Songs that are a throwback to the 1930s-1960s?
August 30, 2009 4:29 PM   Subscribe

I like Amy Winehouse, psychobilly, the Pipettes, the Acid House Kings, the O Brother... soundtrack, and even that throw-back-to-the-Andrews-Sisters Christina Aguilera song. I have a craving for music produced in the now but inspired by the 1930s to early 1960s, with my favourite era being the 1940s. Can you recommend anymore good contemporary rock/pop bands along these lines, including psychobilly bands I may not have heard about yet?

I have seen this question, but I tend less towards Motown and more towards rock, pop and punk.

I know most O Brother songs are traditional, but except for the vintage recordings, they've all got that contemporary kick that draws me in.

I've only just gotten into psychobilly, so I've yet to plumb its depths.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, the early-mid 90's saw a resurgence of Big band Swing. If you don't mind going back a few years, you should check out some Brian Setzer and some Squirrel Nut Zippers.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:36 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Miss Derringer
posted by dortmunder at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2009

Best answer: Probably already on your list, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention The Cramps.
posted by electroboy at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2009

Best answer: The Two Man Gentleman Band

Curtis Eller.

Vermilion Lies.
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM on August 30, 2009

"Hasil Adkins makes G.G. Allin look like Merve Griffin." He's been called the king of psychobilly, so he's probably worth a listen.

Some of the Avett Brothers' songs are a perfect combination of bluegrass and punk. Ditto for Old Crow Medicine Show. Those Darlins are a little more country, but sound like a modern throwback to Loretta Lynn.
posted by Frank Grimes at 4:46 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Detroit Cobras
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:46 PM on August 30, 2009

I strongly recommend the album Last Train Headed South by the bluegrass band Union Springs, which includes an awesome cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Leaves That Are Green."
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:49 PM on August 30, 2009

I suggest Have Love Will Travel.
posted by pinky at 4:51 PM on August 30, 2009

Best answer: Anything by Gillian Welch - she's supreme.
posted by Dag Maggot at 4:55 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

Wayne Hancock, Dave Alvin, Detroit Cobras, Dexter Romweber and Flat Duo Jets, the Cramps, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Gillian Welch, Kid Congo Powers, the Knitters, Gun Club, Alison Krauss, Lucinda Williams, Levon Helm Band, Reverend Horton Heat, Hank Williams III, Drive By Truckers, Southern Culture on the Skids, Fetchin' Bones, Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys, Wanda Jackson, Charlie Feathers, Ronnie Dawson, Hasil Adkins, Benny Joy, Link Wray, Bill Monroe, BR549, etc.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:57 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

I just re-discovered Dance Hall Crashers myself... They're a ska-punk band with Andrews Sisters-esque frontwomen. Fun, bouncy music.

Tsunami Bomb is more heavy punk/power-pop but their vocalist has the same sort of sound.

And of course there's Paul McCartney's older Beatles/solo homages to Tin Pan Alley and the like...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:58 PM on August 30, 2009

Bonnie Prince Billy aka Will Oldham
Okkerville River
Meat Purveyors
posted by kimdog at 5:08 PM on August 30, 2009

Best answer: The Ditty Bops (official site).
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:19 PM on August 30, 2009

Reverend Horton Heat was a fairly large psychobilly band in the mid-90s.

Another one to check out is Maude Maggart - she sings a lot of 30s/40s cabaret numbers, and she's fantastic live if you ever get a chance to see her.
posted by swngnmonk at 5:29 PM on August 30, 2009

seconding Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, with the caveat that his music is very diverse. Each album has a very different sound- "Lie Down in the Light" and "I See a Darkness" are the most critically acclaimed, but given you're taste I'd particularly recommend "The Letting Go." More info here.
posted by farishta at 5:38 PM on August 30, 2009

I have been having a love affair recently with Max Raabe's stuff. He and his orchestra have been recreating modern pop hits in a Weimar-Repubic-esque style for a few years now. If you liked Christina's Candyman then you may like this as well.

Here he is doing Lady Marmalade
posted by Tchad at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2009

Kitten on the Keys
Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers
Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys
posted by chez shoes at 5:57 PM on August 30, 2009

nthing Old Crow Medicine Show, Gillian Welch, Rev Horton Heat, and adding Mojo Nixon (and his collaboration with Jello Biafra).
posted by rodgerd at 5:59 PM on August 30, 2009

See also: Bob Log III, Al Foul, Jack Grace Band, Son Volt, Mike Ness, The Come Ons, Hawaii Samurai, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Roky Erickson, Dale Watson, etc.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:01 PM on August 30, 2009

Also, if your taste extends to 40s/50s jazz you should look at Lisa Ekdahl.
posted by rodgerd at 6:02 PM on August 30, 2009

If you like your 1950s Americana filtered through 1980s Britain, rather than being bang up to date, you might get a kick out of:
Shakin Stevens
The Polecats
Guana Batz
The Meteors

Interested in modern surf rock?
The Bomboras
Los Straightjackets
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 6:13 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Puppini Sisters are exactly what you're looking for.
posted by flatluigi at 6:15 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis!

Also, I haven't seen it, but you might also be interested in the movie We Dreamed America.
posted by Xalf at 6:28 PM on August 30, 2009

You might like some Mojo Nixon

Check out the album Halloween Hootenanny. It's A) A good Halloween Album and B) a good mix of artists you might like

In the same vien, the soundtrack to A Dirty Shame has lots of dirty sleazy rockabilly from now and later.

