Do you have a favorite musician, album or song that it seems like only you know about?
It could be a brand new band or someone from the 50s, 60s 70s etc. or anywhere in between.
Who is the hidden gem that when you mention them to others, people are like "who the fuck is that?"
I've been enjoying the music of a band called Dawes, originally from L.A. The lead singer - who does most of the songwriting - sounds a bit like Jackson Browne.
His lyrics can sometimes be self-consiously prosaic, though.
The keyboardist is the son of actor David Strathairn.
My older hidden gem artist is Judee Sill.
I just discovered her and she's fucking amazing.
Kind of in the Joni Mitchell/Laura Nyro category, but a bit more esoteric. And a really sad ending to her story.
Longhouse AKA a New York singer named Lisa Herman with some backup girl singers. She only did one album in the 1980s, but it's great.
In the past couple of years, a lot of people discovered mine: Bat For Lashes
Marc Broussard. A terrific musician, I've turned several people on to him.
I like Alela Diane. I'm still waiting for her to become big!
The wonderful Nellie McKay. She's had a lot of smaller publicity over the years, but has never made it big. And maybe that's a good thing. She's an incredibly observant and smart songwriter who plays a mean piano.
I think in many ways, there isn't a mainstream niche for her. She did the soundtrack for that horrible Jennifer Aniston Kevin Costner movie. If it had been a hit maybe? Her lyrics are intelligent and I really just cannot say enough about her. Dedicated to liberal causes. Has been rave reviewed on Broadway. She arrived at the same time as Norah Jones. If you remember, that first album was called. "Come Away With Me". Nellie's was "Get Away From Me".
This somg sums her up to me.
Hey r2 - I have a clip of Judee Sill on a programme I recorded the other week, on Californian artists performing at the BBC (here in London), it includes Judee looking very odd, cant recall what she was singing now, but they mentioned her sad life and how she overdosed, as did several others included, like Tim Buckley and Lowell George of Little Feat.
Stacey Kent. Love her take on The Great American Songbook.
You've never heard of him, but a fellow in the UK named Will Fly posts a song on YouTube every couple weeks. You never know what he'll decide to post--sometimes big band, sometimes folk--you never know.
He generally says something interesting about the song in the comments, too. Anyway, he's posted over 300 songs, so spend a few minutes browsing.
APB - scottish band - played in the US on WLIR in the 80s. Found their CD in the mid 90s - that made me so happy.
Rock/funk/dance GREAT Band
I would second Nellie McKay. She's like an old-school cabaret singer in a lot of ways.
Older DLers would really like her, I think.
R16, I LOVE Dan Hicks's "I Scare Myself." So much better than the Thomas Dolby cover, which I used to think was so great.
Thanks r2. I never heard of her and I'm old enough that I should have. Sad about her life.
Grace potter and the nocturnals. The lion the beast the beat. It's rock but so uplifting and the production is tight. I love love love it.
R16 Thanks for bringing back some great memories. They used to play at my college and we used to make fun of the band's name, but they played well and were very entertaining.
He might be more mainstream than you're looking for, but Damien Rice. He's the one I go to when I want to hear something deep and wonderful and melodic and poetic and crazy. Beautiful melodies, inspiring lyrics. Yeah, he might be known to a lot, but you'd be surprised how many people don't know him.
Australian sort-of Country singer Kasey Chambers. "Barricades & Brickwalls" and "Wayward Angel" are both excellent albums
God, I love Darren Hayes. I have everything he's ever recorded. I love to meet him.
I'll add Lewis Taylor. I love all his stuff. Chill out, loungey stuff, mostly. Sorta like Jamiroquai but smarter and better. Robbie Williams had a hit with a cover of his "Lovelight" a few years ago. He may be big in UK or Europe, though.
Another vote for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. They get some airplay on WFUV and I think every time, "I need to download them"
David Sylvian, in particular, the album "Secrets of the Beehive" from 1986 or there-abouts.
It's a deeply melancholy album, but absolutely beautiful.
He was formerly lead singer of the art-pop band "Japan" (who inspired Duran Duran in the late 70s early 80s).
