A lot of people have been asking me what I've been listening to lately. It's a valid question. Unless you're listening to Pandora or KEXP to find new music, you're probably in the dark. The commercial music industry has failed you and you're not alone. Until the industry figures out this whole Internet thing, it will keep recycling hit makers of a generation past until Green Day, Weezer and their kin fold due to collective arthritis. And you will be left singing"When I Come Around" and "Buddy Holly" via Rock Band.
So, back to the point, what's worth hearing today?
Jaydiohead: "Mash-ups" are taking the music of two or more artists and mixing them into new compositions (usually illegally). Before his Gnarls Barkley fame, DJ Danger Mouse famously mixed Jay Z's "Black Album" with The Beatles' classic "White Album" and turned out the classic mash-up "The Grey Album." Since then, DJ Minty Fresh Beats authored this fresh mash-up of Jay-Z over Radiohead. It rocks, and better yet it's free. Click that link and download!
Cloud Cult: Amanda and I saw this group in Coachella and they rock in that anthemic, we-have-strings-horns-and-an-interpretive-painter style. The closest band I can compare them to is The Arcade Fire. Cloud Cult is the love-child of folk music, classical and pop. It's fantastic.
Fences: I caught this band randomly at the Ballard Sonic Boom when they were playing an in-store show. The lead singer is all tatted up and you'd figure his music would be hardcore screamo. Quite the opposite. This is sublte, melancholy music that's picking up national attention.
The Jackson 5: "Who's Lovin' You" and "I'll Be There" are vocal masterpieces. If you're feeling nostalgic or just guilty that you never paid as much attention to MJ as you should have, this is where to start and end. Also, to see the real genius, check out on YouTube "Who's Lovin' You" live in 1968, "Dancin' Machine" on Merv Griffin in 1974, and a later version of "The Love You Save" live in 1977.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix: I'm going mainstream here because this band played SNL recently. The band, usually referred to as Phoenix, rocks that hipster music that you either love or hate. So give it a listen and I guarantee this pop rock with either make you cringe or smile. "Lisztomania" is the cut.
Common Market: You know I got to plug the family. But here I recommend listening to the eclectic hiphop that is their least-known and most recent, The Winter's End EP. It's a departure in many ways musically, but also contains the hallmark track "Escaping Arkham," which is only second to The Black Patch War's "Bonanza" with regard to classic Ra Scion + Sabzi.
What do you think is worth adding to the list? Any recommendations? Everyone needs summer music, so let's help each other out!