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very, very difficult, and very, very fun
October 1, 2013 12:35 PM   Subscribe

What's the most virtuosic catchy music you know? Or, alternatively, what's the catchiest virtuoso music you know?

I love complex, demanding music, and I love mindlessly simple joytunes. And most of all, I love the nexus where the two intersect!

I find this most readily in classical music and bluegrass, such as with Gli Incogniti or with the Goat Rodeo Sessions. In rock you have performers like Cardiacs or Frank Zappa, though they tend towards weirdness and not, like, glittery pop perfection. Then there's John Zorn and Guy Klucevsek and Justin King and a bevy of other very enjoyable instrumentalists.

But I'm looking for more than pleasant music here – I want things with hooks, choruses, things which are singalongable (though I am okay with things where the vocals move too quickly to sing along to). Things I could listen to on a long drive with friends and do the whole group-yell-y thing, yet which also kind of blister my brain to listen to. Does such music exist?

Note: I am okay with pretty much all genres of music, but melody is important to me here. I know there are a dozen million virtuosic metal groups, but I need metal to be, like, really non-harsh, in order to get me. Things like Rhapsody of Fire or Blind Guardian, or even ofter than that. Similarly, I can deal with a certain amount of atonality/wonky rhythms in music, but in this case if it's too atonal/wonky to get stuck in my head, it's probably not for me right now.
posted by Rory Marinich to Media & Arts (97 answers total) 88 users marked this as a favorite
 
The first thing that pops in my mind is Sinister Minister by Bela Fleck & The Flectones.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:36 PM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Andew Bird. Imitosis comes to mind as pretty catchy.
posted by sweetkid at 12:39 PM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is why I love Queen.
Also Uriah Heep, to an extent.

For the pleasant side of things you may enjoy Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
posted by phunniemee at 12:44 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


For hooky, chorus-y, catchy things, early to mid Guided By Voices is a pretty strong candidate.

For hooky, silly, catchy things, your man is Parry Gripp. "Young Girl Talking About Herself" has a pretty amazing breakdown near the end, and "Girl at the Videogame Store" is a perfect pop song.
posted by jbickers at 12:47 PM on October 1, 2013


GBV is my favorite band, but virtuosic they're not.
posted by dfan at 12:48 PM on October 1, 2013


Pere Ubu.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:50 PM on October 1, 2013


Dirty Loops? They have some mindblowing pop covers...
posted by d11 at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2013


Maybe also Max Tundra. Very catchy, very poppy.
posted by d11 at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2013


Vinnie Moore shreds on some catchy tunes.

I think Eric Johnson is cheesy, but I gotta admit Cliffs of Dover is fun.

Gamma Ray isn't really about being virtuosic (their songs aren't more than 10% solos), but they happen to be, as well as really upbeat and melodic.
posted by ignignokt at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The People United Will Never Be Defeated is a mind-bending set of 36 variations on a catchy tune.

Only some of the variations would qualify as sing-alongs, and there's probably too much dynamic range for it to work in your car.

But I mention it nevertheless since it pretty much pegs my "catchy" and "virtuosic" meters.
posted by bfields at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


As much as I enjoy Parry Gripp, he is by no means a demanding musician.

Andrew Bird comes closer – I love his A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left.

Bela Fleck is wonderful, obvs, but not quite what I'm looking for?

I'm still making my way through these. Yay, music!
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:02 PM on October 1, 2013




I'm a big fan of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross - they originally tried to get twelve singers together to cover Count Basie by singing all the parts, but they couldn't find twelve good enough singers so they ended up multitracking themselves to cover all the parts.

I prefer their later stuff, where they're more working as a trio and less pretending to be a big band, but it's all super-virtuosic and very catchy. They did a lot of jazz standards - here's them doing Sonny Rollins's Airegin. Some incredible vocal leaps from Annie Ross in the head at the beginning, and then a stunning scat solo for about five minutes straight from Jon Hendricks.
posted by spielzebub at 1:06 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


ignignokt: All three of those are quite enjoyable and sing-along-able, but Gamma Ray in particularly really hits the mark! Thank you!
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2013


I am okay with pretty much all genres of music, but melody is important to me here. I know there are a dozen million virtuosic metal groups, but I need metal to be, like, really non-harsh, in order to get me.

