Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Back-up Plan part 4: No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones

Michelle Branch - The Spirit Room
Michelle Branch - Hotel Paper
(I actually feel kind of bad for Michelle Branch. Her sound, while not the most original, was lifted by people like Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift, all of whom have had better careers than her. And to this day her most popular work is probably those collaborations with Carlos Santana. Not the best way to be remembered. I prefer to remember her as the bridge between the Britney/boy band era (which was still going strong at the time of her debut) and the rise of American Idol's brand of mainstream pop/rock. You can still hear traces of both styles in her songs.)

Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning (Good wintertime album. Hard to listen to because Conor Oberst sings on it. He's one of those guys. Also, he wants to be Dylan so bad it hurts.)
Butthole Surfers - Butthole Surfers/Live PCPPEP
Butthole Surfers - Rembrandt Pussyhorse
Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
Butthole Surfers - Widowermaker EP
Butthole Surfers - The Hole Truth And Nothing Butt
(They toiled in the underground for years and put out albums of weird, psychedelic, trashy noise, influencing bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and The Melvins. But still they're best known as the one-hit wonder behind that "pouring like an avalanche coming down a mountain" song. If you have any taste at all for weirdness in music, check out that early stuff. It's like the music of cackling love demons.)

The Cars - Greatest Hits (Like Tom Petty, The Police, Talking Heads and others, I appreciate the hit singles of The Cars but never feel compelled to delve any deeper into their discography. Maybe I will someday though.)
Cave In - Antenna
Cave In - Perfect Pitch Black
(I love this band. Please listen to them. They started as a screaming heavy metal group, transformed into heavy space rock, and now they're some combination of both and yet neither at the same time. They were awesome when I saw them live, too.)

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Lyre of Orpheus
(Nick Cave is a badass. He doesn't need any damn youtubes.)
Clair De Lune - Marionettes
(Not many hard rock bands past the 1980s have attempted to make piano/keyboards an integral part of their sound. There was Faith No More, and Faith No More. And then there was Clair De Lune, who debuted with this album in 2004, displaying a flair for intricate songwriting, dramatic dual vocals and rocking as hard as possible. It was my favorite album of the year at the time, but these days I don't listen to music that's this dark and angry so often. Still, they were just about the best post-hardcore band around until they broke up a few years back. Wish they had been more popular, or at least lasted longer.)

The Clash - Give Em Enough Rope
The Clash - London Calling
The Clash - Combat Rock
The Clash - Super Black Market Clash
(If any band could work as a one-word summary of all the music I've ever been into, it would be the Clash. They're punk, but they're also classic rock, and yet they were somehow "alternative" and "indie" before those terms existed. They were also "the only band that matters", dabbling in reggae, pop, funk and rap. Above all else, they were ambitious to the point of trying to be all things to all people in every nation. Whether they failed or succeeded is beside the point. The point is they were never content to be a little band making music in one genre -- and my philosophy of music is that no one should ever be.)

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