Music recommendations
February 25, 2007 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I love Velvet Underground, I love the Violent Femmes. I love early R.E.M. I love early David Bowie. What new bands should I listen to?

Don't refer me to Pandora. I already know about that site...
posted by grateful to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
White Stripes?
Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers (not new, but the album by the same name is along the VU strain sometimes)
posted by edgeways at 5:40 PM on February 25, 2007

Nick Cave, perhaps the first Yeah Yeah Yeahs album
posted by edgeways at 5:42 PM on February 25, 2007

The first Strokes album
posted by edgeways at 5:44 PM on February 25, 2007

The Knife
posted by afx114 at 5:46 PM on February 25, 2007

ok, can you identify what parts, or songs of these groups you like in particular?
posted by edgeways at 5:49 PM on February 25, 2007

Hmmmm. Maybe Arcade Fire.
posted by hazyspring at 5:52 PM on February 25, 2007

Response by poster: I dig the Strokes. I seem to gravitate towards angsty, introspective, dissonant, occasionally ironic or funny. Subversive and/or anti-mainstream vibe.
posted by grateful at 5:54 PM on February 25, 2007

Nuetral Milk Hotel, The Mountain Goats
posted by Kudos at 5:58 PM on February 25, 2007

Have you tried plugging a few bands into gnoosic and seeing what pops up?
posted by amarynth at 5:59 PM on February 25, 2007

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
posted by mds35 at 5:59 PM on February 25, 2007

Yo La Tengo.

They're not "new", but they continue to create new, wonderful music with every passing year.

If you like VU and the Femmes, YLT is a no-brainer.
posted by melorama at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2007

The Kaiser Chiefs?
posted by wackybrit at 6:05 PM on February 25, 2007

Early Police, The Flaming Lips, The Pixies, Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits!!, Blondie, Ween (to avoid the impression that they're a novelty act, you might start with a straight-through listen of Quebec. They really have some Five Yearsesque Bowie grandeur and Violent Femmesy angst), Leonard Cohen.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:08 PM on February 25, 2007

If you like early Bowie, do you also like early Brian Eno and/or Roxy Music? If you like the Velvet Underground, have you tried any of the artists' solo material? Finally, it seems like a lot of people recommend Big Star if you like early R.E.M.
posted by kimota at 6:09 PM on February 25, 2007

mmm Talking Heads.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:09 PM on February 25, 2007

I've been really digging The Walkmen's newest album ("A Hundred Miles Off"). You might also like Midlake's "The Trials of Van Occupanther." And if you like David Bowie's last two albums at all, you should definitely check out Apostle of Hustle's "The National Anthem of Nowhere."
posted by J-Train at 6:10 PM on February 25, 2007

Dammit, what the hell has happened to my reading retention? Sorry, I missed "new".
posted by kimota at 6:10 PM on February 25, 2007

Oh, and TV On The Radio is a great modern band along the lines of your list. Bowie calls them one of his favorite acts, and he even sings backup vocals on their recent album.
posted by afx114 at 6:11 PM on February 25, 2007

Response by poster: Lotsa stuff to listen to. kimota,, I was perhaps too specific about new music recommendations. I appreciate any bands that fit these criteria. Keep them coming...
posted by grateful at 6:17 PM on February 25, 2007

Seconding Modern Lovers, Big Star, Brian Eno/Roxy Music. Also: Soft Boys, Guided By Voices, Game Theory.
posted by equalpants at 6:23 PM on February 25, 2007

Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio
posted by geoff. at 6:42 PM on February 25, 2007

Sun City Girls! Start with Space Prophet Dogon. Soft Fragile Eggshell Minds has some of the Femmes-like sarcasm and subversiveness (think, End of side 1 of Add It Up - hate the president, smash the TV, etc.).

Maybe the Starlight Mints?
posted by whatzit at 6:43 PM on February 25, 2007

Destroyer (a.k.a. Dan Bejar).
posted by timnyc at 6:45 PM on February 25, 2007

Also, don't miss Galaxie 500.
posted by timnyc at 6:48 PM on February 25, 2007

The Smiths.
posted by pompomtom at 6:51 PM on February 25, 2007

Eels have a kinda Violent Femmes feel to them, IMHO, especially on Beautiful Freak. Electro-Shock Blues is probably the best album, though.

