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The reform a "mainstream" music junkie challenge

Old 04-23-03, 05:56 AM
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The reform a "mainstream" music junkie challenge

I love "mainstream" music, I'm addicted. But reading some of these threads/posts really blew my mind. So many artists mentioned that would never hit a radio station, that you guys respect and hold in high esteem. I feel it's time to expand my horizons and I hope you will help.

For me, mainstream means music played on the radio in high rotation, MTV, reviewed in EW - this music is 99% of my collection. I listen to just about all music genres mind you. I listen to and own, pop (Brittany, N'Sync, every NOW collection out), r&B (Aaliyah, Brian McKnight, Mary J.), country (Shania, Dixie Chicks), 80's (Depeche Mode, the Smiths), soundtracks (Chicago, Go), greatest hits (Elton John, Stevie Wonder), some jazz, rap metal too. I'm just a mainstream music whore.

But I don't have any music that is off the beaten path so to speak. The most eclectic music I own is Radiohead's OK Computer and both Linkin Park albums (which I feel most would consider mainstream). So if you could list some artists, the album name and a brief description of what kind of music it is, I'm ready to hear something different.
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Old 04-23-03, 06:08 AM
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Not exactly a band recommendation...

Speaking of radio stations, a quick google found this one, which is probably as good a place to start listening to new things as any.

Other stations:
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Old 04-23-03, 07:53 AM
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here are some non- mainstreamers for you:

50 Cent
Kelly Clarkston
Kelly Osbourne
and Korn
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Old 04-23-03, 08:11 AM
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Don't feel that there's something lacking in your musical life just because your collection isn't filled with bands no one has heard of. But if you're bored with what you're listening to, it's time to move on.
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Old 04-23-03, 08:37 AM
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Originally posted by gmal2003
here are some non- mainstreamers for you:

50 Cent
Kelly Clarkston
Kelly Osbourne
and Korn
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Old 04-23-03, 08:40 AM
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Thanks Jason. I guess I'm a little bored and a bit curious as to what else the music world has to offer. I have an open mind and think exploring other avenues will be fun. I'm not throwing out my collection, but I do feel a little superficial being like 32 years old and owning all 12 NOWs and not much else.
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Old 04-23-03, 08:58 AM
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Originally posted by gmal2003
here are some non- mainstreamers for you:

50 Cent
Kelly Clarkston
Kelly Osbourne
and Korn
Funny...oh wait...

I see that you already like The Smiths, and they are a good start for more guitar pop. These artists aren't necessarily similar to The Smiths, but I think you may be able to take something valuable away from them:

Belle and Sebastian is a Scottish outfit that writes solid guitar pop songs. Many people name-drop Nick Drake (folk singer/songwriter from the 60s) when they talk about B&S, and I suppose the validity of the reference comes from the singer's voice and the folk-tinged instrumentals (even though I hardly think that anyone could call this band "folk"). Anyway, some of my favorite songs by them are "The Boy With the Arab Strap," "Marx and Engels," "Seeing Other People," and "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying."

Grandaddy write pop tunes with little experimental sounds or techniques that aren't expected in your standard verse-chorus song. They are very accessible but always fresh sounding. They have a new album coming out in June (??) and I know that if you search for them on KaZaa that the bulk of the songs will be from the new record. I haven't listened to any of those, but I strongly suggest anything off of The Sophtware Slump, specifically "The Crystal Lake," "Underneath the Weeping Willow," and (this one off of another EP), "AM 180."

I have to meet a professor in a little while, so I can't really give anymore descriptions, but something I suggest doing - after you find an artist you like - is going to and searching for that artist. When you look at a specific album of theirs, there will be a list somewhere on the page that says, "Customers who bought this title also bought." I suggest surfing around and listening to mp3s off of the site.

Good luck!
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Old 04-23-03, 09:20 AM
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I wouldn't feel embarrassed by liking so many divergent styles. That's kind of cool. But it is true that you can probably find some pretty incredibly tunes under the surface. The fact that you like the Smiths means that you already have some music that isn't all over the radio (at least not today).

I've mentioned this band before, but I'll do it again because just about anyone I know who has this CD loves it. And that is "Moon Safari" by Air. It's an incredibly melodic and romantic electronica disc via Paris. Good good stuff from '98.

Have you ever heard Massive Attack's "Mezzanine"? It's a bit heavy in spots, but very interesting, slow (but menacing) electronic music as well. One song featured in the Matrix.

How about Coldplay? Not light years away from the Smiths. "A Rush of Blood to the Head" is a great CD.

I'm trying to think of bands that aren't bizarre for the sake of being bizarre. These 3 are easy to like recordings.
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Old 04-23-03, 10:26 AM
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For those with some serious suggestions, thanks and keep them coming.

As far as gmal2003, I will not retaliate because he's my little brother. Thanks for the laugh, I was confused about the intent until I figured your handle. Love ya!
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Old 04-23-03, 10:52 AM
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Again, to reiterate, your musical tastes are not better or worse just because they're "mainstream," and they're probably less "mainstream" than you think.

Here are a few artists that have some "critical" or niche appeal that you might enjoy. (They're not too far off the beaten path, so you may have even heard, or at least heard of, them.)

Kelly Willis -- country artist who happens to be a sister-in-law of one of the Dixie Chicks. Great voice, better-than-average songs. I don't think you'd go wrong with any of her albums. (There are variations, but trying to pick one for you is hard.)
Lyle Lovett -- sort-of-country artist, much more of a songwriter in the storyteller mode. Droll. I like most of his stuff, but I'd recommend starting with "The Road To Ensanada."
Wilco -- critical darlings who've made 4 albums since the mid-90s, all reasonably different. They've progressed from "alt-country" to, I don't know, "guitar pop with electronica"? (I'm sure somebody can give a better description.) I'm sure their latest album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," was reviewed in EW -- it's just the type of "mainstream non-mainstream" album they'll review.

