Thursday, April 22, 2021

I Guess I'm Doing An A-Z Bands Challenge Post

 Okay, brief disclaimer before I go- I'm not a very trendy person when it comes to blog stuff. I often post like my blog exists in its own bubble and only occasionally finds other bloggers and things. I do read other blogs, of course, and there are necessities and prime reads, but I've never participated in a Blog Bat Around, I don't trade often because of my mounting anxiety on whether or not the receiving party will like or need anything I have sent, and I rarely comment on other blogs because I don't know if what I have to say will be relevant. 

I am the old man in the cave of the blogosphere. At 25. 

And yet I've seen a few bloggers now doing this A-Z Bands thing that Chris from The Collector put out there. And...what, a whole blog-wide opportunity to talk about music? Like I'm gonna pass up that opportunity. 

I don't talk about it enough on here, but music is one of my other big special interests. I'm a big collector of physical media. I've got shelves upon shelves of CDs, a few whole caverned-out shelf compartments of vinyl records, and a breathtakingly large iTunes library. Music keeps me going when I write, it's a social link to a lot of my friends, and it's been a constant in my life for years. I don't write about music very often on this blog because it's about baseball cards, and there's not a lot of opportunities for both topics to mix.

But Chris just opened the floodgates. The whole blogosphere is talking about music. So I can talk about music. Huzzah.

So, here now are 26 Music acts I adore listening to, from A-Z [person acts are listed by last name, so Peter Gabriel would have to fight in the G section rather than the P section]. A relevant custom will head the section [relevant in relation to artist name or something], and I'll list two levels of recommendations- great hits, as in songs you might find on the radio, and deep cuts, as in songs you might need to listen to the album or b-sides to get into. 

Another disclaimer, these are my 26 as of right now, April 2021. They could change. They represent what's resonating with me right now, and years of listening has been taken into account. But I could look back at this in 5 months and go 'I put THAT at W? I was listening to that all March and haven't since! I should have put this.' So this is very time-sensitive. And also, while I did grow up mainly in the 2000s and 2010s, my music tastes have always skewed older, fine-tuning towards my parents' favorites and also classic rock radio stations.

Enough Buildup. Let's start with A.

A is for...ARCADE FIRE:

The band that shocked the world at the 2011 Grammys by beating Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Eminem for Album of the Year. Did not come onto my radar until We Used to Wait and Ready to Start became staples on my Alt-Rock radio. Then their Saturday Night Live appearance in 2013 made me a fan for life. Arcade Fire is a great band because it uses the necessities to make great songs- driving guitar sounds, church organs, the guttural wail of both Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. Never too showy, although their last album, Everything Now, was a bit showier than I would have liked. Still, one of the rare current alt-rock bands who aren't afraid to tear the place down. Eagerly awaiting their next album.

Hits: Ready to Start; Wake Up; Rebellion (Lies); Keep the Car Running

Deep Cuts: Black Mirror; Rococo; Month of May; Put Your Money on Me; Generation A [it'll probably be released as a single soon but until then...]

[Other A's I considered: Aerosmith, Arctic Monkeys, Alt-J

B is for...BLUR

I got into Britpop in college. Oasis was always too whiny for me, but the other 3 of the Big Four, Blur, Pulp and Suede, were favorites of mine. Blur only really made it over here for 'Song 2' or lead singer Damon Albarn's work with Gorillaz, but there's a lot of cool stuff in Blur's back-catalog. First of all, Albarn himself sounds like a cross between David Bowie and Wakko from the Animaniacs, and sings in a compelled but also occasionally sarcastic manner. They started as a shoegaze band in the early 90s then slowly morphed into more of an alt-rock type and put out some of the best albums of the 90s [Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife, Blur]. Hell, I also really liked their 2015 comeback The Magic Whip, which is looking like a final statement unless they get back together one of these days. Just a great sound, a great cry of Londoner angst, and some really cool guitar sounds bashing against each other.

