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How do I bridge this gap gracefully?
March 13, 2008 6:43 PM   Subscribe

I like indie type rock. He likes U2 and Bon Jovi. Help me make a mix cd he won't hate!

I'm trying to make a mix cd composed of indie type music that isn't too...subversive? Out there? For a guy used to mainstream type rock like U2, Goo Goo Dolls, Blue Rodeo, The Fray, etc. I have made him mix cds in the past which have been mostly what I'm listening to but thought he would like. Wrong every time. Help me impress him this time. I'm looking basically for songs he's never heard of before but would be accessible to someone with his tastes. Sorry if this is vague!

For example this time I'm including:

Ryan Adams - To Be Young
Pete Yorn - Closet
Spoon - I Summon You

But also some older stuff like

Billy Joel - Vienna
Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness

which I know he also appreciates.

If any clarification is needed, will be watching this thread. Thanks!
posted by heavenstobetsy to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
The overlap between radio rock and good music is very small. Maybe something from the last two Modest Mouse albums? There's also a lot of artists that are both (relatively) good and not too weird, like Cake and Apples in Stereo, but which he probably wouldn't like anyway.

How about Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Shins?
posted by abcde at 6:54 PM on March 13, 2008


Ooh, fun question. Here are my recs:

Arcade Fire "Wake Up," and "Rebellion."
New Pornographers "The Bleeding Heart Show"
Bloc Party "This Modern Love" "Pioneers"
Flaming Lips "Do You Realize?"

Do these seem like they'd be good? They're all sort of anthem-y.
posted by lunasol at 6:58 PM on March 13, 2008


Matthew Sweet - Sick of Myself
Reel Big Fish - Drunk Again
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 6:58 PM on March 13, 2008


Silversun Pickups? Snow Patrol? Some off-the-beaten-path Beatles?
posted by PhatLobley at 7:01 PM on March 13, 2008


What a fun challenge! I concur with some Shins and Modest Mouse action. You might want to slip in some REM that he will most likely relate to and while he's not paying attention, a song by the Decemberists and maybe one of the more Beatlesy Guided By Voices songs that's poppy and lo-fi. And don't forget about the Kinks! A band for all ages and all tastes! And I think Spoon is just about perfect for everyone. Good luck!
posted by cachondeo45 at 7:17 PM on March 13, 2008


Seconding The Decemberists, and I will add Say Anything and Wilco.
posted by thenuts at 7:27 PM on March 13, 2008


great question. these are all very melodic tunes that i view as pretty accessible (nothing too weird here):

two gallants - despite what you've been told
the strokes - modern girls and old fashioned men
the promise ring - get on the floor
pink floyd - have a cigar
parts & labor - the gold we're digging
john vanderslice - gruesome details
jimmy eat world - no sensitivity
cake - italian leather sofa
the hold steady - stuck between stations
the get up kids - anne arbor
final fantasy - this is the dream of win and regine
death cab for cutie - why you'd want to live here
the cure - just like heaven
bloc party - this modern love
band of horses - the funeral
animal collective - peacebone
silversun pickups - melatonin
radiohead - the bends
editors - smokers outside hospital doors
lcd soundsystem - all my friends
the darkness - growing on me
ghostland observatory - sad sad city
the white stripes - the denial twist
the thermals - returning to the fold
wilco - i'm the man who loves you
the shins - young pilgrims

YMMV.
posted by ncc1701d at 7:29 PM on March 13, 2008


Maybe some TV on the Radio? perhaps the song Dreams or Staring at the Sun... (which also shares a title with one of my favorite U2 songs)
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 7:33 PM on March 13, 2008


Imogen Heap. Feist. Broken Social Scene. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins.
posted by Dreama at 8:01 PM on March 13, 2008


The Wrens
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
The New Pornographers - "Electric Version"
Flaming Lips - "Yoshimi..." or "The Soft Bulletin"
Turbonegro
The Donnas
possibly The Bear Quartet
All
Jellyfish
Suneohair
Grandaddy

list goes on...
posted by rhizome at 8:02 PM on March 13, 2008


ya, fun question. I'm guessing he's looking for catchy tunes, high production, sung by men that aren't particularly weird. How about:

radiohead - jigsaw falling into place
dandy warhols - bohemian like you
bloc party - banquet
franz ferdinand - *anything!*
the national - mistaken for strangers
neil young - my my, hey hey
tragically hip - new orleans is sinking
spoon - the way we get by

I have to disagree with the decemberists suggestion. I like them, but sometimes even I want to punch Colin Meloy in the face.

