So, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted anything, due to my ridiculous class schedule at wonderful Fort Benning. But due to my endless frustration at the lack of true music lovers that seem to be left in the world, I though it appropriate to post a new listening list.
I believe there are three groups of music listeners. The first group are the ones who rely on radio and television airplay to inform them of new music. Not true music lovers in my opinion. The second group are people who otherwise could be true music lovers, but they are too comfortable remaining inside certain genre boxes. Also not true music lovers. The third group are the ones who rely on the internet, music magazines, and live shows to inform them of new music. These are who I would call true music lovers.
Those who primarily listen to the radio and watch music television channels are those that I would call ‘song lovers’. They claim to love certain musical artists, when actually the only songs they’ve ever heard are the three or so singles released by those artists. They don’t own the albums, they don’t really know all of the lyrics, and they probably don’t even know the names of all the band members.
The ‘genre lovers’ are well intentioned music enthusiasts, however they have limited themselves to only purchasing one style of music. These are what we would call scenesters. Hip-hopsters, metal-heads, emo-kids, indie rockers, or hard-core-kids would fit within this genre-loving description.
The true music lovers, I would say, are constantly trying to broaden their musical horizons. They most likely will have a potpourri of folk, rock, classical, metal, indie, experimental, or ethnic all in the same CD case. They know the names of every band member, and could probably recite all the bands the members have been in before. They know what instruments were played on the albums and who played them. They know what individuals the artists thanked inside the record sleeve. They’ve attended several live shows, and own more than one band t-shirt, purchased at the show, not the mall. They know the lyrics to all of the songs. They probably own every record the band has released, and would pay almost any price to get the limited edition, European import version, on colored vinyl. And they consider it normal to have several rooms of their house covered, wall-to-wall, with band posters, and memorabilia.
So, not to make myself sound any more pretentious, and although I don’t know where all the music lovers have gone, here is the list of what I’ve been listening to lately:
Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza: Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza (Decent sophomore record from these Tennessee tech-metal / grinders. Funny song titles too. My only complaint is that half of the songs had already been released on their first CD.)
Stephen Mark Sarro: Sympathy for the Living (One of the strangest records I’ve ever heard. This record walks a fine line of even being defined as “music”. Stephen primarily utilized sounds from things he found lying around the house, like pots and pans, alarm clocks, and other such oddities, for inspiration. Lyrically, the album exhibits some very heavy topics and personal issues that Stephen was dealing with at the time of writing. This record is kind of a downer, so I can only listen to it on occasion.)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Howl (Very good third album from this rock and roll threesome. I got the chance to see them play at Cornell University last year, and just recently missed the chance to see them play in Atlanta. This record sounds a bit different than their first two, but I really like it. They make good use of acoustic / slide guitar, and I’m definitely digging it.)
Blindside: The Great Depression (Very good fourth album from this Swedish foursome. A unique rock sound, like nothing else I’ve heard before. I also love Christian Lindskog’s lyric writing.)
Lole y Manuel: Grandes Exitos (Beautiful middle-eastern influenced latin-flamenco. Manuel Molina’s flamenco guitar is some of the best I’ve ever heard, and Lole’s voice is extremely unique and beautiful. This record is a best-of from their early days in the late seventies, to the early-mid eighties.)
Between the Buried and Me: Alaska (Hands down, the most diverse tech-metal / grind record of 2005. This record is all over the spectrum, from metal to metal-core, to grind, to classic metal, to black metal, and even quiet, instrumental interludes. The album ends with a mellow, jazz-lounge number, which puts a perfect cherry on top of this truly awesome record. Tommy Rogers’ vocals are also all over the spectrum. One minute he’s screaming high, standard metal-core, then he’s going way low grind, and then he’s doing clean, harmonized singing. He can also do a very good black metal scream that can rival any of the big names out there.)
Leng Tche: The Process of Elimination (Really good, straightforward grind. Fast, technical, and innovative. This is their third record, and was just released in September. Their drummer is also the vocalist for Aborted if that means anything to anyone.)
Lovedrug: Pretend You’re Alive (Beautiful, unique, indie rock that you have to hear. And, although a big stylistic shift, drummer, Matthew Putman used to play percussion in Living Sacrifice.)
Other Desert Cities: Other Desert Cities (A unique five-piece that plays undefinably unique rock in the style of Havalina Rail Co. And actually, the CD was produced by Matt Wignal of Havalina.)
Maylene and the Sons of Disaster: Maylene and the Sons of Disaster (Thick, grove-oriented, classic metal/hard-rock. Very catchy. Featuring former Underoath vocalist Dallas Taylor.)
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (Conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas) (One of my favorite symphonies of all time, conducted by world famous conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas.)
Crowpath: Son of Sulpher (Strong sophomore effort by these Swedish metal-core masters. They have breathed a breath of fresh air into a stagnated genre.)
Headnoise: For Now We Know: In Part 1 (Fourth full length from this Chicago septet. Really good, female fronted aggressive street rock.)
Ed Gein: Judas Goats and Diesel Eaters (Second full-length from this Syracuse, NY, tech-metal / grind trio. It’s good, but I think their debut was better written and better produced.)
OkGo: OhNo (Capitol Records debut of catchy, power-rock /disco. Fun to dance to.)
MxPx: Panic (Definitely their best release in recent years. I don’t care what people say about these guys, I still really like them.)
Danielson Family: Tell Another Joke at the Ol’ Chopping Block (Need I say more? Pure genius.)
Denison Witmer: Are You a Dreamer? (The latest from this native Philadelphian folk soloist. We saw Denison play at Purple Door festival this year and it was a real treat, as always.)
Anathallo: Sparrows (Debut from this indie-rock / experimental group of guitarists, xylophonists / percussionists, and drummers. Very good. Very unique.
Demon Hunter: The Triptych (Although I’m not really a fan of this style of metal, I like to support Demon Hunter because they are fronted by Ryan and Don Clark of Training For Utopia fame. And TFU was, of course, the best band ever, in the history of rock and roll.)
Over The Rhine: Drunkard’s Prayer (Of any releases this year, I think this album has seen the most frequent rotation in the Darling household. Peaceful, down-to-earth songs of life and love. OTR is definitely a mutual favorite between Faith and I. Whenever these lovely melodies are played, we really can’t help but smile.)
Me Without You: Catch for Us the Foxes (This is a record that everybody needs to hear. If you’ve glossed over everything else I’ve reviewed, you need to give this album a fair shake. This record has definitely earned a coveted space on my list of best albums of all time, which, given the 700-plus records in my collection, is quite an accomplishment. Only 16 albums of the 700 have made this best-of list so far. I don’t even know how to adequately describe their style because they sound absolutely nothing like anything else out there. Highly recommended.)