Monday, August 13, 2007

Top 5 Current Favorite Bands/Artists

Defined however you like, but within reason...though The Rolling Stones may technically tour again, for example, I wouldn't rate them here. (Not only for that reason, but you get the idea.) Ditto Paul McCartney. I guess what I'm trying to say is, no old folk. Ben Folds would probably be the oldest on my list.

P.S., Stole this idea from Tory, who had it a while back.

1. Badly Drawn Boy - It's actually kind of difficult for me to explain my love affair with Badly Drawn Boy. More than any other artist, he makes albums before songs. I listened to One Plus One Is One a few times and couldn't find many memorable singles, but upon repeated listens, I began to love every individual track for its contribution to the whole. My favorite songs: "Four Leaf Clover," "The Shining," "Minor Incident," "Something to Talk About," "Born in the UK," "Silent Sigh," "Fewer Words," et. al.

2. Muse - Feels wrong ranking them this low because they kick so much ass. I guess, if they follow Black Holes up with something close to as awesome, they might be my favorite band of all-time.

3. Ben Folds - In the long run I like Ben Folds more than almost everyone else, of course, but if I'm being truthful to the "current" point, I have to put him third.

4. The Decemberists - OK, now I feel comfortable ranking them, after legally (in an illegal sort of way) getting their albums online. I've listened to The Crane Wife in one of those patented ryan-obsessive sort of Musey, Badly Drawny Boyey-type ways lately. Everyone had successfully convinced me that they were lyrically talented, but what's taken me by surprise is their musicality. These songs rock--try listening to "The Perfect Crime 2" without jamming.

5. Sufjan Stevens - Narrowly defeats The Flaming Lips, probably because At War With The Mystics wasn't as good as Yoshimi (a really tall order). I'm in love with Illinoise. I've never thought of seriously using this adjective, but his lyrics really are "haunting." It takes some talent to pull off a mournful song about John Wayne Gacy and make it personally relevant ("And in my best behavior, I am really just like him / Look beneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid").

Honorables: The Flaming Lips, Gnarls Barkley (like Muse, a good follow-up would affect their rank), Coldplay ("You know why you're gay? Because you like Coldplay."), Fiona Apple

Dan's Top 5:

I'm going to interpret this as both "bands that are active" as well as "bands that I've been listening to within the last month or so." That's the only way I'm going to be able to narrow it down to 5.

1. Muse - Dan's Musefest 2007 is about out of gas, as I've been listening to Muse for quite some time. However, with GH III coming out and featuring Knights of Cydonia, I will most likely again take up listening to them nonstop, while being quick to point out that "I was into them before GH III came out."

2. The Decemberists - Probably the band for which I have to do the most listening work, but I'm really looking forward to it. I only "know" about a handful of songs, but I've never heard one that I dislike.

3. Damon Albarn's Latest Project - I figure this includes Blur (recently reunited), Gorillaz, and The Good The Bad & The Queen. I've listened to every "artist," and they're all good. I'm looking forward to whatever he releases next, and I'm almost guaranteed to buy it without listening to it first (which is what I did for TGTB&TQ).

4. Belle & Sebastian - This is only based off one album, but it was good enough for me to probably get their next one, whenever it's released.

5. Starsailor - I have two albums, but in all honesty have only listened to three songs. Again, they're a band I like, but I just need ot work on getting to know them.

Honorable Mentions: Radiohead (only unranked because they've had no new album in a while), The Go! Team, Doves, Gnarls Barkley

Tim's Top 5:
Having now taken a solid nine months to respond to this, I have a little more hindsight to celebrate, but oh well. That said, I don't think my list will have changed. Since my initial list all involved bands who had put out fewer than three albums except The Old 97's, I've just decided to set that limit.

1. Franz Ferdinand - They may never release a third album, but I'm so enamored with the first two that they still make the top 5. They're British, they're good with writing lyrics and making references to things that make me feel British (ah, Terry Wogen, how you make me feel British)

2. OK Go - I love these guys. I don't care about the videos that got everyone into the band, it took me forever to appreciate them on any level, but now that I do, I'm hooked. Oh No is one of my favorite albums of the last decade, and their debut has a few songs that I consider indispensable. Throw in the connection to NPR and attempting to dethrone Bush...and I can't believe I'm putting them at 3.

3. Arctic Monkeys - Both their debut album and the follow up are dynamite albums and they've already mastered the art of the non-album single with "Leave Before the Lights Come On". They're not strictly a singles band, which makes them absolutely essential to this list.

4. The Killers - All right, I gave up on Sam's Town, only to come around and find it to be a masterpiece, even if it's not Hot Fuss. Sawdust was underwhelming, but they're a young band to be putting out a B-sides disc, and it still has some very solid material. Hot Fuss is one of the most consistently great albums of the decade and Sam's Town has some indispensable tracks, including the title track and Bones.

5. Nine Black Alps - Their first album is a masterpiece, one of the best things Rob Schnapf has ever done, and he's one of the greatest producers of all time (see earlier list). The second album is less wonderful, but still quite good.

Honorable mention: The Decemberists have put out more than three, hence they don't get #5, but they still should count. Kanye West, though he loses me more with each album. The Bravery's last album would get mention, but I didn't think much of their debut. Interpol interests me. The bands I would have put in here don't seem "current" enough -- The Old 97's are almost as old as Pearl Jam, Jay-Z is old, Muse isn't that old, but they've put out five albums, Death Cab is pretty vintage, even if I didn't get into them until Plans.

No comments: