I have discovered the combination of Pandora and iTunes access to be a potent one for finding (and buying) new music. Combined with the music discoveries of friends over the holidays, plus the lasting impact of Pipeline People Mix 1.0, I have had more exposure to new music in the last two months than I probably had in the 12 months prior to that. Some highlights:
The Glands-Pandora turned me onto this Athens band, easily the best of many good things Pandora has done for me since I started listening. This self-titled release came out in 2001 to rave reviews and little commercial recognition, and as near as I can tell they dropped off the face of the Earth after that. Very Chavez-like in that way, but without the post-mortem media lionization (deserved in both cases). Describing their sound is an exercise in futility, because they are fairly versatile. They are available on iTunes, and you shouldn’t hesitate to go pick them up. My highest recommendation!
Wolfmother-Fans of Pipeline People Mix 1.0 already know the track “Joker and the Thief”, which portends Wolfmother as the unholy combination of Led Zeppelin and Styx our generation has been pining for. Metal purists decry the obvious Zeppelin and Sabbath ripoffs, but here’s the deal: Yes, you will hear a money Plant/Ozzy vocal ripoff. And yes, the music is obviously influenced by those bands. But just one listen reveals a band that has ingested and stripped down those sounds and added some Stooges, some White Stripes, and a whole bunch of their own infectious energy and pace changes. Sure, there are some goofy lyrics about white unicorns and derivative lyrics about purple hazes, but just accept that going in and let yourself rock, if you like that sort of thing. Plus, these guys are all of about 21 years old, and apparently are a knock-out live show. See below this post for a video of their Letterman appearance, performing “Woman”. Yeah, like Zeppelin would ever come up with a song name like that!
M.Ward-“Post-War”-This was Jane’s discovery, a mostly mellow meditation on failed relationships that is outstanding. When Pipeline People Mix 2.0 becomes a reality, expect to see a song from this record.
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins-“Rabbit Fur Coat”-Jenny Lewis is perhaps better known as the frontwoman for Rilo Kiley, but here she goes a little country instead of indie, with outstanding results. It’s only a matter of time until I have a dream of questionable taste featuring the Watson Twins.
The Village Green-“Feeling the Fall”– This is a pretty good record that got crowded out by other purchases, but it is solid and recommended.
Actually, that’s not too extensive a list of albums; part of my windfall has come from various mixes given to me in the last month, so the totality of new music I’ve run into is greater than what is represented above. One of the joys of the Pandora/iTunes combination is that I have rediscovered the joy of hearing and buying singles, something I never really did before. There’s a great mix of new music slowly taking shape in my head.
And speaking of great mixes, I want to say a few words about Pipeline People Mix 1.0. I have spoken before about how much I enjoyed the project and the outcome, but I would like to elaborate on that a bit.
A great moment happened for me at the New Year’s Eve party I attended at our friend Brent and Gretchen’s place. Shortly after midnight, when everybody was settling in for their first taste of 2007 revelry, Mix 1.0 got put on and party tested, with great results. That in itself was enjoyable and gratifying, but as I listened I realized that from that point forward, I would always associate each of the songs on the mix with the people who contributed them, and their participation in the both the project and Pipeline as a whole. Some of the people who contributed are people I know well and are integral parts of my life, and the songs in some way bridge time and space and help bring them closer to me. That’s a nice and unexpected thing.
Other songs were contributed by people I have never met, and in fact didn’t even know were reading Pipeline until they spoke up for that project. But hear a song like Nat King Cole’s “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas”, and am thankful for their participation. That’s a song that wouldn’t have made the mix had I stayed in my normal circle of cohorts, and yet it is such a perfect contribution. Expanding our horizons is a good thing, and that Nat King Cole song helps me to remember that in some small way.
My treacle alert is starting to go off, but if you contributed a song to the Mix, know that I remember where every song came from whenever I hear them and I am truly thankful for your participation in the effort.
Also, I’m fighting the urge to move forward immediately with Pipeline People Mix 2.0, since the first effort isn’t even two months old yet. Look for something to come out in a month or so. Until then, I hope you’re finding something good to listen to. If you are, let me know about it.