Supergroup Showcase: Transplants

THE PLAYERS: Tim Armstrong on beats and guitar (Rancid), Rob “Skinhead Rob” Aston on vocals (Rancid roadie, Expensive Taste) and Travis Barker on drums (Blink-182, TRVSDJAM, Box Car Racer).
THE STORY: Armstrong discovered an affinity for making hip hop style beats and asked his buddy and roadie Anston to spit some rhymes over them. Then they brought Barker in on drums. In between Rancid and Blink-182 projects the group recorded two records, one self titled (2002) the other called Haunted Cities (2005) with another one supposedly on the way.

I heard about the Transplants around when they were coming together, but I apparently didn’t get the whole story. I remember hearing that Tim Armstrong from Rancid and Travis Barker were starting a band. I assumed it was a band made up of players from other punk bands. Sounded great because I love Rancid and think Barker’s one of the best drummers around. So, when I was looking for a few new supergroups to add to the Showcase, they were high on the list and I picked up their first record.

Unfortunately, the record’s kind of a mess. Armstrong’s beats feel thin even though they’re filled with fuzzed out guitars and you don’t really feel the power of Barker’s excellent drumming on the tracks. Meanwhile, Skinhead Rob’s vocals really don’t do it for me. He’s basically screaming the whole time, which doesn’t do it for me.  Their big single “D.J.D.J.” was okay, though I don’t actually remember it coming out. Most of the rest of the record sounds kind of like a Lonely Island rap with more guitar work. I guess the whole thing was more disappointing than bad as I wanted it to be one thing and it turned out to be something completely different, but still, you should know, it’s not a great record.

All that being said “Diamonds and Guns” is a pretty great track all around, though it’s inclusion in Garnier Fructis commercials kind of castrates it a bit. In the end I wanted a hot punk record and got a lukewarm-at-best hip hop one. Maybe I’ll give it another listen, but more likely, it’ll go on the pile of CDs and DVDs getting traded in at FYE in the near future.

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