I Need Suggestions

As you know, I have a new iPod. (No, this is not another gloating entry.)

I have also had for a while now an eMusic account.

I have no facility, however, for keeping up with the music the kids are listening to these days, particularly that indie scene that seems to exist just beneath my radar. (Which might, of course, be intentional, as I’m well into the realm of those Hoffman said not to trust.)

Anyhow, here’s what I’m seeking: suggestions of bands I might like. The genies at eMusic keep recommending the same stuff to me over and over again, and I want something new. Here’s a quick list of a few things I’ve snagged that I’ve really liked:

Cat Power, You Are Free
The Decemberists, Castaways and Cutouts
Apples in Stereo, Fun Trick Noisemaker
Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister

I’ve also gotten turned on to The Notwist, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Sarge. So who else should I be listening to?

15 thoughts on “I Need Suggestions

  1. I have no facility, however, for keeping up with the music the kids are listening to these days

    Just before you name seven bands I’ve never heard of. You promised it wouldn’t be a gloating entry.

  2. True confessions: I know about those seven bands only because other people have introduced me to them — I came to one through a former student, two through younger and hipper colleagues, and the others through (I assume, much younger and hipper) members of a listserv I mostly lurk on.

    So really, I’m not bragging, just being demanding. I’ve been the gifty recipient of knowledge of these fine bands — but I am greedy, and want more.

    Feed the iPod, por favor!

  3. Get all of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane over the Sea” album if you don’t have it; I swear it’s life-changing when listened all together. And Cat Power’s Covers album and “What would the community think” are really nice. As for other bands, if you like all those you listed, try Eliott Smith, the Magnetic Fields, Mates of State, Modest Mouse, Blonde Redhead, Spiritualized, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion… check out Le Tigre and Sleater Kinney too if you don’t mind girls being really loud.

    Do you listen to KSPC? It’s so great to have one of the best indie radio stations in the country, right here in the basement of Thatcher. It’s where I tune in whenever I start getting sick of everything else I listen to…

  4. See, I knew you guys would come through. Thanks, Audre.

    (I confess, and I probably shouldn’t, that I haven’t spent much time listening to KSPC. I almost never listen to the radio at all anymore, except when I’m in the car, and then it’s usually some NPR variant…)

  5. 1) I second the Modest Mouse recommendation.

    2) Also, check out Sonic Youth’s _Sister_. It’s not new, but it’s fantastic.

    3) Beth Orton, _Central Reservation_.

    4) Cat Power is on Matador Records. Check out their website for other bands to see what you might like (I believe you can listen to samples).

    5) Bonnie Prince Billy, aka Palace, aka Will Oldham.

    6) Sparklehorse.

  6. I would agree with Audre’s bit about In the Aeroplane over the Sea but then again if you searched through the wallace-l archive you would see the degree to which I am being redundant.

    I have a very soft spot for Will Oldham and all his incarnations (Bonnie Prince Billy, Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Palace Songs). Some specifics to look for would be “West Palm Beach”, “New Partner”, “Gulf Shores” and like 40 others…

    Speaking of “soft spots” I think Clem Snide is just great (cheezy Naked Lunch reference not withstanding). Sample songs to consider: “Let’s Explode”, “Joan Jett of Arc”, “Bread”, and “Your Favorite Music”.

    Chan Marshal (i.e. Cat Power)’s old boyfriend Bill Callahan (i.e. Smog) was my all time favorite when I was circa 16-18. Albums to strongly consider: “The Doctor Came At Dawn”, “Red Apple Falls”, “Wild Love”, and go right now -right now- and download (errr, I mean *buy*) a smog song called “Feather by Feather”. This is on his newest album and I think I could safely say that this is one of the most poignant songs I have ever heard. But then again I also have a huge soft spot for Bill Callahan. If you sample only one song from these recommendations I would say have it be this one.

    I don’t think one can go wrong with anything by Lambchop especially off of either “How I Quit Smoking”, “Nixon”, “Of a Woman” or “Jack’s Tulips”.

    Everything Low has ever done is great in my book.

    Albums to consider: “The Curtain Hits the Cast”, “I Could Live in Hope”, “Long Division” and etc.

    The Radar Brothers are really pleasing to me. Albums that I like include “And the Surrounding Mountains” as well as “The Singing Hatchet”.

    And I mean, -dude-, anything by Pavement.

    I also second Audre’s endorsement of The Mates of State. Just a guy and a girl, drums and a keyboard and there is not much lacking. W.r.t. Magnetic Fields almost anything off of the first cd from the triple CD 69 Love Songs set is worth while.

    Destroyer (not death metal) is sort of appealing (sometimes) in a pseudo gaudy over dramatic way.

    A Welsh band with the unfortunate name of Gorky’s Zygotic Minci have several pleasing songs. One of the easiest to find being “Spanish Dance Troupe”.