I believe you may be describing Timeless Miracle. Yay! Here's a sample:

The Red Rose

Angra may also fit the bill. Here's what you can expect from them:

Holy Land (At the proggier end of things)

Angels and Demons (more driving, less nuanced)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2013


Last time I needed a fix of catchy virtuosic prog, Beardfish did the trick nicely.
posted by dfan at 1:09 PM on October 1, 2013


Phish!
posted by rouftop at 1:11 PM on October 1, 2013


Oh, the Queen of The Night's second aria (Der Hölle Rache) in Die Zauberflöte is my favorite ever example of this. I can't even imagine how many of my neighbors I have pissed off by trying to sing it...
posted by cairdeas at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


You might like Hermeto Pascoal. And Miles' band with Coltrane. You can really hear what each musician brings in.
posted by nicolin at 1:16 PM on October 1, 2013


Also if you haven't heard my friends Lake Street Dive, you ought to.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:17 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Julia Holter might fit your bill? Her music isn't blisteringly virtuosic in terms of instrumental performances, but it is expertly crafted and catchy both.

Also: just about any good salsa band has basically this quality, if the lyrics being in Spanish isn't a problem. Rubén Blades and Willie Colón's album Siembra has some of the best songs qua songs I've ever heard out of the genre. "Buscando Guayaba" is one of my favorite singalongs ever.
posted by invitapriore at 1:19 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, if you like Gamma Ray, then yeah. The soaring, epic, delicious and only slightly embarrassing world of power metal is for you.

Here's Stratovarius doing I'm Still Alive.

And here's Edguy performing their irresistible opus, Lavatory Love Machine. Enjoy!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:19 PM on October 1, 2013


From the thread Lutoslawski linked to, there's Emilie Autumn, who is a whole ton of fun. Also new to me!

Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross is terrific too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:20 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


So Lonely.
posted by The World Famous at 1:20 PM on October 1, 2013


Maybe The Punch Brothers? The instrumental virtuousity of bluegrass but crossing over into a poppier (and other) territory sometimes. Also, this Trampled by Turtles track has barnburning instrumentals but the vocals are pretty singable.
posted by drlith at 1:21 PM on October 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Robert Fripp's 1980s "new wave" project, League of Gentlemen, is pretty fun.
posted by neroli at 1:22 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh! The Rezillos are one of the most technically proficient bands to come out of the 1970s UK punk scene, and they're fun as shit.
posted by invitapriore at 1:24 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to listening to all on this list. I'm a big Steve Vai fan, and since you highlighted Vinnie Moore and Eric Johnson, here are few in a similar melodic vein:

Noah's Ark (with Gregg and Matt Bissonette
Lucky Charms
Fever Dream

Your mileage may vary with Joe Satriani. In my opinion, he leans much more towards melody than complexity. The guitar parts will be technically proficient, but the backing tracks will be relatively simple.
posted by dr. fresh at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2013


If you like Emilie Autumn, you'll likely like Rasputina (and Melora Creager does the whole Victoriana punk-chic thing 100x better). Lots of their stuff will work (countermelodies, surprising covers, layering), but here's The Olde Headboard as example.
posted by mochapickle at 1:37 PM on October 1, 2013


Julie Holter is great, that Trampled by Turtles track is phenomenal, and the Rezillos sound like they're terrific as well. Oh, and I didn't give that entire Beardfish song a listen, but it was wonderful inasfar as I got.

Still way behind on this thread, picking music basically at random, but I have my glee face on right now. :D
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:40 PM on October 1, 2013


Things I could listen to on a long drive with friends and do the whole group-yell-y thing, yet which also kind of blister my brain to listen to.