Seconding Pixies - I saw Bowie a year or two ago and he did a Pixies cover.
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:04 PM on February 25, 2007

I've been obsessed with The New Rags lately. (I've listened to their EP, which I got last weekend, approximately a million times.)
posted by buriedpaul at 7:04 PM on February 25, 2007

Supergrass, Robyn Hitchcock, Fur Patrol, Snow Patrol, Harvey Danger, Brian Jonestown Massacre.
posted by jet_silver at 7:07 PM on February 25, 2007

I like Bowie too, and early REM has been one of my passions for years. Here's where they've led me. They're old, not new. Hope that's okay.

Early Bowie is great, organic glam rock. There are a couple of records and bands that are great in this vein: late Mott the Hoople is glammy. One of the classic bands of the genre is T Rex, some of whose songs you've probably heard (that "get it on... get it on... get it on" song, maybe) and who come up with some really great stuff that is in that vein, although slightly more rocky and bluesy. Also, the suggestion of Brian Eno kind of makes sense, but you'll have to stick to his first album, the one with pornographic playing cards on the cover, for that; you might've heard one of the classics on there, "Baby's On Fire." (I highly suggest the later ones, but they're nothing like early Bowie.) Roxy Music is a fantastic band, and is in that vein as well. Start with the first, self-titled, record, as it's an incredible one.

As far as early REM is concerned, you're best off going into their stated influences. Dig out their b-sides-- that is to say, look at the tracklist for "Dead Letter Office"-- and see what bands they covered, as they were pretty good about showing their heritage.

Which is to say: listen to, first of all, the Feelies, a NY band from the late seventies, whose first record, "Crazy Rhythms," is one of my favorite things in the whole world: building, driving songs that wend and weave sort of tribally, a nervous, geeky singer who tries really hard to sound like Lou Reed, and a very cool album cover that was ripped off by Weezer fifteen years later. Second of all, listen to Pylon, a sort of jangly band with absurd lyrics that REM was always talking about. Third of all, listen to Mission of Burma, especially their first E.P., Signals, Calls, and Marches; one fantastic song from that record, "Academy Fight Song," was covered by REM in the late '80s. (Their full-length, Vs., was also fantastic, but is a little heavier, and less jangly.) Fourth, and finally, listen to the NY pioneers and Talking Heads fellow scenesters Television, the one punk band who tried to play their instruments well, who are underappreciated; a song from their even-more-underappreciated second record, Adventure, sounds to my ear like one of the prototypes of REM. That song is the incomparable "Days," which features beautiful, well-tracked vocals and gorgeous dual acoustic guitar tracks. Going back even further, it seems like the Flamin' Groovies would interest you.

Hope that's not too long, there. Those are some of the bands that I really love.
posted by koeselitz at 7:13 PM on February 25, 2007

posted by micayetoca at 7:13 PM on February 25, 2007

Following up on timnyc's suggestion, you might try Luna as well. Fronted by Dean Wareham, Luna and Galaxie 500 are both influenced by the Velvet Underground.
posted by aladfar at 7:15 PM on February 25, 2007

M. Ward might be up your alley, and also possibly the Thermals and the Weakerthans. Maybe also Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. (In addition to the many excellent suggestions so far. In particular, everyone who hasn't done so already should go listen to the Mountain Goats before going to bed tonight.)
posted by jacobm at 8:00 PM on February 25, 2007

T. Rex
posted by Falconetti at 8:09 PM on February 25, 2007

More votes from me for The Feelies' Crazy Rhythms (youtube), Yo La Tengo, Galaxie 500, Luna, Modern Lovers, Roxy Music's first two albums, Brian Eno (Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, Another Green World), John Cale's 1919, Vintage Violence, Church of Anthrax, and Nico's Chelsea Girl.

Newer stuff: Andrew Bird, The New Pornographers, The American Analog Set, Clinic, The Shins, Eleventh Dream Day, maybe some of Bobby Conn's stuff (Bowie is a fan).
posted by hydrophonic at 8:14 PM on February 25, 2007

posted by barjo at 8:23 PM on February 25, 2007

Let me second John Cale's 1919, which is an amazingly good album and seems to fit your criteria quite well.
posted by Falconetti at 8:32 PM on February 25, 2007

I second The Modern Lovers. Jonathan Richman was obsessed with the VU and it shows (in a good way) in the Modern Lovers albums. Start with the self-titled Modern Lovers. Try Precise Modern Lovers Order -- a live album -- next.
posted by buriedpaul at 8:47 PM on February 25, 2007

Not so new, but:

Suede, if you like Bowie (so it's 90s, and they don't exist anymore, but Brett Anderson formed a new group called the tears).


