Show These Bands/Musicians Your Support

July 23, 2008

I thought my first topic here would be very basic. I just want to mention a few newer (and by newer for me, since I like a lot of really old music, I mean last couple of years, up to 10 in the DBT case) musicians who are making great music and deserve your attention.

The Hold Steady is probably the best traditional rock and roll group out right now. Their early records showed a lot of promise, but with Boys and Girls in America they made the classic rock album they had waiting in them. Every song is great, the lyrics are well thought out and well-written, the music is reminiscant of the E Street Band but rightfully owned in and of itself, the backup vocals and harmony bring each hook to it’s high point, and although the lead singer’s voice isn’t traditionally excellent, it fits just perfectly. Give me an interesting and uncommonly good voice over an oversung over-compensating voice anyday. Anyway, The Hold Steady followed up Boys and Girls in America with Stay Positive which was released through itunes last month and in stores this month. It’s a terrific follow-up, it contains a few of the best songs they’ve ever written, and it exemplifies everything missing from most of what you hear on the radio or see in the videos.

Band number 2 I have to rave about is The Drive By Truckers. Now, they’ve been around since the early to mid nineties by this point, but they continue to get better and better. They’re among the best live shows you can catch, and usually you can catch them in a relatively small venue up close and personal. Their album from early this year, Brighter Than Creations Dark consists of almost twenty songs, every one of which is pretty much perfect. Vocals are shared between three, with guitarist Shanna filling stepping up with 3 songs of her own in Jason Isbell’s abscence from the band, and each offers a different type of song for the listener. DBT released several albums in the past, most notably The Great Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day, and The Dirty South. They also released an excellent live DVD, Live at the 40 Watt Club. If you want to hear excellent music with great lyrics, mixing hard rock, country, folk and the like, The Drive By Truckers are where you need to pay attention.

Lupe Fiasco is the best rapper making hip hop albums today, bar none in my opinion. Food and Liquor was perfect, followed up by an even better album The Cool. If a skateboarding Muslim rapper from Chicago sounds like a different type or rapper to you, wait till you hear the best written raps that deal with politics, pop culture and the modern day world more expertly than most writers and experts can. Lupe’s the place to go.

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