Bands To Check Out Part III

Hi again, same drill. You may or may not know of these bands and artists. I enjoy them.

Hopefully you’ll appreciate their work too.

The Flaming Lips: I love this band. They’ve been around for over 30 years and they’re from Oklahoma City of all places. They started out as punk rockers on acid with an alternative slant with a sound that just keep getting more and more experimental and psychedelic as time has gone one. Space Rock. They sound like no one and no one compares with their sound or shows from what I can gather. I’ve never seen them live unfortunately. Experimental, beautiful and transcendent music. In the mid nineties that made four separate records that had to be played at the same time. Start with The Soft Bulletin and then Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. This is an amazing song and video.   At War With The Mystics is also really solid and then there’s a bunch more songs and albums worth a listen. This video has a bunch of naked people on bikes with the lead singer, Wayne Coyne in plastic bubble. Oh, they also covered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon with their own signature style. These guys are fun. They do dark, eerie material for their most recent album The Terror, but they also do kick ass covers of classic Beatles songs. Their older stuff from the 80s and early 90s is worth checking out too, but Coyne really finds his voice and the band’s direction around 1992-95 (definitely good material there too). They’ve just been evolving ever since.
The Nightwatchman: This is the folk-rock solo project of Tom Morrelo, guitar extraordinaire from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave. He has four albums of his own material with a few covers sprinkled in.. Political like you’d expect it to be, and his voice works great with the material. Some are soft acoustic and others are more upbeat and faster. I like his stuff a lot.
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin: British alternative punk band from the early 90s. They only made three albums, but I listened to these guys with some friends in college a fair amount and I never thought they got they audience they deserved. God Fodder is an album I have and still listen to. Kill Your Television is a great track. Guitar driven music, but not simplistic pop.

Pavement: Pioneers of 90s nerd/math rock. Led by frontman and song writer Stephen Malkmus, Pavement produced five classic albums from the 90s. Great word play with a unique fun, upbeat sound. I saw them do a reunion show in Portland in 2010 and they were still awesome, although they don’t make music together anymore. Malkmus has his own solo stuff that’s also pretty cool. Pavement is just great music to sit back and chill out to. It’s hard to pick which albums for you to try, but I would start with Brighten The CornersTerror Twilight and Slanted and Enchanted, their debut. One of my favorite bands.

The Pixies: Indie/alt rock legends from Massachusetts.  Surf music and punk rock. Major influence on Kurt Cobain and a host of other musicians. Late 80s to the early 90s. I don’t know how I would characterize the the music or lyrics. Just cool. The subject matter of the songs is strange, as well as the singing style sometimes, but it totally works and has staying power. Check out any of these songs. ‘Where is My Mind?’, ‘Wave of Mutilation’, ‘UMass’, Gigantic’, ‘Debaser’ and ‘Here Comes Your Man’ are classics, plus about 15 other songs. People that like the Pixies are cool. Just sayin’. Black Francis (guitar) did most of the song writing and shared vocals with Kim Deal (bass). Speaking of Deal, she was also in another band in the early 90s called The Breeders: They had a highly acclaimed album called Last Splash with a rad song called “Cannonball“. Worth checking out.

Postal Service: Indie electronic pop band fronted by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Brilliant chill out music. Heart felt and romantic at times, but not sappy and corny. Gibbard and producer Jimmy Tamborello only collaborated for one album called Give Up in 2003. It’s a classic. Some might call it emo music or whatever, but who gives a shit. Go listen to it right now.

To be continued …

[B.t.C.O. is comprised of texts originally received as emails from my friends. Parts I through IV are written by Scott during our Peace Corps services in Macedonia in the early 2000s. He gave me permission to publish them here about a half a decade later. Hope you enjoy this historical reading/listening experience! The release of these posts is aligned with the quarters of the Iliff School of Theology’s 2018-2019 school year. Read/Listen to Part 1 Here and Part II here]

Photography by Seth Nagle

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