Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Co-Discoveries of the Year

Avett Brothers
I’ve already written a couple of trees worth of words about this band in this year’s RT 20. But here’s a few more. I was reading up on the band recently and I saw a very apt description of their sound—Americana with attitude. The way they mix folk, country, hillbilly, and blues, and view it through the prism of rock and a touch of punk is something that I’m still amazed never crossed my radar before. This trio seems tailor made for the way my musical tastes have grown over the past decade. Any band that can write a song called “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” whose opening line, “Love writes a letter and sends it to Hate,” is one that will have me as a fan for life. As my dear friend Jodie emailed me after I sent her some Avetts music, “I didn't know I could enjoy the banjo so much.”

The Move
One night at my favorite tapas bar Sample (okay, the only tapas bar I ever go to) this song came on and had me hooked within 30 seconds. I thought it was the Faces, but quickly realized it wasn’t Rod Stewart singing. Then I thought it could have been the James Gang, but that wasn’t Joe Walsh either. I thought, “Who the hell is this? And how many distinct parts does this song have?” So I grabbed my trusty iPhone and opened up the Shazam app, which using…well, I really don’t know what it uses, black magic perhaps. That’s not important. Well, I suppose it is if the Shazam app unloads some voodoo curse on me. Anyhoo, Shazam can identify songs if you hold up the iPhone’s mouthpiece near the speaker. After doing its magic (well, you get what I’m saying) it told me that it was The Move’s “Feel Too Good.” Now I had heard of the Move because I knew Cheap Trick cited them as huge influences (and did a great cover of Move founder Roy Wood’s “California Man”) and that Jeff Lynne was in the band before starting Electric Light Orchestra. I had no idea that the band created such over the top rock songs. “Feel Too Good” went on for nine and a half minutes, and by the time it was over I wanted it to go for another 10. The Monday after I heard it I asked my friend (and head of the department I reside in at work) Ira Robbins if he could bring in some Move albums. Within a few days I had listened to virtually everything the band released in their brief six year existence. And holy shit, they did everything in that time. The breath of range in their catalog is incredible. And I kept mentally slapping myself in the head for not investigating this band further the very first time someone told me “Do Ya” was not first done by ELO. Duh.

No comments: