Sometimes I love musicians so much that I’m bursting to share with someone, so that’s basically what this is. I would like to add much more, but it took me a long time just to write about these six, so we’ll start here.
Bear with me on my attempts to describe things. I’m not good at identifying music genres – I’m an ‘I like what I like’ kind of person, and I tend to like a lot of different music without looking too deeply into it.
Ulrich Schnauss. His songs are beautiful, enveloping… I keep wanting to describe them as ‘scenic’, if that makes any kind of sense. Mostly they’re 5-7 minutes long, but I never want them to end. If I had known about his music before Devin came along, when I had insomnia, it would have been the kind that I listened to on repeat while daydreaming myself to sleep.
The Mars Volta. They’re often described as prog rock, and I know that’s a kind of polarising genre. Honestly, though, The Mars Volta are brilliant. I have a terrible attention span so my favourite music is often fast, frantic and constantly changing, and The Mars Volta does all three very well, along with epic lyrical content. One of my favourite songs is “Day of the Baphomets” – it’s a fantastic 12 minute amalgamation of all the reasons I love the band. When they head more into the jamming, meandering, noisy, ‘progressive’ side of things, I admittedly lose interest , but they are still probably my favourite band ever.
Afro Celt Sound System. Well, the name is a pretty accurate descriptor. African-and-Celtic-influenced dance music. “Lovers of Light” was my gateway, and that leans more into a Celtic sound. Their music makes me want to dance, and that is a HUGE DEAL.
The Stone Roses. I actually didn’t discover them until about four years ago – I heard one song (“Fool’s Gold“) and promptly ordered two of their albums. It was a bit of a gamble, especially since I am notorious for fiercely loving one or two songs by an artist and hating everything else, and especially since I was at uni and had very little money to spare. I was very pleased to find that I loved practically every song on both albums (The Stone Roses and Second Coming). I introduced them to Jene shortly into our relationship, too.
Devin Townsend. Our Devin was kind of named after Devin Townsend, in the sense that Jene happened to like the musician and that’s where we heard the name, and we liked it, not necessarily in the sense that we wanted to honour him, you know? Anyway, through Jene’s repeated playing of Devin Townsend, I’ve come to really like his music, too. I think… progressive metal? “Earth Day” is what initially peaked my interest – “Eat your beets, recycle”. I mean, how many metal artists, or in fact artists of any genre apart from children’s music, could say they seamlessly integrated those lyrics into a song? A song that’s not even about Earth Day or recycling or anything in particular? Well, Devin Townsend can.
(Devin Townsend’s own record label is called HevyDevy, which I really can’t help calling our Devin when I’ve been holding him for a while.)
TV On The Radio. Sadly, their bassist Gerard Smith died on Wednesday at only 36 years old, a week after their latest album was released. It was their album Return to Cookie Mountain that made me love them, it’s so deliciously bassy and catchy. I wasn’t a big fan of Dear Science because I felt they’d fallen into the same trap that many artists had at that time – too techno, pop, synthetic, Hipster-ish. I’m enjoying Nine Types of Light well enough so far, but I think Cookie Mountain will always be my favourite. I’m not sure how to describe the sound, but I love their vocal style and I love, love their lyrics.
Good lyrics are quite important to me, which is why I’m dismayed to hear what a lot of popular music sounds like these days. (I accidentally wrote ‘poopular music’ then – Freudian slip.) My exposure to it is mostly in stores where they play it over the sound system, so I can’t say I have a broad knowledge, but I hear more than enough.
For instance, we have TV on the Radio’s “Second Song” – “Every lover on a mission, shift your known position into the light. Every diamond elemental you are instrumental to the light.”
And then there’s 3OH!3’s “Starstrukk” featuring Katy Perry – ” Nice legs, Daisy Dukes, makes a man go [whistle] That’s the way they all come through like [whistle whistle]”
Or, The Mars Volta’s “Televators” – “you should have seen the curse that flew right by you, page of concrete, sting walks crutch and hobbles sway, auto da fe, the capillary hint of red”
Compared to Kesha’s “Take It Off” – ” And now we lookin’ like pimps in my gold Trans-Am. Got a water bottle full of whisky in my handbag. Got my drunk text on, I’ll regret it in the mornin'”
I mean, come on.
Hopefully between Jene and I, we can instil in Devin an appreciation of many types of musical styles. I think anyone who only listens to what’s heaped upon them by commercial television and radio is doing a great disservice to themselves, and I really want Devin to know the bliss of a large and varied music library.