Finger-picking good music recommendation, please
March 1, 2010 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Bon Iver for Springtime: I'm hooked on strings/banjo-heavy indie folk in the vein of Horse Feathers and Meric Long (of The Dodos). Feed my addiction!

I haven't stopped listening to Working Poor and Couples in two years. I need more! Yes, I already have indie-folk favorites like Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, The Dodos, Sufjan, and Fleet Foxes on heavy rotation. I feel like Horse Feathers skews a little bit folksier, banjo-ier if you will, than their more well-known contemporaries, but I don't know enough about music to say this definitively. There's just something... sunnier about "Working Poor" when compared to "Skinny Love." So what genres should I look into? What other artists should I pick up?

I'm not afraid to branch out beyond indie rock terrain, but really twangy music (yes, that's a technical term) isn't my cup of moonshine. Melodic, orchestral, well-written banjo music wins the rodeo.
posted by zoomorphic to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Great Lake Swimmers
posted by Think_Long at 10:33 AM on March 1, 2010

You need to know about Sam Amidon. Start with the song "Saro."
posted by neroli at 10:48 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Too Young to Burn by Sonny and the Sunsets is kind of like what would happen if Bon Iver spent a relaxing week on a sunny beach.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: Entertainment for the Braindead's new (free) album Roadkill.

Solo, not orchestral, but awesome: Old Man Luedecke.

Melodic is an established subgenre of banjo playing, and probably isn't what you're looking for. You'll turn up folks like Ken Perlman and Arnie Naiman.
posted by scruss at 11:23 AM on March 1, 2010

You might enjoy Pure Horsehair's album, Aubade. And not just because they have horse in their name. I can't recall if the music has any banjo in it, but I think it would be in a similar genre to what you're looking for.

I also think you'd really like Hem's first album, Rabbit Songs. Beautiful arrangements on there, folksy but not twangy at all. I used to like listening to that album while driving past the farms on the NY Thruway.
posted by wondermouse at 12:14 PM on March 1, 2010

Definitely The Avett Brothers!
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:21 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pat Donohue, the guitarist on Prairie Home Companion, was a national finger-picking guitar champion many years ago. His albums are blues, some novelty-type numbers, and miscellaneous stuff. The live album of PHC tunes is fantastic asa sort of sampler.
(He's also the uncle of one of my oldest friends, so perhaps I am biased.)

Some of the songs by New Gress Revival are not total bluegrass [yes, admittedly a bit of "not got too much Spam in it"] and may interest you.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:37 PM on March 1, 2010

posted by nicoleincanada at 1:31 PM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: I can't believe nobody suggested Megafaun! It's Bon Iver's old band, and they're great.
posted by Vhanudux at 1:40 PM on March 1, 2010

Band of Horses?
posted by clavicle at 1:50 PM on March 1, 2010

Local Natives - a California band afaik. Great stuff.
posted by flippant at 2:04 PM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: Basia Bulat, Owen Pallet, Ghost Bees, The Mountains & The Trees.
posted by oulipian at 3:28 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mumford & Sons
posted by grapesaresour at 3:38 PM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: I think you will love Nico Muhly's album "Mothertongue", and I am going to give you a copy of it.
posted by hermitosis at 4:12 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Supperbell Roundup
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:22 PM on March 1, 2010

It's probably not faux-twangy enough for you, but my immediate response to "Bon Iver but sunnier" was Bowerbirds. Upper Air and Hymns For a Dark Horse are both great.

Plus, I just learned they've jammed with Bon Iver at the Bowery Ballroom and the Paradiso, to a great many eager digicams.
posted by Beardman at 5:33 PM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: This is my favorite genre.

Le Loup - Family (try "Morning Song")
Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Grave (try "The Gardner")
Fionn Regan - The End of History (try "Black Water Child")
Radical Face - Ghost (try "Welcome Home Son")
The Loom - At Last Light EP (try "Of Vegas & Vanity")
Ola Podrida - s/t and Belly of the Lion (try "Roomful of Sparrows")
Bowerbirds - Upper Air (try "House of Diamonds")
Eric Bachmann - To the Races (try "Carrboro Woman")
Gustavo Santaolalla - Ronrocco (try "Lela")
Calexico - Garden Ruin (try "Cruel")
Mark Olson and Gary Louris - Ready For the Flood (try "Bloody Hands")
Dawn Landes - Sweet Heart Rodeo (try "Money in the Bank")
Neil Halstead - Oh! Mighty Engine (try "Elevenses")
Damien Jurado - Caught In The Trees (try "Predictive Living")

Seconding Sam Amidon, Mumford & Sons, and Be-Good Tanyas.
posted by quarked at 5:49 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The Tallest Man on Earth will definitely be what you are looking for. His voice takes a song or two to get used to.
posted by DrDreidel at 7:25 PM on March 1, 2010

Check out the Austin band Midlake. Also, Jolie Holland.
posted by xenophile at 8:08 PM on March 1, 2010

May be a long shot, but my friend who introduced me to The Dodos and Bon Iver also introduced me to Frightened Rabbit on the same mix CD. I heart them. The particular song was "The Modern Leper."
posted by buzzkillington at 8:57 PM on March 1, 2010

Best answer: I got your banjo right here.

Shearwater plays North Col, Mountain Laurel, Red Sea Black Sea. Warning: their new album has plenty of strings but no banjo.
posted by stuck on an island at 5:46 AM on March 2, 2010

Best answer: How timely -- the excellent blog Mad Mackerel just posted a track from the new Horse Feathers album, which is due out April 20. Check it out.

A tour is in the works, too. I caught them last spring; they put on a lovely show, sounding, well, just about like what you'd expect.
posted by quarked at 4:15 AM on March 3, 2010

Noah and the Whale, Laura Gibson and Sally Ford and the Sound Outside are worth checking out.

+1 for Avett Brothers, Fanfarlo, Mumford & Sons, Tallest Man on Earth, Okkervil River
posted by Jako at 11:51 AM on March 6, 2010

Oh, and big +1 for Frightened Rabbit. I am crushing on them massively right now.
Also in that vein (at least, also Scottish...) might be Camera Obscura.

I also forgot to mention Blind Pilot. They are excellent, as well.
posted by Jako at 12:00 PM on March 6, 2010

"Melodic, orchestral, well-written banjo music wins the rodeo. "

That is the Avett Brothers. Start with "Emotionalism" or "Country Was". Their appearance on Austin City Limits is also a good place to start. You can find it at this link.
posted by MotorNeuron at 8:44 AM on March 7, 2010

Jalan Crossland is a man who ought to be far more famous than he is. This guy is GOOD, and what's more, he's a real mensch.
posted by lauranesson at 11:45 PM on March 7, 2010

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