Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We've only just begun...

Music....my love, my life, my everything! I can still remember when this infatuation first began (summer of '97) and whose music it was that shook me to the core (the Smashing Pumpkins...before everything went to shit). When I was young I was just like any other girl in that I loved to play sports, hang out at the mall, and gossip with my friends, but at the end of the day I was happiest when sitting in my room listening to my boom box (oh yeah - that's the late 90's for you). Even back then I always had the desire to hunt down artists or bands that were not being played on the radio. For some reason this meant more to me then bopping my head along to the Top 40. When I discover new music it's as if I have accomplished something...it's my own little secret to share with the world. The timeline that brought me to where I am today is significant to who I have become, but it also serves as a glimpse into the music of a handful of fantastic artists/bands that I think are worth checking out..

Smashing Pumpkins
-Oh, Billy Corgan...he had me at "1979". Enough said.

-My one exception to the rule. Over the years this band has skyrocketed into mainstream pop culture, but my memory of Coldplay began when I purchased their first album, Parachutes, on the day it was released back in my high school days. Chris Martin's voice was beautiful and, at the time, their music was innovative. It still resonates with me today and I think it is fantastic that each of their subsequent albums have shown growth in their sound, lyrics, and overall appeal. In 2008 (after 8 years of following these English rockers) I was blessed with 4th row tickets to their Chicago show which only confirmed their rock-god status in my book. Amazing!
Personal Favorite(s): Shiver / God Put a Smile Upon Your Face

Pete Schmidt
-Although he has been on a slight hiatus for the past year, Pete Schmidt is still a favorite of mine in the singer/songwriter genre. I was first introduced to Pete (literally) after an impromptu trip to Indianapolis during my junior year of college. A friend of mine (you know who you are...) handed over Pete's first CD and simply said, "You have to check this guy out!". He was playing at a local coffee shop in north Indy a few weeks after that exchange so I grabbed a few friends and made the 1 hour trek to the city. His sound was very organic, but what really impressed me were his heartfelt lyrics and casual demeanor. He is totally "that guy"....he talked to the audience throughout his entire performance (reminiscent of Matt Nathanson), cracked jokes, and even played a few appropriate cover songs. Basically, he won me over. Since then I have tried my best to keep track of his new music, tour dates, etc., but it seems as if this southern musician is sticking to his roots. Other than a few shows sprinkled throughout the Atlanta area, he has not scheduled any upcoming shows in the Chicago (or Midwest!) area as of yet. Maybe he's moving away from music...maybe he's moving on to bigger and better things, but whatever it may be, I'm just grateful that I got to experience his music when it was at it's best...pure and simple.
Personal Favorite: Graduation

Erin Smith
-On the island of Maui she was "it". This transported hippie has spent the past couple of years bouncing around from bar to bar enlightening the locals and occasional tourist with her raw sound and honest lyrics. I immediately compared her to a young Fiona Apple (whom I love), but her interesting sound is less mainstream and a bit more quirky than Ms. Apple. Although she has recently rejoined forces with 2 local musicians (Kimo Clark & Ian Hollingsworth) to form the reggae-rock group, "The Throwdowns", I will always remember Erin as the sweet girl who became a local celebrity in her own right in such a short period of time.
Personal Favorite: One of the Boys

The Hold Steady
-I can't even quite pinpoint where I first found out about The Hold Steady, but after their show at Lollapalooza (2007) I was convinced of two things: 1) This band could successfully (and somehow tastefully) incorporate drugs, sex, & rock n' roll into the lyrics of each and every one of their songs and 2) Craig Finn (lead singer of The Hold Steady) had ingested all of the aforementioned drugs before stumbling out onto the stage that afternoon. I would classify their music as somewhat of a guilty pleasure that I am happy to out myself with. While I thoroughly enjoy the band's four recordings that have been released, I have to admit that The Hold Steady are to be best appreciated at the live shows. Watching Craig flail around the stage like a teenage boy off his Ridelin can only be described with one word: priceless. You can't help but dance around, sing along, and laugh your ass off at the spectacle that is presented before you. Take my word for it, purchase Boys and Girls in America, put it on repeat, and enjoy it for what it is.
Personal Favorite(s): You Can Make Him Like You / Chips Ahoy

The Hold Steady show with my partner in crime
November 2008

Tokyo Police Club
-This would be one of my more recent discoveries which I picked up from a live session on Sirius Radio. They were featured one morning on Alt Nation (Channel 21) and I immediately purchased almost every since song they have released. I'm impulsive like that when it comes to good music, but let me tell you, I was not dissapointed. These boys are young and so is the band (formed in 2005), but I think it is their (dare I say) youthful energy that captured my attention and hasn't let go. I recently got a chance to finally check out the Tokyo Police Club in concert at the Metro and not only was I impressed with their performance, but I also was introduced to another great band (the Born Ruffians) that will most likely pop back up on this page very soon. Oh, what a night!
Personal Favorite(s): Be Good / Nature of the Experiment / Your English Is Good
**Who am I kidding....I love it all!

Band of Horses
-Just check them out...trust me. Thanks Alex.
Personal Favorite(s): No One's Gonna Love You / Our Swords

This is really just the beginning. I hope to share what I've found with anyone who is willing to listen. This is interactive...a give and a take, so to speak. I welcome your suggestions, comments, raves, rants, etc. Stay tuned!

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