Come to think of it: Japan is another group that is just amazing and doesn't get enough love. Every single one of their albums is amazing, from the punkish/velvet-undergroundish beginnings, through the funk middle to the arty mellow end. The album "Tin Drum" is an artistic masterpiece.
Suede - Bloodsports
Small Black - Light curse
Snowglobe - Dreamworks
I'm the OP - thanks to people who also commented on Judee Sill.
And I would have added Nellie McKay, too. She's a great example of what I meant.
I know people here do mention her, but I'd add my favorite Kirsty MacColl. She's woefully underappreciated for how fantastic her songwriting was, and her death was incredibly sad.
I'd also add Prefab Sprout. Paddy McAloon is, again, a great songwriter but woefully ignored by most, even in his home country (UK).
Wow! I can't believe someone mentioned Prefab Sprout. They are fantastic! Their first two cd's -- Swoon and Two Wheels Good (aka Steve McQueen) -- are perfect, if you like folk rock new wavey kind of music. I freaking love them. Their latest cd -- Let's Change the World with Music -- is also pretty incredible. If you like great lyrics and beautiful melodies, check them out.
Also a shout out for Kirsty MacColl. I love some of her music, particularly "In These Shoes."
I attached a vid of a recent Prefab Sprout cd. Should I ever get married, this will be the song I get married to. (Sorry, Ben Folds; "The Luckiest" is off the list, partly because you lived next door to a friend and you're a douche.)
I think Prefab Sprout's "When Love Breaks Down" is one of the top three songs of the 1980s, along with The Blue Nile's "Tinseltown in the Rain" and The Associates' "Breakfast."
Here's another one from Prefab Sprout. It's not as deep and powerful as some of their songs, but this is one that, once it's on my ipod, I rewind it and listen to 20 times in a row. I wish they had become more successful. I can't imagine how it would feel to be as revered by critics as they are, yet have so limited commercial success. One song on their last cd -- "Music in a Princess" -- addressed this beautifully,
I checked out Dawes because of the recommendation, and they're very good. Thanks to whoever posted that. And, damn, if David Straithorn's kid doesn't look exactly like him!
Tom Waits -Guy Clark-Holly Williams
R33/R34/R35 - I happened to be doing a Web search a few days ago and have even better news:
A new Prefab album is out in October!
It's called Crimson/Red.
I didn't expect with Paddy's substantial health issues we would see another so I am glad.
I love almost everything the Sprouts have done. I would go into detail but their music, and Kirsty's, is so personal for me I would probably start crying and be bombarded with a chorus of MARY!
I'd be crying right along with you, R38. Their music has been a constant presence in my life since they first came out. I can't tell you how many times I think to myself: wishing she could call him heartache, but it's not a boy's name. And, when I'm over something: I've got six things on my mind, and you're no longer one of them. And I can't even begin to count the number of times I've told someone the verse that goes: they were the best times, the harvest years, with jam to lace the bread. So goodness, goodness knows why I'd throw it to the birds. That is fucking brilliant!
I am very very happy a new cd is coming in October. They really are a great band, and I wish they'd tour.
Salvia Plath - House of Leaves
It will be different tomorrow.
I was really into the Vance or Towers album for a hot minute about a month ago (they were the band playing at the prom in Carrie). Right now I'm re-discovering Book of Love (currently listening to "Witchcraft")
Tired Pony are my new favorite group du jour. I was surprised to learn they are a side project of Snow Patrol, which is a band I don't care for at all. Tired Pony has more of an Americana/folk rock sound (a la Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Crosby Stills & Nash, etc.)
I don't know how this song wasn't a huge hit... A Beautiful Way to Drown by Simon Lynge. Ignore the fact that this link is to a corgi dog with the song over it. It's wonderful. Plus, how much Greenlandic pop have you ever heard?
I also don't know how this Swedish song by Laleh, Snö (Snow) wasn't re-recorded by an English-speaking artist. The chorus is staggering as she sings "Jag älskar dig" (I Love You). Celine could make this huge!