I would love to hear a car full of people singing Old Crow Medicine Show's version of "Union Maid." Must. go. faster!

It may not do it for you technically, but some of the harmonies on this -- "The Weight," sung here by Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, and OCMS -- would make for challenging vehicular singalong.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:42 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


They Might Be Giants have built a career out of music like that.

All of the stuff in They Might Be Giant's Flood fits the bill: Birdhouse in Your Soul, Lucky Ball and Chain, Dead, Your Racist Friend, Twisting, We Want a Rock, Someone Keeps Moving My Chair, Hearing Aid, Whistling in the Dark, Women & Men, Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love, They Might Be Giants, Road Movie to Berlin. Of course, Particle Man. Extra points to Letterbox, which is short but very dense. Even the lead track, "Theme From Flood," and "Minimum Wage," which are more jingles than songs.

EVERY ONE of these songs has been stuck in my head for sizable periods of time. Especially Particle Man, which I have listened to hundreds of times. The earlier songs on the album tend to be catchier.
posted by JHarris at 1:46 PM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Flood is one of my favorite albums from childhood on. Though I think in terms of wonky virtuosity, Lincoln is even better.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:50 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gabriel Kahane?
posted by mlle valentine at 1:51 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mr. Bungle, their eponymous debut album and California. The middle album, Disco Volante, has some catchy moments but is much less accessible.
posted by dfan at 1:57 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


DAT Politics might scratch this itch.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:57 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Faraquet definitely borders on the virtuosic, and it's super-catchy and sing-along-able. At least one of the dudes from Faraquet is now in Medications, which has a similar vibe.
posted by saladin at 1:58 PM on October 1, 2013


The Punch Brothers. A bluegrass band playing rock songs with virtuosic arrangements, extremely good and catchy melodies, complex harmonies, complex rhythms, but all made to sound natural and not kooky for the sake of being kooky. Everything serves the song.

Massive mancrush on Chris Thile over here. {fans self}
posted by TheRedArmy at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just to point out to Punch Brothers/Chris Thile fans: the "Goat Rodeo Sessions" I linked to in the OP is Chris Thile playing bluegrass with friggin Yo-Yo Ma.

Awesome? Is not a strong enough word for that album.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:04 PM on October 1, 2013


Well, you've got some Queen, I'd add some Van Halen, maybe Velvet Undeground, perhaps some Animal Collective, check out Jukebox the Ghost, and I don't know, maybe Coheed and Cambria?
posted by General Malaise at 2:14 PM on October 1, 2013


I think Queen is a good choice as someone mentioned. What about Parliament Funkadelic? I am not sure it meets your definition of virtuosic but there are lots of different instruments.

And as an odd ball out of left field choice, what about Girl Talk's All Day. Its not 1 song but hundreds of samples layered 2, 3, 4 deep at a time. I recently played this for friends on a road trip who have different musical wheelhouses (indie rock, pop, rap) and half the fun was trying to pick out the samples and where they came from.
posted by mmascolino at 2:17 PM on October 1, 2013


DAT POLITICS is fun (I'd never heard of them before) and Girl Talk is great, though I prefer Feed the Animals, but I'm definitely looking for virtuosic musicianship, not just good/unusual production. This time, at least!
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:21 PM on October 1, 2013


This may be too metal but because it has a good melody and would be good for a group yell-along:

Dragonforce - Through the Fire and Flames
posted by TheClonusHorror at 2:23 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


For bluegrass, Tony Rice is of course more traditional than Chris Thile but in his younger days he played some pretty complex stuff--fast!--and made it sound easy. "Blackberry Blossom," "Juniper Ridge," etc. I love certain David Grisman pieces where he kind of mixes up bluegrass and klezmer...recommended if you are cool with klezmer. Grisman also worked with Stephane Grappelli--and Mike Marshall's on there too, awesome! A lot of this is instrumental, though, so not singalongable.
posted by homelystar at 2:45 PM on October 1, 2013


Here's a bouncy, impressive, yell-alongable hip hop track by an artist who is deeply influenced by Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross:

Busdriver, Casting Agents and Cowgirls.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:55 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Decomposure's first record.