In terms of finding new music, I'd echo the Amazon suggestion above. A less accurate (but perhaps more interesting) method would be to read the "Today's CDs" threads (which may already do) and look for posts from people who listen to artists you like or recognize. ("This guy is listening to the Smiths and some band named Interpol. Maybe I should check out Interpol.")

In general, this forum has been pretty good about broadening my musical horizons more than it would have been otherwise.
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Old 04-23-03, 11:01 AM
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I'd start with:
Einsturzende Neubauten
Missing Foundation
Test Dept.
Throbbing Gristle

Then move on to:
early King Crimson
and Neu

That should ease you into it...
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Old 04-23-03, 12:21 PM
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Interpol- Good place to start, since 1. they only have one album out; 2. It's pretty damn excellent; and 3. They're a band who's influences are pretty easy to trace and are worth checking out afterwards (Joy Division, etc)

The New Pornographers- Amazing power pop 'supergroup' of indie musicians. Why this isn't on every radio station in the country will puzzle some people after hearing it.

Neko Case- member of New Pornographers; She's, and I'll be damned if she's not the best female singer around these days. Check out the album "Blacklisted."

There's plenty of thing I could name, but I picked these since you can find them in stores without trying too hard (any Best Buy should have most of them) and they're things that would appeal to someone who hasn't aquired a taste for really obscure electronic music or something
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Old 04-23-03, 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by gmal2003
here are some non- mainstreamers for you:

50 Cent
Kelly Clarkston
Kelly Osbourne
and Korn

These are about as mainstream as you can get. Wow.

I'm a anti-radio played band whore. Meaning I like most of my music not watered down and produced for the masses(i.e. pop, rap and country).

If you want some music from people that KNOW their instrument like tha back of their hand(these are all in the prog genre):
Dream Theater
Queensryche(early stuff)
Symphony X
Ayreon (all songs about sci-fi or fantasy topics, plays every instrument but drums on his albums)
Ambeon (Ayreon spin-off with a 14 yr. old girl on vocals. AMAZING)
Star One (each song on the cd is about a different sci-fi movie)
Pain of Salvation
Leonardo (a one off by members of the prog community. Whole cd is about the life of Leonardo DaVinci)
Liquid Tension Experiment (instrumental)
Yngwie Malmsteen

others in other genres:
Moon Dog Mane (bluesy)
Kenny Wayne Sheppard(bluesy)
Type O Negative
Mad Season (think bluesy Alice in Chains)
Rusted Root
Moodswings (brilliant relaxing stuff)
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy(swing, they were in the movie Swingers)
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Old 04-23-03, 03:57 PM
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Originally posted by Poink
Interpol... The New Pornographers... Neko Case...
I just wanted to second these recommendations as well. Good music that I think would appeal to a broader section of listeners than they already have.
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Old 04-23-03, 04:04 PM
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I'd suggest you to get the Radiohead albums that you don't already own.
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Old 04-24-03, 07:53 AM
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Check out:

Pretty Girls Make Graves
Hot Rod Circuit
Tsunami Bomb
From Autumn To Ashes
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Old 04-24-03, 08:08 AM
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I listen to some fairly mainstream stuff, but don't let that fool you.

The Ramones
The Clash
Dead Kennedys
Pink Floyd
Neil Young
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Old 04-24-03, 09:17 AM
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Here is my station's playlist to help you out.

# ARTIST Recording
2 KAMIKAZE HEARTS Kamikaze Hearts
3 LIBERTINES Up The Bracket
4 KILLS Keep On Your Mean Side
6 STRATFORD 4 Love And Distortion
9 EARLIMART Everyone Down Here
11 CAVIAR Laurel Metallic
12 BLACK LIPSTICK Converted Thieves
13 ESSEX GREEN The Long Goodbye
14 EVEN IN BLACKOUTS Myths And Imaginary Magicians
15 JUNIOR PANTHERS The Junior Panthers
16 ARAB STRAP Monday At The Hug And Pint
17 WHIRLWIND HEAT Do Rabbits Wonder?
18 CHROMATICS Chrome Rats Vs. Basement Rutz
19 PORCH GHOULS Bluff City Ruckus
20 MC HONKY I Am The Messiah
21 MOTORWAY Motorway
22 BLACK KEYS Thickfreakness
23 LAPTOP Don't Try This At Home
24 DEATH BY STEREO Into The Valley Of Death
26 LISA GERMANO Lullaby For Liquid Pig
29 YO LA TENGO Summer Sun
30 LOVELESS AND GOODNIGHT TRAIL The Loveless And Goodnight Trail

Go to for the best source to find what music you like. Another recc to New Pornographers, Belle and Sebastian, Interpol, Neko Case, Grandaddy, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Massive Attack, and Air. Also check out my personal favorites the Gogol Bordello.
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Old 04-24-03, 09:50 AM
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Look up artists you like on to find similar artists and their influences and followers.

If you're really looking to expand your horizons, go to and listen to the samples of their weekly recommendations. Each week they stick a new batch of 10-20 recommended new releases on their site and damned if I don't like most of them.

A few artists to check out:

Boards of Canada

And, yes, get the rest of the Radiohead albums (newest one coming in June).
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Old 04-24-03, 10:27 AM
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One more suggestion, and one I haven't seen anywhere else, for finding new music is going to This website allows you to stream samples or entire songs directly onto your computer, free of charge. The quality isn't wonderful, but it is good enough to give you an idea of whether or not you want the CD. It even has audio explanations of musical genres with little soundbytes in the background to supplement the speaker. Seriously, go to and get lost for hours. It's a goldmine.
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