Friday, May 1, 2015

Music I Like I Think Others Should Sample

I tend to suggest music for my boss to listen to. I in no way believe myself to be a music expert or anything of the such. Still, I figured I would list some music I am listening to now just in case anyone cares to sample the music, agrees with me it is good music or doesn't care for the music. Heck, suggest your own music to me. I listen to a variety of music, but I generally keep up more with current more rock/indie (I don't know the difference to be honest...Mumford and Sons is really neither, but there are so many genres it's just easier to lump everything together) and R&B music. I listen to almost every genre of music, but I don't really enjoy much of today's rap and this pop-country shit has to go the hell away. Florida-Georgia Line can be drowned in the Bermuda Triangle for all I care (have I mentioned that before?).

If you have listened to these bands and hate them, that's fine. I recognize my music isn't always the best music to listen to for everyone.

Butch Walker

You probably remember Marvelous 3 from this song:

Don't run away! Please. He was the lead singer of that band. I stumbled upon his music because of this video:

Yes, that is Matthew McConaughey playing Wooderson from "Dazed and Confused." After I saw that video, I did some research on Butch Walker and he's really a great musician. He has seven albums out and none of them really sound the exact same. He skips around a lot with his sound. He's a very ADD songwriter. But all of his albums have good songwriting and he writes a good hook. It's like each album is his own experiment with the sounds he can try. There's not one album to suggest, it just depends on what you want to hear.

Left of Self-Centered: More harder rock, which echos some pop-punk sounds.

Letters: This album is still rock, but has a much more rock sound to it overall. He throws a lot of the emo out the window for a more pop sound.

The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites: This is basically a glam-rock album. Again, there are some pop tendencies to it as well, but a lot of it is a commentary on partying and the women involved with partying.

Sycamore Meadows: My personal favorite album. It's got a more introspective, slowed down pop pace to it. He uses more strings and it's just an overall more melancholy album about loss (his house burnt down before making the album). He even throws in his first real obvious attempt to get radio play with "Here Comes The..." It's a great album though.

I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart: This is the closest he has gotten to a consistent sound as it's more of a cousin to "Sycamore Meadows," but I would consider this one to be a straight-out pop album.

The Spade: This is an outright straight rock album. It doesn't sound as poppy as his other records and he moves away from too much sheen and goes for a rougher sound. Outside of "Synthesizers" there aren't too many good hooks on this one.

Afraid of Ghosts: This is basically an acoustic album. Very mellow, but probably one of his best records. Acoustic albums can be boring or they can be compelling. This falls under compelling for me. 

So depending on your mood, you may like Butch Walker.

The Gaslight Anthem

This is one of my favorite bands. I read them described perfectly and I can't remember where. They sound like Bruce Springsteen if he had let the Ramones record "Hungry Heart" and then launched that type of music into stardom at local New York clubs. For me, I consider their sound to be if Bruce Springsteen fronted the Replacements. That's how it sounds to me. They have five albums, one essential EP and one B-sides album that is pretty damn near essential. They are classified in so many ways, including punk rock. I don't consider them that though. Their best album is definitely "The '59 Sound" and they ended up doing the title track with Springsteen at a concert:

They've come to dislike the comparisons to Springsteen, which I think has in some ways taken them away from their strengths. I would start with "The '59 Sound," which is an album that references to other bands (including lyrics in the songs that are exact lyrics to other songs by other artists) on plenty of songs. It's got the best songwriting and sound the band has offered up yet. Though, trying out "Handwritten" is probably a good idea too. "45" is one of the best songs they have done and "Here Comes My Man" does sound like something Springsteen would do with the amps turned up a little bit more. Great band for driving and playing music loudly.

Farewell Milwaukee

And then there is this band who are not good for driving and playing music loudly. You can, but it's not quite the same thing as blaring loud music. I sometimes have a hard time describing music and they are a band I have a hard time describing. It's not soft rock, but is more 1970's acoustic rock. Sort of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young updated for the modern era. That's probably a bad description. Here are some YouTube videos that do a better job. 

Their best album is probably their second album "When It Sinks In," though all three albums are strong if you ask me. You can listen to nearly every song on their website, which is kind of nice.

Van Hunt

He is one of my personal favorite artists. I would put him under "R&B," though his discography is so eclectic it's almost pointless to try and classify him. I came into hearing his music on his first album which is mostly straight R&B/Soul. The difference being it's not really R&B. It's R&B with more guitar. Here is one of the hits off his first album called "Dust."

Then there is his second album, which went in a more dance-oriented direction. Here he is doing a song originally done with Nicki Costa, but done live with the Afghan Wigs. It's called "Mean Sleep."

His third album became less R&B and more rock-centered, along with a little more weird, but in a good way. It's just good music. Sort of what Lenny Kravitz wishes that he could be.


