Pick Your Favorite Freshmen Video 03.23.09

  by slorocco.

Crooked X is a very talented, very young hard rock band that hails from Oklahoma. Despite being only 15 years old, mid-westerners Forrest French, Jesse Cooper, Josh McDowell, and Boomer Simpson have already opened for rock legends such as Kiss and Alice Cooper and were recently added to Music as a Weapon Tour. Company of Thieves consists of fellow mid-westerners Genevieve Schatz, guitarist Marc Walloch, and drummer Mike Ortiz. The Chicago-based band’s first album Ordinary Riches has been met with critical acclaim as has their Rushmore-inspired video for single “Oscar Wilde.” Jamaican reggae artist Craig Marsh also known as Serani represents a triple threat: singer, songwriter and producer. After gaining wide-spread attention for his single “No Games,” he stepped up the release of his debut album which bears the same name. Candy Coated Killahz is led by classic trained pianist Tosha Dash. She is joined by Icon the Anomali, Loobie Loo, and Dynamic Danthrax the Harmonious to produce a 90s inspired sound for their debut LP It Factor. Paebak Black is a brand new hip-hop artist who brings his talent from the world of mc-freestyling. Raised by a single mother in New York City, Pae brings his drive and determination to new single “They Say.”

Candy Coated Killahz Company of Thieves Crooked X Paebak Black Serani

Candy Coated Killahz

“Playboy” is not bad for what it is – a catchy pop song. You would blast this in the car or dance to it on girl’s night. You know what I mean. Those evenings when you just get down with your girlfriends and elbow all the guys who think they are being clever by trying to sneak up behind you? You need songs like these sometimes. I wanted a little bit more from the video though. I wanted to see some synchronized dancing or something along those lines. Don’t you think this type of video really calls for that extra… pizzazz? When the end rolled around, I was a bit “eh” because I’d been waiting to see some moves the entire time.


Company of Thieves

“Oscar Wilde” might already look familiar to you as it was one of my Favorite Things last Friday. Not only is it a kick-ass song but I can’t sing the video’s praises enough. (Pun intended!) One commentator suggested it was merely a rip-off of Wes Anderson’s flick but I think it is such a perfectly created carbon copy that its intention is a tribute to the genius of the movie rather than a simple recreation. I mean, they really nail it. Especially with a filmmaker so well known for his particular attention to detail. (All of Anderson’s carefully framed shots remind me of a dollhouse.) The Vinyl Preservation Society? AMAZING. Not to mention, Genevieve Schatz IS Max Fischer. Rushmore is clearly a top-pick in my book and to see the aesthetic blending with a song I really, really like is touching and fun and makes me smile.


Crooked X

Despite this being the last genre of music in the world I would probably listen to, I didn’t mind the Crooked X video. I enjoy the concept of the band being surrounded by athletes pumping adrenaline as well as a super hyped-up audience. Obviously meshes well together. I imagine this would be an excellent song to bring to the gym when you’re lifting. Not that I do that (more a yoga person myself) but the song seems to scream, “Lift heavy objects and grit your teeth! RRRAAARRR!” No? Plus, the age of these kids makes their music pretty knock-out impressive. What was I doing when I was 15? Sulking in my bedroom and talking on the phone, maybe? Tip of the cap to you fellas.


Paebak Black

Not impressed with the lyrics or the video. “Baby girl got ass/this chick like oh”? Um. Okay. I want to hear something more interesting than that. There are no clever turns-of-phrase, no hypnotizing beat- nothing is present that I want to witness in a hip-hop song. And is it me or is the last 60 seconds just a repetition of the chorus? It’s over four minutes so couldn’t they like… maybe cut some of it out? Seems unnecessary.



I’m not a big fan of Serani’s voice. He doesn’t have a lot of range and there is an extended whiny quality going on when he tries to hit the higher notes. Also, I’m just flat-out not excited by this video. Interchanging backgrounds that look like they could have come off my cell phone? Try harder.


My totally obvious and much-hyped pick of the week is Company of Thieves. I really hope voters will rally and give this new group some support. What say you commentators? I was a bit tough on the Freshman this week. Justified?