Music recs
December 5, 2011 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Music suggestions for someone who loves Neutral Milk Hotel, The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, The Mountain Goats, Regina Spektor, Beirut, and Portugal. The Man.

I'm making my best friend a mix of the best songs from bands he's (hopefully) never heard. Albums are good, specific songs that make you especially happy are good, just bands are good-- I just need music that makes you, a person who would kill to see Andrew and Regina in the same room, want to kiss the foreheads of all the babies in the world. Thanks.
posted by jingle to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 99 users marked this as a favorite
Tiger Lilies is weird and great in this Beirut-y, Goran Bregovic-y, cocaine-fueled-gypsy-band kind of way.
posted by jph at 9:41 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Jens Lekman!
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We Are Augustines
Agent Ribbons
Augie March
Cloud Cult
Vampire Weekend
Hola A Todo El Mundo
Sufjan Stevens
Fleet Foxes
Elvis Perkins in Dearland
posted by rumposinc at 9:45 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Well, precisely all of those artists you listed are represented on my phone, so maybe I'll be close to the mark in listing a few others that live next to them in alt-folky-pop heaven.

o Camera Obscura
o Of Montreal
o The Shins
o Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley)
o Vampire Weekend
o The Walkmen
o Feist
o Anya Marina
o Sufjan Stevens
o Kimya Dawson (Moldy Peaches)
o John Vanderslice (MK Ultra)
o The Dresden Dolls

I'll stop now. It's a big phone and I'm a pack mule.
posted by rokusan at 9:47 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I asked something sorta similar a couple of days ago. Some good suggestions in there.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:49 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: I feel as if I attended college with your best friend.

He's probably heard Bon Iver. But I love Bon Iver, so I'm going to suggest it anyway.

Another one that he may be less familiar with, but is along the folkier lines of what you indicated, is Bowerbirds. My personal favorite song here but they have a couple album's worth of material.
posted by dismas at 10:00 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Neko Case
posted by amodelcitizen at 10:03 AM on December 5, 2011

What a great list!

I'd add Elliott Smith, Vetiver and Nick Drake, too...
posted by tkerugger at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2011

Frazey Ford is enjoyed equally by my Andrew Bird-loving friend and Regina Spektor-loving me. Perhaps also add Jolie Holland?
posted by pixiecrinkle at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Came into suggest mostly bands represented by codacorolla, so consider this a co-sign on all of those. Particularly Ted Leo & Broken Social Scene. Additions, off the top of what's currently on my phone:

Archie Bronson Outfit
Viva Voce
Buke & Gass (the weirder instrumentation Decemberists stuff - the songs Run For You or Sleep Gets Your Ghost are probably good starting points, but their whole ep +/- is great)
Grizzly Bear (Knife, if he somehow doesn't already know that song)
Tune-Yards (not necessarily mapping by sound, but definitely the kind of thing the person in question would like)

For slower but happier lovesongy fare, may I suggest the Lucksmiths? Nobody did well-written lyrics (almost Belle & Sebastian-ish) about love with Australian accents like the Lucksmiths.

Which also reminds me. Magnetic Fields? If that's somehow a lacuna? Just because you didn't already mention them.
posted by penduluum at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2011

I'd toss in The Avett Brothers, particularly The Gleam, The Second Gleam, and any live performances.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:35 AM on December 5, 2011

"Reconstruction Site" from the album Reconstruction Site by The Weakerthans, though there a lot of great songs on that album.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 10:39 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Oh, also, my favorite Mountain Goats song is off of an EP which your friend may or may not have heard...

Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise which is a cover of a song by a band called Trembling Blue Stars, I think?

Oh, I forgot Sparklehorse, which is more along the lines of NMH than other things I mentioned,
Piano Fire, and a single you may be familiar with, It's a Wonderful Life.

I also neglected to mention probably the godfather band of this sort of thing, Guided by Voices, examples: Game of Pricks, and Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory if you're looking for something more down-tempo.

Also, Pinback's eponymous album has a lot of stuff that's like acoustic guitars with nerdy / literary reference lyrics and synthesized backing instruments. Some highlights are Loro and Hurley.