Hits: Girls and Boys; Country House; There's No Other Way; For Tomorrow
Deep Cuts: End of a Century; To the End; London Loves; Ghost Ship; Put It Back Together [Fatboy Slim, but it's a Blur song]; All Your Life

[Other B's I considered: The Beatles, David Bowie, The Black Keys]

C is for...COLDPLAY

Don't laugh. I know this band has become the butt of every joke for the last 15 years, but hear me out. Growing up in the mid-2000s and hearing Clocks for the first time is one of those experiences you can't really recreate. How on earth are they able to do all of those cool chords at once? How is that possible in a song? And it just keeps pounding, and keeps getting cooler. But really, the album that made me a Coldplay fan for life was Viva La Vida. I picked that up the summer after it came out, spent a week at the beach in Jersey and that was the soundtrack to it. Sunsets in Point Pleasant set to Strawberry Swing and Violet Hill. Can't think about it any other way. 

They've gone poppier in the last decade or so, as one is prone to do, but I still really like their stuff. Their last album, Everyday Life, was a noble experiment that worked, for the most part. And they're very good at crafting a song that hits all the right places in your ears, with really rosy chords and cool guitar sound. Yes, they can be wafer-bland to some people, but I think their stuff is some of the coolest alt-rock we have right now.

Hits: Clocks; The Scientist, Violet Hill, Adventure of a Lifetime, Orphans
Deep Cuts: How You See The World Part 1; Strawberry Swing; Politik; Church

Other C's I considered: Cold War Kids


For the first time this post, I have reached an artist that I believe absolutely none of you reading this have heard of. Hooray for me. 

The Divine Comedy is an orchestral pop group out of Ireland that's been active since the early 90s, achieving some semblance of cultural accessibility in the UK with a 1998 song called National Express, which has probably been featured in a commercial over here so you've probably heard it without knowing it. Neil Hannon, the main brainchild and vocalist, has this very twee and polite manner about him but can provide heartbreak, true emotion, wry humor and class in these songs. I like his 90s albums best, like Casanova and Promenade, but he put out an excellent album with Radiohead's producer Nigel Godrich called 'Regeneration', which is probably the closest to normal alt-rock he got. It's also admittedly my favorite of his. 

Hits: National Express; At the Indie Disco; Queuejumper; To the Rescue; Bad Ambassador 
Deep Cuts: Soul Trader; Our Mutual Friend; Tonight We Fly; Mastermind; Dumb it Down


See, they're not just for people who actually grew up with them. I'm also not doing this pick to completely copy Night Owl. E is a tough letter, I have a ton of ELO albums, they go here. 

A friend of mine growing up, his dad was into ELO. Had a few of their albums framed on the wall in the basement. Everything I knew about this band, I knew from classic rock radio- Turn to Stone, Evil Woman, Don't Bring Me Down, all that. And scrolling through their discography, I saw they did a concept album on time travel. 'The hell is this?', I audibly wondered. Pressed play. 

The second the hook of 'Twilight' came in, I was wowed. They were doing this in 1981? They were doing concept albums and proggy-synths and cool shit like this the same year as Physical by Olivia Newton John??? My word! 

Time is still one of my favorite albums. World class storytelling, great synths and themes, and Hold on Tight is a fantastic song. But from there I just skimmed their other stuff and found similar success. Out of the Blue or A New World Record is probably a more traditional pick for favorite, as both of those have great moments without being too weird. I also really like everything Jeff Lynne has come out with contemporarily, from his Harrison-enfused comeback Zoom in 2001, to both his new-lineup albums from 2015 on. Lynne has the right idea about music--it can be grand, it can be sweeping and orchestral, but it can still sound really good if you put the right amount of heart into it.

Hits: Mr. Blue Sky; Hold On Tight; Turn to Stone; Telephone Line; When I Was a Boy
Deep Cuts: Danger Ahead; Laredo Tornado; So Fine; Tightrope; The Bouncer; Standing in the Rain; State of Mind; Alone in the Universe

F is for...FOO FIGHTERS 

Probably my favorite modern rock group. Got into them disastrously late, around the Wasting Light album, and instantly got into them as quick as I could. Not only is Dave Grohl the nicest man in rock and roll, but the songs have the heart of classic rock while also going forward and trying to keep the genre alive today. Their latest album, Medicine at Midnight, was clearly an effort to keep their sound fresh and appeal to the record execs who want to skew every rock act towards pop, but it was also very much a rock album- Cloudspotter and Making a Fire still rock as hard as any Foo I've heard. It was just a 'party album', so it was funkier. Fine. Still good shit, though.

I'll also add that I've seen the Foo Fighters twice in concert. Once with Dave on a throne with a broken foot, and the other time a few years ago where he could run around and hop behind the drum kit and do fun shit. Would recommend.

Hits: Walk; The Sky is a Neighborhood; The Pretender; Learn to Fly; Stacked Actors; Monkey Wrench; All My Life
Deep Cuts: A320; Bridge Burning; Making a Fire; Holding Poison; Make it Right; Lonely as You [Million Dollar Version]; Have It All; Generator

G is for...GENESIS

Blame my dad. My dad's go-to car ride album was Duke. That or Born to Run, but Duke was better in quality. He'd put that on, say 'listen for the themes', and I did. That bit was earlier in the album! This was at the start! This was how I learned about bookending, about how you could make an album like a movie. 

And then helping him get the other Collins ones on CD, I sort of figured out about progressive rock. Phil Collins' Genesis was a commercially-friendly band, and I liked Duke and Abacab, but the further you get back, you find gems like the entire A Trick of the Tail album, Afterglow, Burning Rope, and stuff that felt like prog-rock and still moved like mainstream rock [like late-70s Yes]. 

And once I got as far back as A Trick of the Tail, when I was in college, I had to decide if I wanted to go even further back and risk getting weirded out by Gabriel. And I went for it. Foxtrot and Nursery Cryme are great, and the Lamb is brilliant even if it is rather long-winded. I still prefer Collins cause he's the more natural prog vocalist, but Gabriel's stuff is cool. I also could have put Gabriel solo for the G slot, but...Genesis had more stuff I could pick from. 

I adore what this band could do with melody, with theming, with chords, with long pieces. I adore how even as they became a pop-rock act in the 80s they still did great stuff like the Domino suite and Land of Confusion. And I hope they bring the tour to the US once concerts happen again. 

Hits: No Reply at All; Misunderstanding; Follow You Follow Me; Land of Confusion; I Know What I Like
Deep Cuts: Firth of Fifth, Mad Man Moon, Dance on a Volcano, Afterglow, Behind the Lines, Me and Sarah Jane, Fading Lights

Other G artists I considered: Peter Gabriel, Green Day, Greta Van Fleet, The Glorious Sons


This is my consolation for not putting the Beatles in B. Y'all have to deal with this now.

I was tempted to put McCartney in at my M slot, but he's blocked there. So Harrison goes here for having the best Beatles solo career by not being too experimental, not being a horrible person, not compromising to any label desires, and just putting out excellent music for 20 years. I'll admit that some of his more spiritual stuff, like most of the Living in the Material World album, is not for me, but almost all of All Things Must Pass, the late-70s creative boom, and even his commercially-successful Cloud Nine album in 87 are all favorites of mine. You have to admit that George was an excellent songwriter, and could be thoughtful as well as playful while crafting some really interesting guitar tracks. 

Hits: What is Life; Beware of Darkness; Crackerbox Palace; Got My Mind Set On You; When We was Fab
Deep Cuts: I Live for You, Art of Dying, Not Guilty, Soft Hearted Hana, Cloud Nine, Any Road, Mystical One

Other H artists I considered: The Hives, Hozier


I is a tricky one. Not a lot of bands I have a ton of connection to under this letter. So here's a recent favorite. IDKHOW is Dallon Weeks, who was in Panic at the Disco from 2011 until 2015, so the period where they made two of their best albums and one of their worst. He left the band, teamed up with a former collaborator and made IDKHOW, whose whole gimmick is that they're an unearthed synth-pop group from the 80s. They finally broke semi-mainstream last year and are a solid indie-rock act right now. Not much else to say about them, but I like what I've heard so far.

