Music Bank

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Hot Chip

Posted on Nov 26, 2020 in 00s, ALTERNATIVE, Dance, Electronic, Indie

With their witty, affecting songwriting and the immediately recognizable vocals of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, Hot Chip combine indie and dance in innovative ways. On early albums such as 2006’s Mercury Prize-nominated The Warning, the band evoked the cleverness of Talking Heads and the poignancy of the Pet Shop Boys. As time went on, Hot Chip’s music broadened and deepened…

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Ral Donner

Posted on Nov 20, 2020 in 60s, Rock 'n' Roll, ROCK/POP

Ral Donner is the classic example of a musician who was doomed to a marginal career by the very attribute that got him public notice in the first place. In a period during which Elvis Presley was the quintessential rock & roll star, Donner was the most successful of all the Elvis sound-alikes, getting a career, a year’s worth of charting singles, and years of steady work out of the fact that his singing bore an uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock & Roll’s ballad style. He was never able to transcend those beginnings, however…

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The New Pornographers

Posted on Nov 14, 2020 in 00s, Indie, Power pop, ROCK/POP

The Vancouver indie rock supergroup the New Pornographers feature the talents of Zumpano’s Carl Newman, the Evaporators’ John Collins, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, cartoonist/filmmaker Blaine Thurier, drummer Fisher Rose, and guest vocalist Neko Case. Newman started the band in 1996 as a lark after releasing Zumpano’s Goin’ Through Changes; one by one, the other members joined the fold, and the New Pornographers’ first official rehearsal took place in 1997…

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The Modern Folk Quartet

Posted on Nov 8, 2020 in 60s, COUNTRY/FOLK, Folk Rock

More notable for their later achievements and peripheral connections to important industry figures than for their music, the Modern Folk Quartet made commercially minded folk in the early ’60s with an emphasis on group harmonies. They were not far removed from the Kingston Trio in sound, though they were mildly hipper than the most mainstream outfits like Chad Mitchell. Each of the quartet would go on to make a significant mark in music or media that had little to do with the folk revival…

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Gram Parsons

Posted on Nov 3, 2020 in 70s, Americana, Country Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Gram Parsons is the father of country-rock. With the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the songwriter pioneered the concept of a rock band playing country music, and as a solo artist he moved even further into the country realm, blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other. While he was alive, Parsons was a cult figure that never sold many records but influenced countless fellow musicians…

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Posted on Oct 30, 2020 in 90s, ALTERNATIVE, Hardcore, Indie, Punk

England’s Leatherface are a rare treasure in contemporary music — a good old-fashioned punk rock band who are neither near-sighted nor necrophiles. But, boy, do they take some getting used to. Frankie Norman Warsaw Stubbs’s voice — well, to call it untutored would be kind. Yet once you get used to it, it’s as affecting as, say, Bob Mould’s or Jake Burns. Formed in Sunderland in the late ’80s, taking their name from the central masked character in cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…

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Bettie Serveert

Posted on Oct 26, 2020 in 90s, ALTERNATIVE, Indie

Although they didn’t cross over into the mainstream the way some of their peers did, Holland’s Bettie Serveert became significant college radio stars during the ’90s with their jangly, sweetly melodic, at times surprisingly muscular guitar pop. The band’s sound was familiar, even archetypal, yet with its own distinct flavor that suggested any number of reference points and made exact comparisons elusive. Much of Bettie Serveert’s reputation rested on their 1992 debut, Palomine…

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Jimmie Rodgers

Posted on Oct 22, 2020 in 1920s, Country, COUNTRY/FOLK

His brass plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame reads, “Jimmie Rodgers’ name stands foremost in the country music field as the man who started it all.” This is a fair assessment. The “Singing Brakeman” and the “Mississippi Blue Yodeler,” whose six-year career was cut short by tuberculosis, became the first nationally known star of country music and the direct influence of many later performers…

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Van Halen

Posted on Oct 18, 2020 in 70s, Metal, ROCK/POP

With their 1978 eponymous debut, Van Halen simultaneously rewrote the rules of rock guitar and hard rock in general. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen redefined what the electric guitar could do, developing a blindingly fast technique with a variety of self-taught two-handed tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and effects that mimicked the sounds of machines and animals. It was wildly inventive and over the top, equaled only by vocalist David Lee Roth, who brought the role of a metal singer to near-performance art standards…

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The Flaming Lips

Posted on Oct 14, 2020 in 90s, ALTERNATIVE, Experimental, Post-punk, Psychedelic

Even within the eclectic world of alternative rock, few bands are as brave, as frequently brilliant, and as deliciously weird as the Flaming Lips. From their beginnings as Oklahoma outsiders to their mid-’90s pop-culture breakthrough to their status as one of the most respected groups of the 21st century, the Lips rode one of the more surreal and haphazard career trajectories in pop music…

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