10:15 a.m. - October 03, 2006
Of course, I talk a lot about the mixes I make and all, and you young whippersnappers are probably going, “Feh! Old people’s music! Smed – what about what’s happening now?”
Well, I’m not just content to stay in the past. I read and I seek out and I try to find what’s new and happening, at least in my ears. So here are a few new artists that I’m currently exploring.
Silverspun Pickups - This group reminds me a little bit of the Smashing Pumpkins, but in a mellower and less grandiose form. The guitar sound is pretty well spot on for the older Pumpkins, but it’s a bit more restrained. However, they can rock out as well, as a cut like “Lazy Eye” shows, they can range between semi-mellow and semi-loud as good as anyone. Carnavas is the name of the album, but you can pick and choose some good songs on iTunes for a sampler.
Comets On Fire - At times, this group is a bit too enthralled with their solos and stuff, but the sound is pretty groovy. I’m not big into jam bands, really, but Avatar is a fine record. “Sour Smoke” is a long instrumental that really has a nice groove and actually goes somewhere without being a wankfest. I’d check ‘em out if you are a fan of longer, psychedelic leaning songs.
Sleepy Brown - This was one of those serendipitous things. I was flipping channels on DirecTV, and for some reason I landed on channel 334, which usually has some bad teeny music on it, but then there was this song on there with a very slinky groove that made the girls and I get up and dance a little. The song is called “Margarita” and it’s soulful and sexxxxy and all that you need.
The Rapture - Part of the new wave of dance / rock, this group gets into a disco-esque groove with almost every song, and knows what you need to get a party started. Cowbell! Lots and lots of cowbell! This isn’t work of great art, but it’s good music to get you revved up and going. However, “Sister Savior” (from 2003’s Echoes) is a bit more serious, and one that really moves me.
The Raconteurs - If you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard of this ‘super-group’ featuring Jack White of the White Stripes. Now, I’m a little leery of the White Stripes hype, though they have done some decent work, but this is great stuff here. “Level” is an absolutely brilliant song. Brendan Benson shines as well as the vocalist and multi-tasker. It’s definitely worth a purchase or five on iTunes.
Mastodon - A lot of the current wave of metal leaves me cold. I don’t like the way that it sounds processed and artificial, and perhaps it’s the marrying of the digital age to a sound that in its heart is organic. But Mastodon has broken out of that. They definitely are old school thrash with the heaviness you need to get you through, but some tricks up their sleeve to not be just derivative. “Blood And Thunder” off of 2004’s Leviathan absolutely smokes.
OK Go - They’ve released a couple of outstanding singles recently, in “Here It Goes Again” and “A Million Ways”. Sure, the videos have been neat, but the songs themselves sell me on them.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - I’ve downloaded two songs by them, “Shake The Sheets” and “Dial Up” and I am impressed. I need to get further into their catalog.
Pink Spiders - They’re tuneful, punky, and maybe a bit snotty. A bit. “Modern Swinger” is a hell of a song, and the others I’ve downloaded have been fun, with singalong choruses, great riffs, and just a lot of fun. Ric Ocasek produced Teenage Graffiti and it shows some of his touch, but he lets the music speak for itself.
We Are Scientists - With Love And Squalor is a fantastic record and “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” could be my choice for single of the year, with the chorus “My Body is your body/I won't tell anybody/If you want to use my body/Go for it.” Hot!
The Futureheads - I already downloaded some stuff by them, but I took about half of their new record News And Tributes and it’s good stuff.
Be Your Own Pet - What is it with Nashville and punky groups now? They, like the Pink Spiders, hail from there, and they’re a bit wilder and untamed. “Bicycle, Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle” is just a fun fun song.
The Electric Six - Sure, “Gay Bar” is a goof, but “Danger, High Voltage” is smokin’ hot, especially with the fire in the….TACO BELL! Another of the new wave of danceable rock music that’s actually pretty nifty and non-derivative.
I think it would be well worth your time to go give these cats a good listening to, daddy-o! Of course, many of you hipster doofuses will be going “DUH! I already know them, dork!”
And you may be right…