Unlike many people, I am actually happy when the masses discover good music, especially my favorite bands. I want the quality music culture to destroy the evils of pop radio and usher in an era of beauty and art. I see myself as a Maven and want to take this role seriously for the readers of this blog.
So, in an attempt to help usher in this musical Utopia, I will offer a few YouTube clips or myspace links to a bit of music you may have missed or not paid attention to. If you already listen to this music, good for you. If not, offer your thanks to the Beatles, Beach Boys, Hendrix, Cash (and Sam Phillips), Marley and Coltrane which made all good music things possible today.
Unlike this week's latest Pitchfork driven wimp/ Indie rock band hoping for a Grey's Anatomy montage only to be forgotten next week when the one good song they wrote is no longer the flavor of the month, the stuff I am introducing today will stand the test of time.
First up is Rilo Kiley, led by Jenny Lewis, whose 2006 solo album was one of the best things in a long time. Here is a clip of Its a Hit. If you like that, check out Portions for Foxes and Jenny Lewis solo stuff. She is one of the preeminent lyricists out there today (bitingly dry wit) and has a wonderful pop sensibility. Most of the newer "chick singers" are not worthy to carry Jenny's guitar (I am speaking to you Chan Marshall).
Jenny at myspace (solo stuff is countrified) and official site with other songs
Rilo Kiley's official website with streaming music (alternative pop- you can hear 3 songs)
I plan to post a full scale introduction in the near future, but you must listen to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It is terribly dark piano based pop with much in common with masters such as Waits, Cohen, Buckley and Cash. His lyrics are disturbing and incredibly theological. He is a novelist, playwright and wrote the screenplay and score for last year's masterful The Proposition, an Australian western, the introduction to the Pocket New Testament Gospel of Mark and has been covered by Johnny Cash. Nick is superior to 99% of the artists out there due to his lyrical content and risky subject matter.
If you are faint at heart, stay away from his Grinderman project or Murder Ballads. Stick with the links and begin with his Greatest Hits or Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. If you become interested in exploring his spiritual side, check out No More Shall We Part, with the single God is In the House (sung here by someone else).
In his most beautiful song ever, Nick states how his love for a woman can change his mind about his lack of belief in an interventionist god. Here is Into My Arms . Next watch Do You Love Me?, Straight to You and Bring it On (my personal favorite of his songs). You can even see collaborations with Kylie Monigue and PJ Harvey.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds on myspace
Nick's official site
By the way, if you are wondering what new albums and artists are getting my full attention, here are some recommendations.
Feist The Reminder - Everything you hear is correct. She really is that good. Like a test tube lovechild of Tori Amos and Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist, her sound is classic and innovative. For fans of quirky songwriting and great vocals (much like Fiona Apple or Regina Spektor) and those that need to hear what Cat Power only wishes she could be.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Baby 81 - While nowhere near the revelation of Howl, it is still better than most albums of 2007- no matter what the pinheads at Pitchfork say. It channels the Americana present on Howl through the fuzzy pedals of their earlier work to create a classically rock and roll sound.
Bjork Volta- Her coolest work in years and most accessible in years, you could almost imagine sweaty underagers dancing to this in the nearest hipster club (almost). Timbaland creates some huge beats, ala Fergie and Justin, but weirds them up with the help of Bjork's vocal stylings and studio creativity.
Also, the latest Tori Amos's American Doll Posse is her most accessible in years. I really like most of it.
Travis' latest The Boy With No Name is classic Travis and that is always a good thing (hey, Coldplay and wimp rock fans- listen to this instead- PLEASE). This is what it sounds like when music is undeniably tender, but not made by sissies. Watch and listen to Closer.
Mavis Staples is this year's Johnny Cash, a legend to be introduced to young hipsters by teaming with a great producer. We'll Never Turn Back is an album Cat Power will never be able to make.
Page France's ...and the Family Telephone is out and I am listening intently. I have not decided what I think as of yet (I am no immedianista), but it is quite interesting (yet it does not grab me like Hello, Dear Wind).
Pela is solid indie rock in the vein of the Hold Steady, Spoon and Marah (with shades of Bruce Springsteen and U2). Anytown Graffitti is worth a listen.
Lastly, The Twilight Sad is getting a lot of press. I have listened enough to know I like them. However, they may actually be potentially great. I have not decided as of yet. I have to wade through the hype to find the band inside.
And, I still think Peter Bjorn and John is this year's Bread (or Air Supply).