The New Oldies
December 18, 2006 10:16 AM   Subscribe

MusicFilter: Help me make a mix CD of hip indie bands for my baby-boomer mom.

I want to make my mom a mix CD of songs by hip indie bands, but I want the songs to sound more or less like the 50'5/60's pop that she liked as a teenager (Buddy Holly, early Beatles, Motown, etc.). Sort of a new oldies, so she can enjoy the music and also feel connected to bands that I like, such as the Decemberists and Belle and Sebastian.

I've got a few ideas...

Decemberists - Angel Won't You Call Me
Acid House Kings - This Heart is a Stone
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Honey Child What Can I Do?
Pipettes - Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me
The Promise Ring - Skips a Beat (might be a bit loud for her)
Magic Numbers - Mornings Eleven

... but I need some more. Please help bring the generations together.
posted by cholstro to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Camera Obscura - A Sister's Social Agony
Camera Obscura - (everything else they've ever done)
Elliott Smith - Baby Britain
Field Music - If Only the Moon Were Up
Belle and Sebastian - Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying
Magnetic Fields - All My Little Words
Magnetic Fields - Nothing Matters When We're Dancing
Sondre Lerche - Two Way Monologue
Rilo Kiley - With Arms Outstretched
The Shins - Girl Inform Me
The Lucksmiths - The Music Next Door
posted by ludwig_van at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

What about the Shins? The songs Saint Simon or New Slang could fit your mission.

Also, anything by Sondre Lerche has echoes of that era, without being retro.
posted by umbú at 10:30 AM on December 18, 2006

oops! scooped.
posted by umbú at 10:30 AM on December 18, 2006

Ok Go - No sign of life
Ok Go - Let it Rain
posted by jourman2 at 10:33 AM on December 18, 2006

The Blow - True Affection
posted by unreasonable at 10:35 AM on December 18, 2006

New Pornographers -- The Jessica Numbers

Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Warrior

Belle & Sebastian -- We Are the Sleepyheads

Fruit Bats -- Lives of Crime

All of the above are very "pop"
posted by cinemafiend at 10:36 AM on December 18, 2006

Neko Case. Uh, pretty much everything she's done.

Detroit Cobras for rock & roll covers of the more obscure songs from that very era.
posted by desuetude at 10:45 AM on December 18, 2006

I like Neutral Milk Hotel and all, but damn if it isn't kinda out there to listen to. Even when you're ON drugs. Although if you're just talking about the one song and not the full album, then it's not such a stretch.

Sufjan Stevens - Chicago -such a fantastic song
American Football - American Football EP
posted by ninjew at 10:59 AM on December 18, 2006

All the entries in my list are songs.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2006

Response by poster: For a wee bit more guidance... I LOVE In An Aeroplane Over the Sea, but I'd say that even just the song is a bit too much for my mom. She doesn't do rough edges very well.

Camera Obscura and The Shins are dead-on, though. And Magnetic Fields might work if I think she can handle an acquired taste singing voice. Listening to the New Pornos now to get the right song. Still not sure which B&S song would be best.
posted by cholstro at 11:10 AM on December 18, 2006

Best answer: My Teenage Stride - "They Are Alone In Their Principles"
Saturday Looks Good To Me - "The Girl's Distracted"
posted by mds35 at 11:23 AM on December 18, 2006

Mates of State
posted by SBMike at 11:31 AM on December 18, 2006

Of Montreal - Requiem for O.m.m.2
Spoon - Sister Jack
Psapp - Calm Down
Rufus Wainwright - I Don't Know What It Is

I know Rufus Wainwright isn't technically "indie," but I think it fits.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:39 AM on December 18, 2006

Well, you could always use my cover of Aeroplane. Less rough edges! And I think Grace Cathedral Hill might be a more suitable D-ists tune than Angel.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:46 AM on December 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd like to just add that my mom (who's 64 this year) has an absolute adoration for the 2 Iron & Wine CDs I've sent her. Apparently they very much resemble the folk she listened to in college.

