We all have that one Very Cool friend who knows way more about music than we do.
You know, the one with the good hair.
As I am a certified Divorced Dad Philistine (TM) when it comes to music (Steely Dan Gold for the 9 millionth time? Don't mind if I do!) and I have Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer hair, those people comprise 99 percent of my acquiantance. Seeing what Facebook buddies are listening to via Spotify has been a great way to surreptitiously find new stuff, but also keep me the hell off of Spotify. Out of shame.
I've been listening to the same 40 tracks since college. (To put that in context: I am 77 years old.) What cursory knowledge of popular music I have, I get from drunken gypsy cab rides where the coked-out driver is blasting Z100, or when I do karaoke with my friend who refuses to believe that I have never heard a Ke$ha song. But I need new music and I want to support new acts, much the same way that I make sure to buy charming little lit mags and local cheeses.*
Luckily, I do have a lot of people who know Much More About Music Than I Do, so naturally, we're going to exploit them. Some of them are journalists or musicians, but some of them are just people with really good taste in music who I felt like using, like pieces of culturally savvy meat.
You need new music. I need new music. Let's Ask People Cooler Than Us.
"I am consistently amazed by Julian Lynch's records. He paints aural landscapes; some of the most textured and original music that's being made today. His influences are numerous, ranging from east Indian drone, to gamelan, to Dinosaur Jr. He produces mini compositions, somehow managing to squeeze all of this into a friendly 3 minute pop structure." - Alex Bleeker, bassist, Real Estate.
"I've been listening to a lot of rapper Danny Brown lately, more specifically his recent Fool's Gold mixtape 'XXX.' Too abstract for 50 Cent (he was passed on by G-Unit Records when Curtis saw Danny's Cameo-esque hair-do), but just weird and edgy enough to usher in a new era of hip-hop and still maintain the tradition of boom-bap lyricism." - Jensen Karp, Host of SModcast's "Get Up On This" podcast & co-owner of Gallery1988.
"I've been fixated lately on the UK band Veronica Falls. Maybe it's the change in seasons: their songs are set in graveyards and old, abandoned buildings and the characters in them lose lovers to cold weather and die of prolonged misery. Summary lyric? 'I've got a bad feeling/ a bad, bad feeling/ and it's not going away.'The music is chilly, too, a dead-eyed take on the poppier side of '90s shoegaze – relentlessly uptempo but decidedly minor-key. Think Lush or Throwing Muses, or Nico fronting Slowdive, and you're getting close. In the inevitable remake of Pump Up the Volume, this is the record the Samantha Mathis character will have on repeat."
-- J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief, eMusic
"Currently I'm listening to this band called COLLEGE. I heard them on the Drive soundtrack and liked how they were the aural equivalent of Saran Wrap. Their songs sound like you're getting high with Jeff Bridges in the Tron-iverse." - Julie Gerstein, Journalist / DJ / Person Who Once Went to Michael Bolton's House.
"One of the few hobbies I have is continually importing my favorite music into my iTunes library. Recently, I imported the only album from THE BEAUTY ROOM, this 2006 collaboration between vocalist Jinadu and producer Kirk DiGiorgio. It's one of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard. I've also put in my favorite tracks from BUILD AND DESTROY, the mixtape St. Louis rapper Black Spade dropped last year. (His 2008 debut, TO SERVE WITH LOVE, is not bad either.) Speaking of indie rap, I'm planning to throw in some tunes from THE WEAKEND, from my hometown boys H.I.S.D. (Hueston Independent Spit District). And since I'm down here in North Carolina, I should finally pick up the new releases from Phonte, 9th Wonder and J. Cole. So, that's next." -- Craig D. Lindsey, Music Critic and excellent mix-tape maker.
"Listening to a lot of JEFF the Brotherhood, lately. They've been around for a bit, three albums or so, but seems like they're blowing up. They even got a shout-out from Jay-Z. Egad!" - Rob Smy, Editor in Chief, AOL Music
"I've been listening to the new record DOGS by The Parlor Mob. The album 'dropped' only two days ago, but thanks to the perks of having the same manager I've had it for 2 months. This album is the perfect mix of rock and some sort of music that most would classify as "somewhat-indie", with the most catchy, and honest vocals to pull it all together. Great music for lounging and long gazes out of airplane windows. I have to imagine these guys get laid often." - Derek Johnston, bassist, Adelitas Way.
"There's no reason why you shouldn't be listening at this very moment to the Atlanta-based rapper 2 Chainz. Hilarious and seemingly everywhere today, he was once known as Ludacris' protegé, Tity Boi. But similar to Larry The Cable Guy, Don Draper or a college freshman who attended Catholic schools her whole life, he ditched his past and started completely anew. (And just like the freshman girl, now everyone wants that Tity, Boi.) Check 2 Chainz' song, 'Spend It (Remix) feat. T.I.'" - Eric and Jeff, rap geniuses behind ItsTheReal.com and MTV's The Check-In.
"I'm just not good at getting into new music. But I have TWO non-new-music suggestions. The first is Jens Lekman. Every so often I discover someone and I get totally obsessed...he was the last dude that that happened with. Just came out with an EP, too. It's all right, but his last album, 'Night over Kortedala' is AWESOME. Second, a music journalist called Anthony Fantano. He has a public radio show, website and video blog on YouTube called 'The Needle Drop.' He's a really cool guy and fun to watch. If you keep an eye on him, you're bound to discover new, under the radar, awesome stuff." - Jonathan Mann, Song-a-Day Man / Internet celebrity / composer of The Mario Opera.
"There's a band called Glossary from Murfreesboro, TN, that I absolutely love. Their new record, Long Live All of Us, was released October 4, and sounds like Thin Lizzy and Fleetwood Mac hooking up in the bathroom of a bar in Muscle Shoals."
- Kasey Anderson, Musician ("Who sings and plays guitar in a band that is currently a current band that you don't know but should be listening to." - Kasey Anderson.)
"If the Everly Brothers would have been teenagers in the 90's and listening to Galaxie 500 they would have sounded like this Vancouver band I've been into lately called Shimmering Stars." - Craig Kucia, Skateboarder / person who knows more about music than anybody.
"There's a great album, 'Staring at the X' that's coming out on FatCat by an NYC band called Forest Fire. It's ambitious and varied; opener 'Born Into' has some sexy guitar fuzz, and 'The News' is a gem, a future classic of a pop-song. pretty guy/girl vocal harmonies, sprawling funk-infused bass lines, pensive ballads. Mark Thresher is a superstar, but neither he nor you know it yet. PS, I promise I DON'T work at their label." - Catherine Herrick, Record Executive, FatCat.
If you have a friend who knows More About Music than You Do, or if you are That Asshole, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'd love to include them/you in the next edition of Cool People Who Know Cooler Music Than You Do.
*(I don't do either of these things.)