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July 24, 2005

Sunday Music

In some senses, this is the more important one. I've got plenty of good books to read, but I'm woefully out of it on music and am absolutely desperate to find some new stuff I like. So here's what I'm listening to this week, recommendations would be gratefully accepted:

• Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism. This, along with the Garden State soundtrack and Postal Service, is my favorite quasi-indie rock. I know, it's horribly trite and mainstream but, you know what? Screw you music snob! This is my sandbox on the internets and I can like what I want!

• Grouch and Eligh's No More Greener Grasses: Probably my favorite CD of all time, and still good after all these years.

• Dispatch's All Points Bulletin: Not sure if it beats their other live CD, Gut the Van, but it's damn good.

And you?

July 24, 2005 | Permalink

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» Sunday's song: Black Cab from The Ethical Werewolf
and I've heard all the stories 'bout the black cabs and the way they drive but if you take a ride with them you may not come back alive [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2005 11:59:15 PM

Comments

The Wrens' Meadowlands. I'm not a big fan of most sad boy rockers, but somehow the Wrens actually grab me as good music.

Sleater-Kinney's The Woods. They're not the same Sleater-Kinney of ten years ago, but they're still incredible.

Unleashed: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. I never realized how good Massive Attack really was.

Shakira's Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1. I love me some pop. What can I say. See also Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business.

Every single performance of "Way Down in the Hole" I can get my hands on. Yes, I have become captured by The Wire.

Posted by: Nick Beaudrot | Jul 24, 2005 8:27:51 PM

I'm giving away my age but I recently purchased Elton John's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" CD to replace my LP of the same and I've got to say there's no better crux of Elton's genius than this.

Uncle Tupelo and Porcupine Tree are also standout bands.

Posted by: Steve Mudge | Jul 24, 2005 8:48:57 PM

A couple all-time classics for me:

1. Frank Zappa's Hot Rats. This instrumental (mostly) album shows Frank's compositional virtuousity in pieces like "Peaches en Regalia", and the quality of the session musicians he attracts in pieces like "The Gumbo Variations".

2. Early 90's Phish. As a jam-band junkie (see below), I think this period of Phish's history shows them at their technical best. Their early tunes, like "Fluffhead", a 15+ instrumental journey, and "Divided Sky" show Trey Anastasio with some great nimble fingers. Their later tours don't seem to have as clean of guitar work, and they dropped some sweet-sounding pieces like "I am Hydrogen" and "The Curtain".

3. Steve Kimock Band. He sits down with his band, cranks through the head of a tune, and continues to free-flow for 15 minutes with beautiful melodic work. He toys with time signatures in "Five B4 Funk" with great success.

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Jul 24, 2005 9:06:24 PM

You should check out Death Cab's The Photo Album. It's their earlier album, it sounds a little more "indie", if that makes any sense, than Transatlanticism. Not quite so pop-y. I go back and forth on which I like better, but they're both really good.

Posted by: Matt F | Jul 24, 2005 9:36:48 PM

Also have to plug O.A.R., they're from the next town over from me (Rockville, MD). Their music is a little like a blend of Dave Matthews Band and Bob Marley, but that doesn't quite do it justice. Their studio recordings are really low budget affairs, to get a real sense of how they sound get their live CD, Any Time Now. And check them out of they're in your area, they put on a great show.

Posted by: Matt F | Jul 24, 2005 9:41:10 PM

Both of HEM's albums, Rabbitsongs and Eveningland. Wonderful, haunting musicianship and singing.

If you don't believe me, ask NPR. And if you don't believe them, ask TBogg.

Posted by: homesteader | Jul 24, 2005 9:44:16 PM

Tom Lellis' Southern Exposure. Arguably one of the best - and most deserving of further recognition - voices in jazz.

Also Hugh Masekela's Hope. Few things put me in a better mood than this disc and Gilberto Gil's Quanta Live.

Posted by: Randy Paul | Jul 24, 2005 10:06:57 PM

It's OK, I'm a total indie snob and all my other indie snob friends hate me for it but I love Transatlanticism to death. :)

I enjoy "The General" quite a bit but I don't know any more of Dispatch.

So what else could fit in with that? Hm. I would say anything by Ted Leo. "Hearts of Oak" is a great place to start, but really, anything. He's awesome. (My non-hipster friends like him too.)

The Wrens are quite good too, although I'd be hard pressed to whistle one of their songs right now.

Posted by: Decklin Foster | Jul 24, 2005 11:04:52 PM

This old fart trying to expand conciousness with a sampling of Indie and post-1975 sounds. Umm, found a friend who shares and using AMG as attempt at a guide.
Throwing albums into the vastest playlist to come up randomly and without disproportionate shock. Recent acquisitions:

American Music Club;Au Pairs;Beta Band;Black Heart Procession;Catherine Wheel;Centro-matic;Clem Snide;Dakota Suite;Delgados;dEUS;Galaxie 500;Hayden;Idaho;Modest Mouse;Mull Historical Society;Pixies;Satchel;Shins;Smog;Sonic Youth;Swell;The Fall;XTC

Which should I give back without listening? Will these work with my Pink Floyd and Willie Nelson? I hate pop, are any of these like the Carpenters or Whitney Houston or something? Will extended listening lead to cutting my ponytail and shaving my beard?

Signed:vulnerable

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jul 25, 2005 1:23:51 AM

Something you might not normally check out -- same goes for lots of the people reading this, I bet -- is John Legend's Get Lifted. Normally I loath contemporary R&B, but for some reason this album really hit my sweet spot and I haven't been able to get it out of my player. Instead of over-produced pap, it's organic and rootsy -- but with just a hint of hip-hop boom bap early on in the album. Anyway, check it out.

