My brother dips a toe back into rock music

He gave up rock in the early '70's and eventually became an opera fanatic. About a month ago (now age 58)he asked me -out of the blue (pun intended) - about Joni Mitchell and Buffalo Springfield. Yesterday he asked an interesting question:

Recommend 5 albums by people he hasn't heard of.

Bearing in mind that

A)Anyone who isn't either a household name from the sixties or famous at the Michael Jackson/Madonna level qualifies as "not heard of"

B)The Joni/Buffalo Springield starting point and "art song" inclination likely to appeal to an opera guy


C)The desire to sprinkle a little bit of the rock reductionist esthetic

Who would you point him to?

I gave him 4 on the spot, but I'll share those later if the interest in this thread warrants.

Older music:
Peter Murphy

Newer Music:
Andrew Bird
Joseph Arthur
Jim White
Based partially on Joni & Buf mentions above:

Bright Eyes
Jenny Lewis(& Watson Twins) and her band Rilo Kiley
Counting Crows (at least their first 3 releases)
Rickie Lee Jones (she started out in the 70s, but has amassed a tremendous body of work since then, and is still strong)
Eva Cassidy
Elvis Costello
Ryan Adams
Lucinda Williams
Sarah McLachlan
Ben Folds
Some guy named Springstein or something like that. Cheers,

U2 - Joshua Tree
Radiohead - OK Computer
Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step
Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun
AC/DC - Back in Black

That oughta get his heart started.
if he likes Buffalo Springfield & Joni:

1. Nick Drake - Fruit Tree
2. Suzanne Vega - S/T, Songs in Red and Gray
3. Laurie Anderson - Strange Angels
4. Bonnie 'Prince' Billie - Master and Everyone
5. Leonard Cohen - Cohen Live (he's Canadian, like Joni and Neil Young of Buffalo Springfield)
Here are five really good albums from artists your brother probably never heard of, but which should appeal to his sense of taste for good old rock 'n roll.

1. Wilco - Being There (or Summerteeth)
(The later albums (especially Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born) are also good, but might be a bit too Avantegarde for him now. When he gets into Wilco though, he'll find both of those albums are at least as good as the other two I recommended.)

2. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans (or Transatlanticism)
(Ignore the band's name, and trust me that this is a very good group, and both of these are very good albums.)

3. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
(A very english sounding band, IMHO anyway, even though they are not from Great Britain.)

4. Fiona Apple - Tidal
(A great singer/songwriter, who does not try to hit you over the head with her vocal range, unlike some lesser women singers, who shall remain nameless.)

5. Coldplay - Rush of Blood to the Head
(This is their best album by far, IMHO, but their other albums are very good too, just not up to the standards that this one set.)

In case your brother heard of this last one, (and he very well might have, as this was a really popular album), here are some alternative suggestions: either Oasis' "What's the Story Morning Glory?", (espeically if he likes the Beatles), or if he just wants some good old fashioned fun Rock 'n Roll, The Fratellis' "Here We Stand".

My two cents worth anyway.
16 Horsepower
Elbow-they last album
Wolf Parade
I'm running a special today--one free recommendation with any request for five!

Here's my contribution--I enjoy just about the entire catalog of all these artists and have made some recommendations for specific albums. Although all don't tend to be considered "rock" first, they either have rock roots, or on these albums lean into rock/pop vs. their traditional niche (jazz, blues, folk, etc). In other words, there's some diversity of style on each album, song to song and the do a nice job of showcasing each artist's range.

1. Holly Cole--Romantically Helpless or Don't Smoke in Bed
2. Keb' Mo--Just Like You
3. Mark Knopfler--Shangri La
4. Steve Forbert--The American in Me
5. George Harrison--Brainwashed (last album--posthumous release)
6. Shawn Mullins--Beneath the Velvet Sun

Great idea for a thread, by the way!
given fan of joni / buffalo (which i also like), cannot go wrong w/:
1) decemberists: picaresque is the best release (must hear mariner's revenge song)

2) neil young at massey hall

3) ray lamontagne: til the water turns black

4) jack johnson: on & on

5) sufjan stevens: michigan (same sort of tenderness that joni has)
william lyall-solo casting; paul jones-crucifix in a horsehoe; elliott murphy-aquahow; jules and the polar bears-ain't got no breeding; michael d'abo-down at rachael's place;the church-the blurred crusade; jim carroll band-catholic boy;the fugs-it crawed into my hand, honest.
From one old rocker to another looking...Enjoy

Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static
John Mayer - Continuum
Bonnie Raitt - Nick of Time or Luck of the Draw
Tonic - Lemon Parade
Steely Dan - Aja or many others...
one more: Elliott Smith XO
try these oldies:
Supersessions[ Bloomfield ,Kooper,Stills]
Santana[ 1st album]
Blood sweat and tears[child is father to man]
Blind Faith
Allman Brothers[eat a peach]
Paul Butterfield[ east west]

boy am I old!!!
He probably never heard of:

"Worlds Collide"
Hudson and Ford

David and David

"Modern Music"
Be Bop Deluxe

"City Boy"
City Boy

Lone Justice

"America's Choice"
Hot Tuna

"Royal Bed Bouncer"

"Alone Together"
Dave Mason

"Hellbound Train"
Savoy Brown

"Last Puff"
Spooky Tooth

"Diesel and Dust"
Midnight Oil
Radiohead, Government Mule, Dire Straits, Wide Spread Panic and...and.....and I cant think of only one more!
Your brother is just a few years older than I am and we have followed a similar path leading to opera (Mozart & Verdi). Here are some he may enjoy:

1. The Thorns - First Album (2003) - reminiscent of CSN&Y
2. Peter Wolf "Sleepless" (2002) (J. Geils lead singer)
3. Traveling Wilburys - "Vol.1" (1988) - just in case he missed this one ... George Harrison, Bob Dylan, & Tom Petty
4. Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter - "Oh My Girl" - (2004)
5. Alejandro Escovedo - "Real Animal" (2007)

Honorable Mention ...