I've had good luck with the Decemberists and Sufjan Stevens as well, but then who doesn't like Sufjan?
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:51 AM on December 18, 2006

No Sufjan, No Credibility
posted by ludwig_van at 11:54 AM on December 18, 2006

The first thing that popped into my mind was Jamie Lidell's Multiply. I've heard that the whole album is good, and the title track is a jazz and funk inspired piece of indie-rock that I enjoy.
posted by Inkoate at 11:54 AM on December 18, 2006

Cat Power - The Greatest
Broadcast - Come on Let's Go
posted by subtle-t at 11:55 AM on December 18, 2006

Moms love Sufjan Stevens.
posted by awesomebrad at 11:56 AM on December 18, 2006

Response by poster: Gonna have to put some Sufjan on there. Take the time to listen to ludwig's NMH cover. Very nice.
posted by cholstro at 12:07 PM on December 18, 2006

Patrick Park - Your Smile is a Drug
Timmy Curran - Comatose
Obadiah Parker - Hey Ya
Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You Into The Dark
Calexico - Quattro
Brendan Benson - Cold Hands Warm Heart
posted by Bageena at 12:12 PM on December 18, 2006

I saw that you put the Pipettes in your list--check out the playlists in garage rock and she should love a lot of this stuff.
posted by uncballzer at 12:27 PM on December 18, 2006

Good God, yes: Broadcast!

And how come nobody has mentioned Stereolab yet?
posted by mds35 at 12:27 PM on December 18, 2006


Nicole Atkins
Jolie Holland
Andrew Bird
posted by mds35 at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2006

Am I the only one here who thinks that Sufjan Stevens is vastly overrated? Non-threatening, sure, so maybe it's good for mom, but also devoid of any energy, enthusiasm, and any cues to tap your foot or move slightly in your seat. I mean, Buddy Holly, early Beatles, Motown, that stuff ROCKED. It elicited emotion and was fun. I gotta second the New Pornographers, the Shins, and Belle & Sebastian and add Destroyer and Asobi Seksu as inheritors of the pop-rock tradition you mentioned. No reason to hold back on energy, the Beatles certainly didn't.
posted by SBMike at 12:39 PM on December 18, 2006

Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
Eric Bachmann - Genevieve
ANY Iron & Wine or Sufjan Stevens!
Kings of Convenience - Know How
Pinback - Fortress
More Shins!
More Spoon!
posted by blastrid at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2006

Am I the only one here who thinks that Sufjan Stevens is vastly overrated?

Not just here - you're the only one in the world.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2006

He doesn't really fit the criteria, though.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:56 PM on December 18, 2006

I'm a boomer (tail-end) who got turned on to some bands (not necessarily indie) I'd previously never heard of, by my husband who's fourteen years younger. Some of the ones I like:

Beta Band
Emiliana Torrini

and more recently:

Asobi Seksu
High Violets

DH downloads a lot of these albums from
posted by frosty_hut at 1:03 PM on December 18, 2006

The Stone Roses may appeal to your mother if she is a child of the sixties
posted by mds35 at 1:14 PM on December 18, 2006

I think our moms may be of approximately the same age, and my mom likes Cat Power. (I started her on the Moon Pix cd, but she does like the Greatest a wee bit more). Clearly stuff off the Covers Record is a good bet for possible inclusion.

I've also had success with Low. In particular, songs from the "Trust" album have gone over well with her. Along those lines some Galaxie 500 or Luna fare might be nice. While the Red House Painters might be too down, Sun Kil Moon's Ghosts of the Great Highway may have some workable stuff.

Perhaps getting too far afield from 'indie' Gilliann Welch and Ryan Adams have been well received.

While there are a couple of tracks that may be too rough for the moms, I suspect that Tapes 'n Tapes album "the Loon" would have some nice momworthy tracks that have a bit of mom-level oomph....possibly: the Iliad, In Houston, Manitoba, 10 Gallon Ascot, Omaha, Jakov's Suite (upon reflection, that's most of the album there).

There's some very tasteful, yet sonically interesting stuff by Blonde Redhead...maybe off of In an Expression of the Inexpressable though due to the divisive nature of her vocals (which I love) I might be inclined to recommend tracks where the boy is featured more. The song "distilled" or "Missile + +".

Some of that Built to Spill sure goes down smooth. Have you looked at tracks from There's Nothing Wrong with Love (shorter/poppier -- if there is such a designation for them)?

The motown reference I found most intriguing, but I can't quite think of the best band to cover that area of her interest. I'm sure someone else can. It did make me think of the Constantines, however, who appreciate that sound (though not sounding much like it to my ears). Some of their stuff may be too edgy, but there's still some more mid tempo, cleaner guitar, less bombastic type tracks to choose from and his voice is very easy on the ears.