I probably should include a caveat to this band. They have eight albums and haven't put an album out that wasn't borderline crap since 2008. If you ignore their last two albums when the band started bleeding members, then you would really like them. They are an interesting band only in that they have so much talent and a great sound, but only put it all together for a few albums. They have a Roots Rock sound, but sort of a Roots Rock sound that is as discombobulated and messy as can be. If other Roots Rock bands are The Rolling Stones, then Marah was always The Faces. I'll go album by album, except skip the last two, which I believe to be crap.

Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later Tonight: The debut album from the band. For a band that I am recommending, I feel like I'm saying "not my favorite" about them a lot. This is great album to listen to once you have gotten into the band. I would not start here. It's not bad, but it's not a very accessible album.

Kids in Philly: This is the second album that I would listen to if I wanted to hear the band's sound. It's got "Faraway You," "My Heart is the Bum's on the Street," and "Round-Eye Blues," which is a great song about war. Apparently if you live in Philadelphia or in the area then you can relate to some of the references. I don't live there, yet I still manage to appreciate the music. Very good album, but still a little bit messy...not in a bad way. 

Float Away with the Friday Night Gods: This album got killed at the time by critics because the band took their sound, threw it away and turned into Oasis. Really, they hired the guy who worked with Oasis and the Verve to produce the album. Every song is long and every song is very poppy. The band even knew it at the time. The cover is of a disco ball blowing a bubble with sunglasses and headphones on. They basically were like, "This is our pop album." Fans didn't hate it, but didn't love it. Eventually the band did the whole album again in a more acoustic setting and released that as a record. It's sort of a shame because there were some good riffs on the album, especially on the lead-off track called "Float Away." I enjoy the album because it's louder and I know it's not entirely serious. It's a completely different sound from anything they would ever do. Just for shits and giggles, I would have this be the third album I would listen to.

20,000 Streets Under the Sky: So then the band went back to their old sound like nothing happened. Daddy hit mommy at the dinner table, let's just go back to eating. Weirdly, this album either got critical acclaim or dismissed by critics. It didn't seem like there was much in between. I think it's a pretty good album, though the last thing about it is that the songs are catchy. They are good songs, but they don't stick in your head for a while.

If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry: This is their masterpiece album and probably the one I would pick up first. Sure, you are starting at the top, but they never mixed their ragged sound again with such great lyrics and catchy music as they did on this album. It's full of catchy songs. There is "The Closer," "Fat Boy," and "The Hustle."

But, the best songs on the album are probably the slower songs they do. Until this album, the band had not really seemed to have done straight slow songs that weren't story songs. Most of these songs aren't sappy, but about people trying to escape their situation and constantly running into themselves as their biggest obstacle in life. Apparently the band could relate to people trying to get ahead in life who just couldn't get it done. "City of Dreams," "Demon of White Sadness," and "Walt Whitman Bridge" are all great, great songs. They are slower though, but still really good.


Angels of Destruction!: The band was having some internal problems here and it wasn't hard to tell. Once you have enjoyed them as a band, I would buy this album. It's a step back from their previous album back to a more "Kids in Philly" and "20,000 Streets..." sound, but still good overall.


  1. Looks good. I have never heard of these guys!

    Here are my band recommendations. I'm more into instrumental than vocal/singing, so the genre tends to be in the jazz/fusion/progressive rock/some metal.

    Brand X--If you want to know how good Phil Collins is (was) as a drummer (aside from his work in Genesis), Brand X is a ride! Jazz fusion style.

    Sound of Contact: only one album so far, and I'm not sure if they will continue, but the sound is great here.

    Spock's Beard--(How's that for a band name!) Their early stuff is with Neal Morse who is a wizard at composing music, and then they've had two more front men. Progressive rock.

    Acoustic Alchemy--Jazz with acoustic guitars (that is selling them short, since their albums are so diffferent sounding from each other). Two phases: First with Nick Webb and Greg Carmichael--Nick steel string and Greg--nylon. Good music together. All instrumentals. Their highlight album is Positive Thinking. Then Nick passed away from cancer in late 90s. Phase 2: Greg continued with Miles Gilderdale. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

    Steven Wilson--Raven who refused to sing. I really like this album--very clean sounds. I listen to this when i'm driving on highway, makes the miles go by fast!

    General recommendations: Genesis (all of them), Yes, King Crimson, ELP, Marillion, Dream Theater, LIquid Tension Experiement, Porcupine Tree, Miles Davis, Steve Hackett, Dixie Dregs, Nickel Creek, The Blind Owl Band (awesome name, awesome sounds!)

    1. I do like Phil Collins and his music. I knew he was a great drummer back when he could actually drum.

      I am listening to Sound of Contact now.

      I had heard of Spock's Beard, but haven't ever heard of their music. I"ll check them out too. I'll check Acoustic Alchemy out as well. I have heard of them, but again, haven't gone too far down the prog rock rabbit hole in the past.

      I heard Steven Wilson's newest album and didn't enjoy it too much. I should give "Raven" a listen though. I only listened once to his newest one.

      As far as Dream Theater goes, I had a friend try to get me into them in college and it didn't take. I do like Steve Hackett and have been to a Nickel Creek concert before. They just got back together!

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