Roxy Music (which you're probably already familiar with)

Countless others already mentioned that I'd second.

Breeders, Kelly Deal 6000


British Sea Power, Franz Ferdinand, The Rakes, Jarvis Cocker's solo stuff, the Silver Jews.

Have yet to hear any new bands that truly sound comprable to the Pixies, even Frank Black seems to stray from their sound with his more recent albums.

That's all I can think of right now.
posted by deinemutti at 9:49 PM on February 25, 2007

There was and probably will never be anything comparable to the Pixies, except maybe music from Mars (as Hendrix was once described by Joe Perry from Aerosmith as). Something like David Lynch dropping acid and writing songs instead of making movies... even Kurt Cobain felt he was ripping off the Pixies. Not that I want to get into a big debate - I would suggest Nirvana, btw.

Some amazing music selections here - no surprise, since MeFites also make great music! Grateful, I like your taste, especially the Velvet Underground and early R.E.M. (!!!) and early David Bowie (!). I would second the suggestions of Franz Ferdinand, The White Stripes. Maybe also try Placebo, Veruca Salt, Sugar (!) and even the Meat Puppets. Ok, so I'm throwing that one in there because I'm biased towards them and they don't fit with anything else. All of these bands have interesting takes on things that the VU, Bowie and R.E.M. had - kind of strange, spacey, experimental, different sounding in parts. I always think a willingness to experiment with something new is a sign of a great band (IMHO, YMMV, etc. etc.)
posted by rmm at 11:04 PM on February 25, 2007

I know you said no to Pandora, which I'd agree with, but if I can pimp my profile, it sums up what I listen to better than I'd be able to, and I listen to a lot of early Bowie and R.E.M., so there's probably lots there you'll like (including the previously-mentioned Mountain Goats, Yo La Tengo, Tom Waits, Jarvis Cocker, Talking Heads).

And you might like Pavement!
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:22 PM on February 25, 2007

Everything everyone has said is spot-on. Definitely go back and listen to some Talking Heads if you haven't.

The ones from my "new" list that haven't gotten the mention they deserve are Peter Bjorn and John, Band of Horses, and Wolf Parade. Slightly older, but still in the ballpark, would be The Wrens.
posted by kyleg at 12:26 AM on February 26, 2007

Magnetic Fields.
posted by AwkwardPause at 4:34 AM on February 26, 2007

New? Brand new?

Arcade Fire (Neon Bible, 2007) and Steven Malkmus & The Jicks (Face The Truth, 2006)
posted by Blip at 5:44 AM on February 26, 2007

of Montreal
posted by fair_game at 6:32 AM on February 26, 2007

The Libertines sometimes remind me of early R.E.M. Except the vocals. You may like them.
posted by randomDirtPattern at 6:54 AM on February 26, 2007

I like most of the same stuff you do and I'm currently obsessed with the Decemberists - the Crane Wife in particular. Went through a brief love affair with the New Pornographers, have just discovered Modest Mouse, which looks very promising, and nth-ing the Mountain Goats. I also love Neutral Milk Hotel, but it's not to everyone's taste. And, I know they're not really new, but check out later Wilco if you haven't already.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:21 AM on February 26, 2007

Response by poster: You all rock! Looks like I've got some homework to do...

Thanks for the recommendations!
posted by grateful at 7:24 AM on February 26, 2007

The Arcade Fire and TV On The Radio. (Both bands championed by Bowie)
posted by Webbster at 8:44 AM on February 26, 2007

The Clean - An awesome NZ pop band. The first disc of Anthology is awesome.

The dB's, The Sneakers, Let's Active - Southern jangle pop along the lines of R.E.M. Mitch Easter, of the Sneakers and Let's Active, produced those early R.E.M. tracks.

The Lyres, the Fleshtones, Alex Chilton, or Robyn Hitchcock might fit the bill.

The Aislers Set have a fuzzy sort of VU sound that I like a lot.

