Monday, August 16, 2010

Sigh no more, no more

Seeing Arcade Fire (didn't they used to have a "The"?) at Madison Square Garden a couple weeks ago, I was struck by a disquieting thought. ArF (as I think of them fondly) are certainly not my favorite band. They have some brilliant songs that I like more than many offerings from my more-favorite bands, but I've found their first two albums a bit hit or miss on the whole. (Haven't listened to the third very carefully yet, but I will.)

But, despite this non-favoritism, I tried to think of bands I like more than ArF and I got stumped. I like more classical music than ever these days, and I love me some oldies and some nineties rock, and of course I'm fond of the silly music I mentioned some time ago. But what about good ole-fashioned rock bands? You know my favorite. And there's ArF's perplexing opener Spoon. In the pretty-good category are Beach House, who opened for The National a few weeks ago, but I only know one of their albums, and all the songs sound the same to me (though it is a good same!). And there's Gabriel Kahane, but is he a rock band exactly? Ra Ra Riot has a new CD coming out and that's good (their "Can You Tell" has topped my playlist for a while). But who else? Three or four bands does not a rock fan make, I fear. There must be something I'm missing, no?

So I wracked my brains. I launched a small exploration by deciding to purchase Mumford and Sons' CD. (Thanks to S.-- for the initial recommendation!) And I do like their album, which bears out the mood and musical flourishes of the couple of tracks S.-- gave me. But my success only serves to remind me that I am feeling pretty starved for new music. And I would love a band I could actually see live. (By the time I got to looking for tickets for Mumford, they were sold out. Thanks, guys.) Any suggestions, o knowledgeable public?


  1. Have you tried Pandora? It still thinks I like Ani DiFranco and Lily Allen a lot more than I actually do, but it can be fun to listen to occasionally.

  2. I have not! I will try and do that next time I have a chance.

  3. as you well know, my ability to recommend you good strong meat-and-potatoes rock bands is somewhat feeble as i am always veering into indie folk/singer-songwriter territory and generally favor girl voices, but... maybe The Epochs? (i love "Head In The Fire" but i am having hard time determining what their default sound is.)

    Beat Radio is cutesy à la Postal Service. and were you ever a Bloc Party fan? mostly i just like "This Modern Love" (which is very The National-esque), but i think you might like them well enough as a whole if you don't already. ditto for The Maccabees. and did you not like Spoon, then? they can be fun, i think.

    what else, what else... OH. have you heard much Elbow? they're an odd fusion of grunge, experimental, and something resembling Coldplay or Keane. i like them quite a bit. The Fratellis have gotten to be rather popular lately as well.

    and if you want older rock just to listen to and not to attend concerts for... The Afghan Whigs are always a grungy favorite (though maybe too gritty-screamo for you). and there's always The Smiths or The Clash or The Doors and some good ol' David Bowie to fall back on...

    i don't think you'll see The Hot Puppies live anytime soon, especially not in the States, but they're still one of my all-time favorites. (have i bombarded you with their stuff yet? i must have...) Bon Iver's not really rock, but they're the sort of band i assume you already listen to (because you probably already do). likewise for Fleet Foxes. also not rock: i must also grudgingly admit fondness for The XX, despite their now-huge following; ditto for Grizzly Bear.

    re: girl voices... did you ever get into Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Stars? summer abroad has rotted my memory. hmm... perhaps you should expect a music e-mail in the near future... lemme know, yeah?