What music should I try on Spotify?
April 29, 2013 9:39 AM   Subscribe

What bands and albums should I listen to now that I'm finally able to stream almost anything ever made? Extended information as to my taste preferences inside.

I like strings, particularly violin and cello, particularly in a rock or folk/southern/bluegrass context but also in modern compositions.

I like noisy music, such as the Velvet Underground and Neutral Milk Hotel.

I like grating vocals that are borderling a-musical but that very much work--the above two bands, the Decemberists, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Leonard Cohen, etc.

I like talk-singing, like in Mother Country by John Stewart and $87 and a Gulity Conscience by Richmond Fontaine.

I also like clear voices from talented singers, mostly often women. Joni Mitchell, for example, or the amazing Laura Gibson. It helps if they are strong lyricists.

I would love to find smaller bands, current or past, with interesting sounds and/or stories that I could get obsessive over, like Tim Hardin or Munly.
posted by jsturgill to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Hurray For The Riff Raff might tick several of those boxes perhaps.
posted by hydatius at 9:55 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Start going through the Constellation Records roster.
posted by mannequito at 10:13 AM on April 29, 2013

Joanna Newsom - I suggest trying The Milk-Eyed Mender first.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2013

Response by poster: mannequito, could you give me a starting point or two? Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the only name I recognize, and they have quite a lot going on.
posted by jsturgill at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2013

My two favorite bands that use strings a lot are Ultravox (featuring violinist/violist Billy Currie) and the Divine Comedy -- Ultravox is electronic pop/rock (e.g., Vienna) and Divine Comedy is orchestral/chamber pop (e.g., Tonight We Fly).

I also feel like you might like Tom Waits, if you're not already familiar with him. Rain Dogs is my favorite album of his and a good starting point for getting into his catalog (Jockey Full of Bourbon, Gun Street Girl, 9th & Hennepin, Blind Love).
posted by scody at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2013

Found Bevis Frond yet? Personally I was immediately hooked after hearing this.
posted by flabdablet at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2013

Cello: Rasputina, especially their late 1990s and early 2000s stuff

Like Neutral Milk Hotel: Licorice Root Orchestra

Clear voices: Eefje de Visser, if you're okay with lyrics that aren't in English
posted by neushoorn at 11:41 AM on April 29, 2013

Noisy music: Yo La Tengo
Strings: Portastatic
Grating vocals: Deerhoof
Talk singing (strings too): Lee Hazlewood
Clear voice from talented woman:Neko Case
Small band with interesting sound/story: The Tall Dwarfs
posted by Chenko at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2013

Since you're a Tim Hardin fan, check out Okkervil River, specifically Black Sheep Boy (one of my favorite albums of all time, a loose concept record anchored by the titular Tim Hardin cover).
posted by Gortuk at 12:16 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

A band from the 70s called Audience might be your thing. I have no idea if they are available on Spotify, though.

Here is Raviole, from the album House on the Hill.
posted by Brody's chum at 12:31 PM on April 29, 2013

Micachu and the Shapes for the noisy. Jewellery is my favorite, but Never and Chopped & Screwed are also very good.

Scott Walker for the interesting sounds and story: he's been in the music business for over 50 years. Started as sort of an MOR/pop/rock crooner, then started doing fabulous interpretations of Jacques Brel songs, then his own really great singer/songwriter stuff, then a sort of incredible right turn into amazing undescribably avant garde soundscapes in the 90s. Start with Scott 1-4 (3 is the best IMHO), then The Walker Brothers' Night Flights, then Climate of Hunter, Tilt, The Drift and Bish Bosh. And if you have Netflix rent the DVD of 30th Century Man, a fascinating documentary about Walker.

Mary Margaret O'Hara's album Miss America: honestly not sure if she goes under "grating vocals" or "clear voices", but the album really is something.

This last one probably won't float your boat but: CATALAN COBLA BAND MUSIC. This has been one of my favorite "only with Spotify" discoveries so far. Start with the album Enric Casals i Defillo 1892-1986: it's a bunch of cobla pieces composed by the brother of Pablo Casals and it blew my fucking mind the first time I heard it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2013

jsturgill: "mannequito, could you give me a starting point or two? Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the only name I recognize, and they have quite a lot going on."

sure - Do Make Say Think, Silver Mt Zion Orchestra, and Land of Kush are my favorites
posted by mannequito at 1:06 PM on April 29, 2013

Clear vocals, fascinating stories, a few songs with fiddle: Bird in the Bush: Traditional Folk Songs of Love & Lust

I wonder if you'd like Nick Cave. Try Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus and From Her to Eternity for two very different points in his career.
posted by stompadour at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2013

I also like clear voices from talented singers, mostly often women.

Try Neko Case. Fox Confesser Brings the Flood would be a good place to start.

I like noisy music.

The Seer by Swans might work.
posted by Richard Holden at 2:53 PM on April 29, 2013

John Cale's Paris 1919 and Vintage Violence. Church of Anthrax with Terry Riley if you want to get more out there.

Big Star
Nick Drake
Dirty Three
St. Vincent
Jens Lekman
Andrew Bird
Bill Callahan. Check out his earlier stuff as Smog too, but not as many strings there. His really early stuff is pretty harsh.

Camper Van Beethovan, esp. Key Lime Pie and Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart

Cat Power - The Greatest

The Raincoats, if you want violin, noise, and grating vocals all at once.

Bobby Conn, maybe

Arthur Russell was a classically trained cellist who made highly celebrated underground disco records and also lots of amazing experimental, minimalist recordings. Even if you're not into dance beats, there's a lot of stuff worth exploring.

Richmand Fontaine reminded me of The Handsome Family and Calexico
posted by hydrophonic at 4:45 PM on April 29, 2013

Laura Stevenson and the Cans.

Newest album listed under just Laura Stevenson.
posted by dogwalker at 5:21 PM on April 29, 2013

Erm, isn't the point of Spotify, that *it* recommends music for you? Add some songs you like to a playlist, and then click "start radio".
posted by devnull at 2:11 AM on April 30, 2013

Response by poster: Erm, isn't the point of Spotify, that *it* recommends music for you? Add some songs you like to a playlist, and then click "start radio".

I'm much more interested in the fact that I can generate my own playlists and explore new artists in a self-directed and curated way than the fact that spotify can also do what Pandora does.
posted by jsturgill at 10:06 AM on April 30, 2013

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