    If leisure suited Swedes sounds appealing then you might like Eggstone.

    I have gotten myself a little too emotionally involved with Hefner’s album “Breaking God’s Heart”. Every time I come back to it I am pleased.

    You can get some of them here:


    (don’t tell the RIAA)

    Most people tend to not like them but I would recommend Arab Strap (not to be confused with “Boy with the Arab Strap” by Belle and Sebastian [isn’t an arab strap a sex toy that involes the phallus and mechanized onanism?]).

    Dirty Three is an instrumental group from Australia (who provide the music on some of Cat Power’s albums/tours) and some of their stuff is really, forgive me, breath taking. The album that comes to mind is “Everything you love you are”.

    In a similar vein is the instrumental band The Japancakes who have a song called “Elephants” that I really like.

    The Kingsbury Manx is good at times (e.g. “Piss Diary”).

    A band called Aden is good at times.

    The Ladybug Transistor are just really nice. One of their first singles “Today Knows” is great. It stays good from then on.

    Though decidedly a bit too “chick music” for my tastes there is someone named Laura Veirs. Tiger Tattoo is a nice song.

    Though a real acquired taste I really like The Mountain Goats, in particular the album called “All Hail West Texas”. The albums Sweden, Full Force Gailsburg and The Coroner’s Gambit are also good.

    People like My Morning Jacket and I like them from time to time as well.

    The Silver Jews is a really great band. Strongly recommended.

    Yo La Tengo are sort of canonical at this point so I think one is more or less responsible for knowing them. So it goes.

    For swinging French music I suggest this old Hatian guy named Henri Salvador and specifically a song called “Jardin D’Hiver”.

    As far as a bit more hard to find stuff goes:

    The song Starry Eyed by the Breezy Porticos will go right along with the Apples in Stereo and Sarge that you have been listening to. Also The Love Letter Band has done some good stuff.

    And a lot of the kids these days really like this Icelandic band called Sigur Ros that are just getting as big as jesus lately. As far as Iceland goes there is also ‘mum’ (with an accent [grave?] thingy over the u).

    It’s so great to be able to expulse about music recommendations and not be OT for once! Take that wallace-l! Hope moveable type doesn’t have a max post limit…

    p.s. a lot of the above (and more) can be “test driven” at http://redshift.mit.edu/music/

    if “the man” comes knocking on your door, you don’t know me

  7. Holy moly, Marcel — this ought to keep me busy for a while. The good news is that I guess I’m pretty up on the canonical stuff that the kids are listening to — I’ve got Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Sigur Ros pretty well handled. Much of the rest I’m utterly unfamiliar with. I’ve got some exploring to do.

    Oh, and George — I had Central Reservation in my car’s CD player for about six months; I adore Beth Orton. As to the new stuff, from what I can tell, most of the Matador list is on eMusic, so I can poke around through that.

  8. The Postal Service is really good. Mogwai is not under the radar, but is really pretty good as well. Ryan Adams is not indie rock at all (countryish) but is good; same goes for Alison Krauss and Wilco. Fountains of Wayne is New Jersey powerpop, and every one of their albums is excellent. The latest album by the Flaming Lips (who opened for Beck last year) is weird, but really good. Hot Hot Heat has a great Cure/80s vibe. I second the Mountain Goats recommendation, and it sounds like you’ve got Sigur Ros under control. Although this is no longer all that recent, a great album is ‘Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By, by Lovage (Mike Patton, the lead singer from Faith no More, collaborates with Dan the Automator and a bunch of other people for a strange and really enjoyable album). If you’re on AIM, I can send you some samples.

  9. These CDs are usually in the same stack with my Belle and Sebastian and Cat Power:

    The Lucksmiths, Where Were We?

    Goldfrapp, Felt Mountain

    The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs (I like all three volumes)

    Saint Etienne, Good Humour

  10. Thanks for the continuing recommendations. The report thus far: The same colleague who gave me The Notwist also gave me The Postal Service, whom I can’t help but like despite their being way more electronic than I usually get into. I’ve gotten ahold of some more Cat Power, which is wonderful, of course, a bit of Fountains of Wayne and Arab Strap, both of which I’m thoroughly enjoying. I’ve also snagged a bit of Mates of State, but am a bit on the fence at the moment — there’s something I really like there (something that — and this will no doubt date me — reminds me of some of the better Timbuk3 stuff, around Eden Alley), but I’m not sure yet.

    Still seeking: Modest Mouse, Magnetic Fields, etc. More soon.

  11. i just have a question and i figured that maybe u could find answers.this pertains to cat power..

    okay i just saw her live the other day in philly, and they had this music playing before she came out (for like an hour and a half).anyway, the music was really good and when i asked one of the people that worked that what it was,they said they didnt know, michelle chan picked it out. so my question is, do you know what kind of music she’s into these days? it was all indie,but i dunno what bands and it killing me.well thats all. thanks

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