Also, Mozart.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:00 PM on October 1, 2013


GIANT STEPS
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:03 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Definitely check out Tera Melos' new album. It's bizarre but wonderfully poppy. Their older stuff is catchy and poppy while being wildly technical, but is less structured.

Check out Maps & Atlases, too.
posted by gucci mane at 3:08 PM on October 1, 2013


Maybe this is too obvious, but have you given ever given Iron Maiden a try? It's metal of course, but it's tasty, crunchy old New Wave of British Heavy Metal stuff, so it doesn't have that fuckoff, Cookie Monster-on-the-blue-stuff sound that so many folks find so off-putting.

The music is dense, every member of the band is an extraordinary technician, and their stuff makes you bellow and shout and bounce around like mad. I can't count the number of times I've been earwormed by it.

Here's what I'm talking about:

Can I Play With Madness

Number of the Beast
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:15 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nigerian Juju music, if nobody's mentioned it yet. Sunny Ade on youtube. Very rhythmically complex and lilting.

Old school Nigerian Apala music but you may not find it tuneful.
posted by glasseyes at 3:17 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and you know Korpiklaani, right?
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:25 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm and this reminds me also of Parts & Labor. Which reminds me of Buke and Gase. Which reminds me of Sun City Girls. Which reminds me of US Maple. Which reminds me of Dog Face Hermans.Which reminds me of Jawbox. Which reminds me of Shrimpboat. Which reminds me of Wingtip Sloat. Which reminds me of Throwing Muses. Which reminds me of Joni Mitchell, obviously.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:30 PM on October 1, 2013


Can't believe I'd never heard Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Wow.
posted by larrybob at 3:35 PM on October 1, 2013


Seconding the Punch Brothers. Here is a video of them playing Bach.
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:37 PM on October 1, 2013


This is heading off in a bit of a different direction, but you might like Mingus, who was doing catchy tunes (in gorgeously layered big-band arrangements! with wonderfully virtuosic solos!) during an era when the rest of jazz had gotten all melodically abstract. His best stuff has just the greatest combination of tunefulness and rhythmic drive.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 3:37 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that I didn't give the best example of Edguy's work. I passionately adore "Lavatory Love Machine," partly because it's so funny, and partly because it proves that you can write a rude, horny metal ballad (complete with video) about fucking that doesn't perpetuate rape culture-- but that's not what you asked for, is it? And actually, the song is from from early in the band's career-- from a time when they could have comfortably shared a bill with Poison and their ilk. It doesn't really show off the technical chops they've since developed.

This is a better example of what they're capable of doing now:

Spooks in the Attic

I've had this song lodged in my head for days at a stretch. And I've been happy about it.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:43 PM on October 1, 2013


Pretty Girls Make Graves.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:45 PM on October 1, 2013


Also, if you liked The League of Gentlemen, here's another thing where Fripp pretends to make a dumb rock album. (And actually if you like that, the 90s incarnation of King Crimson will probably be up your alley too....)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 3:52 PM on October 1, 2013


Built To Spill circa Perfect From Now On and Keep It Like A Secret. The AVClub very recently agrees.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:26 PM on October 1, 2013


Still cruising toward Jupiter on Rocket Ship Obvious, here:

What about Rush? Complexity, technical wizardry, and poppy joy are pretty much their bread and butter.

