Here is a sadly incomplete list of cds you should give at least one front tooth to get your hands on. Some will be well known, others will be obscure. A few out of print, though with Ebay.com you can still have a shot at picking it up.
The Waterboys- A Rock In The Weary Land… This cd, unfortunately, is not a favorite of The Waterboys fans. However, I prefer this to the past stuff from them (or him, as the band is essentially one guy with a revolving band). Big sing-a-long choruses and catchy lyrics drive this effort.
Stavesacre– Speakeasy… This cd will be considered Stavesacre’s best. Every cd they have or will release will get compared to it. Just about every song is powerful and crafted well. Mark Salomon’s commanding voice steers each track as he is backed by a solid wall of guitar. The cd has an ability to seamlessly alternate between soft and hard without being too screamy.
Sonic Youth– Dirty… I would say “this cd rocks” but I assume you already figured out I think that, seeing how it’s on my list. You have a good chance to get this cd as it was just re-released as in a “Deluxe Edition” complete with bonus songs. Artsy rock doesn’t get much better than this.
Sixpence None The Richer– Don’t Dream It’s Over… Yes, this is a single. Yes, I would be thrilled if you picked up the full lengh cd, too. However, I put the single on this list instead of a full lengh because of “Don’t Pass Me By.” “Don’t Pass Me By” is a previously unreleased song available only on the single. And this song is the best Sixpence song I’ve heard. And I’ve heard just about all of them. [Note: Don’t believe the online stores that say Kiss Me is on this cd instead of “Don’t Pass Me By”. They are mistaken]
Royal– My Dear… This is one of those out of print cds, which is a shame. The guitar player used to play guitar for a small Christian metal band, Extol. This is not metal. This is insanely good alt.rock. You can hear some Sonic Youth influences. Female vocals add a delicate touch to the cd.
Sam Phillips– Fan Dance… Chillingly good folk from the wife of T Bone Burnett. Sam Phillips (formerly known as Leslie Phillips) crafts rootsy songs. Her husband produces and manages to keep an earthy feel while keeping it clean.
Operatica– Shine… A haunting opera/electronica fusion. Even if you don’t like opera, this cd presents it in an unintimidating way. The electronic instrumentation would not feel out of place on a movie soundtrack.
LSU– Dogfish Jones… Another out of print selection. Michael Knott is the man behind LSU. And while LSU and Mike Knott tend to take either a rock or folk steer to their cds, this one is different. A rock opera (ie, the tracks/music follow a certain direction through out the entire cd) about a sailor’s life on the sea, the music also follows that direction. The songs have a salty, creaky feel to them in how they’re written, performed, and produced. The music helps to tell the tale so that even if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics you still have a feel of the flow.
Havalina Rail Co– Russian Lullabies… This cd is a masterpiece. And out of print. It’s very artsy, so many people won’t get it, but those who do are in for a musical journey. Using instruments such as violin and stand up bass Havalina paints a picture of Russia through music and lyrics.
Golden Smog– Weird Tales… Here is a batch of alt.country songs that alt.country fans will not want to miss. This is also a batch of songs that Wilco fans will not want to miss. Jeff Tweedy is featured here along with several other “all star” songwriters. These are some weird and great songs.
Furthermore– She and I… Do you like some slick rapping? Do you like haunting female singing? Yes? Then check out Furthermore’s newest cd. It’s features Fischer’s stylish rapping, then Lee makes a song out of it by adding her delicate vocals on top. Add some great instrumentation and beats and this cd is going to stick in your cd player. Oh yeah, and there isn’t a swear word to be seen.
Dear Ephesus– The Absent Sounds of Me… Back before everything that had wishfull singing was labeled “emo” there was Dear Ephesus. While the vocals may bring to mind the emo genre from time to time, the pure intesity of them shatter any pidgeon-hole-ing. They have a talent for weaving complex instrumentation. Both of the guitars will be doing seperate things, while the bass is doing something totally different and the vocals will sing over top with yet another different thing. And it works. Well. This is also out of print, but readily available from online retailers.
Take some time. Search these out. Or not. I realize that some of these styles may not appeal to you, however, they are each at the top of their game and deserve a listen.
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