Alternative Music For Dummies

Hello all. You may be wondering, where is Gosha with his usual witty banter and rants. Well he has graciously allowed me to post a guest post on my favorite topic, music! One of the first things I do when I meet someone is inquire about their music taste and their music collection. You would be surprised at what some body’s iPod can tell you or not tell you about a person. Having music in your life is important no matter how, whether it be listening to it or actually composing it. Therefore without further ado, I would like to offer some suggestions as to what bands and albums you might want to look into if you are looking to learn more about music and would like to open yourself up to more interesting music choices or whether you are just looking for a new band to listen to. So, lets get started.

If you have been listening to mostly rock music before and are interesting in maybe exploring new sounds, the first place I would start with is Radiohead. It seems like Radiohead always progresses and changes with every album, making each one of their albums unique and interesting which might open your ears to new kinds of music. I would proceed through Radiohead’s albums chronologically. With each album it seems they add more and more electronic music and are constantly changing their sound. The first album, “Pablo Honey”, is almost punk with influences drawn from Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins while their latest album, “In Rainbows”, draws influences from every artist imaginable and creates this amazing sound that draws you into the music and does not let go until the final note is played. In my opinion their best albums are “The Bends” and “Hail to the Thief”, but really every album they put out is absolutely amazing.

Fade out from “The Bends” Album by Radiohead

Backdrifts from “Hail to the Thief Album” by Radiohead

Listening to Radiohead intrigued me to investigate further into alternative music. This eventually lead me to The Microphones. Microphones is a band fronted by Phil Elvrum who collaborates with a number of musicians to create his albums. Their album “The Glow, Pt” is an amazing accomplishment. It is the kind of music that I wish I could write. It is a mixture of incredible melodies, a constant beat and Phil Elvrum’s amazing vocals. The sound that is created is almost like the wet sand that you find at the beach, as soon as you think that you have a grasp of it, it crumbles and slips right through your hands. I wish I was able to describe his music in more detail and articulate how his music really makes you feel. But I just don`t have the logistic skills. I will just let the Microphones speak for themselves.

The Microphones led me to a band that I had previously known but whose style of music turned me off. After understanding more about electronic music and how hard it is to create a good song, (big surprise it is not as easy as layering loops), I was able to appreciate this music on a much deeper level. The band is called Unkle. “Psyence Fiction”, Unkle’s definitive album was made in conjunction with DJ Shadow. The result is an amazing mixture of haunting electronic sound and beautiful vocals. While the album certainly has lulls in the sound where the song goes on for way too long without any real meaning emerging from it (Lonely Soul), the album is still certainly one of the best i have ever heard.

Bloodstain from Album “Psyence Fiction” by Unkle

This led me to an amazing gem of an album which’s degree of awesomeness can not be described in the English language. The album is “Tala Matrix” by the “Tabla Beat Science” which is a collaboration between Bill Laswell, Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, Trilok Gurtu, Ustad Sultan Khan, Karsh Kale, DJ Disk. Basically it is a colloboration between the best of the best. Each and every one of these artists contributes to the amazing sound of Tabla Beat Science which is a mixture of Indian Music and Electronic Music. Please check them out if you are even remotely interested in either of the genres.

Tabla Beat Science at Filmore

And last but not least is Nick Drake. Every modern folk/roots musician draws inspiration from him. In my opinion his best album is “Pink Moon” which is an incredibly depressing and gorgeous work of art. Nick drake’s voice is soft and the only instruments that are used are his acoustic guitar and the occasional piano. I am not even attempting to try and articulate this album, mostly because its almost 12 and i want to sleep. Just saying this, check it out.

Other notable artists who you should inquire into: Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies, Norah Jones, Nine Inch Nails, Neil Young, Mouse on Mars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine, Tool, Vampire Weekend.

The Patient by Tool from the album “Lateralus”

Thank you Gosha for allowing me this guest post. Hope this was at least a slightly informative and mind opening/blowing read.



13 Responses to “Alternative Music For Dummies”

  1. 1 happyatom May 21, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Holy crap, that is a LONG post. Expect tl;dr from E, for sure. That said, I definitely agree with Radiohead. I didn’t really like “OK Computer”, but I loved “In Rainbows”.

    I know one Unkle song, and I was definitely intrigued by the sound.

    Generally, I think you should have gone more specific, and focused on 1 band for now, but I definitely appreciate the effort you put into this.

    Also, “Vampire Weekend” sounds mildly retarded to me. I only heard one song though…

  2. 2 E May 21, 2008 at 7:36 pm


    (too long;read anyway;should be getting back to calculus homework;right after this comment)

    You should check out The Mars Volta.

  3. 3 Evan May 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    who wrote this??

  4. 4 happyatom May 22, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Well, that depends, why do you want to know? I don’t want him to wake up with a horse’s head in between his feet tomorrow morning…

  5. 5 redace25 May 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    horse’s head?

  6. 6 happyatom May 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    You haven’t seen “The Godfather”? Shame on you!

  7. 8 Evan May 23, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    ya dude, shame on you!

  8. 10 nikikikikiki June 15, 2008 at 10:25 am

    for shameeeeeeeee

  9. 11 stevenspeedj July 27, 2008 at 8:32 am

    are ugly sea white trust black minor man cube me trust

  10. 13 storkmusic April 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Very well written and detailed, I will definitely be checking out these bands soon!

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