You just made me cream my pants with this question. If you’ve been subscribing to the newsletter, you’ve seen the “Music Video of the Week” result in some very non-mainstream stuff. I don’t hate mainstream stuff. I just think there are so many other artists doing so many other exciting and creative things.
I have given up on trying to show people new music because it’s obvious that my taste in music is a little “weird.” The stuff I like is still fairly poppy, it’s just not anything you’d hear from Top 40 artists. So if you love the top 40, the following will not be for you. If you are a bit more adventurous, then please continue. These are the top albums that have been in my rotation in the last decade:
“Massseduction” by St. Vincent - St. Vincent is one of those artists who have just gotten progressively better with each album. “Massseduction” came out last year and it is still in the top album in my current rotation. This is true “art pop" perfection as it is incredibly fun and weird. It kicks off with a lovely textured ballad, slips into a speedy electro jingle about pills, and then moves into pop and dance tracks that are very addicting, but nothing predictable. There is such a variety of tracks on this album and yet ebbs and flows so perfectly well. Things get a little dark at the end but it’s a perfect way to leave the listener wanting more. If you want more St. Vincent, I recommend working backwards through the albums. Earlier albums tend to sound like Disney Princess music on acid (which I also really appreciated). Check out video “Los Ageless”
“Not Your Kind of People” by Garbage - Anyone who knows me knows that Garbage is my all time favorite band. Their multi-genre infused rock sound revolutionized my taste in music. And their 2012 comeback album “Not Your Kind of People” really demonstrated how they set themselves apart from other rock artists. The lead single “Blood For Poppies” is like a Frankenstein song of five other tracks - mixed with heavy guitar riffs into an upbeat poppy chorus, and funky lyrical structure for the verses. This sense the tone for the variety of tracks you will get on the album. Check out song “Blood For Poppies”
“Master of My Make Believe” by Santigold - I love everything Santigold does. And it’s almost impossible to describe her music. There’s a heavy influence from other black genres such as African tribal sounds, Jamaican dance hall, and even a little rap (just a little). Yet she ties it up in a bow of electronica filled with synths and percussion that sound wildly original and fun. The album “Master of My Make Believe” is, to me, her best work. Every track is consistently phenomenal through out. Check out song “GO!”
“Amen & Goodbye” by Yeasayer - New York based Yeasayer consist of three guys who create this alt-rock-pop hybrid that is artsy but cool at the same time. Like St. Vincent, their album just got progressively better over time. Their last one “Amen & Goodbye” had the most perfect ebb and flow of any album I have ever heard. It’s weird and creative and fun and addicting. And I fear it will be their last. Their previous album “Fragrant World” is also one of my tops. Check out video "I Am Chemistry”
“The Family Jewels” by Marina and The Diamonds - Marina Diamante is actually a one woman pop artist. There are no diamonds. On the surface, this is straight up PURE pop music. But if you listen to the phenomenal lyrics, you discover that there is something super dark here. To me, it speaks painfully of mental illness. Yet it is so funny and boppy and danceable. This weird dichotomy has gotten Marina a myriad of fans, but alas didn’t allow her top 40 success. So, she remains a cult pop treasure. Check out video “Mowgli’s Road”
“Plunge” by Fever Ray - Fever Ray is true musical experimentation at its finest. If you want weird, THIS IS WEIRD. Her last album Plunge was far different than her first self titled album and many fans were unhappy about this. But to me, it showed an excited side of her that we haven’t seen before. The album is split between upbeatly frustrated or sexual synth driven tracks and more lovely downtempo electro ballads filled with incredible textures. The split between the two does cause for a disjointed sound that turned off listeners as well. But I enjoyed that we got to see multiple sides of this incredibly artistic electronic musician. Check out song “Wanna Sip”
“Fever Ray” by Fever Ray - Okay, I am a big Fever Ray fan so I recommend both albums. This was the debut album which actually won the award for best electronic album at the Swedish music awards. Unlike the second album, the entire thing is downtempo. But it does it in a way that no other artist has. The songs are eerily dark but curiously beautiful. There’s lots of vocal tweaking that at times make it sound like you are listening to a ghost. Check out video “Triangle Walks”
“Doom Abuse” by The Faint - Omaha based band The Faint blends rock and dance in a way that often feels super inspired by 80s new wave. It’s loud and brash but fun with wicked lyrical arrangements. Their top albums are “Danse Macabre” and “Wet From Birth.” Their last album “Doom Abuse” offered up more of a “garage rock” sound mixed in with some spastically dance dance tracks. It’s wild and is not for those who don’t like rock music. Check out video “Help In The Head”
“Daughter in the Choir” & “Make A Shadow” by Meg Myers - Meg Myers recently came out with her second album “Take Me To The Disco” and it is excellent. She does a great blend of angry alternative rock and pop melodies that totally get stuck in your head. But when it comes to Meg, my favorites will always be here two earlier EPs known as “Daughter in the Choir” and “Make A Shadow.” Together, they make a full sized album and feature some of her most interesting work. Check out videos Curbstomp, Desire, and Go. “
“Backspace Unwind” by Lamb - Lamb is one of those bands that I’ve been with since their beginning. At first they got known for blending downtempo music with drum and bass which was a unique sound. The second album even brought in some blues/jazz elements which paired with the lead vocalists’ raspy vocals so nicely. After that, things got a lot softer and a lot sweeter and it spoke to my soul in ways other artists couldn’t. Like Garbage, they got fed up with record labels and quite only to then come back years later independently with incredible new music. Their last album “Backspace Unwind” had them experimenting with more traditional dance beats which turn out excellent. And it still provided some lovely melodic ballad tracks that are like poetry for the heart. Check out song “We Fall In Love.”
Here are artist that have too many good albums to mention: Goldfrapp (pop or downtempo - depends the album), Peaches, Amanda Palmer (and also her earlier band “The Dresden Dolls”), Garbage (of course), The Knife (Fever Ray’s original band), and Bjork.
Other weird artists include: Brazilian girls, The Presets, Royksopp, LCD Soundsystem, Chicks on Speed, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ADULT., and jeepers so many more.
Hope you find something you like.