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Weerd Science - Friends And Nervous Breakdowns (Cover Artwork)

Weerd Science

Weerd Science: Friends And Nervous BreakdownsFriends And Nervous Breakdowns (2005)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: Tim-PunkInternationalTimPunkInternational
(others by this writer | submit your own)

So by now, you probably know how Roger, the bass player in Less Than Jake, is primarily a guitarist and punk rock songwriter in his own right. And, when he stepped out of the shadows of his better-known band and took the reins in his own band Rehasher, the results he produced were stunning. In a sim.
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So by now, you probably know how Roger, the bass player in Less Than Jake, is primarily a guitarist and punk rock songwriter in his own right. And, when he stepped out of the shadows of his better-known band and took the reins in his own band Rehasher, the results he produced were stunning. In a similar sort of fashion, Joshua Eppard, best known as the drummer for Coheed & Cambria, is really a hip-hop artist, an MC specifically, at heart. Weerd Science is Josh doing what he does best, as opposed to what he's best known for doing, and Friends And Nervous Breakdowns shows that he's so good at what he does that I wouldn't mind at all if he quit his day job.

My first reaction to Weerd Science was that Josh would be an optimal member of Sweatshop Union, my hometown heroes of hip-hop. He's got the same sort of blue-collar personality expressed through caustic political rhymes and lively beats. On the mic, he can compete with some of the best I've ever heard. His flow has a lot in common with Slug from Atmosphere (see the track "Ordinary Joe" for a prime example), though his persona is a lot less cocky. And best of all, he can spit with the speed and ease of Eyedea; "Fuck You And Your Filthy A&R Dept." features a performance that's almost inhuman, and on top of that, it's a spot-on attack on the music industry.

It was just a couple days ago I was at the local indie record store, combing through all the hew hip-hop releases, searching for something that would help round out my music collection. I put almost a dozen albums through the listening post and came out empty-handed. What I was looking for was something I've found in Weerd Science: down-to-earth, acerbic personality, solid beats, and top-notch wordplay.

[originally written for Punk International]

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
cadavermine (February 8, 2007)

No Josh why? You're too white to rap. And you were such a good drummer.

slippy (May 9, 2005)

Fuck Eazy E

im-dead (May 5, 2005)

Eazy-E is my only rap fix!................ ;-)

ifitwasaday (April 25, 2005)

"Nobody likes us. Nobody."
"Why are you messing with the fantasy? We know about the reality. Don't ruin the fantasy, ok?"

Score is for Weird Science, the movie.

Of course, on the telephone!

soulbleed (April 23, 2005)

score is for cannibal ox. anyone who likes him is automatically cool. the cold vein is one of the best hip-hop releases of all time.

Anonymous (April 21, 2005)

http://retarddisco.com/video/tr_mike_tysons_punch_out.mov

Anonymous (April 21, 2005)

coheed is an awful, AWFUL band.

ElVaquero (April 21, 2005)

Agreed completely with the guy below me. We can all agree that this really isn't very good at all.

About Ace, Float is my favorite album of his, gets a lot more spins than most everything else in my collection except maybe The Cold Vein. That said, I think the production and mc-ing on his last few albums has been really refreshing, original, and catchy as all hell. No one else is doing shit like that right now. Also, my cousin is his manager so I'm required by law to suck dick, grain of salt please.

Anonymous (April 21, 2005)

I'm not really interested in continuing this debate further, because I really don't care about this guy, but all I was trying to get at with "hip-hop for people who don't listen to hip-hop" is that if you listened to a lot of hip-hop music, I think you'd realize that this guy isn't particularly good. The only reasons for all of this attention are 1) he's in some semi-popular band and 2) as i said before, this doesn't entirely suck.

Even if we agree that it's mediocre, it's not noticeably good when measured against any litmus you want:

1) Is it catchy/poppy and at least moderately lyrical in the way that good mainstream rap can be (see: Kanye, Nas)? No.

2) Is it particularly clever and intricate in the wordplay (see: MF Doom, E-40, Hieroglyphics)? No.

3) Is it making a powerful statement about something of substance, like politics (see: Mr. Lif, The Coup, Dead Prez)? No.

4) Is it particularly challenging or complex (see: Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox)? No.

I don't care whether black people or white people listen to any music; I'm just saying, this isn't good hip-hop. It isn't worth 4.5 stars.

