Below is a list of musicians who have had a lasting impact on me. Many of them have been treasured for years. Some have recently been stuck as my "go to" album where I just want to play their album on a continuous loop for a month or so.
Bobby is one of my true idols. He's a brilliant musician. Of course the general public will always associate him with his unexpected pop radio hit from the 80s, but he is a musician of the highest caliber with an extensive career. His jazz, classical, and "crossover" recordings are a thing of rare beauty. I like pretty much all of his recordings, but in particular I recommend you listen to the following.
- Paper Music. This is a classical recording with Bobby conducting and singing on some tracks. Listen to the Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile. This recording is otherworldly in its grace and elegance. At the end you are compelled to fall to your knees and weep
- Beyond Words is a great recording of Bobby's specialty vocals. You will find "Invocation" sampled on some pop and hip-hop tracks these days as well.
- Medicine Music has great, fun songs, especially Baby, and Circlesongs is great for meditation, yoga, and relaxation.
I've been hopelessly obsessed with Queen ever since their Wayne's World revival. I love the orchestral and progressive nature of their sound. Freddie and Brian in particular are pure genius. Most of it is just great sounding fun entertaining music, but I find both Tenement Fuster and 39 to be works of art in the first class. I think Sheer Heart Attack is one of the best albums ever made.
I find Wynton's role as ambassador very inspiring. He's a great virtuouso, composer, and figurehead. I never hear much talk about Blood on the Fields, but I consider it to be a consummate masterpiece of long-form jazz composition. If you haven't heard it, and have a long airplane ride coming up, set aside some focused time to check it out. It's 3 CDs long though, but there's amazing writing, playing, and singing in there.
Here's a great moment with Wynton making history at the 1983 Grammy Awards.
Largely thanks to Rhapsody, I've become a big Steve Reich fan. I listened to a box set of 30 years of his work while coding and got hooked. Works: 1965-1995 is a great collection. My favorite is the slow movement from Electric Counterpoint, which is stunningly beautiful.
Another great minimalist classical composer, Philip Glass has a great aesthetic. His music is great for coding and he has written several gorgeous film scores.
What's not to love about this charming Brit? Her work on Frou Frou Details and Speak for Yourself is fantastic. I got to see her on the last US tour for Ellipse, which was fun. She's a great character and has a great aesthetic. Her big hit Hide and Seek is haunting. She's pretty much the queen of audience connection and is paving new paths there pulling content from her fans.
Zoe is a cellist who creates overdubbed loops of her cello in real time. Her music is really unique and beautiful. She's one of my main inspirations to get my Eigenharp. Got to see her when she came to Chautauqua.
Known as AFP or Amanda Fucking Palmer is an intense musician I first heard of in The Dresden Dolls. Her original songs have been aptly described as "punk cabaret". Her music is intense, deeply personal, cathartic, and often beautiful. I like all the Dresden Dolls stuff as well as her solo work. Check out the songs "Delilah" and "Blake Says" for the lyrical softer side and "Coin Operated Boy" for the fun, irreverant, cabaret side.
Morphine is pretty much my all-time favorite rock band. They have a great, stripped-down "low rock" sound featuring Dana Colley on baritone saxophone. Their songs are grooving and catchy. Mark Sandman is a charismatic and enigmatic frontman. I pretty much eat up everything they recorded.
I have a thing for melodic electropop (Imogen Heap, The Bird and the Bee), and The Blow's "Paper Television" album has had long stints as my "it" album just getting played over and over. The songs have great beats and Khaela Maricich's vocals are fresh and zesty.
In 2013 I became completely obsessed with Soul Coughing. I would listen to their albums on repeat while working. Love the sparse, bass-heavy grooves, crafty lyrics, and attitude. I got to see Mike Doughty live at the Boulder Theater in October and it was great.
More to be written....
- Laura Veirs
- The Bird and the Bee
Favorite Album Titles
Note that I don't like all of these albums. Some of them I haven't even heard. I just like the titles themselves.
- Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid: Charlie Hunter
- I Am Not Afraid of You & I Will Beat Your Ass: Yo La Tengo
- Kill 'Em All: Metallica
- Good News For People Who Love Bad News: Modest Mouse
- Give Up: The Postal Service