Hits: Leave Me Alone, New Invention, Choke
Deep Cuts: Absinthe, Nobody Likes the Opening Band, Debra,


Another letter where it was hard for me to pick an artist I really like, so I'll go with someone I have some favorite songs from. Jamiroquai bridged the gap between R&B and electronic music in the 90s, kept at it for a while, and is still putting out decent stuff. Most people know him from either Virtual Insanity, or Canned Heat, which Napoleon Dynamite dances to at the election assembly. 

Hits: Virtual Insanity; Little L; Deeper Underground; Canned Heat
Deep Cuts: 7 Days in Sunny June; Cloud 9; Automaton

K is for...THE KILLERS.

Again, Night Owl, I swear I'm not copying yours.

The Killers got big when I was like 9. 'Somebody Told Me' and 'Mr. Brightside' were everywhere. I was always partial to 'When You Were Young' and 'Read My Mind', though. The Killers are great because they're also one of the sole purveyors of mainstream rock to this day, they keep altering their sound, and they're apparently a great live band. Brandon Flowers is channeling Springsteen more and more these days [if 'Caution' and 'My Own Soul's Warning' didn't make this obvious], but he wears his influences on his sleeves, and I respect that. 

Hits: Caution; All These Things That I've Done; Jenny Was a Friend of Mine; Smile Like You Mean It; When You Were Young; Runaways
Deep Cuts: Dying Breed; Spaceman 

Other K artists I considered: Kongos, King Gizzard, Klaatu


I got into Zeppelin out of rebellion. My mom wasn't a fan because her sister used to blast their albums loudly. Zeppelin was good from what I heard on the radio, but I could sense the disdain from the car. I got Zeppelin IV for like 10 bucks my freshman year of college, heck of a bargain considering it still plays pretty well. Their inclusion in this list is because I really enjoyed their earlier works, the bluesier moments, and the points where they would just riff and jam around for a bit. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, How Many More Times, Your Time is Gonna Come and You Shook Me are all career-making moments and they aren't even the ones people collectively point to them for. 

The run from their debut all the way to Houses of the Holy is unrivaled by any rock groups. Bonzo's the greatest rock drummer of all time. They're legends. Come on.

Hits: Communication Breakdown; Battle of Evermore; When the Levee Breaks; Kashmir
Deep Cuts: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, How Many More Times, Friends, Tangerine, Misty Mountain Hop, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Ten Years Gone

M is for...MUSE

Another product of growing up in the late 2000s. The second Uprising hit my alt-rock stations, I triple taked. What was this? How is this new music? What is going on? I didn't have the Twilight-related introduction to Muse that a lot of people my age did, but that 2009 album definitely made me dig into their earlier stuff, and made me appreciate 2001's Origin of Symmetry [aka the one they did on shrooms] and 2006's Black Holes and Revelations [still their best albums]. They've gone full retro-rock in the past ten years, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but I'm still a sucker for their 1999-2006 period. And I guess their Twilight soundtrack fodder as well.

Hits: Uprising; Time is Running Out; Madness; Supermassive Black Hole; Feelin Good; Map of the Problematique
Deep Cuts: Exo-Politics, Hyper Music [and the slower Hyper Chondriac Music], Neutron Star Collision, Supremacy, Uno, Glorious

Other M artists I considered: Manic Street Preachers, Paul McCartney, My Chemical Romance, Midnight Oil, Moody Blues 

N is for...NIRVANA

Again, basic as hell, but I didn't have a lot of Ns. I shouldn't have to say much about Nirvana, they revolutionized the alternative rock scene, their Nevermind album is one of the best albums of the 90s while In Utero is one of the best hard rock albums of its era, it influenced the last 30 years of rock and roll and gave Dave Grohl a career. 

