Addicted to novelty since 2001

A Summer of New (To Me) Music

This summer I’ve finally made the time to revive my large but tired music collection. Thanks to Gillian, who patiently answered my queries about the service, I recently signed up for eMusic (the new audio books service is an unforeseen bonus).

Heres a schwack of new-to-me bands and artists which I’ve discovered and like. You’ve probably heard of some or all of these. There’s not a great deal of diversity–I only have my shoddy musical taste to blame for that. Links go to pages where you can listen to sample songs:

  • Across the Universe soundtrack – I haven’t seen the movie yet (coming soon to the Gozo cimena: The Bourne Ultimatum), but the soundtrack breathes a little new life in to Beatles classics. Dana Fuchs’s “Helter Skelter” is terrific.
  • Cat Power – Musically a little like Liz Phair, she’s also got a terrific album of covers.
  • KT Tunstall – A bit ordinary, a bit wounded-girl-with-a-guitar, but she played the Apple keynote, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
  • Kate Nash – Like Lily Allen, but better (and ruder).
  • Madeleine Peyroux – A French-American jazz singer with a bit of folk influence and a rich, lovely voice.
  • New Buffalo – I’ve barely listened to them. The lead singer sounds a bit like Leslie Feist.
  • Polly Paulusma – A bit of Tegan and Sara, a bit of Juliana Hatfield.
  • Rilo Kiley – Probably my favourite new discovery. A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, a little bit disco. “Portions for Foxes” and “A Better Son/Daughter” are both terrific songs.
  • The Weakerthans – A great Canadian band with lyrics worthy of Gordon Downie. I already entreated you to buy the new album.

Finally, Gillian just linked to a tribute album commissioned by Stereogum. It’s a song by song version of “Automatic for the People”, by “obscure indie bands which [Gillian likes] but you’ve never heard of”.

The jury’s still out for me. The songs sound really different, which I applaud, but the bands’ strategy seems to be “slow down the songs, sing through our hands, and sound as maudlin as possible.”

Still, it’s kind of crazy that an MP3 blog can commission an album, isn’t it? They did the same a while back with OK Computer.

6 Responses to “A Summer of New (To Me) Music”

  1. Meg

    Sounds like we align on some fronts, but probably have wildly variant tastes on some others. Then again, all my tastes ARE are wildly variant.

    Have you tried The National or Peter Bjorn and John? And girl-singer wise (since you seem to really like those), I’d say check out Patti Griffin. Old school but brilliant.

  2. Lisa Johnson

    “Sing through our hands” – I like that.

    If I’m understanding you correctly, that’s the muffled far-away sound I keep hearing on certain indie bands. Annoying.

  3. mark

    if you like rilo kiley, check out jenny lewis, she’s the singer from rilo kiley and put out a solo record last year.

    and judging from your list, if you haven’t listened to regina spektor, do so.

  4. Pacrand

    Rilo Kiley’s “Execution of All Things” is one of my favs. If you like those, you might like Camera Obscura; my pick of their albums would be “Underachievers, Please Try Harder”. Of course, you’ll definitely like them if you like early Belle and Sebastian.

    And if you don’t know them, get “If You’re Feeling Sinister” immediately.

  5. Heather

    If you’re down with Rilo Kiley, then you’re down with me.

    Right now I’m a little in love with ‘Science and Romance” off their debut EP. Any song that ends with Jenny Lewis singing ‘zeros and ones’ is pretty damn awesome in my book.

  6. darren

    great to see…i’m a huge music fan myself. props to your weakerthans pick…great winnipeg band.

    if you like the hip, or gord downy-inspired stuff, check out the spades from ontario – peterborough, i think. i’m quite impressed (new cdn band…will be big)

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