Double Experience is an Ottawa, Ontario-based duo who specialize in anthemic rock that deals unapologetically with the realms of all things nerd: artificial intelligence, tabletop gaming, comic books, video games, and more. Self-identifying as nerd rock, the boys have a penchant for dealing with quirky subject matter within their trademark power-pop framework. It’s fun, it’s emphatic and it’s worth double the experience points; what’s not to love?
With a new full-length album, Alignments, out April 24th, 2020, and some new videos for the singles “New Me” and “Born for It” kicking around, Double Experience are primed to make 2020 a massive year. In anticipation of all that’s sure to come, we are thrilled to have the band’s guitarist Brock Tinsley join us for this Top 10 to introduce fans to the geekiest songs they’ve never heard before.
Comments Tinsley, “In the spirit of Double Experience’s recent Punisher-themed single, ‘New Me,’ I thought it would be appropriate to remind everybody that ‘nerd rock’ (music about comics, gaming, and general pop culture) isn’t necessarily new. Here are 10 under-appreciated songs directly inspired by comics, gaming, and more.”
New year, new album, “New Me.”
10. Coheed and Cambria – “Deranged”
– Before Coheed and Cambria’s The Color Before the Sun – the controversial departure from their seven album sci-fi saga – the band had already betrayed their unique format with stand-alone single “Deranged.” This was their ode to Batman’s beloved villain, The Joker, featuring verbatim Joker quotes and a choir rendition of maniacal laughter. The end result will have you grinning like, well… you know who.
09. Iced Earth – “Vengeance is Mine”
– Suppose that Metallica didn’t write songs about nuclear winter and Lovecraftian horror and instead dedicated an entire album to the quintessential 90’s superhero, Spawn. This is Iced Earth. This title track is an almighty union of guitar histrionics and the superhero equivalent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drenched in blood. And it was all a dream come true for an (angstier) adolescent Brock.
08. Motion City Soundtrack – “@!#?@!”
– Speaking of adolescent Brock, the lyrics of this song perfectly encapsulated the feeling of being a 90’s preteen. The way Motion City Soundtrack combined The Legend of Zelda and Q*Bert in the same song achieves an unparalleled amount of nerd points. Admittedly, the previous fact would mean very little if the song wasn’t listenable on a fundamental level. Thankfully, this track also earned some pop credibility due to some choice co-production by Mark Hoppus of Blink 182.
Double Experience just know they are “Born for It.”
07. Rancid – “Side Kick”
– “I’m a lesser-known character” sings Tim Armstrong on “Side Kick.” These are bold words from the man who would eventually cement the reputation of Rancid as one of the most influential punk groups of the modern era. Unfortunately, Rancid’s geeky anthems are squarely the exception and not the norm. The band hasn’t gotten any less grouchier, mind you, but that’s what I love about Rancid; they have all the fucks in the world, and you can’t have any of them. This empowering ethos helped inform Double Experience and our musical worldview.
06. Lion Babe – “Wonder Woman”
– Producer Pharrell lent his beat-centric superpowers to this soulful anthem that celebrates all that is “woman”. By the time the song kicks in, the glitchy, digital samples and bad-ass groove are one bluesy guitar solo away from being a modern “Who Are You.” Can anyone else imagine Gal Gadot amping herself up between scenes by listening to this song? (As an aside, those who doubt Pharrell’s nerdiness need to watch the video for his song “It Girl” immediately.)
05. Soul Coughing – “Unmarked Helicopters”
– Soul Coughing won the alternative/indie band jackpot when they were contracted by X-Files creator Chris Carter to compose music specifically for the show. The end result is a raving, off-kilter track that will have you reevaluating “the truth” (and where it can be found). Based on the recent civilian raid on Area 51, this song feels eerily topical and is a must-listen for those who played their part in internet meme history. You won’t catch me on the frontlines of any subsequent raids, mind you, but I will do my part and turn the volume knob up a little louder when “Unmarked Helicopters” appears on my shuffle.
I think there’s a lozenge for that, but, in the meantime, check out “Unmarked Helicopters.“
04. Anthrax – “I Am the Law”
– Judge Dredd dispatches villains and civilians alike in his quest to rid a harsh future of all crime. This hero simply has no time for breaks, frills or secret identities in such a world. This is what makes Anthrax perfectly suited to completely deliver on the unrelenting premise of The Judge – their arsenal of riffs. In comparison, there exists another song of the same name and character by a synth pop band that should be avoided at all costs.
03. R. Cade & The Video Victims – “Frenzy”
– Sure, it sounds like disco-era KISS, but come on. This is an album with plenty of unfakeable passion on tap, which is more than you can say for more “straight-faced” genres and songs. It really puts you in the mindset of an 80’s arcade addict. “Frenzy” is but one of the album’s many tracks entitled and written entirely about specific games. You will probably have an easier time sneaking it past discerning music snobs compared to the album’s more lurid tracks – namely, “Donkey Kong” or “Ms. Pac Man.”
02. Flashlight Brown – “Ready to Roll”
– I saw this band open up for Sum 41 back before I was even in high school. It was my first time pre-ordering tickets, lining up early head-to-toe in headliner merch. I was “that guy”. Sum 41 was well-established as a second-coming of Motley Crüe at this point, and their show contrasted greatly with their plucky opening act, Flashlight Brown. These guys still had something to prove, singing about 20-sided dice at the top of their lungs. I might have left the night with more headliner merch, but Flashlight Brown made me realize you didn’t have to be a second-coming of the second-coming just to play music on stage.
01. Nerd Herder – “We Opened for Weezer”
– The previous story reminds me of the greatest “opening band” story of nerd rock lore. Leave it to the band who wrote the theme for Buffy The Vampire Slayer to perfectly encapsulate their experience opening for geek-rock pioneers Weezer. It’s goofy, it’s earnest, it’s a worldview shared by an (overwhelming) minority – it’s the entire spirit of the genre I fell in love with.
Alignments drops April 24, 2020 via Colfax Music.