Group:South FM Album: Drama Kids Year of Release:2003 Why I love the group: The Smashing Pumpkins are my favorite band but in the world of music favorites they are the single! The band that almost every musical fan has had the privilege (or burden depending on taste) to hear because they are big in the musical lexicon! SouthFM in my world of musical favorites is that B-side that you find when you dig deeper into that world! Musically, I've always loved the hidden. I love the search and metaphorically getting my hands dirty just to see how it pays off when you find some gem. SouthFM is the brightest gem I've ever found and I owe it to the world of forums! Shortly, after college I moved to Rhode Island to see what opportunities I could find. Being away from my friends and lonely in my new place I looked to the computer for my social world and it brought me to getting into the music forums on MTV. It was actually a great experience and I actually formed friendships, traded e-mails, learned music and personal details about people. One girl on there was really in sync with my taste and at the time I was working at Best Buy and got a pretty decent discount so I would listen to a track or two and buy a lot of the recommendations. One song I listened to was a pop rock song called "Dear Claudia": about a girl who just throws herself away sexually. The subject matter and vocals really drew me in. I bought the c.d. the next day when I found the one copy they had. I had no idea that the single was just a very small piece of the experience I would have! Why I love this album: When I popped in the c.d. after the first thirty seconds I was knocked for a loop. This album took me for a ride and I was dead to the world around me. It took corners and played with conventions and form in songs that I hadn't heard before. Choruses were eliminated in parts and songs would change tempos in places I hadn't heard before. I heard the madness of laughter, journeyed to a carnival, heard an echoed lullabye, waltzed and heard what sounds like a the slamming of doors as an outro. I'm not going to say that it jumped out of the pop rock world but if a pop rock band wanted to make an adventurous progressive influenced album with a singer whose vocals can both soothe and belt out notes into the stratosphere then this would be it. In fact, if I was to form my dream band I would pick the lead vocalist Paco Estrada hands down! The lyrics would only get better in the second album but they are still really tight here! Lyrics like: "when the dog bites then the bee stings a conundrum to separate talking circles walking circles there is no way to separate" stick in my head and the band really makes you relate to all the journeys that their flawed characters are going through. You'll sympathize with Claudia, be shocked at the characters living the high life in "Corporate White America" and then connect to the singers journey as he seems to become the protagonist in songs like "Driving"! I was so excited about my experience that I called my best friend and told him "Dude, you've got to buy this c.d.! Take my word for it and if you don't like it I will pay you back!" I never had to pay him back and I've never made that claim again! SouthFM would come out with one more c.d. after this one before breaking up. That one took me even further and I'm guaranteed to review it! p.s. Just a note, since there are barely any southfm youtube vids I'm going to post below the links to their songs from the lastfm page! If you have the patience click and check them out! Peace!