Here's The Spirit of Radio. And here's Red Barchetta, which is both a great song and the inspiration for my dog's Halloween costume this year. Shhh, don't tell.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:41 PM on October 1, 2013


John Coltrane: Giant Steps!
posted by oceanjesse at 5:03 PM on October 1, 2013


You will not be able to sing along to this, but it's so gorgeous that I can't resist offering it up:

Adimiral, which may be the lightest, sunniest thing ever recorded by a master of Tuvan throat-singing.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:13 PM on October 1, 2013


Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucía - Friday Night in San Francisco

The whole live concert recording is full of mind-bogglingly virtuosic flamenco guitar.
posted by sarah_pdx at 5:45 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


THE FUCKING CHAMPS
posted by saul wright at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


The aria I Am The Wife of Mao Tse-Tung from the opera Nixon in China gets stuck in my head a lot ("I speak according to the book, the book, the booook").
posted by rollick at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2013


Actually, Flesh Rebels from the same opera is good too!
posted by rollick at 6:15 PM on October 1, 2013


This may seem really obvious, but I find that Radiohead songs (particularly those from their 2 most recent albums) have several of the characteristics you seek.

If you find yourself diggin' on the Queen end of things, maybe Rufus Wainwright could be another similar choice.
posted by singinginmychains at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2013


Pat Donahue is a finger-picking guitarist from Minnesota; he's been the guitarist-in-residence at "Prairie Home Companion" for years now. (Also, he's a super nice guy.)

He runs heavily to blues, but often plays joyful, fast, playful stuff. Some is instrumental, some is traditional or original songs with words, but it's all awesome.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:23 PM on October 1, 2013


Dirty Projectors? It's a little bit on the weird/atonal side of things, but will get stuck in your head, especially the choruses. I don't know if it's quite virtuosic enough; probably an opera singer or whatever would be unimpressed. But they sing those crazy harmonies live without any trouble, so it's something. Sing-alongs would be tough, but the frontman sings on a lot of the songs and has a more normal vocal range.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:33 PM on October 1, 2013


Dirty Projectors SHOULD count, but something about their music completely irritates me. I saw them live, even, and couldn't get into them there. It's frustrating, because they're obviously super interesting, and I don't want to discount them, but they're just not for me, I guess.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:41 PM on October 1, 2013


I'm adding my own group to this list, inspired by phunniemee's recommendation at the top of the thread: North Sea Radio Orchestra.

End of Chimes and Heavy Weather are the first two that caught my attention—but they're also the first two that I listened to. It pretty much all seems excellent. And the harmonies are gorgeous.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:51 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Novos Baianos: bossa nova and samba mixed with rock, featuring the effervescent Baby Consuelo.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:54 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here is Itzhak Perlman performing Zapateado by Pablo de Sarasate. Sarasate was a madly virtuosic violinist and composer. His music is both melodic and virtuosic.

Here's Midori performing his Carmen Fantasie, based on Bizet's opera. There are plenty of hummable, familiar tunes in there between the "Really? You can DO that on a violin?" moments.

If you ever need some recommendations for challenging, difficult music that is in no way melodic or accessible hit me up, I know a few pieces...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:28 PM on October 1, 2013


This cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" convinced me that the Punch Brothers were awesome.
posted by lumensimus at 10:53 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


https://www.metafilter.com/57547/Showoffs-and-knucklebusters
Difficult yet insanely beautiful piano pieces, and one of those posts where the comments bring a lot to the table.

Dirty Three
Mick Turner's solo guitar work is kind of mindblowing, in my mostly lonesome opinion.

Headier Mastodon?

As mentioned on the blue recently, James Jamerson's sweet, sweet bass.
posted by carsonb at 11:19 PM on October 1, 2013


Thank You Scientist seems to fit your criteria. The band's debut album is exhilarating, deserving a listen from start to finish, however Blood on the Radio and the instrumental Suspicious Waveforms offer a good sampling of the band's chops.

And Tim Smith's solo album, ExtraSpecialOceanLandWorld, is catchy and delightful.
posted by prinado at 11:48 PM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


JHarris: "They Might Be Giants have built a career out of music like that.

All of the stuff in They Might Be Giant's Flood fits the bill: Birdhouse in Your Soul, Lucky Ball and Chain, Dead, Your Racist Friend, Twisting, We Want a Rock, Someone Keeps Moving My Chair, Hearing Aid, Whistling in the Dark, Women & Men, Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love, They Might Be Giants, Road Movie to Berlin. Of course, Particle Man. Extra points to Letterbox, which is short but very dense. Even the lead track, "Theme From Flood," and "Minimum Wage," which are more jingles than songs.