Hits: Lithium; Heart Shaped Box; R-Me [I'm not saying that on here]; About a Girl
Deep Cuts: Pennyroyal Tea; Lounge Act; Stay Away; Blew; You Know You're Right; Marigold


The alphabet structure of this list is odd, because Green Day and Bowie aren't on here but The Offspring are, and I have far more of their stuff on my iTunes than I do The Offspring. But sure, The Offspring are cool too, warping from grunge-era angst to punk-rock carelessness. Dexter Holland is a wild but engaging lead, their singles rank with some of the best rock songs of the 90s, and their new album isn't bad.

Hits: Come Out and Play; The Kids Aren't Alright; Gone Away; Original Prankster
Deep Cuts: Defy You; Gotta Get Away; Let The Bad Times Roll

P is for...PEARL JAM

We've inadvertently entered a grunge theme with these last two. Whatever. We had a copy of Ten growing up, that I was usually too young to listen to. Once I heard it all the way through, I got the appeal. It's grunge, surely, but there was something about the songwriting, the emotion, the production levels and the vocals from Eddie Vedder that felt like more than grunge. Hell, after Vs, they sort of stepped away from being a Seattle grunge band and just focused on making good rock music, and that's kinda why No Code, Yield and Binaural are some of my favorites of theirs. Insignificance isn't a grunge song, but it's a great Pearl Jam song. Neither is World Wide Suicide, but it's one of the best rock songs of 2006. Dance of the Clairvoyants is FAR FROM grunge, but it's a great showcase for Eddie Vedder at his weirdest. 

I have almost all of their CDs [Lightning Bolt keeps evading me, not that it's a particularly thrilling final conquest], and can name great tracks off of all their albums. I have friends who've seen them live and say I need to before I die, so they're on the list.

Hits: Dissident; Black; Do the Evolution; Corduroy; World Wide Suicide; Sirens
Deep Cuts: Once; In my Tree; Habit; No Way; Insignificance; Cropduster; Life Wasted; River Cross; Who Ever Said

Other P Artists I Considered: Panic at the Disco, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Pixies, The Police


There's an easy Q, but I'm not taking it. So instead, here's a group I got into in 2013 when their rock snarl Like Clockwork was huge. QOTSA is one of those bands that has like 3 all-timer albums, at least to me. Songs for the Deaf, their 2002 smash taking place over the course of a car radio's dial-switching in California; Like Clockwork, the 2013 comeback that pounded and throttled and wowed me from the start; and Villains, their 2017 concept album that might be one of my favorites of the last decade. This band is loud, and at times unforgiving, but their demented, melodic nature sucks me in every time. Their music would probably be the soundtrack of a sock hop for mass murderers, and I mean that as a complement. 

Hits: No One Knows; Go With the Flow; My God is the Sun; The Way You Used to Do; Little Sister
Deep Cuts: Domesticated Animals, Fairweather Friends, Kalopsia, Smooth Sailing, Un-reborn Again, Head Like a Haunted House, Feet Don't Fail Me, The Sky is Fallin, In My Head, Burn the Witch

R is for...RADIOHEAD

Stiff competition here, but going with the relatively basic alt-rock one cause they are that good. High school was spent listening to OK Computer and Kid A, the crowdpleasers in a sense; college I discovered how good the Bends was, and got to be a part of the promotion and release of Moon Shaped Pool, which I still love. And contemporarily I've gotten into the shit-ton of b-sides and I finally understand the love for Amnesiac. 

Radiohead is weird in a way that makes sense. Thom Yorke wails, Ed O'Brien and Johnny Greenwood screech, Godrich orchestrates the sad art, and it all just fits together perfectly. You could say any of their albums is the best and I'd understand why. Mine is The Bends, but In Rainbows is close. Understanding Radiohead isn't easy, but it's something I got the hang of early on, so the weirdness doesn't seem as weird to me anymore.