And despite the nuanced critique of Bazooka Tooth that is "it blew cock", I concede that it's difficult to get into, but the rewards are incredible.

soulbleed (April 21, 2005)

If you're looking for a new hip-hop record, go get the new Aesop Rock EP or The Perceptionists' record; I've heard really good things about Blueprint's new record and Balance's mixtape too.

to that guy .. you talk about how weerd science is a hip-hop album for people who don't like hip hop. funny that the people you mention, especially aesop rock, are most often thrown into that category. i don't know one single urban (or black) kid that likes aesop rock or even knows who blueprint is. yet all my white friends who like hardcore and emo know that he's the guy from soul position and rjd2 is hot also.

look who cares that it's 'cool' for indie kids to like hip-hop now. more power to them. the scene isn't getting flooded with crap or anything (meanwhile, mainstream rap has been diluted for ten years and you don't see anyone but the indie kids complaining). most of the lyricists who come about and happen to be white just happen to be better than their black counterparts. call it drive, call it talent, call it the white man's burden. whatever you want. just don't act like weerd science is any less real hip-hop than aesop rock, because it isn't.

ps, the last two aesop rock releases have blown cock.

stevejonestherealbones (April 21, 2005)

haha, go look at their guest book and you get a real idea about how shitty this is...

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Tim-PunkInternational (April 21, 2005)

I'm surprised how many people here (not that the punknews comment threads are any indication of popular opinion) believe Josh has no hip hop credibility. Why? Because he drums for C&C? Because the label that released C&C also released this? I don't know the guy's history that well (fortunately I'm doing an interview with him within the next week), but going by the bio, he's been doing hip hop for well over ten years. In C&C, he's just the drummer. Weerd Science is his own music. So treating this as some kind of C&C side project is just wrong. It looks more like C&C getting big distracted and postponed Josh from doing the Weerd Science album much sooner.

I don't buy the argument that he has no credibility as a rapper because he plays drums in a rock band. Or that he and Equal Vision are trying to jump on a fad and market white boy hip hop to indie kids (why does a discussion of hip hop have to be so racialized anyway?). Josh actually put this CD out himself on his own label, partnered with Equal Vision. Lots of people put out solo albums that are different from the band they're most famous for. There's no reason hip hop has to be such a taboo. It looks from here like punk/indie kids are more elitist about who's allowed to do hip hop than hip hop fans are. If it were the other way around if an accomplished rapper were to join a hardcore band, I don't think anybody would be making a stink about it.

CorpseOfMyMotivation (April 20, 2005)

I've just started listening to hip hop a little. I was really impressed when I heard Black Star (Talib Kweli and Mos Def).

Anonymous (April 20, 2005)

Does anyone else just not care about hiphop in our circles?

Anyone?

I dislike all forms of hip hop/rap. I simply can't get into what people deem the "beats" and the "flow." Also, the heavy usage of slang in the lyrics tends to annoy me.

-Chinatown

jamespastepunk (April 20, 2005)

That's what I'm saying, you're right. This group would be a parallel to what the punk community would call a poseur group like The Casualties. What's funny though, is that E/A and Atmos are actually good groups who were huge before they got signed to Epitaph, but the majority of the bands following in this trend such as Weerd Science and Gym Class Heroes who get signed and pre-installed audiences aren't as authentic, not only artistically, but they're also a victim of exploitative marketing.

Weerd Science I don't think you can judge by the meterstick that you defined above because its a side project. Why would a drummer take time off of an incredibly successful band he's in to work in hip-hop unless he actually wanted to perform hip hop?

That just doesn't follow to me. Then again, I don't know any industry "numbers" on how hip hop groups have sold on punk rock labels so I can't say with any degree of certainty.

Other than that, I still don't care about this trend, and you're probably right.

ElVaquero (April 20, 2005)

That's what I'm saying, you're right. This group would be a parallel to what the punk community would call a poseur group like The Casualties. What's funny though, is that E/A and Atmos are actually good groups who were huge before they got signed to Epitaph, but the majority of the bands following in this trend such as Weerd Science and Gym Class Heroes who get signed and pre-installed audiences aren't as authentic, not only artistically, but they're also a victim of exploitative marketing.

jamespastepunk (April 20, 2005)

maybe I should put it, against the intentions of the culture surrounding the music. you can draw a strong parallel between hip hop culture and punk culture. people bitch about conservative or tame bands selling their music as punk to an audience that's not familiar with and/or unwilling to buy into that culture and music.

like jones said, this group blows. a lot. but they'll certainly have an audience with the kids who know coheed and know equal vision. i have friends that don't like hip hop, but do like atmosphere and eyedea&abilities (not saying that those two groups aren't great, but they're being marketed to kids that don't like hip hop).

so yeah, the artistic merits of the gener are in serious question, but to have kids think that this is what hip hop is actually about (outside of the mainstream, every genre has to deal with that) is... y'know... crappy.

Okay, so the idea a group that's marketed to kids who wouldn't otherwise listen hip hop is bad, or a group marketed towards kids that wouldn't otherwise listen to hip hop is bad?