Also, keep in mind that his taste may also simply be "songs I've heard a thousand times before". So, make a mix of songs you love, go on a roadtrip and then play it constantly.
posted by kamelhoecker at 8:11 PM on March 13, 2008



posted by jacobm at 8:18 PM on March 13, 2008


"singing in my sleep" - semisonic. namechecks a buncha indie bands, or alludes to them, but yeah, it's semisonic!

ditto the wrens, bloc party, and the promise ring. buddy holly. the smiths. the flaming lips.

this is an excellent question by the way. i have two favorite people to get mix tapes from. one is hyper-obscure and brilliant in a straightforward obvious way. the other one is a genius at bridging this gap you speak of. his art of the mix profile is here if you care to peruse it.
posted by ifjuly at 8:21 PM on March 13, 2008


OK. What it sounds like he likes is anthemic rock; stadium rock. It sounds like you enjoy jangly, quirky stuff.

I'm going to go with the assumption that he also likes classic rock, and throw out some bands:

The Replacements: Every time the Goo-Goo Dolls play a song, they should mail $5 back to the Replacements. Reznik (or however you spell it) has made a career out of sounding like their singer, Paul Westerberg, only less drunk.

Black Mountain: They blend Black Sabbath stoner grooves with Pink Floyd pacing, and their male/female harmonies give a tension that puts them even further above the bar band. They're another Canadian collective, which comprises Pink Mountaintops, Jerk With a Bomb and Lightning Dust too.

Kyuss: If he listens to mainstream rock, he'll know Queens of the Stone Age. This is where they came from, out in the desert.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre; The Deadly Snakes: Choose one (or both) of these based on what Rolling Stones album he likes, with BJM for Her Majesty's… and DS for Exile….

I'm also going to give a couple theories (while being as unjudgmental as possible) on his listening habits and make a recommendation for mixtapes:

First off, he could very well be someone who just likes perfunctory music. He might be someone for whom what's on doesn't really matter, though he knows the big names and likes them OK. If so, don't worry about making mixtapes for him—he won't ever really enjoy them.

He could also be someone who likes to listen to the same thing often, and so has no interest in novelty. In that case, the best thing that you could do wouldn't be trying to make him a mixtape of music he hasn't heard, but rather go through and pick out music of his and make the tape from that. A lot of indie fans assume that their tastes are superior to "mainstream" music, but forget that being "indie" isn't a predictor of quality.

If he is someone who's up for "new" music, you both might be well-served by listening to some precursors of both indie and stadium rock, like The Yardbirds, Big Star, The La's, Velvet Underground, Gang of Four, Wire, early REM, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 8:57 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok Go - Get Over It
posted by mpls2 at 9:06 PM on March 13, 2008


Pinback is easily accessible (catchy)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXH35QA9XeM

You should come back and post this mix if you can, I bet it'll turn out to be a great driving around mix.
posted by oblio_one at 9:09 PM on March 13, 2008


Hey, I just made a mix called "Springtime Rock!" It includes anthemic indie stuff that a mainstream rocker should still dig.

Check out Belle & Sebastian. Key songs: Blues are Still Blue, White Collar Boy
Check out OK GO (like mpis2 said). Key song: This Will Be Our Year
Check out Weezer! Pretty much any song.
Check out Wilco! (mentioned already). Key songs: Hate it Here, Walken, Jesus Etc.,
Check out Ben Folds (Five). Key songs: Philosophy, Not The Same, One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
Check out The Darkness! Instant modern classics with "I Believe In A Things Called Love." Also check out anything from their album, Permission to Land.
Also, Cake might be fun. Try their songs The Distance, Tougher Than It Is, and Never There.