Oh, and nthing the Feelies. If you check out only one record from this thread, Crazy Rhythms should be it.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 10:15 AM on February 26, 2007

An enthusiastic second for Guided by Voices.
posted by SBMike at 10:35 AM on February 26, 2007

Southern jangle pop? The Connells.

Josh Joplin sounds kinda like Michael Stipe.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:01 AM on February 26, 2007

I'm not so good with the new, but I think I can add a few things on the old tip.

the Dream Syndicate's "Days of Wine and Roses" occasionally out velvets the Velvets.

The Clean, noted a few comments above, is a perfect suggestion and I'm glad someone got to it before I did. Anthology is a must have. loads of other NZ pop bands worth checking out too. The verlaines are incredible, as are the tall dwarfs and chris knox. And there is a band that is relatively obscure even in terms of the whole obscure scene called Bill Direen and the Bilders, but I think that stuff is out of print.

there is so much more that I would recommend but I could literally be typing for days. my introduction to out-rock started with much like your initial list. I wondered who this band that REM covered (that being the Velvets) and that was the beginning of the end. email me if'n you wanna.
posted by modernpoverty at 12:00 PM on February 26, 2007

You like "College Rock." That's what this is called.
(I'm only kinda making fun of you, since I like all of the bands you mentioned too. It's, just, like, so does everyone else).
And since everyone else is just kinda spamming their favorite college rock bands, and noting that while the influences aren't always overt, REM, VU and Bowie have touched pretty much everyone "alternative" for the last 25 years or so:

Real recommendations of current bands (some of them local to me):

Spoon. Spoon is the heir to the REM janglepop crown, and you'd be well-served to pick up Kill the Moonlight. Girls Can Tell is their best album, but is a little more of a downer.

Tim Monger/Great Lakes Myth Society. While the GLMS play a sullen mid-period Kinks storyteller role (Arthur on the Edmund Fitz), their lead singer's solo album is loopy fun.

The High Strung. Their album Moxie Bravo is gorgeous and glammy, and everyone thinks the lead singer is a girl.

Starling Electric. Jangling swoopness with minimal twee, large paisely collars.

The Hold Steady. The main guy used to be the center of Lifter Puller, who were a great band that I always got confused with Railroad Jerk. Buy albums from all three of 'em.

The Decemberists. Personally, their affectations grate on me, but I dig their sound. They're college rock too.

I'm away from my home right now, so I can't give you the standard answer of pouring through my iTunes library (or my physical library). But here are plenty more bands to help you with your musical education:

Big Star. You like jangling? This is where REM got it from (well, them an' arguably VU).

Wire. REM covers "Strange."

Pullsilama. If you like Pylon, you'll like them. Along with the Bush Tetras, these are like the holy trinity of girl post-punk.

Au Pairs. Well, make that "holy quadrangle" or something.

Bressa Creeting Cake. Recommended if you like The Clean.

Pavement. They wrote The Unseen Power of the Picket Fence for a reason. It's a loveletter to REM.

Superdrag. Sure, why not?

Live and Broken Social Scene. Both accused of being REM knock-offs. Both pretty decent at being REM knockoffs.

Flaming Lips. Sure, why not?

Joe Jackson. I think Joe's pretty underrated. If you like the bands above, you'll probably like him too. Well, if you like Elvis Costello, as he's the other side of Jackson.

Beat Happening. Go through the Modern Lovers and punk's DIY, and you get Beat Happening.

Daniel Johnston. Also lo-fi (mostly) and weird (mostly) and jangly pop (mostly).

Half-Japanese. Even got Tucker to drum for them, so strong was their devotion to VU awesomeness.

Jesus and Mary Chain. Both they and The Spacemen Three were heavily influenced by the walls of noise coming out of the VU.

The 13th Floor Elevators. Arguably the origin of the jangle in rock.

I'll probably be back later to throw out more. Hope these help.
posted by klangklangston at 12:16 PM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by troybob at 1:58 PM on February 26, 2007

Wolf Parade, the Posies, the Rakes, the Jam, Voxtrot, the Byrds, Built to Spill.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:12 PM on February 26, 2007

hoboken, multiplies, lcd soundsystem, bebop deluxe, the associates.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2007

Weeks later, I know, but I forgot to mention Love and Rockets, specifically Express. Lots of early Bowie-ish noises on that album.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:29 PM on March 24, 2007

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