“5 Albums That Changed My Life” w/Brandon Kellum (American Standards)


As a lover of music, I’m always interested to see what albums my favorite musicians listen to. Are they vastly different from one another? Are they really far from the genre of music they play? Do they listen to all boy bands? These are all questions I ask myself – but each list ends up being different.

Vocalist Brandon Kellum of chaotic hardcore/noise rock band American Standards stopped by to issue 5 albums that have had a massive impact on him on some way. We LOVE his choices here. Check them all out below.

To say an album truly changed your life is a bold statement and one I don’t take lightly. With that in mind, I almost cringe to commit myself to just 5 without the precursor of saying that this is by no means a definitive list, nor does it represent the albums I’d stand by as the best releases from the artists. I was introduced to each respective album in the right way at the right time to allow them to hold a special piece of nostalgia in my heart.

System of a Down (System Of A Down)

I was a young angsty teenager when this album was released in 1998. My father had just given me a guitar for Christmas and I quickly picked up on reading tabs over traditional notes. That coupled with the discovery of a good down tuning and bar chord was a recipe for disaster. After I had a few SOAD songs under my belt I felt fully confident that I didn’t have a thing left to learn before I started my first band.

Pantera (Vulgar Display Of Power)

Fast forward a couple years to when I got my first car. Vulgar Display Of Power had been my go to album for the majority of my affair with metal. I’m driving with a car full of friends blasting Phil’s guttural yells- pre-realization of his racist tendencies. Out of no where an old lady in the lane next to me blindly slams into my brand new ride. Fueled on adrenalin and disbelief I get out of the car in complete shock. As we’re exchanging insurance info, “Walk” is blasting in the background. Guess I forgot to turn off the stereo.

Norma Jean (Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child)

Although bands like Zao and Training For Utopia may have been my first real introduction to what everyone now refers to as “hardcore” or “metalcore”, Norma Jean was the first time I had made the name association with the term. Pre-Bless The Martyr, our bassist and I are at a Office Max printing fliers the old fashioned way. This was before photo editing programs allowed easy access to resize and format 4 fliers on a page. Instead we would print 4 separate fliers, tape onto one then print. During the laborious process, another promoter happened to come in and ask us if we were into hardcore music. I’m pretty sure our response was, “Hardcore what? Like hardcore punk?” Thinking Black Flag or something of the sort. That’s when she filled us in on Norma Jeans upcoming release and we added diminished chords to the repertoire.

MewithoutYou (A -> B Life)

This one was huge to me. No real anecdote, just reaffirmed my love for well crafted lyrics, solid song structures and the idea that you could be a heavy band but do it in a completely unique way. MewithoutYou always felt like a band that transcended genres and that everyone could appreciate in one way or another. It’s rare that a band carves its own path that few after have tried to retread.

Alexisonfire (Alexisonfire)

Alexisonfire is the band the took me from being a mediocre guitarist playing power chords to a slightly better mediocre guitarist trying to mimic the passion that these guys put into their music. Bands like Saetia and Orchid bridged screamo in the late 90s but Alexisonfire kept it going in the early 2000s.

Honorable Mentions:

Poison The Well (The Opposite Of December)

Every Time I Die (Hot Damn!)

Refused (The Shape of Punk To Come)