Definitely on the right track with Spoon (I love "Don't You Evah")....

Looking forward to seeing the final tracklist!
posted by Milkman Dan at 9:13 PM on March 13, 2008


Lately I've been listening to the 80's alternative station on XM a lot in the car, and wondering to myself "Why weren't the Alarm and the Call ruling the world back then?" Seriously anthemic stuff, but I don't know that anyone who didn't listen to college radio back then would really have heard it.

Also, along similar lines: The Church's "Unguarded Moment".
posted by padraigin at 9:15 PM on March 13, 2008


Sounds like what he likes is balls-to-the-wall rock and roll, as opposed to what could be considered sissy-boy indie rock. With that in mind, my first thought is The Strokes, which is about as rock and roll as they come these days.

So it doesn't get lost in the lists above, I'm definitely re-recommending The Hold Steady. If you're not familiar, they sound like a younger Bruce Springstein. Stuck Between Stations is a great track, but the albums are filled with other great tracks.

Something to also think about is Against Me!. Definitely different, but polished enough and ballsy for any modern rock fan to appreciate.

If he's into bluesy rock in the vein of old Zepplin, he might like the new White Stripes record. I do. And I didn't like their previous albums much at all.
posted by General Malaise at 10:30 PM on March 13, 2008


Lowgold - Beauty Dies Young
Chin Up Chin Up - Falcons and Vulcans
Pedro The Lion - Magazine
Jets to Brazil - Lemon Yellow Black
John Vanderslice - Big Band Stars
Rogue Wave - Endless Shovel
The National - All The Wine
The New Year - Newness Ends
posted by extramundane at 10:55 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, "A Loose Hair Falls Into A Glass Of Water Without Ice" by Carissa's Wierd is a good one too.
posted by extramundane at 11:02 PM on March 13, 2008


No to The Decemberists, Belle and Sebastian, Modest Mouse, and Animal Collective.

Yes to Arcade Fire (obviously), The Shins, The New Pornos, The Hold Steady, The Wrens.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:32 PM on March 13, 2008


And yes to Band of Horses.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:33 PM on March 13, 2008


I am curious what your previous CDs had that was cause for rejection, it might give a better feel for what he dislikes. I'm kind of in a similar position here, I listen to a lot of indie pop/rock but my boyfriend is mostly a modern radio rock type person, though he's a bit easier to please, it sounds like.

I second the recommendation for cool songs by bands he may already be familiar with--REM was mentioned. He probably knows their huge hits that get lots of airplay, but songs like "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" are infectiously catchy and are a great inroad to a lot of contemporary indie pop. The Police might also be useful--everyone knows "Every Breath You Take" but he might not know "So Lonely" or "Can't Stand Losing You." Also, Pulp and the Verve are two really influential bands that I also think are pretty accessible, and thanks to "Bittersweet Symphony" he probably already knows The Verve. In fact, it might be worthwhile to explore britpop in greater depth--it seems like it might be the intersection of your taste and his, because it's got enough variety to remain interesting and a certain amount of indie credibility but it's also got undeniable radio rock appeal thanks to the likes of Oasis and 1990s Radiohead. If you can get him into Snow Patrol, you can get him into Coldplay, and if you can get him into Coldplay you're set.

PS--if all else fails, try plugging a few of his favorite songs into Pandora and see what you get. better mixtapes through science, yo.
posted by zeusianfog at 11:56 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anything by Kings of Leon should suit a straight-up rock fan. Heck, my Dad likes 'em.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:01 AM on March 14, 2008


Kind of "altenative" but still chuggy guitar based stuff - Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, Dandy Warhols. DO NOT give him any songs by Belle and Sebastian.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 4:03 AM on March 14, 2008


The Killers
posted by gene_machine at 4:38 AM on March 14, 2008


Seconding The Alarm and The Call. And thirding or fourthing avoidance of Belle and Sebastian for this situation. (B&S have their place, but it's not on this mix.)
posted by chr1sb0y at 5:36 AM on March 14, 2008


I listen to similar music to both of you. I like U2 and all sorts of indie (as far out as Xiu Xiu and Final Fantasy)

I third or fourth The National. Key songs: Mistaken for Strangers and Fake Empire

No one's mentioned Interpol yet. Try: Untitled (features a U2 style intro), Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down, Say Hello To The Angles. Pretty much the Turn on the Bright Lights album.

