At everydaymusic, we don’t usually give out dietary advice. Today’s different, though. Cameron feeds your ears some Whole Wheat Bread. We also are a blog for the people, by the people, so Cam did the unthinkable (gasp!) and switched up the rating system on me! And on you! Holy cow! Enjoy.
Whole Wheat Bread is a band that formed out of Jacksonville in 2003 and was a band that didn’t really get much attention in Jacksonville when they first come into existence due to the fact that they played a genre of music that wasn’t anything that could really be categorized. Thus, they predominantly remained an underground stud, playing their style of music: Dirty South Punk Rock.
I grew up in Jacksonville, and didn’t hear about them until late in ’06 when my brother urged me to listen to this great punk band from Jacksonville. I was hesitant at first when he requested my ears, due to my wish-washy stance on punk music, finding some good and a large junk of punk music garbage. But Whole Wheat Bread, an all black punk band, incorporates heavily influences of rock, rap, and hip hop flavors.
The first song I ever heard from Whole Wheat Bread was “The Police Song” off their first album, Minority Rules, which made me more curious about the band and their album. Their debut album is solid with great songs such as “Old Man Samson” and the opening track of the CD, “Broke”. From this album, WWB grew on me and became one of my favorite, go to bands.
It wouldn’t be till late January of this year that their sophomore attempt would hit shelves, with that CD being Hearts of Hoodlums. H.o.H. has 12 tracks that show how WWB has evolved into true Dirty South Punk Rock, as they rep Duval, and blend Punk and Rock equally, with hints of Rap throughout. The album recycles some chords and beats from the previous CD, but if you didn’t listen to the previous album or listen to both Minority Rules and Hearts of Hoodlums as much as I did, then it could easily go unnoticed.
Here at everydaymusic, we like to keep it fresh and mix things up, so I’m going to offer a new rating system that will be me detailed in its critique of each song. The components will be Primacy, Uniqueness and Recency. Then the average these will be the PUR, or overall, Score. Primacy will refer to how the song rates the first time you hear it, Recency will be how memorable the song is and how its replay value stands, while uniqueness is pretty self explanatory.
Track 1: Bombs Away
This is the opening track of their album, and honestly I wish it wasn’t. Many people like this song, but I tend to think it’s not one of their best tracks. It’s a political and social commentary and if I could do one thing to make the record better, I would exclude this track, because it might be the lowest point of the album.
Primacy: 2½ Uniqueness: 3 Recency: 2½
PUR Score: 2½
Track 2: Throw Your Sets Up
This is where we start to get back to some classic Whole Wheat flavor. There is some decent punk going on, while the beat remains fairly rock solid and the lyrics at times blend reggae. The song has some solid reputation value as Whole Wheat Bread gives several mentions of Duval County. It’s fairly unique due to its Jacksonville rep, and its mashing of Rock, Punk and slices of Reggae. Listen to it here.
Primacy: 4 Uniqueness: 4 Recency: 3½
PUR Score: 4
Track 3: Girlfriend Like This
Whole Wheat Bread reverts back to its punk flow with some reasonably lyrics that can become easily relatable. The chorus keeps it fresh and the lyrics will definitely hit you the first time you hear it. “I don’t care if it burns when I piss, I aint never had a girlfriend like this. I don’t care what nobody say. If you don’t like her you’re probably gay.” Sums it all up. Every guy has been with that girl that all his friends told him to stay away from, and this song is the anthem to that relationship. Listen to it here.
Primacy: 4 Uniqueness: 4½ Recency: 4
PUR Score: 4
Track 4: Lower Class Man
“Lower Class Man” should be called “Broke 2”, as it is so sound. If you liked “Broke” on Minority Rules, You are bound to like this song. However, I feel the intro to the song is its strong suit and the song tapers off as it plays. Should have been the opening track on the album.
Primacy: 4 Uniqueness: 3 Recency: 3
PUR Score: 3
Track 5: I Can’t Think
Yet another song with a very fast paced tempo with punk flavor by the Whole Wheat Bread clan. The song has some catchy aspects to it, such as the middle of the song, where it swaps from punk rock to some rap and rock attitude. The song isn’t anything special, nor will it knock you off your feet the first time you hear it, but it doesn’t sour with time either.
Primacy: 2½ Uniqueness: 3 Recency: 3½
PUR Score: 3
Track 6: Ode 2 Father
The opening licks to this song is fantastic, but sounds familiar. That’s because a staple chord of WWB, and they used it in the opening bits of a Minority Rules’ track, “Feel Like Shit”. However, even recycled, it is still a dank chord that leads to a stud beat. This has to be one of my favorite songs on the album and although some may find the lyrics nothing special, they will stick with you and the beat will melt into your head. Listen to it here.
Primacy: 4 Uniqueness: 4 Recency: 5
PUR Score: 4½
Track 7: Staying True
Seems like Whole Wheat Bread might be slowing their jams down with this one as the solemn opening makes you want to skip to the next track to not kill your buzz. Decent lyrics with a decent beat and holy shit, is that piano at the end? Did a Punk Rock band just use piano? They did, cause they lulled you into this soft song and with one minute left on the track, they crank it up with a faster rhythm and punk attitude. Its highly likely you’ll skip this song before you get to the jam at the end the first time you hear the track.
Primacy: 2 Uniqueness: 4 Recency: 3
PUR Score: 3
Track 8: Blood Stains and Bite Marks
Green light says go as this may be the catchiest song on the record as its lyrics are fantastic and the punk flavor is uncharitably good. You will listen to this song several times in a row to figure out the Spanish in the song, and to try and get the song out of your head. Top notch work. Listen to it here.
Primacy: 4½ Uniqueness: 4 Recency: 4½
PUR Score: 4½
Track 9: Every Man for Himself
Yet another recycled chord, but again another goody. This seems like a song that would fit their last album, but the talent has evolved, even if the message remains the same.
Primacy: 4 Uniqueness: 2½ Recency: 4
PUR Score: 3½
Track 10: New Age Southern Baptist Nigga From the Hood
So you have tried punk, now its time for CRUNK. This is more a rap n’ rock song then anything and it doesn’t really fit the rest of the record.
Primacy: 3 Uniqueness: 2 Recency: 2½
PUR Score: 2½
Track 11: Catch 22
This begins the crescendo to the album and it’s a solid one. It will take you some time to switch gears from the rap n’ rock song in track 10, but you’ll surely enjoy this song. This is almost a treat to all the listeners who were patient to get this far in the record.
Primacy : 4 Uniqueness: 3½ Recency: 4½
PUR Score: 4
Track 12: Stuck in Da Dark
Hands down, the best track on the Hearts of Hoodlums. The staple of the song is catchy as anything and the beat blends with the track well, making it a classic. This is the definition of Dirty South Punk Rock. Rap, Rock, Punk and Hip Hop all make its way into the mix, but it is so expertly done that you’ll be more that satisfied. Unique and true, every punk band should aspire to have a song as good as this one. Listen to it here.
Primacy: 5 Uniqueness: 4½ Recency: 5
PUR Score: 5
Hearts of Hoodlums is a great album and has become one of my favorites of all time. It has great replay value and never sours. Even if you don’t like punk, check this album out, as you might be surprised to learn that you like punk, just Dirty South Punk Rock and not that other garbage. The record could be paced a little better with the removal of tracks 1 and 10, as these are the only low points. A more than average musical experience is what you’ll get from a very talented and under rated band.