Hits: Just; Paranoid Android; Burn the Witch; You and Whose Army; Street Spirit; Karma Police
Deep Cuts: Nude, Jigsaw Falling Into Place, The Numbers, Daily Mail, Dollars and Cents, There There, 2+2=5; Polyethylene Parts 1&2

Other R Artists I Considered: Rolling Stones, Rush, R.E.M., Royal Blood


Another band I got into out of rebellion. The near-whine that Billy Corgan gives off is not for everyone, but paired with that immortal guitar sound and one of my favorite rock and roll drummers, Jimmy Chamberlin, it's very palatable. I was always more partial to Mellon Collie until I really listened to Siamese Dream and got a sense of how wall-to-wall perfect it was. I'm also pretty alright with the post-reformation work the band has done- Zeitgeist and Oceania are good albums, and I like the last two they've done with James again. I also saw them live a few summers ago, and they're a pretty cool live act. the trick with them is letting the sort of self-indulgent pomp of some of their albums by and just enjoying the music and melodic work. 

Hits: Cherub Rock; Perfect; Thirty-Three; Zero; Stand Inside Your Love
Deep Cuts: End is the Beginning is the End; Soma; Mayonnaise; Porcelina of the Vast Oceans; Age of Innocence; That's The Way; Quasar; Solara; Colour of Love

Other S Artists I Considered: Saint Motel, Bruce Springsteen, Soundgarden, The Strokes, Sparks, Spoon


I wasn't gonna decide between these two, so I'm doing 'em both. Fight me.

They Might be Giants I got into thanks to this very blogosphere. Dayf from Cardboard Junkie had a post about the 64 World's Fair, and he linked TMBG's Ana Ng, cause it lyrically references it, and that song was so weird that it hooked me in. I had to review one of their kids' albums for a high school journalism project, and that intro'd me to the singles. Then once I got to college I just...started listening to as much of their stuff as I could. And it all appealed to me in the weirdest way possible. Sometimes a drum machine, sometimes accordions, sometimes a backing band, either one of the Johns in play on lead vocals. Their 'so sweet it's sad' and 'so funny it's heartbreaking' moods appealed to me, and their continued breadth of work has resulted in me seeing them live. I'll be seeing them again next March. It's always worth it.

Hits: Dr. Worm; Birdhouse in Your Soul; Istanbul; Don't Let's Start; The Guitar; Ana Ng
Deep Cuts: A Self Called Nowhere, They'll Need a Crane, Narrow Your Eyes, Rhythm Section Want Ad, Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes, She's An Angel, Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love, Let's Get This Over With, You're On Fire

And as for the other band. Talking Heads. Another one I got into in college. David Byrne and I share a diagnosis suffice to say, so a lot of the very weird, very anti-establishment sound of those songs appealed to me. Nothing else sounds like Talking Heads, and the wildness and anti-commercialism of it is draped over surprisingly great melody and striking chords and new-world beats. Remain in Light is a perfect album, Fear of Music has an epic first side, Burning Down the House is a coke-fueled triumph, and the Stop Making Sense movie is iconic for a reason. Byrne I have also seen live. He does not disappoint.

Hits: Life During Wartime; Take Me to the River; Once in a Lifetime; Naive Melody; Wild Wild Life
Deep Cuts: The Big Country; Pulled Up; Cities; Crosseyed and Painless; Love for Sale; Blind

U is for...U2

Another easy one given the letter. My mom's a gigantic U2 fan, had all their albums and everything, seen 'em live a million times, so I got into them by osmosis. I always appealed to the more commercial albums, like Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby and All That You Can't Leave Behind, but I'm also a big fan of the Innocence and Experience back-to-back saga. I know people are still pissed at Bono for putting that on every iPhone in America, but it's a great album with great songs throughout, and Experience is even better. Yes, they can be full of shit sometimes, but they're still great at crafting pop-rock songs that resonate with me, to this day.

