The hardest thing about being a rock snob is that you can't just be listening to what other people are listening to. I suspect that if I reach the true level of rock snobbery I'll never turn the radio on at all. I'll focus exclusively on old music that no one's ever heard of and new artists that haven't been discovered by the populace yet. Reaching this level is actually quite time consuming and difficult to do. But in an effort to help the rest of you also be rock snobs (something a true rock snob probably wouldn’t do,) here are some bands I've discovered lately that no one else has heard of. Enjoy.
I think this will be the most popular of my current picks. They're kind of Radiohead-light. They very much remind me of earlier Radiohead (The Bends, OK Computer) before they decided they could be as weird as they wanted to be. The melodies and smooth vocals will pull you, but not put you to sleep ala Coldplay. Once you're pulled in you start to listen to the lyrics that range from interesting to profound. Go out and get some today!
Say Anything (B)
I'm not a huge Emo fan. Whiney doesn't really do anything for me. I think they're generally better artists than strictly punk or hard rock outfits, but it simply doesn't appeal to me. Say Anything is like Heinz 57: emo with a kick. They've got that self deprecation and everyone sensibility common to emo, but will also take a bite out of others. They aren't nearly as high octane as rock, but have a more interesting beat than lots of similar artists. They do swear a fair amount, so this is definitely a qualified suggestion.
Moldy Peaches (B-)
Just plain weird. This is an extremely qualified suggestion. The Peaches have been around for a while and will never hit it big. They're one of those bands with horrible vocals and simple song structure, yet you still find yourself hooked. If you like weird, try them out.
Nine Black Alps (B)
I've only found 3 songs thus far, so have a pretty limited view of this band. But so far they rock. I think they're going to get some radioplay pretty soon, so you'll have to hurry if you want to know them before they were big.
Rob Dickinson (A-)
Whereas the last 3 bands are a bit edgier, Rob is quite mellow. Not boring really, but containing significantly less screaming, drug and sex references. For you crazy people who like your music lacking these elements, he could be your ticket. He’s got a Bowiesque voice (which I would qualify as a good thing) though not particularly the Bowie style. Not that you can really pinpoint a Bowie style, but he only tricked me into thinking he was David for about 10 seconds. Great stuff, but take my warning that My Name is Love will get engrained in your head after a single playing.
Ellie Lawson (B+)
Ellie and I go way back. I grabbed a couple free tracks of hers last summer, and just got around to getting some more. She falls somewhere between pop and lesbian music. Yes, lesbian music is a genre. It doesn’t mean the artist or the listener have sapphic tendencies, that’s just how you describe it. Acoustic, folksy, Lilith Fair stuff. She won’t blow your mind (which makes for poor driving music, incidentally) but she has enough variety to keep you interested. I think I may have heard her on the radio in Utah, which would indicate she was popular six months ago. But if you never heard her you should give her a listen.
Song of the moment: “You make my pants want to get up and dance” DR. Hook.