Music Recommendations, Round 1

Recently a friend of mine has been engaged in a small war of music. The battles up to this point have left her tragically out-numbered on the field to more experienced, far-reaching music pallet. Each recommendation she plucks fresh quickly wilts in the hands of her diligent, aficionado opponent. I imagine she is slightly saddened by the continued lack of surprise presented with each new recommendation. Yet overwhelmingly satisfied, though somewhat bitter, with each new hidden gem unearthed before her eyes.

That’s where I come in. Enlisted as a ghost wandering the tattered battlefields, pushing single-hit fads into the dirt and planting a wide range of soulful, energetic landmines ready to engulf any nearby listener with a steady stream of sonic bliss. And who knows, hopefully I’ll have to take a few steps back, raise an eyebrow, cup my ear and find myself lost in a new array of yet-to-be-discovered artists and tracks. Then again… that may be why I’m here.

The opponent has been described as having a wide taste in music but has recently fell into a great stash of indie rock. A typical pattern seen in music hungry laptop surfers, myself included. I am also keeping the little knowledge I know of my friends preferences in mind as well. Somewhere to get started, yet vague  enough to have fun with.

Because I consider any war a war of nutrition, I thought it best to dribble out a few snacks, see which ones get nibbled up first, then set the traps.

The best way to get started is some hand-to-hand combat. Get in close and either overwhelm your opponent with tactful surprise or dip back to a fox hole for reinforcements.

First I would launch a few quick left handed jabs, maybe something he’s seen before, just to let him know where we stand. A friend of mine once described Pinkback as, “the culmination of everything that is indie-rock today,” of course, that was a few years ago. Pinback has already been on the scene for over a decade, but they’re ramping up for a new US tour and are sure to still have a lick or two up their sleeves.  Their music is beautiful, inventive, and saddening, yet hopeful. A few tracks to sum it all up: “Loro” from Pinback and “Seville” from Blue Screen Life.

Next I’d have to throw a cross, something new that may catch ’em off guard and leave ’em a little weak in the knees. Surf City’s, Self Titled EP is an instant summertime classic. All six tracks are great and embellish that great lo-fi, indie-garage-rock sound. Grab a board and hit the shores for a backyard party with some kids you prolly shouldn’t be hangin wid.

Now it’s time for an unorthodox move; something that could win the prize or maybe just somehting that makes the crowd smile. Too Young to Love is the just released first album from London’s own The Big Pink. This is a perfect blend of electronic elements skillfully crafted into great melodies. Check out “Velvet,” a self-produced track mixed by the one and only Alan Moulder.

Next I’d move to a sure thing. A barrage of good music… and Elbow has been there along the way.  It’s been a long while since I first heard “Any Day Now” from Asleep in the Back but it still hits me in the right place. This is a band that was together a good ten years before they cut a major record; which stets them up for a prolonged existence of hits. I can’t say that every track on each record got major play in whatever beater I was driving around at the time, but a lot of tracks have stuck with me. Elbow’s subtleties and daring attitude to invent new ways to record tracks has left me listening from “Snooks (Progress Report)” from Cast of Thousands all the way through “The Bones Of You” on The Seldom Seen Kid. Watching the band play this album Live at Abbey Road will solidify their talents.

I’d have to end today’s battle as any modern-day gentleman should… with a slow, soulful, acoustic progression that tugs at your heart and leaves you staring into the night sky. Distance and Time by Fink will make you want to be close to all those just out of sight. Tracks such as “This Is The Thing” and “Little Blue Mailbox” take you to a moment in time when tears are your only comfort. YetUnder The Same Stars” and “Make It Good” are breaks in the clouds filled with warm rays of sunshine… Althought his newest effort, Sort of Revolution has yet to embrace me so kindly.

View my Summer Download list for more Free Music Recommendations

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