New Year; New Musical Discoveries


This post corresponds—but is NOT faithful—to Gab & Jam Episode 42 Musical Discoveries V2.0 Parts 1 and 2. It might be noteworthy to establish that this episode is a follow-up to our first Gab & Jam episode (https://youtu.be/pqObIeyy5FA ), which nearly a year and a half ago.

As you may already have figured out, we love discovering things that are off the beaten path, so you already know that our musical tastes are going to be as unconventional as we can handle. That is the reason we persist with trying to unearth music that lights that little spark when we hear it. And in an effort to share—because who doesn’t want to share—we thought we’d open up our personal musical encounters, so that we are all enriched. That’s always our goal around here, so . . .

If discovering new music is something you like to do, check out our Funky Happy People (Who Listen to a Variety of Genres of Music) Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/2NMPCs8

As a happy accident, as we researched this episode, we noticed a common thread with at least half of the artists represented here and that’s they represent some sort of cultural, ethnic, or racial mixture, and for the ones that don’t meet that criteria, there is usually a musical or a genre mix happening. We will try to point out those “mixings” as we share them and their music with you. This is surely a “Prejippie”-style list, since we’re all about the mixing. (‘Don’t know what it means to be a “Prejippie”? Check this out: https://youtu.be/iEsGQawzY9Q )

FYI: Most of the “research” came from Wikipedia (which although is NOT a reliable source, but is the first stop often when trying to understand something or someone).

Here's the video that loosely accompanies this post, Gab & Jam Episode 42.

O n t o t h e a r t i s t s :

1. ST. VINCENT

"Los Ageless" video

Fun Facts

  • Took her stage name from 2 places: a Nick Cave song and from the name of the hospital where Dylan Thomas died.

  • St. Vincent (Anne Erin Clark) began playing the guitar at the age of 12 and worked some of her teenage years as a roadie for her aunt and uncle, the guitar-vocal jazz duo Tuck & Patti.

Background:

  • She was born September 28, 1982 is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer.

  • After studying at Berklee College of Music for three years, St. Vincent began her music career as a member of The Polyphonic Spree. She was also a member of Sufjan Stevens's touring band, before forming her own band in 2006. She released a collaborative album with David Byrne in 2012 titled Love This Giant.

  • Her fourth solo album, St. Vincent, won her a Grammy for Best Alternative Album, her first Grammy award. She was the first solo female performer in 20 years to win a Grammy in that category.

  • Her unorthodox musical style has been characterized by critics as a mixture of chamber rock, pop, indie rock, and cabaret jazz.

2. SUFJAN STEVENS

"Worst Christmas Ever" Video

Fun Fact:

Sufjan is an Arabic name, meaning "comes with a sword.”

Background:

Sufjan Stevens is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and artist, who began releasing his music in 1999 on him and his stepdad’s record label, Asthmatic Kitty Records. He is from Michigan and has slowing been building his artistic reputation to what it is today. He has been a quiet force in the independent music scene over the years, which is why he makes our list.

Mixtures:

Not only is Stevens is of Lithuanian and Greek descent, but his music has been described as a mix of electronica, low-folk, and symphonic. Many of his songs have a spiritual basis, but he does not consider himself a Christian artist.

3. KACEY MUSGRAVES

"Slow Burn" Live Performance

Fun Facts:

  • She began songwriting at the age of 8, when she wrote a song called "Notice Me" for her elementary school graduation.

  • Non-country artists that Musgraves has mentioned as influences include Ryan Adams, Cake, Neil Young, Weezer, Imogen Heap, The Bee Gees and Electric Light Orchestra.

Background:

  • Kacey Musgrave is an American country music singer and songwriter. She self-released three albums before appearing on the fifth season of the USA Network's singing competition Nashville Star in 2007, where she placed seventh.

  • She later signed to Mercury Nashville in 2012 and released two critically acclaimed albums on the label, Same Trailer Different Park (2013) and Pageant Material (2015). Her first Christmas-themed album, A Very Kacey Christmas, was released on October 28, 2016. Her third studio album, Golden Hour, was released on March 30, 2018, to widespread critical acclaim.

Would you prefer to listen to the podcast of this episode?


4. DEAD LETTER CIRCUS

"The Armour You Own" Video

Fun Facts:

  • Dead Letter Circus used MySpace to announce the release of the debut album, This is the Warning, on 16 February 2010.

  • “We don’t ever write whole songs before we go into the studio. We generally take the seeds of songs."

Background:

Dead Letter Circus are an alternative rock band from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Their 2010 debut album. This Is the Warning, debuted at No. 2 on the Australian album charts and spawned a number of singles that were played heavily on radio, and was later certified Gold and voted by listeners into Triple J's Hottest 100 Albums of All Time, at number 86. The band's third studio album, Aesthesis, was released on August 14, 2015.

5. GHOST

"Rats" Video

Fun Facts:

  • They used to perform wearing “virtually identical, face-concealing costumes.”

  • On February 5, 2013, the band announced a name change to "Ghost B.C." in the United States for legal reasons, but the B.C. is silent.

Background:

Ghost is a Swedish rock band that was formed in Linköping, Sweden in 2006. Ghost's music has been categorized in many genres, critics have classified them as heavy metal hard rock, doom metal, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, pop rock, occult rock, and arena rock. They have released four albums and their fourth studio album, Prequelle, in 2018.