6. The Shins - "Chutes" (2003) - reminiscent of the Zombies "Time of Season" phase.


1. Radiohead - "The Bends"
2. Sufjan Stevens - "Come On Feel The Illinoise"
3. Arcade Fire - "Funeral"
4. Jane Siberry - "When I Was A Boy"
5. Regina Specktor "Begin To Hope"
6. Rosanne Cash - "Interiors"

That should keep him busy. I enjoy these threads as I always find something new along with the originator.
GREAT post,

I EMPHATICALLY suggest the following three artists for new music:

1. Chris Jones "Roadhouses and Automobiles" (FABULOUS and fits the bill for what your brother is looking for)

2. Alexi Murdoch "Time Without Consequence"

3. Judith Owen "Lost & Found"

Then, I cannot help myself, from the old school side I am a HUGE Tower of Power fan but it IS old school funk/jazz/horn band music and may not appeal to your brother - but it has INCREDIBLY well written, tight horn playing and a fantastic rythym section!!!

If decides to audition Tower of Power's stuff, he could start with "Back To Oakland" (circa 1973) and even their newer offering "Oakland Zone" (2004)
Radiohead and rock music do not go in the same sentence!
Okay, he may have heard of some of these; but going on...
Moody Blues, He probably needs Peter Gabriel and Tull, Steely Dan.
Dont forget Dave Matthews, Midnight Oil, (Blue Sky Mining) R.E.M.
Epodimous and Out of Time. Wouldn't he want Kate Bush, Dreaming,
Hounds of love, or that Whole Story? He's got to get some Police, and
Dire Straits D.S. and the Brothers discs; (?), U2, Achtung Baby, Pearl Jam
"X", STP Plush, Fleetwood Mac
Self Titled and rumours and that concert rather recently; Try cowboy Junkies, Trinity Sessions (how can ya pick just 5?). Jack Johnson,
Satrianni Surfing with the Aliens; Al DiMeola Elegant gypsy, Yes Fragile,
Most of Staind's work, Sarah McLaughlin's Stumbling, Neil Young's Decade, and believe it or not Michael hedges *Taproot, and Michael Oldfield's Greatest.
Thanks all, great feedback.

I should note that my brother is 56 (my oldest brother is 58). My bad!

FWIW, he called me from a record store so I was time constrained and limited to stock on hand. My recommendations:

Townes Van Zandt:

First 2 cd compilation "Late, Great TVZ and "Lost Highway"(?). I thought this was a direct historical successor to dylan/joni/ Buffalo Springfield and more interesting than most others from that period.

Richard Thompson;

"Action Packed" Best of Capitol years. I first suggested "Watching The Dark', but the store didn't stock it. I wanted a segue into more rockin' music, but one that still had a folk based songwriter's feel to it. This choice also allowed some screamin' guitar into the mix. In some ways these later songs may prove easier for him to relate to.

Paul Westerberg:

"Best of". I thought Westerberg's solo music mixed songwriting craft, straightforward emotion, and a certain drunken rocker's mindset to the list. Replacements music might have gone too far.

Lindsey Buckingham:

"Gift of Screws". I wanted one recent recording and this is my personal favorite of the new millenium. Carefully crafted, easily accessible, yet rocks like little else.

I thought that many of your ideas were inspired and all were interesting at some level. If he asks again, I'll likely go with a few of your recommendations. Other choices are unfamiliar to me and I'll look to chase them down for my own benefit.

Either way, thanks again for your input.

Seventh Sojourn - The Moody Blues
Moving Waves - Focus
In The Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson
Breathless - Camel
The Yes Album - Yes
I don't know about Martykl's brother, but you guys just cost Rootmann a lot of money having to add all this stuff to my collection....LOL

Thanks for all the suggestions...
Dear Steve Hoffman & Kevin Gray:

Please remaster all the LPs listed in this thread. I would be set for life. Cheers,

I would suggest the following pop/rock artists for your brother:

Jennifer Warnes "Famous Blue Raincoat" (20th anniversary edition) or "The Well" -- great voice and if he likes Joni he will like Jennifer

Christy Baron "Steppin'" -- another great female vocalist and a beautiful Chesky recording

Counting Crows, "August and Everything Else" -- kind of folky rock, and a great collection of songs

Peter Gabriel, "Secret World Live" -- amazing songs and performances (the DVD is probably even better)

Pearl Jam, "Live at Benaroya Hall" -- an acoustic concert fundraiser for a homeless youth program in their home town of Seattle, this show is packed with wonderful music -- rockin' but still musical.

Plus a bonus pick:
Paul Simon, "Graceland" -- OK, kind of cheat because he has surely heard of Paul Simon, but this is one of the great albums of all time, IMHO. The latest remastered version includes a couple of very cool alternative takes.

Happy listening!
Gov't Mule "Life Before Insanity"
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "Howl"
The Black Crowes "Southern Harmony & Musical Companion"
Wilco & Billy Bragg "Mermaid Avenue Volume I"
The Black Keys "Thickfreakness"