If you haven’t been following this is #4 of the music fueled emails I received from my buddy Scott during our Peace Corps service. Hope you’ve enjoy reading and listening as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing.
Sat, Aug 9, 2014, 5:52 AM
Wilco: Chicago band that has been around since the mid 90s moving from alt country to more experimental sounds with feedback and eventually to a more classic pop rock sound with an electric touch. Lead Singer and main song writer Jeff Tweedy pours himself into the lyrics. Great romantic song writer. I’ve seen them perform three different times. I love this band. My favorite albums in no particular order are A.M. debut from 1995 with strong alt county vibe, Summerteeth, poppy and upbeat from 1999, Being There, a double album from 1996 has some awesome epic tracks where the band shows they can pull off some long epic songs with thunderous sound. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot from 2001 is their most successful album. Maybe their best all the way through. Excellent documentary about the making of this album, by the way that you can watch here. A Ghost is Born from 2004 won some Grammys and the band continued to use feedback and stretched out the sound with little regard for what would get played on a radio station. Sky Blue Sky from 2007 and The Whole Love from 2011 are also real solid for great music and are worth checking out, just not as epic and memorable as the previous albums. The self titled album from 2009 is OK. They also put out a great two-disc live album called Kicking Television, which is fantastic and gives a good glimpse of their live shows.Wilco also collaborated brilliantly with British singer Billy Bragg to cover tons of Woody Gutherie songs, many that Woody never even recorded. Three albums worth of music. Anyway, I like Wilco and think more people should appreciate their work, rather than shit like Dave Mathews Band.
Ween: Like Flaming Lips, Ween has no comparison before them or currently. Experimental, eclectic, funny and absurd lyrics with cool music. Basically two guys: Gene Ween (vocals) and Dean Ween (lead guitar) — pseudonyms — from eastern Pennsylvania with a great touring/backing band. I saw them in 2009 in Missoula. They put out music from 1990-2012. Gene Ween retired to get sober. They explored different genres and musical styles from country rock, pop and honky tonk: 12 Country Greats from 1996 — only 10 songs on the album, hehe, and also awesome to see this in jukeboxes in rural bars dominated with legit country music fans. pop, progressive rock and speed metal on Quebec from 2003; explore soul, folk, pop, rock, psychedelic, punk and whatever else on White Pepper (2000), Chocolate and Cheese (1994) and La Cucaracha (2007). The Mollusk (1997) is all of those genres with a nautical theme and maybe mocking traditional Irish songs on one track. Pure Guava from 1992 has an electric synthesizer sound with a lot of the vocals done with what seems like helium or someone trying to sound like their on helium. I think its safe to say the guys used some drugs while making their albums. They have a couple of other albums I haven’t really explored yet, old and recent, but I’m sure their integrity of not following any trends is evident on those as well. Ween isn’t for everybody, but boring they are not.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Great energetic three-piece punk/indie band from New York with strong female vocals (Karen O , who has collaborated with Flaming Lips) that got started in the early 2000s. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, if not check them out. Fever to Tell from 2003 is fun with the kick ass track Date With The Night, and Show Your Bones(2006) , a 5-song EP from 2007 called Is Is with earlier work, Its Blitz (2009). They had a more recent album called Mosquito from 2013 that I haven’t checked out. I would love to see this band in person.
Frank Zappa: Legendary and prolific artist and underrated guitar player that made most of his best music in the 1970s and early 80s, but was active from the late 60s to til his death from cancer in 1993. Great sense of humor and intellect. Some people might be offended by his occasional crude lyrics, but he was unique as an artist and very talented. I’m not in love with everything he’s done, but I think more people should appreciate him and his work. He didn’t really give a shit about trends or pleasing people. His backing band was called the Mothers of Invention. Here a few albums to get a sense of his work: You Are What You Is (1981), Sheik Yerbouti (1979), Apostrophe(1974), and Over-Nite Sensation (1973), with the classic tack Montana.
Also, check out his senate testimony from 1985 about song lyrics containing sexual or satanic lyrics. Al Gore’s wife Tipper was large proponent of censorship in the name of decency or some BS. In short, Zappa was brilliant.
A few other bands that I could also suggest for an album or two: Snow Patrol, Wolf Parade, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, Old Crow Medicine Show.