6. MITSKI

"Nobody" Video

Fun Facts:

Because of her father's job, which she prefers to not disclose, she and her family moved frequently, living in thirteen countries, including Turkey, China, Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, before eventually settling in New York City.

Background:

Mitski Miyawaki (born September 27, 1990), known simply as Mitski, is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter and musician. She self-released her first two albums: Lush (2012), and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business (2013). After graduating, Mitski released in 2014 her critically acclaimed third studio album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek through Double Double Whammy. It was followed by Puberty 2 (2016) and Be the Cowboy (2018), released on Dead Oceans to further acclaim.

Mixture:

Mitski reflects her cross-cultural identity as "half Japanese, half American but not fully either," a feeling that is often reflected in her music, which occasionally discusses issues of belonging.

7. MEKLIT

"You Are My Luck" Video

Fun Fact:

The producer of her latest album, We Are Alive (on Six Degrees Records) worked with the Tune Yards (who are behind the music for the movie, Sorry to Bother You).

Background:

Meklit Hadero, known simply as "Meklit", is a singer and songwriter based in San Francisco, California. She is known for her soulful performing style, and for combining jazz, folk, and East African influences in her music. Born in Ethiopia, she was raised in the U.S. and attended college at Yale, where she studied political science. Currently a fellow of the Wildflowers Institute, Meklit has also completed musical commissions for the San Francisco Foundation and for theatrical productions staged by Brava! For Women in the Arts. She is the founder of the Arba Minch Collective, a group of Ethiopian artists in diaspora devoted to nurturing ties to their homeland through collaborations with both traditional and contemporary artists there. She has released five albums to-date.

Mixture:

She’s Nigerian-born and a transplant to San Francisco, California.

8. STROMAE

"Papaoutai" Video

Fun Facts:

  • His songs are in French.

  • His wife is a clothing designer and they have a line of clothing together.

  • His brother, Luc Junior Tam, is a cinematographer and co-creates his videos.

  • He co-directed Dua Lipa’s video, “IDGAF” along with Henry Scholfield.

Background:

Paul Van Haver (born 12 March 1985), better known by his stage name Stromae, is a Belgian musician, rapper and singer-songwriter. He established himself in both the hip hop and electronic music genres. Stromae came to wide public attention in 2009 with his song "Alors on danse" (from the album Cheese), which became a number one in several European countries. In 2013, his second album Racine Carrée was a commercial success, selling 2 million copies in France alone and nearly 600,000 units elsewhere. He has sold over 8.5 million records worldwide. He has worked with Kanye West and will.i.am.

Mixture:

Not only is he ethnically mixed, but his artistic expression is a mixture of many different visual, aural, and cultural elements.

9. CAKE

"Love You Madly" Video

Fun Facts:

  • The band has changed members so many times that they only core member is John McCrea, so since we can’t tell the difference in band line-up change, it must be McCrea that brings that Cake flavor.

  • There have been more former band members than band members, but the sound is consistent.

Background:

Cake is an American alternative rock band from Sacramento, California, consisting of singer John McCrea, trumpeter Vince DiFiore, guitarist Xan McCurdy, bassist Daniel McCallum and drummer Todd Roper. The band has been noted for McCrea's sarcastic lyrics and monotone vocals, and their wide-ranging musical influences, including country music, Mariachi, rock, funk, Iranian folk music and hip hop.

Mixture:

As we mentioned in the background info, their sound is distinct, but it is an odd, but cohesive mixture of genres. It is unmistakable, but like nobody else’s combination of those same elements.

10. TOM MORELLO

"Roadrunner" Video

Fun Facts:

  • Graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor of arts in Social Studies.

  • Father was first ambassador from Kenya to the United Nations.

  • His show was our recent “Date Night Done Right”; here at the El Club in Detroit.

Background:

  • Thomas Baptiste Morello (born May 30, 1964) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and political activist. He is best known for his tenure with the band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave. As of 2016, Morello is a member of the supergroup Prophets of Rage. Morello was also a touring musician with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. He is also known for his acoustic solo act, the Nightwatchman, and Street Sweeper Social Club. Morello also co-founded Axis of Justice, which airs a monthly program on Pacifica Radio station KPFK (90.7 FM) in Los Angeles.

  • He is best known for his unique and creative guitar playing style, which incorporates feedback noise, unconventional picking and tapping, as well as heavy use of guitar effects. Morello is also known for his leftist political views and activism; creating the Nightwatchman offered an outlet for his views while playing apolitical music with Audioslave. He was ranked number 40 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

Mixture:

Not only is he ethnically/racially mixed with his father being a black Kenyan and his mother being a white American, but his musical expression combines a variety of genres, including most notably heavy metal and rap.

Related:

Guest post (on our blog) music reviews by Anselm Anderson (http://bit.ly/2F1rQZK)

Guest blog (on someone else’s) re-iterating our “why” (See post: http://bit.ly/2Lshana)

South By Southwest Meet Up Link

Gab & Jam Episode 41: Who deserves a Grammy?”

Guest Post on someone else’s blog: “Why Do We Do ALL the Things?”

Here's our latest Plum Paper Planner 2019 Unboxing video.

(HERE'S HOW WE PLAN: Weekly Blogging Planning Method)

What off-the-beaten path music have you recently discovered?

We'd love to hear about it.

Until next we meet, here’s wishing you love, peace, and chicken grease!

To come along with us on our journey to find that next creatively inspiring thing, be sure you’ve subscribed to both the blog and to our YouTube channel.

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