In case you were wondering, I do listen to lots of awesomeness other than Pearl Jam. I’ve been on a pretty intense PJ kick the last year (as evidenced by this here blog), which is pretty normal behavior for me in stressful times (i.e., trying to finish a dissertation). I always felt better about how much I listen to Pearl Jam after seeing one of those (awesome) Eddie Bridge School interviews when one of the kids asked him about music he likes, and he said, “Fugazi…I probably listen to them every day”, and I said, oh ok. Here’s a guy who clearly likes a LOT of music and he still has one band that he listens to every day. So, I’m good. But, the single-minded obsession is wearing off a little bit, and I thought I’d post a few other things that you might want to check out.
I’m not going to include tunage by the usual suspects, which, if you’ve been reading along, are probably pretty obvious by now: I really, really, really dig R.E.M., the Who, Tori Amos, Cat Power, Ben Harper, Sleater-Kinney, and Patti Smith. I would have called U2 my favorite band for probably 20 years of my life, though I hardly listen to them now. Instead, I’m going to put some stuff here that maybe you haven’t heard before, but you should definitely check out. You’ll note: I’m a big fan of melody. I’m not a big fan of a lot of things other people who like Pearl Jam a lot seem to love: not, for example, really into Soundgarden or Nirvana.
The National – BloodBuzz Ohio. These guys have a whole lot of amazing to explore, but this is the song that got me turned onto them.
Andrew Bird – Effigy. This guy is an amazing musician, super fun live, and can whistle (!) like nobody’s business. I saw him at the Moore and it was like watching a full band…but it was just him.
Explosions in the Sky. The whole of the album The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place is absolute magic. It’s just indescribably awesome. This is what I listen to, on repeat, when I really need to focus and write.
Kristin Hersh – Like You. This woman is absolute greatness, and she’s got a career a mile long and twice as wide. Get on it.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – I See a Darkness. First, obviously, you better listen to Johnny Cash every chance you get. I discovered Bonnie “Prince” Billy via one of the American cover albums (and a New Yorker profile). That cover is a haunting, ridiculously beautiful song, and Bonnie “Prince” Billy (aka Will Oldham) is a total, complete genius (and a trip to see live). Here’s the Johnny Cash cover (with BPB singing on there, too): And here’s BPB doing “Ain’t You Wealthy, Ain’t You Wise?”, another gem:
Gillian Welch – Orphan Girl. Even if you say you don’t like country (which is a stupid thing to say, since Johnny Cash is country), you’d be a fool to not give this woman a chance. She’s got a voice so beautiful it might break your heart in pieces.