Coldfront catalog with descriptions of their releases. It mentioned that Marshall Artist had members and guest musicians from the Fastbacks and the Posies. It also mentioned that this was one of the (I think) label owner's desert island albums.
Now I like the Fastbacks enough. Never heard the Posies. And desert island, I wouldn't go that far (as to actually come up with desert island albums). But when I finally put this CD on, I couldn't stop listening to it. Basically, this is a pop punk band, but totally unique and just a little bit quirky. The first thing you'll probably notice are the guitars. These guys are shredders. The punk chugs sometimes give way to more galloping metal rhythms, with little solos and fretboard gymnastics every now and then. Two singers share duties with Kim from the Fastbacks providing some backups and lead vocals on a song or 2. The guy who sings more of the songs has a slightly whiny voice, but not in an annoying way. It's an interesting complement to the metallic guitar parts. Not metallic in an old Fat Wreck/skate punk way. Imagine a mix of the Fastbacks and Sicko and you're somewhat close.
I highly recommend checking out this album. I don't think they got their due when they were around and it's a shame that they didn't release anything else.