Saturday, October 14, 2006

Underrated Pop Music

There are a few artists/bands that everytime I hear I am just astonished by the quality of their music. Songs that are so catchy, so well written with such a good beat that you wonder "why the hell is this not on the radio and taking over the nation while that other crap is selling millions of copies?". Perhaps it's about the consumer, maybe they don't appreciate a good pop song when they hear it? I don't really think that's true in most cases, most of them just don't get the chance to hear these songs. I'm talking, namely, about Brendan Benson, Mike Doughty, and Tegan & Sara.

Maybe the public just isn't ready for a set of Canadian twin lesbians like Tegan & Sara, but it's a damn shame considering how talented they are. They have been featured in numerous TV shows, like Grey's Anatomy, known for its excellent music choices, so perhaps they have a chance, but I never think they'll reach the level of success they deserve considering their talent. Great lyrics, really original (though occasionally overly repetetive, but they're so damn catchy you don't really care), catchy-as-hell, great guitars, and of course, as always, voices of siblings blend together better than anyone elses, especially twins, very cool.

Brendan Benson most recently teamed up with fellow Detroit rock alum, Jack White to form The Raconteurs. But I think most Raconteurs fans were like "who's that dude with Jack White?" whereas I was most excited for more Brendan Benson material. Brendan Benson could have been big, even his record label thought so until there was some misfortune and his first record ended up flopping. Despite that he's putting out some great records still and they are very well written and catchy and getting better all the time.

Mike Doughty is the former lead singer of Soul Coughing. He was a stoner, he still is a bit spacey, but now he's off the stuff and completely sober. His music just keeps getting better, so the drugs weren't helping any. He is very original, very catchy, and has a really great perspective on the world. His music has also been featured on some shows recently, if I recall correctly, Grey's Anatomy as well. Go figure.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Leah Andreone

Remember the good ol' days when they played female singer-songwriters on the radio? Way back 10 years ago. They called it "the year of the woman", it was a movement. Alternative was slowly fading away into rock-rap and boy bands, and somewhere in the middle was the popular Alanis Morissette and all the record companies scrambling to find other women with something to get off their chest to plop on the radio. This is was how I got into music. I hadn't been into music until they started playing these women on the radio and I was able to relate to it.

Back then one of those women on the radio I heard and fell in love with immediately was Leah Andreone. She had a song on the radio called "It's Alright, It's Ok" that had some dark and personal lyrics in it and I was drawn in immediately. I receiving her album "Veiled" for Christmas that year (as well as Patti Rothberg's "Between The 1 and the 9", and I still associate the 2 together because I would alternate between them trying to decide which I loved more) and adored it. I took it into school and got my friends into it. I covered my English notebook with lyrics from it, I loved it. Now I look back, still enjoy it, but mostly it makes me nostalgic, remembering when this was all so new to me and being amazed someone was being so powerful and so personal on a record like that.

Now Leah Andreone has a new album available for purchase at This is her first new release since 1998's "Alchemy". I was never a big fan of Alchemy, it was too polished and felt like she was trying too hard. I've not heard anything but clips from the new album, but it sounds more acoustic, which is nice. I don't think we'll ever get another album like "Veiled" though, it came from a very dark place and dealt with some very heavy issues (a song from the point of view of a fetus questioning life's worth, depression and break-ups, child molestation, religion, etc.) and I think Veiled served as a way to get that darkness out of her system and move on.

As it is, during her long hiatus between records she released some tracks to her website that I quite enjoyed so i thought I would link those here for you to enjoy and get a taste for Ms. Andreone.