Bands to Check Out. Part 1

[The quarterly posts series: B.t.C.O. Parts 1-4 were originally received as an email from my friend Scott during our Peace Corps service in Macedonia. He gave me permission to publish them here. Hope you enjoy!]

Maybe you won’t like all of these bands, but hopefully you get turned to a few of them. I’m sure you’ve heard of a few of these bands. I like talking about music with people, and you’re one of the few people here in the Peace Corps I feel like I can talk about music with. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe there’s more, but some people has a passion for music, especially live music, and for some it’s just whatever happens to be playing on the radio or whatever.

Heavy or garage rock/punk
Dead Moon: Veteran three-piece Portland punk outfit with husband and wife on vocals. Better live than on albums. Honest, brutal, stripped down, heart-felt songs of loss and love. Now they perform as Pierced Arrows with a different drummer. Here’s a taste.

Modern Lovers: Boston punk pioneers from the early 1970s that I played at Igor’s house a few weeks ago. Slow, but distinct vocals about awkwardness with dating and relationships. Cool, simple logo ta boot.

Bad Brains: Hardcore DC act from the late 70s/early 1980s with a touch of reggae.

This concert from 1982 at legendary CBGBs is pretty cool. Here’s some studio stuff.

Minor Threat: Hardcore pioneers also from the DC area. Super fast, short songs (most are under 2 minutes), but bursting with passion, energy and anger. The complete discography is fantastic. Disbanded in 1983, but lead singer Ian MacKaye formed the equally high integrity and acclaimed band Fugazi, which is also worth checking out. Different sound than Minor Threat, but cool unique punk with substance.

At The Drive In: Late 90s, early 2000s post-hardcore band from El Paso, Texas, that eventually split into two bands that neither match the unique sound and cool lyrics and energy of ATDI. Their last album Relationship of Command is a killer album, but so is their early stuff. One-armed Scissor is a classic.
The Sword: I saw these guys play a small club in Missoula in like 2008 or so, because my skate buddies told me how good they were. I had a awesome time. Heavy, head-banging guitar. No B.S. They’re from Austin, Texas. Old school, no frills lyrics.
Sonic Youth: Highly influential NYC noise rock punk band from late 80s and 90s. Their sound is known for its experimental guitar pedals and feedback. Saw them once in like 2006. Great show, and I saw the lead singer Thurston Moore play a solo show shortly before I left for Macedonia. Completely owned the stage with an plugged-in acoustic guitar.

Titus Andronicus: Heavy rocking straight forward indie punk sound. Here’s one album that I’ve listened to and enjoyed. The Civil War is sort of a theme for the album I think. At least that’s what the song titles and some lyrics conjure up images of. A friend who’s music taste I respect, said they played amazing live show in Missoula.

The Black Angels: Didn’t know much about these guys except I heard they were coming to Missoula for a small show in 2010. I kept seeing a TV ad for some video game set in like the Revolutionary War or something. The song they used for the ad hooked me. Very solid show. Heavy psychedelic guitar sound. The song, Young Men Dead, was used for True Detectives end credits. Heavy 60s sound with like Jim Morrison as a lead singer.

Indie/Alternative Rock:

Blitzen Trapper: Portland band with a cool, head-bobbin’ sound. Not too heavy, definitely not soft indie rock. They have sort of a 70s classic rock sound without the grandiose lyrics and theatrics. Saw them once in Missoula. Solid show. Here’s a sample.

The Fruit Bats: Chicago act centered around singer/songwriter Eric Johnson. Cool sound with great lyrics. Saw these guys in the summer of 2012 without hearing much of their music (only listened to a couple of songs on YouTube, but basically went to heir show on basis of my friends recommendation). Fantastic show.  A lot heavier than I expected. Great performance. Downloaded a bunch of their music. I really dig their sound and the tone of their songs. Here’s a few of their great songs and videos. And one more. Reminds me of The Shins, another great underrated band if you ask me. Here’s one of my favorite Shins videos. Lots of great songs.

OK, I could probably keep going, but hopefully this opened you to some new music that you like.

I’ll be in Skopje Wednesday night through the weekend. I’m sure our paths will cross once or twice.



“Edited” by Emily

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