Once in a while I fall into a bit of a rut with my music and get the urge to strike out and discover some new bands or some new styles. And by “new” I mean “new to me.” The last time I did this was about 6 years ago when I started seriously developing an affinity for jazz. That period bore a lot of fruit and allowed me to get into groups/acts that have really had an impact on me, such as Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and many others.
This time I decided to delve into so-called “indie” music. I made an earlier attempt around 1998 but didn’t really get too much out of it. I was a bit turned off by the shoddy production values I heard on many of the records I sampled, and quite honestly found a lot of it rather boring. I won’t name any of those bands here for fear of getting a bunch of responses along the lines of “You gotta give them another chance maaaan!” or “You closed-minded moron!”
First up is Cold War Kids, who I heard of mainly because they recently opened for the uber-awesome Muse. I downloaded Robbers & Cowards and loved it right away. The songwriting grabbed me and I already can’t wait for their next album.
Next is The Hold Steady. I listened to Boys and Girls in America and picked up on a 1970s Springsteen vibe, minus the pompousness. I haven’t listened too much to the album in about a week, but I’ll go back and listen some more, as well as check out their earlier stuff.
I can’t say enough about Tapes ‘n Tapes. I don’t even remember where I saw the name the first time but I’m glad I did. The Loon has been out now for almost two years, and I may be prepared to call it one of my favorite records from the last five.
Finally, there is Backyard Tire Fire. I guess you could call them alt-country, although I’m in unfamiliar territory with these indie labels so don’t shoot me if I’m wrong. All I know is that there is a sincerity and down-home vibe on Vagabonds and Hooligans that I’ve been missing from most of the other music I listen to. I had never heard of this band or Ed Anderson before, but I am pulling for them to be around for a long time.