Why is Transplants’ Haunted Cities on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
There are true sonic gems hiding on these streets, in this shadowy world.
Some stats & info about Transplants – Haunted Cities
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? SoCal Bands, Rap Rock, Alternative Rock, Punk Revival, Punk Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Haunted Cities released? 2005
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #683 out of 1,000
Transplants’ Haunted Cities on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Transplants’ Haunted Cities mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
It occurs to me that Haunted Cities will be a pretty strange – and certainly bracing – listen for someone with no grounding on Transplants, what’s on this record or, to an extent, the background of this “super group” that includes Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Blink-182’s Travis Barker along with sandpaper-voiced rapper Rob Aston.
Haunted Cities is pretty eclectic, and if you happen to come in from a certain angle, the odd mixture of punk and hip hop meshed with a truly menacing vibe (especially when Aston gets on the mic for a verse) will likely send some running for the hills.
But there are true sonic gems hiding on these streets, if you know where to look. “Doomsday” is a wildly exhilarating ride through “a shadowy world, wasteland mean and hard boiled.” Like Rancid’s best material, Transplants at its best leverages fantastic punk guitar hooks from Tim Armstrong along with his odd and highly unique vocally stylings. But with Transplants, Armstrong is able to be more experimental and show off his talky/rap-like vocals, which work rather well when deployed correctly. And on “Doomsday,” Aston is expertly leveraged (short, punchy, sand papery, and out) as well.
“I Want It All” has a sunnier vibe by Transplants standards (at least musically!), and I can imagine its chorus being used by Mike Skinner on a song by The Streets.
“Killafornia” has an effectively menacing sound, with a great piano backing it that reminds of the fantastic “Diamonds and Guns,” off Transplants’ (amazing) debut album from 2002. It also features B-Real of Cypress Hill fame (Sen Dog appears on a more forgettable track, “Not Today”), who as always is great.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Transplants’ Haunted Cities
I interviewed Rob Aston around the time Haunted Cities was released for Blogcritics, a blogging community I was helping to run at the time. The interview is no longer available on the web unfortunately, lost to the sands of time and technology.
The thing that I remember most is that Aston espoused a “get yours before they take yours” attitude about life. And the way he described that attitude was literal: if someone has something that you want and can get it, you should go ahead and take it. It’s hard to tell if he was playing a role or character in terms of this interview, but he certainly seemed quite serious and genuine to me.