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Thread: Esoteric artists you want to brag about or turn people on to...

  1. #1
    Fool... but no pity. Krom's Avatar
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    Esoteric artists you want to brag about or turn people on to...

    Here are some from my MP3/CD/Record collection... Because my primary rule here is that these have to be people who don't have U.S. popular recognition, this isn't really an accurate portrayal of my favorite musicians (I do like the occasional popular musician after all) as much as it is a list of esoteric "suggestions", which I have decided to "theme" in odd ways to amuse myself. Feel free to post your own esoteric musical suggestions, oddly themed or not.

    Category / Group
    =============

    Recent/newly hip Award: The Format

    Big in the UK, but probably never here Award: The Zutons

    Red hot on the Internet, but still not enough on the radio Award: OK Go

    Makes better Pop Music than actual Pop Stars Award: Linus of Hollywood

    Musicians love them, but nobody else knows them Award:
    XTC

    Sounds like Neil Diamond, if he were actually cool Award: Crooked Fingers

    So "Alt-Country" that they actually wrap around the other way and appeal more to non-country music fans Award: The Jayhawks (now defunct so maybe Wilco should be the backup choice)

    Strangest Musical Consequence of the End of the Cold War Award: Regina Spektor [mod edit]

    Best Group Named After An Animal Without A Spine, founded 1995 or later Award: The Eels

    Best Group sometimes mistakenly categorized as Christian Rock Award: Fleming & John

    Best relatively unknown artist/group to groove to Award: Robert Randolph & The Family Band

    Best "One Hit Wonder", who's probably making better music now that he or she is not trying to make hits Award: Beth Hart (famous, very briefly, for the song "L.A. Song")

    Best living artist 65 or older, who never got really super-famous Award (so all of the Rolling Stones are out!): Solomon Burke

    Best Group who's music has appeared on "The O.C." but who have never have a hit Award (thus this would disinclude The Killers, Phantom Planet, etc.): Rilo Kiley

    Best Group nobody has heard of, named after food Award: Papas Fritas

    Best musician to regularly appear on late night TV Award: Joe Firstman (from Carson Daly's dumb show, who's own music is actually really great)

    Best singer to ever sing for Pope John Paul II, but THEN get hooked on drugs and not graduate from High School Award: Bonnie McKee (story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonnie_McKee )

    Best group who's name sets off red flags at the ASPCA Award: Dogs Die In Hot Cars

    Best "Old Soul In A Hot Young Body" Award: Joss Stone

    Best still-performing group named after a Kitty Cat (wink) Award: Nashville Pussy
    Last edited by Mariner; 12-16-2006 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Reference to site with illegal copyrighted material.

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    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    Hey, there's two of Mr. Rattus' favourite bands in there, XTC and Wilco. There's probably more, but he has so many.

    Anyway, off the top of my head without checking my CD shelves, I would like to add Gurf Morlix to the list (particularly The Toad of Titicaca), Colin Hay, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Robyn Hitchcock, Folk Implosion...and I will have to wait until I get home to check my shelves. There are more, but I can't remember names right now.
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    FORT Fogey
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    The Clarks, a band out of Pittsburgh, have been at the top of my "Why hasn't the rest of the country paid attention to these guys" list for a long long time.

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    Premium Member burntbrat's Avatar
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    I thought everyone around my age knew XTC! They were pretty big in my group of friends when we started college.

    I don't know very many unknowns. I usually only buy something after I've heard it on the radio and liked it. But I did like Ray Lamontagne a year or so before Taylor Hicks outed him. And Amos Lee. That's all I've got.

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    FORT Fogey
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    Do the Old 97s count as a secret? They've gotten so much play places like Scrubs and The Break Up that I figure everyone has heard of them. And yet, time and time again, I say something about them, and whoever I'm talking to says "huh?". If they're unknown, I'd recommend them too.

  6. #6
    Fool... but no pity. Krom's Avatar
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    Old 97s? Probably they do. I mean they are in that class of musicians who may get the occasional TV-soundtrack play but never get on radio. I am fairly familiar with them though, so you are not getting the "huh" reaction from me. I'm not totally hooked on them, but I like them enough that they certainly are sitting on my MP3 player--I think on the same alt-country playlist as BR5-49. Not my "everyday" music, but certainly something I've learned to like more and more as I get older and less fixed in the genres of my youth.

    Amos Lee is okay, but I do notice all of his music has a kind of sameness to it.

    XTC did have a period of big American exposure on college radio stations, but even those fans were never really able to carry them to mainstream success. Somewhat hampered also, admittedly, but the fact that they never toured and only came out with albums when they damn well felt like it.

    I suppose its hard to categorize this stuff. Does a group have to break into the music charts in the first place to be "popular"? What if they break into it once and then go on to a career of little public notice but artistic success? Does the increasing role of popular TV soundtracks for shows like Scrubs, The OC, Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, Smallville, etc. (even down to bigger network shows like the CSI shows) change things? A song can now be heard in that venue, directly downloaded off the net, and yet never chart on terrestrial radio (although album sales might increase a bit, especially for the soundtrack albums for the show). Aside from MP3 downloads, legal and otherwise, there's also video streaming from MTV.com, Launch.com, AOL.com, as well as that big video clip site that recently got bought by Google which this reply would probably get blocked out for if I named it. I guess its impossible to know what people are really listening to these days. Almost everything has to be treated as a potential discovery, because we just don't know.
    Last edited by Krom; 12-16-2006 at 09:27 AM.

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    Fight Queen corprip's Avatar
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    One of my personal favorites (yet no one seems to have heard of him) is Will Oldham, aka Bonnie Prince Billy, aka Palace, aka Palace Brothers. His first album was released back in 1993, and he is just barely starting to break through with his latest album The Letting Go, which was recorded in Iceland by one of Bjork's producers. He ranges from folksy to bluegrass to acid rock to alt country. While many do not know of him, he is a major influence of Iron & Wine (perhaps another esoteric group) and many other "indie" artists. Maybe part of the reason he is not so well known is because his music has a fiercely intimate quality to it, and his lyrics and emotion hit such a personal nerve that it almost seems like sharing him would be sharing one of your deepest, darkest secrets.
    Last edited by corprip; 12-17-2006 at 03:44 AM.
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    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corprip;2180028;
    One of my personal favorites (yet no one seems to have heard of him) is Will Oldham, aka Bonnie Prince Billy, aka Palace, aka Palace Brothers. His first album was released back in 1993, and he is just barely starting to break through with his latest album The Letting Go, which was recorded in Iceland by one of Bjork's producers. He ranges from folksy to bluegrass to acid rock to alt country. While many do not know of him, he is a major influence of Iron & Wine (perhaps another esoteric group) and many other "indie" artists. Maybe part of the reason he is not so well known is because his music has a fiercely intimate quality to it, and his lyrics and emotion hit such a personal nerve that it almost seems like sharing him would be sharing one of your deepest, darkest secrets.
    FINALLY a fellow Will Oldham fan! I can only agree with everything stated in this post, and add that I spent the entire spring of 2001 listening to Ease Down the Road (one of the albums he's recorded as Bonnie Prince Billy) ad nauseum... except I never felt even vaguely nauseous, just completely in awe of just how brilliant an album it is. Tender and raw and heartfelt and just plain amazing. I See a Darkness is another spectacular album, and Johnny Cash's cover of its brilliant title track, with Oldham himself on harmony vocals, is absolutely wonderful.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

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    I love the band Mew, they're from Denmark! Their song "Special" is great!

  10. #10
    Nevermind Lotuslander's Avatar
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    I really like Regina Spektor.

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