23 October 2006

the soundtrack of my life--part one.

i've been thinking about music a lot lately. and feeling old. the trouble is that when i turn on the radio there's nothing that sounds remotely listenable to me. it's all crap. and i wonder to myself, "where are the GOOD radio stations?"

i've never been a top 40 kind of person (sorry casey kasum). i always listened to the more alternative stuff. the only exception would be my major Duran Duran infatuation an
d man, it was serious (and i still do dig them). but even back then in addition to duran duran my friends and i listened to the way less mainstream stuff--The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Sex Pistols, Nik Kershaw, B-52's (pre-Love Shack), The Alarm. as my tastes matured, i still found that the music i liked came from alternative radio. thank you, thank you WBRU in Providence for bringing me Tori Amos and the band i've most directly identified with, The Innocence Mission. hearing Tori and IM were the only 2 times i went directly to a music store after the DJ announced the name of the artist and bought the CD--or tape back then.

but now, where's a 30 something who likes music that's not the typical radio dribble to find stuff she likes? is it possible or am i doomed to repeat my parents' words, "music these days! i just don't get it." will i be spending the rest of my life scanning the dial for music from "the old days?" hoping and praying for an 80s flashback so i might have a chance of tolerating something they play? and dude, i take major issue with the 80s
being called "retro." i find it insulting! that's the music of my life! it's not retro! and if it is, then, well, i guess I'M retro, too.

if you're like me and have trouble finding good tunes and you're not into the popular music of today so much, then please, tell me what you listen to. give me something new.

of course, as i've grown my tastes have matured. while i still find i like more "alternative" artists, that term has changed for me. it no longer means angry, black and counter-culture. it means peeps who haven't found top 40 success but who write GREAT songs. i'm into singer/songwriters and mostly female.

here's who i'm listening to. maybe we can help each other. in no particular order.

1. Glen Phillips. he's one of my faves. former lead singer for Toad The Wet Sprocket. his solo stuff is divine. my favorite is "Winter Pays For Summer." it's sorta rock-like, but not real "hard." it's got great lyrics. it's uplifting, but also got real emotion. i heart glen. in a big way.

2. The Innocence Mission. been my favorite band since the day i first heard them. they have a way of making the ordinary events of life totally poetic and beautiful. Karen's voice can be a challenge for some, but i love it. her lyrics just kill me. i'd give anything to write the way she does. my favorite is the newest--"Befriended."

3. Jennifer Kimball. she used to be one half of The Story with Jonatha Brooke. i loved, loved the story. their album "The Angel in the House" is one of my all time favorites. i can listen to it anytime, anywhere. with a fox. in a box. i also love JB, but Kimball is where it's at for me. she only has 2 albums. my favorite is "Veering from the Wave." it's got beautiful singing, interesting intstruments, great harmonies and a lotta heart.

give me 3 you adore and why.

i'm beggin' ya.


sari said...

POE - she rocks!

Radiohead - again, great music.

Muse - very 80's to me, but new.

katie said...

I love so many musicians right now, but I will give you some Canadian names I think you might like:
Ron Sexsmith - love his newish album
Sarah Harmer- pretty folky music
and again, I am a dork and I am loving the soundtrack to Grey's Anatomy.

April said...

Kate, we don't even buy cds anymore... We use a on-line subscription service called Rhapsody that has access to over a million songs.

And, "Real has done something nice for the freeloaders: pay nothing, and you can still listen to up to 25 songs for free each month."

It's so cool! We go on musical explorations all the time, finding artists we would never have known about or considered.

Ok, have you checked out John Mayer's new album, "Continuum"? Talk about deep.... his song, "Belief" took two years for him to write. That album is one of my favorites of the year.

Also love DJ Cheb i Sabbah...great at mixing devotional music with incredible dance beats... hard to describe, but he is cool. And if you're interested in exploring other cultures, check out Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - who sings amazing Sufi music.

Anything by Alison Krauss is beautiful.

The neat thing about Rhapsody is that it gives you the option to play an artist's top tracks so you get a really good sense of their best work.

beth said...

I've had to come back to this a few times in hopes of thinking of something great for you...but I'm kind of at a loss. I've been into some of the more recent and somewhat popular bands that have a clear 80's influence lately. Two of them I wrote about in that post you saw - Stellastarr and the new Killers CD. I'd also add The Bravery to that list. As for female song writers maybe try Cat Power.

Jamie said...

I have yet to be in a mood that Keane's Hopes and Fears didn't sound great.
(have not yet listened to their new album)

Anonymous said...

Just popping in here- can't agree with you more on the Tori thing. Seeing her in concert leaves many other musicians lacking in showmanship... I will never forget the first time I heard Little Earthquakes all the way through, and then again & again in the same night. Same with Joni Mitchell's "Blue."

Three CDs I think you might like as well:

Sufjan Stevens "Illinois"
Feist "Let It Die"
Ray Lamontagne "Trouble"

Anonymous said...

The only radio station I listen to these days has the tagline "Best of the '80s, '90s and whatever!" Sigh. I have totally turned into the painfully nerdy mom. To wit: I am aware, at least, that there are songs out there called "Hollaback Girl" (Gwen Stefani, maybe?) and "Sexyback" (Justin Timberlake?) but I have NEVER ACTUALLY HEARD these songs, nor could I recognize them on "Name That Tune."

Hey, The Alarm! Cool.

Laua said...

Lately I've been borrowing a lot of Don's CDs (and not giving them back). I am currently completely in love ith Neil Finn's voice. He used to be the lead for Crowded House. Love him. I know you though Patty Griffin was screechy when you heard her first album, but you should try some of the newer stuff. She's a power house man. Can't get more girl singer/song writer than Patty. Another that is softer and very interesting is Imogene Heap, either solo or with her band....which I can't remember the name of at the moment. Frou Frou, that's it.

Okay, that's all I've got. This is my car music. My son much prefers the Elmo CD, but it only has three songs and really, how many times can a person be expected to listen to that in a row??

Wendy said...

Third Day

Alison Krauss

Jennifer Knapp