EVERY ONE of these songs has been stuck in my head for sizable periods of time. Especially Particle Man, which I have listened to hundreds of times. The earlier songs on the album tend to be catchier.
"

And I still sing it too, even if YOU'RE the one with the racist friend.

Keep in mind, Particle Man was the only song I know of to get played simultaneously on Tiny Toon Adventures and MTV.

And, although it was a gift, in my kitchen, yes, in the outlet by the light switch, is a bluebird night light.

OMG - Forgot how much I like Cliffs of Dover.
posted by Samizdata at 11:52 PM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a little gray on what might qualify here, but I'm going to say The Soil and the Sun, as they've got this big, orchestral sound with lots of different instruments, along with an easy chorus that I think is just awesome.
posted by cnc at 12:53 PM on October 2, 2013


Jamiroquai live at Abbey Road is basically the gold standard for a virtuosity in a huge ensemble giving a flawless, intricate live performance. Here's Runaway, but the whole session is amazing.
posted by The World Famous at 1:29 PM on October 2, 2013


Thank You Scientist is shockingly good. Wow.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:57 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of the The Mars Volta's stuff should work. "Goliath" comes immediately to mind.

You might dig Palms (see, e.g., "Future Warrior").

Queens of the Stone Age seem a likely candidate; you have probably heard "No One Knows."

Going back in time a bit, Soundgarden are all about awesome technique in service of great songs, such as on "Superunknown." Good luck singing along with Chris Cornell, though.

Finally, given the metal bands you noted above, I am bound to note that you'd probably like Dream Theater (e.g. "Panic Attack"). Let the record reflect that I sorta hate Dream Theater, and I hereby cleanse myself with this link to High on Fire's marvelous "Snakes for the Divine." If you can find it in your heart to give shouty metal a try, you won't do much better than them.
posted by sinfony at 5:16 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Galneryus! Clean, neoclassical power metal from Japan.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 6:16 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


And of course : m-base stuff.
posted by nicolin at 12:20 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Late to the party:

Seconding Iron Maiden - particularly Wasted Years, Hallowed be Thy Name, and even a Paul Dianno track - Purgatory (which I consider to be his best vocal performance)

Seconding the Punch Brothers, particularly Movement and Location, which I cannot stop listening to...
posted by wittgenstein at 9:18 AM on October 3, 2013


Also, since you mention Rhapsody of Fire - you might like the original band's founder's new project, which is also named Rhapsody.

Another power metal band called Pathfinder has some intense, symphonic songs that are highly melodic and catchy in my opinion. They only occasionally have harsh vocal accents, but most of it is clean and even Queen-ish at times.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 9:39 AM on October 3, 2013


Zappa's G-Spot Tornado
posted by kalessin at 8:01 PM on October 3, 2013


Also I think Linsey Pollak is pretty talented. My favorite of his (that I can find online) is Mr. Curly. Mr. Pollak is a new/improvised/invented instrument dude who also seems to be pretty damned fine at live looping.
posted by kalessin at 8:09 PM on October 3, 2013


There's this 20 minute tune by a Norwegian prog band ... well, if you haven't turned the channel already, this tune called Change is packed full of hooks, and it turns out that the guys in Magic Pie are incredible musicians.

In addition to spending half the evening checking out some of the incredible music on this page, I've also dug into some early Adrian Belew and Stewart Copeland.
posted by vverse23 at 10:43 PM on October 3, 2013


Haha I am way way behind on this thread again. At this point the music in this thread has essentially replaced the rest of my iTunes library, because there's more than enough diversity here to fit whatever I'm looking to listen to at whatever given time. Awesome!

