There was a time when rock n’ roll in its different forms was a dominant force in music. Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Queen, Journey, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith (a random namedrop) filled the arenas all over the world and people loved them. Then by the end of the 80s the industry became completely oversaturated with dudes wearing lipsticks and all that glam. Nirvana and grunge came along, hip-hop arrived in the mainstream, Britpop and so on. I would argue that music in general is more diversified than ever, but what an average person gets to hear on day-to-day basis is just a bunch of artists, those who are the most intensely promoted by the recording companies. For several years it falsely led me to believe in the notion that ‘the music today sucks’.
I’m not the kind of person who listens to an album once or twice and moves along. I carefully choose the stuff I listen to, and once I pick a CD, I will most likely immerse myself in it and it will stay in my playlist for a long time. For this reason, apart from the artists I love, I get to hear new records quite infrequently. In last few years though I’ve been feeling that listening to Master of Puppets for the 300th time is too much (actually bad example, I can rock out to it any day, so insert anything else) and I ought to open up to new bands and releases.
Surprise, surprise, the amount of great music out there is overwhelming, yet you would never get to have a taste of it in the mainstream radio stations or through Youtube suggestions. The grasp of evil corporations reaches far and wide, so unless you know precisely what style or genre you’re looking for, it’s hard to go beyond certain group of names, even though they don’t exactly fit the description you entered.
Anyhow, so while I was searching for something punchy to listen to and I found these two not-so-new artists: Courtney Barnett and The Heavy.
The first one is a brilliant singer-songwriter Australian gal whose meandering singing style and sharp lyrics quickly captured my soul. Her debut studio album released last year entitled Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit was very well-received by the critics (not exactly a perfect indicator of an artist’s talent, but still), but the song Avant Gardener off The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas CD sealed the deal for me. It’s an ideal embodiment of Barnett’s style – distorted guitars and endlessly rambling vocal.
The paramedic thinks i’m clever cos i play guitar
I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying
I learned that Barnett’s also left-handed, so at least I’m connected to her on the dexterity level.
Seriously, it’s good to know that the country of AC/DC, INXS, the Oils or Men At Work continues to amaze.
The Heavy is yet another band I discovered through watching Letterman video clips. The group gave two jaw-dropping performances on the Late Show and it was enough to spark my interest. How You Like Me Now was featured in several movies (e.g. Ted, The Fighter, Horrible Bosses) but for whatever reason the tune stayed under my radar until now. The song really shines in live setting and it’s totally face-melting – catchy guitar rhythm, powerful brass section, Kelvin Swaby’s showmanship and remarkable voice. Why they aren’t any bigger is baffling, it’s quality stuff right there.
Two days ago The Heavy released a new single called Since You Been Gone, which promotes the upcoming album Hurt & the Merciless (April 1, 2016). More of the goodies on the way.