Rob Crow's side project, Thingy, and some of his solo work might also be of note.
posted by codacorolla at 10:41 AM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

If he's into the rootsier side of the Decemberists & Mountain Goats, you might consider Punch Brothers.
posted by penduluum at 10:44 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Posting from my phone so no links at the moment:
Deb Talen / The Weepies
Universal Hall Pass
Sara Bareilles' live &/or piano-based stuff
The Ditty Bops- Moon Over the Freeway is my favorite album, but Summer Rains has a popup CD cover!
Ferraby Lionheart 
Jonathan Coulton if friend is nerdy
Rufus Wainwright-Want One or Release the Stars, don't give All Days Are Nights to anyone who is clinically depressed
posted by nicebookrack at 10:48 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Dianogah did some work with Andrew Bird, your friend might like their regular stuff (which is mostly instrumental) too.
posted by troika at 10:49 AM on December 5, 2011

How's about... James Vincent McMorrow and Stornoway. Both really rather good.
posted by ComfySofa at 11:03 AM on December 5, 2011

The Rural Alberta Advantage.
posted by General Malaise at 11:12 AM on December 5, 2011

Clue to Kalo

Bosque Brown
posted by John Cohen at 11:21 AM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: New Pornographers
Nada Surf (start with Lucky or the Weight is a Gift)
Langhorne Slim
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2011

Darren Hanlon is great and very on target if Magnetic Fields and Jens Lekman are--he has toured with them both.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:14 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Band of Horses
posted by photovox at 1:09 PM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Calexico--not necessarily musically similar to all of those bands, but I love most of the bands on your list and I love Calexico, too. Perhaps your friend will have a similar experience? They are probably most similar to Neutral Milk Hotel, in that they are mostly electric (less folk-y? it's hard to describe), and many of their songs start off softly & build up to melodically noisy emotional crescendos.

Andrew Bird's very early stuff reminds me a lot of Django Reinhardt in terms of style and sound, even though Django's a guitar player instead of a violinist. When Bird plucks his violin strings like a tiny guitar, the influence is more obvious.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 1:34 PM on December 5, 2011

Great question - I'm already finding new bands I hadn't heard of before (hello Portugal. The Man). I'd suggest Joanna Newsom - if your friend's not already listening to her. My gateway drug was The Decemberists' cover of Bridges and Balloons. Also, the album Charlotte Gainsbourg made with Beck is fantastic, La Collectioneuse might suit.

Seconding Of Montreal, Elvis Perkins, New Pornographers and Rural Alberta Advantage. And adding generally The National, Ra Ra Riot and Arcade Fire.
posted by featherboa at 2:45 PM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: The Tallest Man on Earth
posted by Rinku at 9:17 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Several of the bands you mention were influenced by older musicians like Robyn Hitchcock, so head back into the past for some similar-sounding songs he will be less familiar with.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:02 PM on December 5, 2011

Caribou, Kings of Convenience, Mashrou3 Laila (if you're interested in exploring Arabic Indie music), and my goodness the Black Keys
posted by northxnorthwest at 11:19 PM on December 5, 2011

The Head and the Heart - Lost in My Mind and Down in the Valley are two great songs. Seconding Fleet Foxes.
posted by lunasol at 7:31 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: Like many, many other people here, I happen to like all of the bands your friend does! So maybe they'll like some of my favorites.

Iron and Wine: So surprised that they haven't been recommended yet.
Anais Mitchell: Her album, Hadestown, is a lovely folk retelling of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth. Features Bon Iver, Greg Brown, and Ani DiFranco (all of whom are worth checking out in their own right).
Destroyer: Dan Bejar, also of The New Pornographers mentioned above. If you want an album, start with Destroyer's Rubies or Streethawk: A Seduction.
Sunset Rubdown: Krug's voice gets some getting used to, but he's one of the finest songwriters working today.

Strongly nthing The New Pornographers, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, and Fleet Foxes.
posted by flawsekno at 3:33 AM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: So many awesome bands here. He loves approximately 90% of them, and the rest are pretty spot-on. Best answers are the ones with bands he isn't familiar with. I just picked up a few albums and am in the process of carving through Youtube for the rest. Thanks a ton, guys.
posted by jingle at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2011

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