Sorry about the delay in listening to/marking things, though Zappa's G-Spot Tornado is absolutely excellent. That live version is one of the things that prompted a break-up with an ex: she claimed to be a fan of classical music but refused to acknowledge G-Spot as music at all—as in, she pulled the old "that's just random notes" canard. She also didn't like the insane dance, and that was pretty much a bad sign all around.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:50 AM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry about your ex. For my part, I learned about the whole Yellow Shark album (that G-Spot Tornado is on) from an ex with whom I shared a lot of good years, but also a lot of bad, and a really horrible breakup. So it's good for me that you like it (I still like it too). My relationship didn't break up over G-Spot Tornado. I sort of wish it did. It would have been easier to take. :)
posted by kalessin at 7:20 AM on October 4, 2013


Finally, given the metal bands you noted above, I am bound to note that you'd probably like Dream Theater (e.g. "Panic Attack"). Let the record reflect that I sorta hate Dream Theater, and I hereby cleanse myself with this link to High on Fire's marvelous "Snakes for the Divine."

Let the record show that it is possible to love all the metal previously mentioned in this thread; indeed, to love power and prog metal more than you love sunshine, fresh air, and baby pygmy hippos; but to still hate freaking Dream Theater.

FWIW, if you do decide to train yourself to listen to shoutier, growlier metal, I advise spending some serious quality time with Baroness's Blue Record. Listen to it a whole bunch of times, even if you can't hear what's special about it at first. If you are patient, eventually the album will bloom for you like goddamn rose and then you'll find yourself able to appreciate the blazing wonder and glory of bands like Mastodon, Black Tusk, and (of course) High on Fire.

And once the High on Fire level opens, you'll be well on your way to learning how to savor the deliciousness of Nile, Meshuggah, Cephalic Carnage (mmm, Cephalic Carnage!) and countless others. It's worth it, even if right now that stuff just sounds like the work of a couple of angry muppets who got hold of a drum kit and industrial sewing machine.

/Person who discovered metal in middle age.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:15 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


From this FPP, I discovered Corvus Corax and their epic horde of ancient horns and drums.
posted by ignignokt at 8:31 AM on October 6, 2013


YES. Corvus Corax is brilliant. Driving around suburbs blasting that music is one of my formative teenage experiences.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:15 PM on October 8, 2013


Going through the list, Mr. Bungle reminds me a bit of Alamaailman Vasarat

And I haven't seen any Dixie Dregs on the list. Steve Morse Band might also fit the bill.
posted by dr. fresh at 12:52 PM on October 10, 2013


I'm pretty late to this thread, but I came in to mention Kevin Gilbert, who was virtuosically talented at writing amazing catchy deep pop tunes; he was no slouch as a singer, guitarist, or producer, either.

Smash, live
Goodness Gracious, live
Waiting, live

Ghetto of Beautiful Things from The Shaming of the True
the amazing Suit Fugue

the Toy Matinee playlist


Also, I have to turn you on to Amy X Neuburg. Full disclosure: I used to run a little indie record label, and I had the privilege of releasing three albums by Amy (one solo and two by Amy X Neuburg and Men). However, I closed down the label years ago and I get nothing out of linking to these other than the pleasure of recommending an artist I love:

Difficult by Amy X Neuburg & The Cello ChiXtet (this is particularly appropriate for this thread)
This Loud by Amy X Neuburg
Shower Song by Amy X Neuburg & Men (this was on my label!)

There's more at Pandora and MySpace - including (it looks like) all of her Utechma album (also on my label!), which has probably my favorite song of hers, My Empire (warning: long quiet fade-in). "Tango" and "Utechma" are pretty catchy, too.
posted by kristi at 9:55 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Sorry - "Ghetto of Beautiful Things" is not really a good fit for your criteria - not hooky the way much other Kevin Gilbert is. "Smash" and "Waiting" are much more conducive to singing along.)
posted by kristi at 11:44 PM on October 10, 2013


Second on Alamaailman Vasarat. That is some of the most amazing shit on earth.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:02 AM on October 11, 2013


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