Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Melon can see?

So go figure; I run my weekly online search through the bowels of the music community and what do I learn? Through some miracle of modern science, the boys from Blind Melon have found a way to resurrect Shannon Hoon, and Blind Melon has been practicing together, and have a new album (For my Friends) to be released the day after my birthday (April 21 - the birthday, April 22 - the melon day).

In actuality, the boys have picked up a new vocalist, one Travis Warren. After listening to a couple things, I’ll admit the guy has some pipes, but simply lacks the twisted yet still powerful voice of Hoon (read: he doesn’t do enough hard drugs). Now, don’t get me wrong, this is akin to saying that the Pats are a horrible team, simply because they lost the Superbowl, thus neglecting their perfect season to that point. However, one can not deny the power and superiority of the Giants, even though they are now almost 13 years dead (ok, I think I took that analogy one step too far).

In the end though, I have to admit to feeling a might bit foolish. I was amazed that one of my most coveted bands of the 90’s, who’s time was ended prematurely, was able to slip under my radar and pull together a reunion. To make matters worse, they’ve apparently been playing together since fall of ’06. I’ll let you be the judge of whether you think this reunion is worth a damn, or just a mad grab at cash with a new, inferior frontman.

After feeling my sense of ‘scene’ had been violated by this stealth, I chose to dig a bit deeper into the lives of the vision impaired fruits. This had me stumble across a few underground gems, the likes of which one grins with delight upon discovery. After Hoon’s OD, one would assume this set of near savant musicians would stumble into something new and interesting: and they did.

Roger Stevens, one of the band’s guitarists, would dabble in a few hardly noteworthy projects (Extra Virgin should have kept her cherry) before teaming up with Royston Langdon, formerly of Spacehog. Langdon, the astral pig’s bassist and voice had a similar convoluted vocal style to Hoon, and it would shine through in the newly formed The Tender Trio (after a brief stint being called ‘The Quick’).

I managed to track down some recordings of The Tender Trio, and found a quaint mix of Stevens’ catchy riffs, with Langdon’s seemingly acid-influenced style. Tracks like ‘All My Money’s Gone’ captured Spacehog’s poppy beats and twangy vocals, with a new driving guitar to push the sound ahead with a bit more edge.

If you’re really bored, you can dig even deeper and check out Langdon’s band (Arckid) after Stevens left the band for the Blind Melon, but be warned; it was quite obvious where the creative juices were flowing from in Tender’s lineup.

Keep an eye out for the first podcast late this week or early next week, where I’ll try to include a few of these gems.