Since 2007's Fight With Tools album and the accompanying "Handlebars" single, Denver hip-hop troupe Flobots have made it their collective business to push genre boundaries while simultaneously promoting social issues. These guys have never been short of a word to say, but then they say important things so well, a trend that continued with this year's Noenemies album. This week, they stop off in Tucson for a show at Club Congress, so we chatted with them about the five albums that changed their lives.
With Bang Data at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Club Congress, 311 Congress St., Tucson; 520-622-8848; $17-$19, 16+.
Judgment Night soundtrack
Long before "rock rap" congealed into a genre that arguably melded the worst of both worlds, the Judgment Night soundtrack paired up rap groups and alternative bands for a fresh array of collaborations. The resulting soundscape formed the backdrop of our rambunctious teenage years. Our entire group of friends could sing along with De La Sol as they rapped over the Teenage Fanclub beat. Same with the rhymes Del the Funkee Homo Sapien spit over Dinosaur, Jr. But the track that drove us crazy, was Faith No More bellowing and screaming underneath an aggressive murder ballad by a group we'd never heard of: BOO YA Tribe. We played that song so many times we wore the ink off the cassette.—Johnny5 and Brer Rabbit
Diary of a Fiddler
This is the album that inspired me to explore the infinite possibilities of my instrument. Featuring a massive who's-who of violin legends (Vassar Clements, Natalie MacMaster, and Bruce Molsky, to name just a few) and helmed by innovator par excellence Darol Anger, Diary of a Fiddler blends genres seamlessly, covering ground from bluegrass to Jimi Hendrix and everything in-between. You've never heard violins sing like this before.—Sarah Hubbard
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Already well known in the bass world, Flea, along with the rest of the Peppers, takes this record to another hemisphere. The rock/soul/funk vibe of this album really spoke to me and the way I wanted to play bass. —Sean Blanchard
Sign O' the Times
It's tough to choose a favorite Prince album from 1982-1987, an era where he was arguably at his creative peak. There are only a handful of artists that had such a streak. But for me, there is something special about Sign O' the Times, an album informed by the contributions and demise of his old backing band, The Revolution. Ambitious to the core, with astonishing breadth and command of musical styles too numerous to mention. And funky. —KennyO
Power in Numbers
As a guitarist who was into skating and metal, hip-hop had a harder time clicking with my guitar-obsessed brain. Jurassic 5's album Power in Numbers was the first that really broke though to me. With catchy funk guitar lines, awesome break-beats and themes that really resonated with me, Power in Numbers is the album that opened the door to Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Eminem and all the amazing MC's that I would go on to discover. —David Ochoa