The cultures based around eiether punk rock or hip hop I don't know enough about to comment.

In short, is there a difference between the way "authentic" hip hop fans view E/A or Atm, and the way "we" view the Casulaties, Good Charlotte et al?

ElVaquero (April 20, 2005)

maybe I should put it, against the intentions of the culture surrounding the music. you can draw a strong parallel between hip hop culture and punk culture. people bitch about conservative or tame bands selling their music as punk to an audience that's not familiar with and/or unwilling to buy into that culture and music.

like jones said, this group blows. a lot. but they'll certainly have an audience with the kids who know coheed and know equal vision. i have friends that don't like hip hop, but do like atmosphere and eyedea&abilities (not saying that those two groups aren't great, but they're being marketed to kids that don't like hip hop).

so yeah, the artistic merits of the gener are in serious question, but to have kids think that this is what hip hop is actually about (outside of the mainstream, every genre has to deal with that) is... y'know... crappy.

stevejonestherealbones (April 20, 2005)

wait, i just listened to the tracks that are online for the first time... are you guys sure this isnt like a "joke" album or something, but one that just wasnt that funny? there is no way that these can be songs that someone "seriously" wrote and thought was good music or "hip hop"

is it supposed to be a joke?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

stevejonestherealbones (April 20, 2005)

i think prime hit it the nail on the head.

this is definately not about repackaging it for white kids. rap, has been acceptable for white kids for years now, even the "real" rap that is about growing up in a ghetto

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

jamespastepunk (April 20, 2005)

it's not so much that it's just a punk label releasing a hip hop cd, but it's that hip hop is being marginalized and repackaged for white kids that don't really know about the genre but love the labels (i think everyone predicted this happening back when epitaph signed atmosphere). it's the exact same thing as hot topic or any of the radio-ready "punk" bands, just dumb it down and sell it to the kids who don't know any better. even if the record labels aren't aware of the damage they're causing, they are doing this because it's marketable.

there's also the race issue that is actually quite important, check out murs' "and this is for..." for a little more detail. one in a long line of originally black-centered genres that has been repackaged for white folks who then come to dominate and destroy the original intentions of the genre.

A form of music being marginalized and repackaged to suit the needs of something else is neither novel nor interesting. Look at classical music.

Can a genre have intentions? I don't believe so. The performers can have intentions, but a form of music thinking something, I just can't believe.

On hip hop being repackaged, its for a wider audience, not just white folks, so saying white folks are buying it now is kinda stupid, since they (errr, we) have been buying hip hop for awhile now anyway. See Dr. Dre's original Chronic CD.

I don't believe that's the issue.

What is the issue now is punk rock kids being introduced to hip hop on a much broader scale than before and having staunch purists going "WHAT? YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO LIKE IT" and so on. That might be going a little too far, and painting with too broad a stroke, but I believe my point stands.

What was originally the "exclusive" domain (indie hip hop) of hipsters and scenesters of any color is now being introduced to a wider audience, commercialization or not.

Some people like it, some people don't. I'm just saying its not worth arguing about, outside of the artistic merits of the artist in question.

Anyway, that's my two cents. Back to physics for me.

ElVaquero (April 20, 2005)

prime-

it's not so much that it's just a punk label releasing a hip hop cd, but it's that hip hop is being marginalized and repackaged for white kids that don't really know about the genre but love the labels (i think everyone predicted this happening back when epitaph signed atmosphere). it's the exact same thing as hot topic or any of the radio-ready "punk" bands, just dumb it down and sell it to the kids who don't know any better. even if the record labels aren't aware of the damage they're causing, they are doing this because it's marketable.

there's also the race issue that is actually quite important, check out murs' "and this is for..." for a little more detail. one in a long line of originally black-centered genres that has been repackaged for white folks who then come to dominate and destroy the original intentions of the genre.

Anonymous (April 20, 2005)

blah he should stick to coheed, this isn't bad, but it isn't good.

Anonymous (April 20, 2005)

oh god this is so gay. fuck white people.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

This strikes me as somewhere between wack and tepid, the sort of hip-hop that people who don't really like hip-hop can love.

I'm not meaning to hate on the reviewer; I actually liked the review itself. I just can't see this being a 4.5 star hip-hop release. It seems to me more like a novelty release that's surprising mostly because it's pretty sincere and it doesn't completely suck.

If you're looking for a new hip-hop record, go get the new Aesop Rock EP or The Perceptionists' record; I've heard really good things about Blueprint's new record and Balance's mixtape too.

jamespastepunk (April 19, 2005)

Does anyone else just not care about hiphop in our circles?

Anyone?

