Seek and ye shan’t find

Here’s a new metric to determine the popularity of an artist: the number of users sharing files on Napster (before all the filtering, of course.)

The more popular an artist, the more files will be shared.

Someone looking for songs by Metallica or Dr. Dre won’t have nearly as hard a time as someone looking for, say, Yoshida Chika or Nina Hynes.

If Napster popularity were a measurement today, the availability of Oblivion Dust files says something about the group’s output.

Of the Japanese rock quartet’s four albums, the one most shared by users is Reborn and deservedly so. But it seems Reborn is the only album anyone’s purchased — Reborn’s predecessor, Misery Days, shows up occassionally, and the band’s debut, Looking for Elvis, pops up as often as the Halle-Bop comet.

So what does any of this babble have to do with Oblivion Dust’s most recent album, Butterfly Head? Well, if popularity and availability are directly proportional on Napster, quality and availability share no relationship whatsoever.

Butterfly Head is good. Probably just as good as Reborn and definitely better than Misery Days. But it’s damn hard to find it on Napster. (Try Audiogalaxy instead.)

OD’s latest offering contains much of the same elements as Reborn: big riffs, memorable hooks, some synthesizer effects for that Orgy/Nine Inch Nails reference, and singer Ken Lloyd’s rebeller-than-thou lyrics.

Lloyd still sounds like the distant Japanese cousin of Orgy’s Jay Gordon, but his vocal timbre is appropriate for the Japanese-English mix of post-grunge, Reznor-influenced rock. On “Designer Fetus,” he channels a bit of Billy Corgan.

About the only misstep — and it’s a microscopic one — is the hip-hop break in the middle of “No Regrets.” But for the rest of the album, Oblivion Dust lay heavy on the guitars.

“Designer Fetus” has a chorus that just won’t go away even when you want it to. “Forever” has a really nice guitar part. Even the overly produced “The Nude” fits well on the album.

Butterfly Head is some decent rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing mind-blowing like VAST or even Number Girl but certainly enjoyable in a late-90s sense. You’d think more people would be sharing it.