Dinner party music recommendations
September 4, 2011 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me some nice indie records to play at low volume during a dinner with friends.

My musical tastes are varied, and I don't mind an eclectic mix of music, but I'm looking for complete records. I'm thinking in the neighborhood of stuff like: from My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo, Neko Case, B&S, Ted Leo, Uncle Tupelo, maybe less sex-songy trip hop. I'm wide open but want to avoid Jazz, hip hop, or anything pre-1985 on this set..

Again classic records played at low volume, chill, not too experimental/noisy, and not depressing.
posted by drpynchon to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 108 users marked this as a favorite
The Postal Service "Give Up" is probably what you want. Very chill, very happy-feeling for the most part, and almost every track is a classic.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:52 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

YES! "Give Up" exactly the type of record I'm looking for!! Please keep them coming.
posted by drpynchon at 4:53 PM on September 4, 2011

Emperor Tomato Ketchup
posted by pompomtom at 4:59 PM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

Eisley Combinations, The Weepies' Say I Am You. Not sure about how classic they are, but they're indie, chill, and not depressing records.
posted by sunnychef88 at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2011

I always like Beirut, Regina Spektor, Vampire Weekend, the Strokes...
posted by miles1972 at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Cat Power is excellent dinner music - "The Greatest," or anything really.

I also like TV on the Radio's "Dear Science" for this purpose - very pretty and grand with lots of texture, and it flows well all the way through.
posted by ella wren at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mirah-Come on Miracle, Keren Ann- Not Going Anywhere
posted by kimdog at 5:15 PM on September 4, 2011

Lia Ices' Grown Unknown
posted by Opal at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo

I'm partial to Slowdive's Pygmalion and Souvlaki for this vibe: they've got the shoegaze sound of MBV without the noisy aggressiveness, very pretty, chill, and lush.

...less sex-songy trip hop

You pretty much can't go wrong with Kruder & Dorfmeister, The K&D Sessions and DJ Kicks.
posted by googly at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2011

Seconding stereo lab's "Emperor Tomato Ketchup." Also:
The Go-Betweens "Oceans Apart"
Super Furry Animals "Phantom Power"
Supergrass "Road to Rouen"
Pretty much any Paul Weller album
Spoon "Girls Can Tell"
posted by dayintoday at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best. Song. Ever.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2011

Stars, Doves, Explosions in the Sky...
posted by miles1972 at 5:20 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Donawhale - Dive to Blue
posted by Winnemac at 5:20 PM on September 4, 2011

*Stereolab (stupid autocorrect)
posted by dayintoday at 5:25 PM on September 4, 2011

I always like to think a meal should make music of its own :-P, anyhow...

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Feist - The Reminder
posted by obscurator at 5:29 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Broadcast, Hidden Cameras.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:29 PM on September 4, 2011

The Shins--Oh, Inverted World
Magnetic Fields--Holiday
Willie Nelson--Spirit
Fleet Foxes--Fleet Foxes
posted by rumposinc at 5:30 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sufjan Stevens has a few good albums. I love Badly Drawn Boy's Hour Of the Bewilderbeast. Rilo Kiley's solo albums are good. The one she did with the Watson Twins was great, but Acid Tongue was even better. Of course you can't go wrong with anything in Belle and Sebastian's catalog. For dinner music, I suggest The Boy With the Arab Strap and Fold Your Hands... Oh, and are your friends geeks? Like simultaneously artsy and really into Dungeons and Dragons? If so, get hold of Final Fantasy's He Poos Clouds. It's supposedly "an eight-song cycle about the eight schools of magic in D&D." And it's really good.
posted by jwhite1979 at 5:31 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous. I've been at a dinner party where this was playing and noted how well it worked, although this was more of a pot-luck type of party.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 5:41 PM on September 4, 2011

I just realized everything I mentioned was ridiculously mellow. For upbeat, I like The Apples In Stereo's New Magnetic Wonder, and anything by Billy Childish or All Girl Summer Fun Band.
posted by jwhite1979 at 5:41 PM on September 4, 2011

Things I have put on as background noise for dinner/quiet evenings/any occasion that does not have obvious music requirements like a kegger or a wake:

The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featuring Seu Jorge
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Andrew Bird, Noble Beasts and Armchair Apocrypha
Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit
The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love
Devendra Banhart, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (although this can work for sexytime evenings, so use with caution)
Arling & Cameron, Music For Imaginary Films
The Moondoggies, Tidelands
Eddie Vedder, Ukelele Songs
Local Natives, Gorilla Manor
Feist, The Reminder
Fleet Foxes, Sun Giant and Helplessness Blues
Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career
She & Him, Volume One and Volume Two
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
M. Ward, Hold Time
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest

And if you were allowing any jazz or pre-1985, I would STRONGLY recommend Django Reinhardt. STRONGLY. That dude RULES.
posted by palomar at 5:46 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Beta Band
Air (Soundtrack to Virgin Suicides)
posted by Sebmojo at 6:02 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chris Bathgate
posted by timsteil at 6:05 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