Also, the Sea and Cake is nice for parents! I left "the Biz" at their place on accident once and there was much independent enjoyment on their part.

On last thought: there are a couple of really nice tracks on TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain that I could see blending in pretty well: "I was a lover", "Hours", "province", etc.

Sounds like a fun project, I'm sure she'll enjoy!
posted by safetyfork at 1:19 PM on December 18, 2006

Pardon my typos.
posted by safetyfork at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2006

The Sea and Cake!

That's so good! It should have been mine!
posted by ninjew at 1:30 PM on December 18, 2006

The Singles
posted by PhatLobley at 2:26 PM on December 18, 2006

Death Cab's song on their new album is really retro: Crooked Teeth.

My grandpa really likes Belle & Sebastian's Dear Catastrophe Waitress album (which is the one I can't stand, incidentally).

Or older Weezer? Say it Ain't So? Or my mom really likes Ryan Adams' Gold...
posted by hamster at 2:51 PM on December 18, 2006

I'm a baby boomer Mom, and I love what I've heard of Magnetic Fields. Nice gift idea, I hope your Mom loves it.
posted by theora55 at 2:59 PM on December 18, 2006

My mom liked In the Aeroplane Over the Sea- the entire album. She liked Guided by Voices OK too. I think this really depends on the mum, though.
posted by MadamM at 3:44 PM on December 18, 2006

Stylistically, Apples in Stereo don't have any ideas post-1969 and would go over well with a Beatles fan. Rufus Wainwright is palatable enough and genre-spanning enough to be a safe bet. And Aislers Set have a great classic California pop sound.
posted by deern the headlice at 3:53 PM on December 18, 2006

saturday looks good to me - lift me up
posted by MyDocuments at 7:10 PM on December 18, 2006

Not sure if these are new or "indie" enough, but my dad seems to enjoy Weezer (the old stuff), Ben Folds Five, the Smiths, Cake. For some more recent stuff, maybe the Exploding Hearts or the Rock-A-Teens?

SBMike: you're not alone! Man, that guy is boring...
posted by equalpants at 8:26 PM on December 18, 2006

Sloan - Everything You've Done Wrong
posted by teem at 10:26 PM on December 18, 2006

If you wanna go extra retro you could try The Ditty Bops

posted by softlord at 6:48 AM on December 19, 2006

The Elected
posted by bwilms at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2006

I can't believe no one has yet mentioned the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack, which is all hip indie bands covering 50's songs.
posted by Gortuk at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2006

The Minus Five album Down With Wilco has a strong Beatles-via-ELO feel to it (to my ears, anyway). You could segue that into a track by Wilco (maybe I'm Always in Love, or one of their Woodie Guthrie covers, like Hesitating Beauty or California Stars). [Maybe not 'indie' enough, though].

Also echoing Shins, New Pornographers, Neko Case, Magnetic Fields.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:44 PM on December 19, 2006

Was she into hippie/counterculture folk at all? If she was, I'd recommend something off Devendra Banhart's Cripple Crow (more accessible than his previous releases, IMHO), something off Joanna Newsom's first album (prolly go with "Crab, Cockle, Cowrie"). I second New Pornographers, Shins, B&S, Brendan Benson, the Pipettes. My Dad is of similar age to your mom, it sounds like, and he's enjoyed all these bands.

As for which B&S, their last two albums have so many clean, AM-ready songs--any of which would probably be a good choice. Wrapped Up in Books? Funny Little Frog? Another Sunny Day? I'm a Cuckoo?

If you think she can handle their slightly lower-fi sound (my dad hates their early, brilliant stuff), maybe she'd like "Lazy Line, Painter Jane."

Would Destroyer be too weird for her? A song like "The Sublimation Hour" is pretty great and catchy, but more a 70s throwback than a 50s/60s.

What about Robyn Hitchcock? He's been around a while, but he's still indie in my book. The album "Queen Elvis" is sonically reminiscent of the Beatles, while being lyrically closer to Syd Barrett or Dylan on a very strange day.

Hope these help.
posted by scarylarry at 1:57 PM on December 19, 2006

I second Cat Power. Get "Lived In Bars" off her latest album. (Hear the intro here, but the tempo doubles halfway through.) You can almost hear a "shoop shoop shoop" backup.
posted by salvia at 11:39 PM on December 22, 2006

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