Great question. I also like alternative stuff, including Matthews and Reynolds. I'll have to check out "Live at Luther College". Can't say I have one "favorite" alternative album, but here a few that have always remained in the short stack since I first heard them: Big Head Todd & the Monsters "Midnight Radio", Freedy Johnston "This Perfect World", Aztec Camera "Knife", Skids "Joy", Echo & the Bunnymen "Ocean Rain", Joy Division "Unknown Pleasures", and Smashing Pumkins "1979". Some of these may not have been considered "alternative" when originally released, but I think they fall into this category today. It is unfortunate that many of the more interesting alternative titles were poorly recorded, and some of the best alternative albums from the 80's are no longer available. Don
Dread Zeppelin - 5,000,000 / Tom Waits - Mule variations
Cat Power - any album (beautiful, soulful female voice)
Tom Waits - any album (God)
Meredith Monk - any album (a true performance artist Goddess)
Azure Ray - new and only lp (beautiful female voice)
Merrick - ditto above
Goo Goo Dolls should be a part of this list as far as "Alternative" is concerned. Under the heading of unusual I strongly suggest Ministry, may not be your cup of tea, but very strong musical performances to be appreciated. Will add albums and track numbers later.
Dan Bern. Just incredible! By far, my favorite artist these days. Everything is there. Great songwriting, humor, sensitivity.... Considered an underground artist. His last album was produced by his Friend, Ani Difranco. If you give a listen, you will be in for a treat. Go to DBHQ.com The most incredible song of the last few years, Kid's Prayer, can be bought direct. It is a live version of a recording on public radio, about violence in schools. $5. All proceeds go to fight child abuse. No, I am not connected, just a fan in awe of his talent.
Everybody's waiting for the Messiah,
The Jews are waiting,
Christians are waiting,
Also the Muslims.
It's like everybody's waiting.
They've been waiting a long time.
I know how I hate to wait.
Like even for a bus or something,
An important phone call...
Since this thread began with a tip-o-the-hat to the biggun' from the Charlottesville scene (Dave Matthews, who can still be found drinkin' near every Monday night at a certain downtown bar) I can't resist mentioning another of the C-Ville bunch that has had an uninterrupted tour of duty in my CD player recently. Danny Schmidt -- none of you has heard of him, but you should. What more, instead of me waxing all silly about how swell it is, I'll encourage those interested to check out his web site. There he, and others, tell the story better than I could and you'll have the chance to check out some of his music from the first CD to boot (which was recorded live exactly two years ago today). Serendipity or what?
Drat, got all excited and forgot to include the address. Clever. www.danny.schmidt.net There are a whole bunch of others that have my unflagging loyalty, the Hogwaller Ramblers and Brady Earnheart for a start, but they don't seem to have listenable samples up on the web, so we'll start small...
I gotta go with any Tom Waits album, Alice in Chains Unplugged also worth a listen if you haven't heard it yet.
Ok, I'm sorry, I'm not done yet. The Hogwaller Ramblers have listenable samples after all, and their cite is really pretty damn funny. While I'm clogging bandwidth, check them out, too. www.hogwallers.com These guys do a high-energy bluegrass/funk fusion cover of Gimme Shelter by the Stones that is quite possibly the most envigorating piece of live music I have ever heard. Too bad they can't record it. Ok, I can't resist:
"The Hogwaller Ramblers are composed of some of the finest musicians in the area, and a guy that scratches doggerel because it itches. They pull in blues, jazz, bluegrass, country, rocknroll, classical and funk - but since the music business seems to've been co-opted by dark forces, they just gaze at their shoes while playing angst-ridden screeds devoid of purpose.
They've traveled extensively through Albemarle and Nelson Counties, with brief forays into Highland and Rockingham Counties, in Central Virginia. The Prism has hosted them a couple of times. Miller's, Escafe/Eastern Standard, The Buddhist Biker Bar and Grill, various crackpot political functions, funerals, barbecues, wakes, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, polo matches and sewage treatment plant openings have all been attenuated by their presence.
The band began as a lark circa 1991 and quickly became an albatross. It started as an exercise in stress management, mostly through chemical abuse and vandalism. The original members (Jamie Dyer, David Goldstein, Rick Jones and David Wellbeloved) have all gone on to careers in institutionalisation, cirhossis and short order cooking. The current members do their damnedest to hide the pain, wondering all the while where the hell Dan Sebring is."
Ok, last one. I got it wrong. It's www.hogwaller.com (not plural...)
Here's a few for when everything really sounds sweet, the kids are asleep, and the neighbors are out...
Nickel Creek , Folk/alt county, acoustic, but with awesome vocals, unusual instruments and a superb recording. Trust me on this one.
Eric Clapton/Unplugged (Good recording, great old favs)
Al DiMeola-John McLaughlin-Paco deLucia /Friday Night in San Fran : Incredible acoustic and flamenco guitar can-you-top-this. Outstanding recording.
Alice in Chains/Unplugged (Best recent band unplugged I've herd)
Metallica(DVD) w/the SanFran Symph Orch (These guys sound like real songwriters and musicians almost on this disk. Outstanding show.)
Peter Gabriel/Plays Live (Great hooks. Better percussion.)
Appalachian Journey/ YoYoMa (There's always room for cello)
For anyone into nick drake: i just picked up the newly remastered 'pink moon' on cd and it sounds absolutely amazing. no tape hiss at all. one of the best sounding cds ive heard in a long time.
Get a listen to the new John Hammond CD "Wicked Grin." Tom Waits produced it and plays a little guitar and all the songs but one are written by him. Great playing by everyone, including Augie Meyers on keyboards. Excellent production. One of those rare CD's that I listened to once, then went right back to the beginning and listened straight through two more times.
If you don't like Tom Waits or you're convinced that blues is a simple-minded musical form, DO NOT get this CD.
Speaking of Tom Waits, he seems to "taint" everything that he touches. He produced a cut on Primus' last disc and it is QUITE apparent. Not that it's a bad thing, just QUITE different than their normal sound. Sean