Monday, June 11, 2007

The Five Best Relevant and Current Bands We Currently Listen To EVER!

Yes, I know the titles are getting a sort of desperate stink about them. They strive and strive again to some how end in “EVER!” Eventually I foresee a post entitled The Five Best Things I’ve Ever Done With Broccoli Florets And Vegetarian Meatloaf EVER! Then you will know that the shark has been jumped. At that point, please read no more. Whatever coolness our powers combined can muster will have been drained onto the scorched plains of a sarcastic Ilium. We will utilize smileys. The very Earth will cry out for us to stop, but me and GSR will continue to put out complete crap. You should not support this behavior.

Instead, you should think of clever segues from one random subject to another equally random and totally unrelated subject OR listen to one of these five bands who are still currently relevant. And who doesn’t like relevancy? I never thought I would feel as socially irrelevant as I did with last week’s post.

1) The Black Keys

No, they are nothing like The White Stripes. It is an unfortunate similarity in names as one band is the last gasp of testosterone being unabashedly involved in the making of music and the other is a gimmick that should have died long ago.

The Black Keys are everything I don’t hate about rock. They don’t have long and boring neo-hair-metal guitar solos, they don’t have 18 different vocal tracks, and they don’t have any digital studio crap at all. They are simply the best rock band to come around in a long damn time.

Somehow they avoided the Nirvana scream and the Pearljam mumble that seem to have infected the last two decades. Instead, they manage to evoke something along the lines of the Kinks covering the less moronic aspects of Led Zepplin covering Mississippi John Hurt. What does that mean? I'm not even sure. I think it means you need to put down the Now That’s What I call Music 47! at the music store and pick up Magic Potion. Plug in your iPod (as you invariably will own an iPod, you bunch of goddamn sheep) and feel the lame washed out of you by strange desires and elevators.

Punk ass bitches.

-Okay, first let me say "Baaaaahhhhhhh." The iPod is the greatest modern invention (EVER!), but we can save that for another post. Second, The Black Keys are fucking awesome. Chulahoma was the first album that I heard, and that led me to go find everything that I could by the band. If you need a sample let me know as I should be able to get you one pretty easily.

2) Modest Mouse

This is a group that has only recently gotten popular, but they have been around for a while. The gripe against them used to be that they had this strangely dissonant music paired with the lead singers dissonant and atonal voice. Sometimes it sounded like he was wailing with excitement, and other times he would drop to a near mumble, but the early albums only appealed to a small population.

Things really changed with Good News For People Who Like Bad News when they released an album that had some catchy hooks and softer melodies paired wiht the same dissonant voice. This combination on a song like "Float On" seemed to catch a lot of people's attention, and the album as a whole was great. The newest album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is a continuation of what they started on "Good News..." Whether you are an original fan or a new fan the combination of music and lyrics doesn't disappoint. (p.s. to Casey - you owe me a "thank you" for resisting the urge to steal Cross Canadian Ragweed from you).

-Right, I'm going to recommend the Ragweed to this list. I probably would had I not made the qualifier of relevance a criterion of this bunch. Not that they are irrelevant, but I doubt that their relevancy would mean much here. Anyway, Modest Mouse rocks. I saw these guys a couple years ago (holy shit, that was five years ago) in San Francisco and I have to say you need to see them live. The experience elucidates a lot of the attitudes that are only hinted at in their amazing studio work. Still, I like them.

Anyway, for the next contestant, I nominate:

3) Nickelback

That was for you Jill and Janet.

The real deal:

Queens of the Stoneage

I love this band. They have just enough weirdness not to lose a rocker and just enough rock not to lose the indie kids. They're also fun. I know that fun is not what a person is supposed to look for outside the genres of cartoon hip-hop and pop, but I can't think of a more apt descriptor of their songs. The songs have a tendency to be about fucking, drugs, and irresponsible drinking. I think that about sums them up, really.

I should mention that for all their bacchus tendencies, they never get stupid. They never get crunk. They never turn into Nickelback (I shudder) and they never descend into the bullshit angst that passes for thought in our modern times.

If you disagree with me on this, you are wrong.

-I'm not going to disagree on this one. I love Queens of the Stoneage. I was hooked when their first big track got released and it had Dave Grohl on drums. He is one of the few drummers that actually separates himself from the others, and the rest of the band kicked ass on the first track too. They have since gone on to have some consistently good albums, and I can't for the life of me figure out why they don't get more airplay.

Oh yeah - I think you need to apologize to Janet and Jill. There is no way ladies with such good taste like Nickelback....right?

4) Arcade Fire

Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that this could be our first disagreement?

This band kicked down the doors with their first major album Funeral, and then made their fans wait a solid few years before getting the next big release. Man was it worth the wait.

The current album (in heavy rotation with anyone who is cool) is called Neon Bible. The thing I like most about this album is that it is an honest to goodness album. It has a beginning, middle, and an end - and it is clear the band spent some time thinking about song order, tone, and theme. On top of that, the songs kick ass. You should go right now and listen to (Antichrist Television Blues).


At least you didn't say The White Stripes.

And I'm out.