Sort of similar to the "what you're listening to" and "what I just bought" threads, here's a thread dedicated to any and all new things you have recently discovered in the wide world of music. These discoveries can be current music releases or centuries old, they just have to be new to you. They can be recent purchases, new appreciations of old albums or even just a passing song on the radio. These new discoveries can be songs, albums, artists or even just a great bassline you never noticed before. Whatever the case is, post your new discoveries (some commentary on these would be great too) and who knows maybe you'll turn someone onto something people haven't heard before.
I'll start this off with my latest album purchase, American Beauty by The Grateful Dead, my first real exposure to the phenomenon that is the Grateful Dead.
First some comments about the album and band in general:
I have yet to come across a more ill-fitting name for a band in my life. Back in my much more musically ignorant days, I figured that a band with the name like The Grateful Dead would be a hardcore death metal band when in fact the Dead are pretty much from the other end of the popular music spectrum.
I'm not yet sold on their more jammy and psychadelic stuff because though I do like a lot of the music that has been released under both those genres, they're both pretty easy to mess up horribly (especially the former). This laid back, often incredibly beautiful, often fun hippyish roots rock is right up my alley and I will be checking out Workingman's Dead at least. Actually any other recommendations for similar albums by the band would be greatly appreciated.
Now, onto the album itself. What can I say, I love it - and I mean LOVE. It's of course an album that is designed to be treasured by anyone who is disposed toward it and I definitely fall into that category. The band have come up with an album that is about as warm, welcoming and lovable a rock and roll album as any I have had the pleasure to hear. Basically this album is the exact opposite of any of those cold, cynical, inhuman albums that I have so often complained about in the past. While I do understand the need for the darker side of rock and roll, and I even like a fair share of it, I do feel that records like American Beauty are all too easy to dismiss as "hippy crap" when they're really a great way to balance things out.
Okay, before I get too much into the whole light vs dark (massive over simplification here) rock and roll argument, a quick look at what makes this album work. First, that love it or hate it atmosphere accounts for a large part of what I love about this album but lets not forget the amazing melodies that while not as immediately catchy as your avergae pop song are still perfectly crafted in their own right. I'm still discovering the lyrics but they strike me as being pretty impressive, charting a wide variety of human emotions. The musicianship, production and arrangements are all superb, all doing their parts to enhance these songs.
Lastly, just a quick word on how I came to discover this album. Freaks and Geeks - The final episode. To anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, go out NOW and get yourself the eighteen episodes of Freaks and Geeks, one of the greatest television shows ever made. Seriously, NOW.
Standout tracks: Box of Rain, Friend of the Devil, Sugar Magnolia, Ripple, Brokedown Palace and Truckin' but honestly, I love everything here except for teh deathly boring Attics of My Life.