Also, in the already-played-out indie tip, of course you need Rilo Kiley (their latest is great, but I prefer Execution), the new Decemberists, and the new Bright Eyes. Oh, and anything by John Vanderslice (his new one comes out soon, and it's awesome). And the latest Andrew Bird is great.

Also, for a little kick-ass singer-songwriter-with-balls stuff you can sing along to in the shower, check out Rocky Votolato's Suicide Medicine. That's in my top five of the last few years.

I could go on forever.

Posted by: Realish | Jul 25, 2005 1:24:33 AM

If you're down for some good hip-hop, then I would suggest Jurassic 5's Quality Control or The Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II.

If not, then the Futureheads' self-titled debut is really good. And The (International) Noise Conspiracy's Survival Sickness is a good bet.

Posted by: Jamelle | Jul 25, 2005 1:31:27 AM

Finally, a subject I know something about!

First of all, Bright Eyes is incredible. I love Conor Oberst and I will defend his talent to the death in a conflict with other indie-rock snobs. But even I admit it's not everyone's cup of tea. The newest albums are (I think) his best yet (that is, the folksy/country-ish "I'm wide awake it's morning" and the electronic/new-wave-ish "digital ash in a digital urn"), but his older stuff is really good too ("letting off the happiness" is another favorite of mine). Rilo Kiley, who are on the same label as Bright Eyes, are also excellent, and probably more accessible than Bright Eyes; "the execution of all things" is my favorite album of theirs.

For weird jazzy stuff, I'd recommend a band I just found out about a few days ago, called skeletonbreath (weird name, I know). It's just drums, bass and violin. It might sound strange (and/or boring), but I assure you, they're amazing. If you like Zappa at all, then you'd love them.

Do you listen to Radiohead at all? If not, you should. Believe the hype; they're wonderful.

As for Bob's list, I can attest that the following bands are worth listening to: Beta Band, Modest Mouse, the Pixies, the Shins, and Sonic Youth. Must to me indie-kid chagrin, I haven't actually heard of most of the rest of them. But I love all of the above bands and I think (I hope) you would too.

Okay, I'm done now. I like this game!

Posted by: dresden | Jul 25, 2005 2:17:23 AM

Bob, man! Great list!

Beta Band - very good in a dubby, drawn out, lazy afternoon/late night goes-on-forever music.

Black Heart Procession - not my favorite, but worth a careful listen - and he plays a singing saw!

Centro-matic - My god! The best. They're from Denton, TX, and they write way too many good songs. I've got about 4 or 5 of their albums, and every single one of them is in constant rotation. This is pure indie/vaguely alt-country bliss.

Modest Mouse - Fully deserving of the indie pride/major label money. He actually uses the studio to good effect. The Moon and Antarctica is my favorite.

Shins - Summertime indie bliss.

Smog - Singer/songwriter music, but across the board in feel. Dig in deep.

Sonic Youth - Early, middle and late Sonic Youth are all different, but all good. It makes me feel a bit strange, but Sonic Nurse (the latest album) is my favorite, I think. Don't tell the indie police.

The Fall - absolutely essential. British post-punk at its snottyish.

The point is, never feel bad about not knowing a band. Just give it a try. I'm a firm believer that every musician is worth listening to once, and almost every one is worth listening to twice. Where you go after that is after you. Of course, when I get back to the states next month, I'll be subjecting my friends to loads of underground Chinese bands, so they might not be so accepting...

Posted by: Adam | Jul 25, 2005 3:42:18 AM

The Vanmega July mixtape is really good. You can get it at vanmega.com, just scroll down a bit. It's only up for a little while longer, though. The new Sufjan Stevens record is real good. I've also been listening to Dudley Perkins' record, A Lil' Light, if you're down for a little Madlib-flavored soul. I dusted off my old Piebald CD, We Are The Only Friends We Have, for a little high school nostalgia and good summer pop-punk. Definitely grab that mixtape if you can, though. Great way to check out music you wouldn't ordinarily hear.

Posted by: Drew | Jul 25, 2005 1:38:30 PM

If you like modern jam jazz, try Addison Groove Project's Allophone or Wicked Live 2.

Posted by: Adrock | Jul 25, 2005 2:24:03 PM

Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister
Elliott Smith: Either/Or
Rilo Kiley: Takeoffs and Landings

Posted by: ZW | Jul 25, 2005 9:58:24 PM

I definitely agree with the Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley plugs.

I'm surprised more people haven't pointed to Radiohead, I will argue to the death that they are the most innovative band currently producing. All of the albums are amazing, except for their first, Pablo Honey Although not the best (that would be OK Computer or Kid A), Hail to the Thief, their most recent, is probably most accessible.

You should probably internalize all Bob Dylan from, say, 1962-1975.

Modest Mouse is a fantastic band, start with The Moon and Antarctica.

Belle and Sebastian--I have their entire catalog, it's incredible, in addition to If You're Feeling Sinister check out the album Fold Your Hands Child and the EP "I'm Waking Up to Us."

Also: Mogwai, Boards of Canada, Murder By Death, Explosions in the Sky, The Mars Volta

Posted by: Patrick Kirts | Jul 25, 2005 11:58:36 PM

Yeah, I like the Belle and Sebastian, too. Also, the Dismemberment Plan (shame they no longer exist). If you're more indie, Cursive is interesting. I'm personally tired of Bright Eyes.

I don't know if they still exist, but the Divine Comedy has some cool songs. There's the Magnetic Fields... I'm also listening a fair bit to the Cars (of yesteryear).

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