Suggest alternatives to some bands I like
June 15, 2012 9:04 PM   Subscribe

I love the music of [specific artists inside], but I don't like the lyrics. Please suggest alternate artists for me to listen to.

Snoop Dogg
The Decemberists
Honey Honey

Bonus question: is there a female equivalent to Elliott Smith out there?
posted by acridrabbit to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Bonus question: is there a female equivalent to Elliott Smith out there?

Bosque Brown, Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, Feist?
posted by John Cohen at 9:10 PM on June 15, 2012

What don't you like about the lyrics of those artists (so as to suggest artists with lyrics you might like)?
posted by flex at 9:15 PM on June 15, 2012

This is why so much of my music is from countries whose language I don't understand.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:21 PM on June 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Flex: yes, good point. Realized after I posted that I should have said why.

Snoop & Eminem: too violent, too sexist
Portishead: too gloomy & sad (except for a couple tracks on Dummy)
The Decemberists: too novelty (at least on Castaways and Cutouts)
Honey Honey: just lame
Tune-Yards: too nonsensical
posted by acridrabbit at 9:21 PM on June 15, 2012

As for a female equivalent to Elliott Smith - I'm assuming you're going for overall lyrical tone and attitude as opposed to necessarily having to play guitar - someone who immediately comes to mind is Lisa Germano. Check out her album Slide, as I think that's her most accessible. Really personal, often dark, introspective, sardonic stuff, and yet I don't find it depressing. Wood Floors is the song that really got me into her.
posted by wondermouse at 9:25 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Instead of Snoop & Eminem, maybe you'd like Atmosphere or Brother Ali, who tend to write lyrics that are more positive or at least story-oriented instead of violent and sexist.
posted by vytae at 9:39 PM on June 15, 2012

For Portishead: maybe other trip hop artists like Tricky or Massive Attack?

For the Decemberists: substitute Espers. Their first two s/t albums are good, as is an extremely rare (physically) EP called The Weed Tree, which is mostly covers..
posted by LionIndex at 9:47 PM on June 15, 2012

Talib Kweli - try Listen!, one of my favorites
Abdominal - great with DJ Format - try Vicious Battle Raps and Rap Machine to start?

Sarah Harmer - try Uniform Grey
Lisa Ekdahl (in Swedish! heh) - Benen i kors & Vem vet
posted by flex at 9:54 PM on June 15, 2012

Oh, and maybe you'll like Ana Tijoux (in Spanish!) - try Shock and 1977
posted by flex at 10:10 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

For Portishead, try Kosheen. A little sadish, but more uptempo and clubby in spots, harder in spots, and energetic in places.

Or maybe Esthero?
posted by cashman at 10:34 PM on June 15, 2012

Bonus question: is there a female equivalent to Elliott Smith out there?

Maybe Mary Lou Lord who was a contemporary of Elliott Smith's.
posted by cazoo at 10:43 PM on June 15, 2012


Massive Attack.
posted by empath at 11:08 PM on June 15, 2012

I am friggin' OBSESSED with Lia Ices right now.
posted by two lights above the sea at 11:17 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

For less violent rap, I like The Streets. It's very British, though.
posted by maryr at 11:29 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Kanye's lyrics are still sexist but not violent, and the sexism is tempered by self-awareness of his wholly asshole nature (at least, lyrically). It's not sanitized and PC (or whatever) but it lays out gender war in a really honest way. His early stuff (College Dropout) is not as slick and more reminiscent of the kind of hip hop you like. (Precisely, a lot of his early lyrics not about sex/relationships are really fantastic, and his later lyrics about relationships, like on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, are really moving.) And there's Tupac, of course. I would also recommend Ludacris, because his sexism is Sexism Lite and a lot of his music is just kind of listener-friendly. Even his sexism is friendly enough that I'm usually OK with him. It's a little bit cheesy, is I guess the thing.