Sure hip hop is nice, like any other form of music, but does a hip hop CD (talented or not) released by a punk rock label really a reason for such commotion?

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

wow what a stupid fucking website, the media section isnt funny its just fucking stupid

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

When the fuck did this whole indie/hardcore/punk kids listening to hip hop fad come about. This shit sucks, if your gonna try and be trendy by listening to hip hop listen to something other than this. Eminem wannabe bullshit. I listened to the whole record at my local record store and it sucks. Fuck this, I just lost respect for equal vision

Big_Guy (April 19, 2005)

not that bad but Warsawpack is still the best

soulbleed (April 19, 2005)

sage francis is really hard to get into. i like some of his songs but i don't like the album as a whole.

slippy (April 19, 2005)

Speaking of lame rap, I really dislike Sage Francis.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

First of all, what the hell is a sub-mediocre hip hop group even doing on Equal Vision. I guess it was assumed they could cash in on the Coheed connection. If a label that does not sign MC's signs one, you should at least expect it to be really good...or really bad. His flow is alright, but it's just rehashed.

All the kids complaining that every emo-pop-punk-core band sounds the same should also be complaining that this sounds like every other mediocre underground hip hop group. I'm not a fan of this at all.

-benz

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

What a complete waste of time and money by Equal Vision. They could be gearing up for The Fall of Troy. Coheed could be working on their new album, which is supposed to be a double album, and if Josh does all the interludes I don't know how he's gonna be able to give them the time while touring with Bane(?). Oh yea, that's right, no one in hiphop/rap would like you guys so you had to get on an equal vision tour. And if they did choose it, it's only because they know scene kids would be like duuuudddee hiphop by the coheed dude, dduuuuudddee sooo underground. This shit is terrible. Let's all come clean and admit it sounds like something that your friend who has protools freestyled in his basement when he was high with his pothead friends. Seacrest Out!

ElVaquero (April 19, 2005)

as a white boy who actually listens to rap, i'm so sick of rap tailored for white boys. it's a slap in the face.

theundergroundscene (April 19, 2005)

def jux comparisons?

do you kids have ears?

like i said, give me aesop rock over this shit and most music any day

Inspection12e (April 19, 2005)

I knew there would be alot of bitching in this review.

I listened to the various songs they have posted on the internet. The songs aren't bad but I have a feeling I'd get bored with this really fast and it isn't worth buying. Nice effort though.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

hey asshole,

talking about how sweet hip hop is is exactly like how pop punk kids used to talk about how much they love grind. quit listening to this recycled shit and listen to ac/dc.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

Girl, I've gotta tell you somethin'. If you really knocked up by my homie, I'ma punch you in the stomach.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

dear tim,

is it possible for you to talk about how much you like hip hop for more than five minutes before you mention sweatshop union and/or eyedea? no? ok, just checkin'

thx,
the internet

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

i miss the days when i listened to public enemy and people gave me funny looks. now they're all "yo, i'm feelin that man, that's some hot shit"

you're not fooling anyone, and certainly not me.

ps - this is garbage.

XmeepX (April 19, 2005)

and one thing I don't ever need to hear..

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

If he called himself Weird Science, would he have been sued? Crazy man, prog-rocker by day, MC by night

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

how does that song go? something like: "if you are pregant again, i am going to kick you in the stomach"
It made me laugh.

Jesse (April 19, 2005)

This shit sucks. Not everyone deserves to be a hip-hop artist. All these indie labels signing hip-hop groups because it's cool to like indie hip-hop. Fuck it all. Me 'n the Wu will be chillin' with The Beatnuts over in Brooklyn with Mos Def.

stevejonestherealbones (April 19, 2005)

whats with "weerd" instead of "weird"?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

glamcore (April 19, 2005)

fucking awesome album.

GYBE (April 19, 2005)

Did you compare him to both Eyedea and Slug because he's white?

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

i've been a def jux fan for a long time, and i didn't really get the def jux vibe from this. but i can see where other people might find it similar -- you know, if they never listened to any of the other hip-hop labels or acts or something along those lines. but anyway, this record is good.

moneenerd (April 19, 2005)

Shitty white boy rap we hear all too much of. The reviewer was right about Sweatshop Union though, which is why this is the most unimportant and generic thing Equal Vision records has put out this year.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

The last kind of vibe I get from this is anything related to def jux - a label which consistently puts out better hip hop than this.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

Actually it's MC turned drummer for Coheed.

Anonymous (April 19, 2005)

Drummer from Coheed turned MC?

I'll pass.

FishBulb (April 19, 2005)

My band opened for these guys last December, and I must say I was impressed. I got a Def Jux/Battleaxe vibe from them.

Kenjamin (April 19, 2005)

ehhh i am skeptical but i will check this out for sure.

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