Hits: Even Better Than the Real Thing; Bad; City of Blinding Lights; The Miracle; Staring at the Sun; Mysterious Ways; Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
Deep Cuts: Breathe; Holy Joe; Levitate; Last Night on Earth; Seconds; Running to Stand Still; In God's Country; Red Hill Mining Town; God Part II


A rare band that was big when I was in high school that actually got bigger afterwards. As big as a smash Modern Vampires of the City was, Father of the Bride seemed to be even bigger. I gravitated to those albums over the more traditional folk-rock of the first two. Ezra Koenig is the new Paul Simon, for better or for worse, and the slick-but-dogeared production has a charm to it. I also liked the amount of guests on the last album, from Steve Lacy to most of Haim. Not sure if or when they'll be back, due to controversy or whatever, but their sound made the 2010s a great alt-rock decade.

Hits: Diane Young; Unbelievers; Sunflower; Harmony Hall; This Life; Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Deep Cuts: Cousins; Oxford Comma; Ya Hey; Flower Moon


More weird prog. My roommate senior year of college was big into postmodern progressive rock, and was trying to convince me that Porcupine Tree singer Steven Wilson's latest solo album, To the Bone, was the best of the year. I listened to it, and he wasn't far off. Wilson believes in a lot of the same long melodic views as Gabriel and Yes and such, but he also followed those artists when they went commercial and knows how to make a good pop song here and there, as evidenced by his latest album. He can do weird and spacey shit whenever he wants, and still can, but the fact that he can be suitably sweet for the masses as well is endearing. 

Hits: Permanating; To the Bone; Drive Home; 12 Things I Forgot; Harmony Korine
Deep Cuts: Routine; The Raven Who Refused to Sing; Same Asylum as Before; People Who Eat Darkness; Follower; King Ghost; Hand Cannot Erase

Other W artists I considered: The Who, Weezer, World Party, Jack White

X is for...XTC

Probably the hardest to come up with one of all the letters. From what I've heard, I like these guys- Andy Partridge is just satirical enough, it's jangle-pop with an edge, and Senses Working Overtime is awesome. Same genre as Talking Heads, I think

Hits: Senses Working Overtime; Dear God; Making Plans for Nigel


A mid-2010s alt-rock favorite, while I was listening to Walk the Moon and Foster the People. Young the Giant got a lot of radio-play in 2011 and petered off right when they were getting really good in the latter part of the decade. A shame, cause I really enjoyed their last few albums. The guitar sound crunches, Sameer has a commanding lead voice, and even the shift towards a poppier genre has sort of worked. 

Hits: Something to Believe In; My Body; Cough Syrup; Superposition; Silvertongue
Deep Cuts: It's About Time

Z is for...ZZ TOP

Putting them here cause I don't think I've listened to any other relevant Z artists. Hell with it, I like Eliminator. 

Hits: La Grange; Legs; Gimme All Your Lovin; 

This post took me longer than I would have liked, but hopefully y'all got something out of it. I have eclectic tastes in both baseball cards and music. I like a lot of weird stuff, a lot of old stuff, but I keep my ear to the sky to make sure I don't miss anything. 

This was fun. Keep circulating. 


  1. My Dad and I share ELO as well. I took him to see them at Madison Square Garden--the last show I saw before things went sideways. Great show.

    Love your comments about George Harrison, and you picked great songs for him. I'm impressed a 25 year old even knows "Crackerbox Palace", let alone something like "Soft Hearted Hana". (If you haven't heard "Deep Blue", check it out..."Hana" was specifically written because someone told him he should write more songs like "Deep Blue".)

    1. i swear, i thought about putting Deep Blue under the Deep Cuts tab, but went against it at the end. It should have been there.

  2. We had Genesis, They Might Be Giants, U2, and ZZ Top in common. I also considered ELO and Pearl Jam, but ultimately went with The Eagles and The Police.

  3. Fun list, thanks for sharing. Kinda bummed Everlong didn't make your Foo Fighters Hit list.

    1. this is an unpopular opinion that pisses some people off, but i think Everlong is overrated. I've heard it a million times, it's just not my favorite of theirs after the overplay.