Try: Minus the Bear - Pachuca Sunrise

Peter, Bjorn and John and Beirut are really easy listening indie style stuff.

Lastly, create stations on Pandora. Put in U2 and it will find similar, possibly more obscure music for you.
posted by Galen at 5:45 AM on March 14, 2008


Thanks everyone, awesome suggestions! Keep them coming if you've got them. I will post the final mix here as well.

Also to those suggesting Pandora, it's an awesome idea but closed to Canada now. Very sad.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 6:13 AM on March 14, 2008


I just want to throw in that 'Shiny Toy Guns' got me into new means of music.

They aren't indie indie. But more like indie industrial rock. Check them out, you might like them.

I definitely want to see the final mix cd though :D
posted by Schuby at 7:34 AM on March 14, 2008


First off, he could very well be someone who just likes perfunctory music. He might be someone for whom what's on doesn't really matter, though he knows the big names and likes them OK. If so, don't worry about making mixtapes for him—he won't ever really enjoy them.

He could also be someone who likes to listen to the same thing often, and so has no interest in novelty. In that case, the best thing that you could do wouldn't be trying to make him a mixtape of music he hasn't heard, but rather go through and pick out music of his and make the tape from that. A lot of indie fans assume that their tastes are superior to "mainstream" music, but forget that being "indie" isn't a predictor of quality.


Obviously, you know your boyfriend better than we do, but I was going to say pretty much what klangklangston said here--it's possible that your boyfriend just isn't a music fan in the same way you are; I have friends that listened to music in a manner similar to what he's described here. Even though they eventually came around on some things, they'll scoff at whatever weird music I'm listening to at the moment on the basis of the band name alone. It might be better to just play your music when he's around and let him warm up to it on his own.

That said, I don't think any of the more twee recommendations in here are going to fill the bill. I love Belle & Sebastian, but them, the Shins, and the Decemberists are not bands to give to someone who's pretty much a straight forward rockist.
posted by LionIndex at 9:01 AM on March 14, 2008


I agree with LionIndex, the twee isn't going to cut it...Belle and Sebastian are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I'd say most guys who love the Goo Goo Dolls aren't going to get it. I'd say Beirut isn't a safe bet either.

What about:
Modern Lovers - Roadrunner
Modest Mouse - The Good Times are Killing Me
Stephen Malkmus - Jenny and the Ess Dog
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Where Have all the Rude Boys Gone
T Rex - 20 Century Boy
Anything by Dinosaur Jr.?, Big Star, and Pavement (maybe stick to the more melodic Pavement songs)

Nthing The Flaming Lips, The Replacements, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio and The National...
posted by dearest at 2:01 PM on March 14, 2008


"I have to disagree with the decemberists suggestion. I like them, but sometimes even I want to punch Colin Meloy in the face."

Well said kamelhoecker.

I got here late but was racing to the bottom of this thread just to veto the Decemberists. The worst way to convince a top 40/mainstream music type into listening to indie rock is to play them songs about Eli the Barrow Boy or a Shanty for the Arethusa. I like the Decemberists but sometimes I feel like I am too dumb to truly appreciate them. That said, most people who like the popular stuff would rather listen to songs about wanting to bone your teacher or whatever else is easily digestable.

I think Mutemath rocks and has some catchy songs. Try "Noticed" or "Chaos"....
posted by ro50 at 1:55 PM on March 19, 2008


I like the Decemberists but sometimes I feel like I am too dumb to truly appreciate them.

I was with you up til there.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:59 PM on March 19, 2008


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