Continuing in a series of music primers that will appear monthly at thejuiceblog, let's cover a category I will refer to as modern symphonic rock. Somewhere between Radiohead and Jeff Buckley lies a good portion of Indie music. Featuring often higher pitched vocals and dramatic music which often is a mix of alternative and prog rock, this genre of music is a place where many of the most musically talented bands exist. Below are 25 songs you should take a listen to.
Remy Zero- Save Me
Muse- Muscle Museum
Palo Alto- Breathe In
Travis- Why Does It Always Rain On Me
The first 5 I list are all tunes that some would label as Radiohead rip-offs. Since Radiohead gave up making songs with consistent hooks after "OK Computer", I guess I've been more open to accepting other offerings.
Remy Zero is similar to early Radiohead, as they both show their U2-influence. Fun fact: Lead singer Cinjun Tate was married to Alyssa Milano before she became a baseball Annie.
Another dramatic band is Ours, who's lead singer mentored under Buckley.
OK, I'm the biggest blogging pimp for Muse. This song comes from their first album, "Showbiz". Check out "Sunburn" off this release, as well.
Palo Alto just might be the most Radiohead sounding band that exists. If I was picking the soundtrack for the "O.C." or "Grey's Anatomy", "Breathe In" would close the show.
Verve- Bittersweet Symphony
Verbow- New History
Doves- There Goes the Fear
Though they had to give most of their earnings to the Rolling Stones for their biggest hit, the Verve's lifted strings did make the song so great. One of the best singles of the past 10 years.
I'm not a big fan of Coldplay, but "Clocks" is a classic song.
Another song blessed with beautiful strings is "Red".
Verbow is virtually unknown, but the Evanston, IL based band made a masterpiece in the cello-enriched pop of "New History".
Chiming guitars swirl around "There Goes the Fear", which has a hypnotic feel to it.
Keane- Somewhere We Know
The Fray- Look After You
Snow Patrol- Run
Starsailor- Good Souls
The Thrills- Not for All the Love in the World
Earlier I mentioned the newest trend in selling music in a genre like this that gets little radio airplay. Get in on some chick TV show. All 5 of these songs fit that category, with great pop hooks and dramatic tension driving the music.
Keane's lead singer still has that Al Stewart tone to his voice, but "Somewhere We Know" deserved to be a radio smash, as it was a great song.
2006's Keane, just might be The Fray. While their first 2 singles are excellent examples of quality pop music, "Look after You" fits this genre better.
I could have chosen many different Snow Patrol songs, but "Run" has most of the qualities that I discussed with Palo Alto's "Breathe In". If you haven't heard Snow Patrols 2004 release, "Final Straw", seek it out.
Both Starsailor and The Thrills have a few songs that could be listed here, but these are the two best representations for this category.
Death Cab for Cutie- Crooked Teeth
Pernice Brothers- There Goes the Sun
Rufus Wainwright- I Don't Know What It Is
Muse- Falling Away from You
REM- I've Been High
I was one of the few hipsters who didn't care much for Death Cab's rookie release, but I'm a big fan of their second, "Plans', with the single, "Crooked Teeth" a great place to begin.
Another fey singing group is the Pernice Brothers, with their ethereal "There Goes the Sun."
If Jeff Buckley had wanted to be Liza Minelli, he would have sounded like Rufus Wainwright. While his CD "Poses" is his best work, "I Don't Know What It Is" just might be his most beautiful song.
I tried to keep from using any artist more than once, but Muse has so many great songs in this genre, that I wanted to list another. Off of "Absolution", this is the group's finest ballad.
While the past few REM releases have been spotty, "I've Been High" lives up to their lofty past standards.
Spoon- The Way We Get By
Johnny Marr and the Healers- Down on the Corner
Blinker the Star- September Already
Placebo- Running Up That Hill
I'm stretching things to list Spoon in this category, but if you don't know this song, you will thank me for turning you on to it.
Former Smith's guitarist Marr put this gem out in 2003.
Blinker the Star is a hard band to describe. Lethargic singing over jazzy-rock stylings.
Clinic's "Harmony' is my favorite Kid A sounding song. Great harmonica echo sound.
Placebo recently released this great atmospheric cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."
If you missed the first in this series, I took on the challenge of programming Alternative radio.