The Great Unknowns

 

Everyone knows the big influential names in music: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Radiohead, yada yada yada… Their influence is undisputed, and any sort of music fan knows their music.  But there’s a whole plethora of influential artists out there that were your favorite bands’ favorite bands, and you may have never known that they existed!  Some artists, no matter how ahead of their time, never seemed to hit it big.  Whether it was due to their lack of popularity, stage fright, or just plain lack of a top-selling single, they never sold out stadiums like The Who or Nirvana.  This list goes through some of my personal favorite influential artists that fit that exact mold (not necessarily the least popular or anything pretentious like that).  If you’ve ever wondered where the revolution of electronic music was started, where so many singer-songwriters got their inspiration (besides Bob Dylan and the like), and who helped to start the post-rock genre that you listen to during late-night studying sessions, read on.

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Animal Sounds

The Glorious Goat
The Glorious Goat

As I have been browsing through my music collection, I have come to realize that I have an affinity for bands that have a name referencing animals. Is this a coincidence? Perhaps. I’ve been trying to figure out what else they all have in common, but alas, they are all excellent in their own right. I would like to share some recent artists I have come across with this theme and hopefully you can decide for yourself if they truly resonate unique styles of animalistic music.

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Beyond Pitchfork: 5 Online Resources for the Budding Indie Music Fan

pitchfork cover

So you’re a brand new DJ.  A little excited, a little nervous to talk aloud to who knows how many listeners.  You know the words to every song on The Essential Billy Joel, both discs.  In high school, you rode shotgun down two-lane country roads in your friend’s doorless Jeep, sticking your bare feet out the side while the first Mumford & Sons album drowned out the cicadas.  No one else in 11th grade had heard of The Decemberists or Regina Spektor.  You thought you were pretty cool; you went to public school.  But now, in college, the older DJs in WRVU are intimidating, and you don’t know any of the bands they’re talking about.  You’re me, freshman year.

Two years ago, I spent a lot of time hunting for new music, though I wasn’t very efficient at it.  Pitchfork was the only music journalism site I’d heard of, and I spent lots of time there without understanding the context of most of the articles.  If I could do it all over again, here’s the resources I’d have used.

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Five Albums from Five Different Eras

Saint Motel
Saint Motel

As you might be able to tell by now, I really like lists and I enjoy the number 5. So here’s to a bit of both. Lately I’ve been going through my Itunes library and come across some old favorites; the one’s I’ve been meaning to get into more but haven’t had the time or energy to. But here I am to revive that spirit and to enlighten you all about some albums you may not have heard of, but will be glad that you did.

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10 Songs to Get Ready for Festival Season

Photo courtesy of crienglish.com (Note the Nepali flag in the background)
Photo courtesy of crienglish.com (Note the Nepali flag in the background)

Rites of Spring was in many ways a kick-off for the summer season of music festivals. For many students, the time to go to music festivals in a hot, showerless, frenzy of music, beach balls, and girls on the shoulders of some poor soul won’t begin until a few weeks when we are done with the stresses of finals and school work. To get ready for this wonderful time of year, I have compiled a list of 10 songs that really get us into the mood for these festivals. These songs are not necessarily the most intricate or creative songs that these artists have made, but I think they really capture the carefree, no-consequences kind of attitude most people are looking for during the middle of a summer festival.

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Five Recently Discovered Semi-Recent Artists

mac-demarco-2013-500x335

I’ve come across a lot of new music through a few friends of mine. “New” of course is quite relative, since for the most part the songs I’ve discovered were released months or years ago. The genres vary greatly, artists have little in common, but all give off excellent vibes and are all tunes that I would highly recommend to others. Without further ado, here are the top five artists I’ve been enjoying the past couple weeks.

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5 Famous Songs That Are Actually Covers

Most people are familiar that Johnny Cash’s famous “Hurt” is actually a Nine Inch Nails song, that Led Zeppelin took much of their catalog from early blues recording, or that all of the various recordings of “Hallelujah” owe themselves to Leonard Cohen’s original.  But what about those song’s that we associate with one artist entirely when they are actually the creative genesis of another artist entirely?  These five songs fall in that category; that a listen to the original versions.

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8 (+1) MORE Songs That Are Hauntingly Beautiful

Photo courtesy of kicswila.com
Photo courtesy of kicswila.com

So, my friend Lucas did a post on this same subject a while ago; I liked the idea so much, I wanted to create my own spin on the subject of hauntingly beautiful music. Many sources define “haunting” as “remaining in the consciousness” or “not quickly forgotten;” however, the significance of this term surpasses its somewhat shallow definition. Music that is haunting doesn’t just remain in the consciousness for a long time, it transforms it. The moment this music enters our ears, it lifts us to a higher plane of existence. We begin to contemplate, as The Shins put it in one of the songs I will reference, “the bitter mechanics of life.” We forget how and why we exist. The only thing that matters, in that moment, is the music that is filling us, and we are forever changed by it.

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