A lot of The Divine Comedy sounds like it comes from the pre-rock 60s.
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on August 30, 2009

More Divine Comedy and some of Patric Wolf.

Big John Bates and Burlesque Is Dead.

The Lords of the Highway will give you a 100$ hangover.

The Raveonettes say ..My Boyfriend's Back.

Not modern, but sounds like it should be. Juke Box Jive.

All! Girl! 50s Japanese Surf rock! Ladies and gentleman the!
Oh C'mon and Do the Barracuda!

A little more abstract 60s inspired, but beautiful, to me Go Out And Love Someone.

Hang Up your chick habit, hang it up daddy-o...
posted by The Whelk at 7:43 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Beat Farmers
posted by jet_silver at 7:44 PM on August 30, 2009

Circus Fish, sorry.
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on August 30, 2009

Best answer: Seconding the Ditty Bopps, though they're about as un-psychobilly as it gets.

If you're OK with French, Thomas DuTronc is awesome in general, but has a few songs that might suit your interests. My favorites are Comme un manouche sans guitare and J'aime plus Paris.

I'm not sure where these guys are from, but based on the funny o's and the swing dancers in the background, I'm going to say they're Swedish!

Also worth looking into the Commitments - it's amazing. A bunch of Irish kids start a soul band. The soundtrack has covers of songs like Midnight Hour, At the Dark End of the Street, etc. It's really fantastic!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:52 PM on August 30, 2009

nellie mckay
posted by nadawi at 7:55 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bob Dylan, "Love and Theft"
posted by KokuRyu at 8:18 PM on August 30, 2009

Thee Headcoats and Thee Heacoatees. Super garage.

Also The Flaming Stars. More lounge lizardy you cannot get.

Oh, and you know Amy Winehouse's backing band from Rehab was the Dap Kings from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, n'esct-pas? Thanks for this question, actually, now I'm a bounce along to 100 Days, 100 Nights....
posted by Diablevert at 8:51 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive
posted by kirkaracha at 9:32 PM on August 30, 2009

The Creepshow is a Canadian "hellbilly" band.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:12 PM on August 30, 2009

On the 'O Brother' tip: Justin Townes Earle (self-link) -- yeah, he's Steve's kid, but he's a throwback.
posted by pfafflin at 10:17 PM on August 30, 2009

Check out I'm Going Down, by Mary J Blige.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 10:24 PM on August 30, 2009

More on the traditional American music end, Greg Graffin from Bad Religion recorded an entire album in the traditional style-- a circle of players around a mic. It's called Cold as the Clay, and if you dig murder ballads and the like, you might be into it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:13 PM on August 30, 2009

The Builders and the Butchers

Video's not that great, but the song is. The rest of their two albums is pretty much the same kind of sound.
posted by dogwalker at 11:18 PM on August 30, 2009

Tiger Army (maybe not what you are looking for, but a great psychobilly band)
posted by wuzandfuzz at 12:02 AM on August 31, 2009

I love the Scarring Party, although it's possibly that they throw back a little further than you were looking for.
posted by redsparkler at 1:02 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Those Darlins
Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele
Madame Pamita
Tippy Canoe and Her Paddlemen
Veronique Chevalier
Lucien Desar

To some extent, Inara George and Van Dyke Parks's album (which is becoming my default suggestion on AskMe) would also do the trick...

Oh, and Jolie Holland and the Be Good Tanyas.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:36 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Shiners. Bonnie Blue is my favorite. Fast-paced bluegrass with an edge. YouTube clip: My Baby Thinks He's a Train.
posted by marxchivist at 5:37 AM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: I think you might like Blanche.
posted by obliquicity at 7:14 AM on August 31, 2009

Don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, but I heard on the World Cafe that fans of James Hunter started a production company for him to get the word out on his music. That got my attention (though I can't find any evidence of it so maybe I'm remembering it wrong). People Gonna Talk is my favorite of his albums.
posted by cali59 at 7:52 AM on August 31, 2009

Also, there are a few songs on Esthero's Wikkid Li'l Girls album that might fit the bill. Ignore the stupid spelling -- the album is like the thinking person's Back to Basics.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:13 PM on August 31, 2009

Panda Bear! Pretty much what would happen if Brian Wilson had been born in 1978 Baltimore.
posted by Gotham at 4:16 PM on August 31, 2009

Best answer: Thirding the Puppini sisters. They do covers of various songs from the 40s to the present, more or less in the style of the Andrews Sisters.
posted by exceptinsects at 4:44 PM on August 31, 2009

Response by poster: Wow. I'm going through this list bit-by-bit, so expect Best Answers to trickle in over time. This is awesome!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:27 PM on September 1, 2009

Andrew Bird - Really really intricate, complicated, poppy orchestral folk-y stuff that sounds like it comes from some other era. Plus, he worked with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Start with, say, Armchair Apocrypha.

Castanets - Described as, kinda, Gothic Country, it's basically old time + noise (in the noise-rock way, not like, you know, noise). Start with Cathedral and followup with First Light's Freeze.

Akron/Family - They get lumped in to the "freak folk" movement, but there's so much more rock in these guys than any Devendra Banhart wannabe. Loose, sometimes noisy stomp-rock.

Angels of Light - This might be your new favorite band. It's essentially Michael Gira from avant-noise-destruction group Swans, singing, uh, death-blues.

Actually here is a full stream of a split album between Akron/Family and Angels of Light. The first 7 songs are A/F and the last few are Angels of Light with A/F as his backing band. Also, this split kills.
posted by sleeping bear at 10:42 PM on September 6, 2009

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