Tell me about albums and artists representative of their genre
January 24, 2005 8:45 PM   Subscribe

MusicFilter: I decided to explore new territory in the new year. I want to discover at least one new artist a week and I'm kind of lost...(come inside to the dance!)

My problem is not finding new musicians. It's figuring out which CDs are most representative of their oeuvre. I've been liking the perky French pop of Les Sans Culottes and Serge Gainsbourg lately as well as the bossa-dance sounds of Brazilian Girls. My friend recommended Vienna Teng and while she sounds too much like Tori Amos for my taste, I like it.

Ultimately, I'd like to know what bands along these lines (the more independent/obscure, the better!) I should be listening to and which albums I should own.

Other favorites to give you an idea of what I like are The Cure, The Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio and Belle and Sebastian.
posted by amandaudoff to Media & Arts (24 answers total)
Oh! And for more reference, here's my Audioscrobbler page.
posted by amandaudoff at 8:51 PM on January 24, 2005

You might like Left Hand Smoke (link to music clips). Try the So Many Faces album.
posted by null terminated at 8:51 PM on January 24, 2005

Check out Stars - they'd fit into your current tastes well. They just released a full-length, "Set Yourself on Fire" which is a little more consistent than the previous "Heart" - but both are really great sweet, sappy indiepop records.
posted by philscience at 8:55 PM on January 24, 2005

You might like Music For Robots (it's a website, not a band). Lots of indie stuff, some underground hiphop, but also obscure stuff from Bands You Know. Also, lots of free mp3s, which helps.
posted by jimray at 8:58 PM on January 24, 2005

I wish there was a collaborative, structured "let's discover music together" blog somewhere... (which is an outrageously blatant hint for someone to call me a moron and point me at one..)
posted by socratic at 9:39 PM on January 24, 2005

Ah, I guess audioscrobbler might be close ... though, based on my 30-second review, it's more like a "you're listening to X so you might like Y and the people who like both X and Y"... I'm thinking of "Person X hears of a band in Portland and shares with Y, Z, and, erm, A"
posted by socratic at 9:48 PM on January 24, 2005

Mp3 Blogs are what you are looking for.

Also, if you're trying to figure out what an artists "definitive" album is, the All Music Guides "AMG picks" are rarely off target in that department. Though their reviews have never been particularly insightful, they tend to track almost exactly to critical concensus. Which is helpful considering the way most people use the AMG.
posted by TTIKTDA at 9:54 PM on January 24, 2005

Bebel Gilberto's first album, Tanto Tempo is fantastic bossa/dance.

Kings of Convenience, Sondre Lerche, Jens Lekman, Devandra Banhart all have similar sounds - a Simon and Garfunkle, Donovan and mellower Belle and Sebastian kind of vibe.

How about a little Canadian stuff? The Dears sound like the Smiths, but not really; Broken Social Scene sound like something different from song to song; Metric has some great 80's style pop-rock.

Want some samples? The best place to look is the labels themselves. Rainbow Quartz is your source for garage-y beatle-esque pop. Matador Records is a good stop for finding new and neat music. There's always Pitchfork. Or Epitonic. Try looking for that special mp3 blog.

I'm telling you, there's more free music out there than you can shake a stick at. It's free, it's easy to find, it's endless, it's amazing.
posted by ashbury at 10:01 PM on January 24, 2005

It would be tough for me to pin an album to Gainsbourg (and this one is certainly not representative) but I always liked "Bonnie and Clyde"(MP3 samples). A more obscure name on an Americans lips would be Dominique a. His recent work is much darker and more typical, IMO, but his early stuff is very sparse, plin plonky, and lyrical. English bio for Mr. A.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 10:08 PM on January 24, 2005

If you're into the French pop, you might like Keren Ann. Here's a review.
posted by mookieproof at 10:34 PM on January 24, 2005

She seems to me either an artist you love or just don't get at all, but it might be worth checking out Joanna Newsom. I saw her open for Sufjan Stevens this past summer and I really fell in love with her. Her first commercially released album is The Milk Eyed-Mender, which would be my recommendation on where to start.
posted by liverbisque at 11:58 PM on January 24, 2005

Les Nubians are a French-African duo, two women with lovely voices. They have a sophisticated, jazzy hip hop style. You might like them.
posted by sic at 12:34 AM on January 25, 2005

Antony & the Johnsons, maybe?   
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:36 AM on January 25, 2005

Sorry to be off topic, but jimray, thanks for that link to Music For Robots- I did college radio with some of those guys, it's surreal to see them as a presence on the web.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:20 AM on January 25, 2005

Have you played with musicplasma. Probably a bit mainstream but a good idea really nicely done.
posted by grahamwell at 4:39 AM on January 25, 2005

I learn about new music from Other Music. Their weekly updates are a great way to find new artists. You can sign up on the main page by entering your email address. Each week they will email you reviews of new releases and links to audio samples (Real Player). The music is never dull or maintsream, and they feature a bit of emo, indie, electronica, jazz, reggae, and experimental music in every update.
posted by mds35 at 6:36 AM on January 25, 2005

GNOD (or more specifically, Gnoosic may be able to help find artists that relate (stylistically) to each other.

Not too sure where you'd find "the best album for this artis is... x " information, unless someone can hook into the Amazon API and read the average user rating, or something...
posted by Chunder at 6:38 AM on January 25, 2005 is where I have been discovering and downloading a lot of new stuff. Updated every hour.

Agree with grahamwell about musicplasma. uses the same interface and seems to run off a slightly different database.
posted by omnidrew at 8:04 AM on January 25, 2005

Starflyer 59.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:35 AM on January 25, 2005

How about allmusic? I've linked to the discography page for one of your examples, Les Sans Culottes, and you can see they pick Faux Realism as the essential album. Also, the overview page for each artist will link you to similar artists. I've always found this site pretty helpful.
posted by katie at 8:46 AM on January 25, 2005

Here's another idea: join the MefiSwap! I have pretty eclectic tastes and a very large music collection, but the swap never fails to turn me onto something new.
posted by mds35 at 10:28 AM on January 25, 2005

If you're into Belle and Sebastian, check out Camera Obscura. Another Glaswegian indie pop band, with mostly female vocals. Underachievers Please Try Harder is wonderful.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2005

Online record shops:




(the first two have sound clips, which make it a bit easier to try before you buy (or download))
posted by iamck at 10:56 AM on January 25, 2005

You might want to check out:


Louis Philippe

Both of which were featured on my regular MP3 posts at Viewropa.
posted by dodgygeezer at 11:30 AM on January 25, 2005

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