*Jenny Lewis's* solo albums. Sorry. Bad spell.
posted by jwhite1979 at 6:10 PM on September 4, 2011

drop nineteens - delaware
posted by nadawi at 6:10 PM on September 4, 2011

Califone - Roots & Crowns
Pinback's first record
Walker Kong - There Goes the Sun
Also, dots and loops by Stereolab (Emperor Tomato Ketchup is, indeed, great as well).
posted by umbú at 6:15 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Saint Etienne - Foxbase Alpha
St. Germain - Tourist
posted by gyusan at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Luna's Bewitched.
posted by rustcellar at 6:21 PM on September 4, 2011

Hem - Rabbit Songs
Damon and Naomi with Ghost - Damon and Naomi with Ghost
Múm - Finally We Are No One
Aterciopelados - Caribe Atómico
Freedy Johnston - This Perfect World
posted by plastic_animals at 6:33 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sigur Ros.

Massive Attack - Mezannine. May not bepinkie, but it is great background music.
posted by backwards guitar at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wilco - AM
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:21 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding St.-Germain's Tourist
Tosca: Dehli9
Hooverphonic: The Magnificent Tree
Charlatans UK: Between 10th and 11th
Steely Dan: Two Against Nature
Stereolab: Dots and Loops
Christopher Goze: Sirocco
Jakatta: Visions
Flunk: Morning Star
posted by jet_silver at 8:06 PM on September 4, 2011

2nding Air and Belle and Sebastian. You might also consider The Pains of being Pure at Heart
posted by Gilbert at 8:20 PM on September 4, 2011


Sondre Lerche, Faces Down (or the Dan in Real Life soundtrack)
Blind Pilot, 3 Rounds and a Sound
Laura Veirs, Saltbreakers
Josh Pyke, Memories & Dust
Sarah Harmer, You Were Here
Angus & Julia Stone, Down the Way
Boy & Bear, Moonfire


Reverie Sound Revue, self-titled
School of Seven Bells, Alpinisms
Faded Paper Figures, Dynamo
Maria Taylor, 11:11

2nding Eisley and Beach House. Any of their records would work. But my favorite out of all these suggestions has to be My Maudlin Career. What an awesome dinner that would be.
posted by Cue the Strings at 8:27 PM on September 4, 2011

kruder and dorfmeister
thievery corporation
nouvelle vague
posted by elizardbits at 8:50 PM on September 4, 2011

Pink Martini - Sympathique. Gotta nth Stereolab (the best choice for this), Saint Etienne, Pinback, specific Cat Power (some is way too gut-wrenching), Califone, Belle and Sebastian, Super Furry Animals, and Beta Band. Keren Ann would be great too, and stuff from Stephin Merritt all around (the 6ths stuff with guest vocalists especially, like "In the City in the Rain" and "You You You You You", Future Bible Heroes' "Lonely Days" and "Good Thing I Don't Have Any Feelings"). And Luna and The Wedding Present, while often lyrically shockingly bitter, is very dinner party mellow sonically, and clever with the wordplay a la Franklin Bruno's "Clean Needle" or his duet-y stuff with Jenny Toomey, that sort of hyperclever retro throwback lounge-y stuff.

Some of these bands I don't care for specifically because they're too suited to this sort of mellow dinner party thing even, that's how perfect they are.
posted by ifjuly at 9:06 PM on September 4, 2011

and some of it is way too over the top dramatic, but some instrumental Woven Hand would come in handy, i think--stuff like "The Way"...
posted by ifjuly at 9:11 PM on September 4, 2011

ohoh, and Edith Frost! either the earlier chilly stuff or the later poppier stuff would work.
posted by ifjuly at 9:12 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

No one said Pernice Brothers yet?
posted by cali at 9:33 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not quite what you were asking, but at a recent dinner party I made a new Pandora station seeded just with Mumford & Sons "Little Lion Man" and everyone commented on what a great, low-key mix it was.
posted by xedrik at 9:48 PM on September 4, 2011

*The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
*Trouble at the Henhouse by The Tragically Hip
*Copper Blue by Sugar
*Tepid Peppermint Wonderland by Brian Jonestown Massacre
*Girlfriend by Matthew Sweet
*Welcome Interstate Managers by Fountains of Wayne
*Live Spectacle by Barenaked Ladies
*Keep It Together by Guster
*Ben Folds Live by Ben Folds
*Blue Album by Weezer
posted by glaucon at 10:01 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

in the aeroplane over the sea by neutral milk hotel. some parts are clangy, but it reminds me of good times.
posted by ajarbaday at 2:12 AM on September 5, 2011

The Sea and Cake - Oui
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Built to Spill - Perfect From Now On
posted by saladin at 6:48 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

try Kings of Convenience
posted by seriousmoonlight at 9:16 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

You guys are great!!! Thanks so much for all the recs. Everything is a favorite!
posted by drpynchon at 12:12 PM on September 5, 2011

May be a little rambunctious for a dinner party, but I've found that both of the Mariachi El Bronx albums go over well when I have people over to play Scrabble.
posted by mister barnacles at 12:47 PM on September 5, 2011

My Morning Jacket
The Magic Numbers
posted by brappi at 8:15 PM on September 7, 2011

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