I nth nth nth Neko Case, her lyrics are incredible. The marriage of her music and lyrics is the closest I've ever gotten to really having a poetic experience of contemporary music.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:00 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if what you like about Eminem is the kind of frenetic tempo/music/voice changes, maybe check out Azaelia Banks? Her new mixtape is really... ludic? If you're not turned off by what some might call gimmicks. I'm thinking particularly of "Jumanji" and "Liquorice" (and "212," of course). Oh, and "L8r."
posted by stoneandstar at 12:04 AM on June 16, 2012

It's not exactly a laugh riot, but Beth from Portishead's semi-solo record does start with the line 'God knows how I adore life'
posted by robself at 2:26 AM on June 16, 2012

For Portishead, you might check out the whole "trip-hop" genre - or look up "bristol sound" bands.
posted by thylacine at 4:58 AM on June 16, 2012

Snoop: Lyrics Born, Devin the Dude.
posted by box at 5:06 AM on June 16, 2012

I'm with you on The Decemberists, in general. But you should have a listen to their last album, The King Is Dead, if you haven't. The writing is pretty damn excellent.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:50 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nearest to portishead but happier, definitely check out Morcheeba, Supreme Beings of Leisure, Cirrus, Bitter:Sweet, and seconding Kosheen (though on my favorite album she's pretty bitter about a break-up)

For the more harmless/positive rap, as suggested above, Lyrics Born (or anything from the Quannum collective, Lateef, Blackalicious, Latyrx, etc.) and Atmosphere, and adding Format, Abdominal, Q-Tip, Mos Def, and obviously Tribe Called Quest.
posted by hypersloth at 7:55 AM on June 16, 2012

I can heartily recommend Dr. Dre's 2001: The Instrumentals album.
posted by Aquaman at 8:34 AM on June 16, 2012

For The Decemberists, substitute Al Stewart.
posted by jbickers at 9:51 AM on June 16, 2012

Another female who I would describe as Elliott Smith-ish is Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. Her solo work is quite different from her work with Metric.
"Our Hell"
"Reading in Bed" (I couldn't find an album version of this to link to - but the album these two songs are from is really good, and I like their EP too.)

Oh, I just thought of Lotte Kestner also. She has a more lo-fi and spare sound than the others I mentioned, but always beautiful melodies and thoughtful, personal lyrics sung in a distinctive voice. China Mountain is a lovely, intimate album. "Crush the Bird"

Bonus Lisa Germano songs:
Way Below the Radio
posted by wondermouse at 10:02 AM on June 16, 2012

For the Decemberists, perhaps The Shins?

And seconding if you didn't like Castaways and Cutouts you will probably enjoy The King Is Dead.
posted by bleep at 10:18 AM on June 16, 2012

Best answer: Snoop & Eminem: Lil B in based prophet mode Faces of Lil B:The Prophet

Portishead: Lamb! Start with the self titled debut or Fear of Fours. Singles to check out Cottonwool, Gold, Alien. Zola Jesus (start w/ Conatus)

The Decemberists: Mountain Goats (start w/ All Hail West Texas, All Eternals Deck, or The concert NPR recorded of TMG w/ the choir group Anon 4), Destroyer (Start w/ Rubies or Trouble in Dreams)

Tune-Yards: Active Child (start w/ You Are All I See) or How To Dress Well
posted by TaconibsPHD at 11:33 AM on June 16, 2012

Anaïs Mitchell - female Elliot Smith-type, but not quite as sad. Definitely well worth a listen.

2 Skinnee J's - For the fan of Eminem's energy and cartoonishness, but not his subject matter.

In place of Portishead - Massive Attack, Tricky, Morcheeba, Kid Loco, Hooverphonic
posted by Navelgazer at 12:13 PM on June 16, 2012

Earlier Cat Power is in a similar niche to Elliott Smith as far as I'm concerned. But if you know of Smith, you probably already know Cat Power.
posted by oceanview at 4:13 PM on June 16, 2012

apathy and sage francis exhibit eminems clever / mutli sylllabic rhyming lyrical style but their content is more sane/intelligent.
posted by oblio_one at 10:28 PM on June 16, 2012

Just realize that sage link has a toungue in cheek parody of "tough rap guy" for a chorus and sounds content wise like exaggerated eminem, not obviously parody, may turn you off, try this one first
posted by oblio_one at 10:36 PM on June 16, 2012

Rizzle Kicks are a young hip-hop group that you might like. Wiley as well.

Portishead - try Beth Orton (mostly acoustic but she has a few numbers which incorporate dancier tones) and maybe early Air?
posted by mippy at 2:56 PM on June 17, 2012

Instead of Decemberists, try: The weakerthans (Canadian) or Augie March (Australian).
posted by piyushnz at 5:38 PM on June 17, 2012

Response by poster: I want to mark all your answers as best, but TaconibsPHD gets it for the Tune-Yards substitutes! Thanks, all - this will keep me busy for a while.
posted by acridrabbit at 6:35 PM on June 17, 2012

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