My Three Musical Bs are as follows:
Better Than Ezra;
and Bedouin Soundclash.
Let’s start with an introduction.
So, whenever someone asks me what kind of music I listen to, usually I name those three bands. I’m not sure why, it just happens. they’re all pretty different, so I guess what I try to do by naming those bands is demonstrate the various styles of music I listen to. I wasn’t always as open with my music as I’ve become, actually. I went through a variety of musical phases- one, where I listened to Queen exclusively, another where I was very into metal (well, Nightwish and Children of Bodom. I also like Arch Enemy and I adore Opeth. Cheers if you know any of those bands)- and now I’m in a weird stage of my musical taste where any song that makes me feel something, not matter what the emotion, I want to listen to it. That’s why if you comb through my iPod, you’ll find, not only the usual suspects (the Three Bs, Sleeping at Last, Barenaked Ladies, who I also considered putting on this list, but nah), but also some new additions, like One Direction (to my best friend’s dismay), Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Beyonce (who’s most recent album, 4, is actually a masterpiece, if I do say so myself. And look, another B!). That being said, I knew it was time for me to write about three of my favourite bands.
It’s funny- my friends all make fun of me for listening to obscure bands. I also don’t, or try not to, listen to bands whose band members are jerks. to answer part 1, I don’t like people, really. Some people are cool, but most aren’t. Most who listen to popular radio really aren’t. You can agree. So, if some of the people I grow up with listen to certain bands or singers, I try to stay away because who likes thinking of assholes when you’re eating something delicious? That doesn’t work as much because of my new-found openness to music. But I can get over that. One thing that bothers me about some people’s musical choices is this, the answer to number 2: if your lead singer is a dick, what’ll happen to the music she/he writes? For me, when I write music, my whole self bleeds in. I can’t help it- even if I’m trying to imitate a feeling or see it from another point of view, my bias comes in. Surely you’ve experienced this when writing as well- it’s extremely difficult for you to not be honest to some degree. So, when I find out that a band talks badly about another band, I try to stay away because that’s not fair. Musicians are in this together. So what if he doesn’t play an instrument? He’s making music people like, and you should respect that, not put him down. How many people put you down for wanting to be a musician, too? So, if you haven’t heard of bands I mention on my blog, don’t fret, I’ll always include links to their music, for you. And I promise I’ll let you know if the members of the band are jerks. If I know.
Let’s continue to
Better Than Ezra
How I First Came to Know Them:
I used to frequent a website called deviantART, and on that site I made friends. One of my friends mentioned this band to me, and I remember youtube-ing their songs very early in the morning and falling in love. That was an interesting time in my life, and their songs made me feel… good.
A Brief History; Thanks to Wikipedia:
Better Than Ezra was formed in 1988 by its four original members – vocalist and guitarist Kevin Griffin; Joel Rundell, the lead guitarist; bassist Tom Drummond; and drummer, Cary Bonnecaze. All four members were attending Louisiana State University at the time of Better Than Ezra’s formation. Better Than Ezra’s first public performance was at Murphy’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also in 1988.Though many theories abound, the band refuses to disclose the origin of its name. One theory is that it comes from a line in Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Moveable Feast, in which Hemingway describes a particularly annoying sound as “…no worse than other noises, certainly better than Ezra learning to play the bassoon.” Fans of the group often refer to themselves as Ezralites.
Success came quickly to Better Than Ezra. Tom Drummond commented later in a 1998 interview with CNN, “It took us seven years to get signed, and then seven weeks to get to No. 1.” when describing the overnight success of Deluxe and its single “Good”.
Why I Love Them:
I’ve learned in my philosophy course that according to John Dewey, art has to have a certain, “cohesiveness” and “harmony” within itself for it to be considered beautiful. That is Better than Ezra. Their songs, no matter which one I listen to, to me sounds perfect. The words, the way Kev sings- there’s nothing about it I don’t like. Obviously this is my opinion- they’re not the best band to ever exist, by any means- but maybe if you listen to them, you’ll get it, too. Their songs are catchy without being too obnoxious, and because of their lack of radio play, they’re not annoying to me. They’re funky, but their music isn’t too funky to turn me off, and they’re rock, but soft, you know- soft rock is typically shitty, I agree, (see Creed.) but Better than Ezra to me isn’t that shitty type of soft-rock. They’re the type of band I want to emulate because of their versatility and their impeccable lyrics and music. If some other, newer bands would site BTE as their influences, I think I’d respect them a little more.
Wallflower (my favourite version isn’t the album one, and it’s not quite this one I linked you to, but it’s the best I can find on the web!)
I’d love to sing Desperately Wanting with them, one day. That song always makes me feel so… I’m not even sure. I can’t pick a favourite album, but I suggest you listen to Artifakt and Deluxe because the former was their first album and Deluxe was the album with their most famous song, Good. If you get the chance to hear any of their lives (which, you do, if you follow da linkz), you will be impressed. And when you’re watching their videos, don’t judge them too harshly- they are an American band from the 90s, after all.
Taylor Swift did a cover of one of their songs. I don’t like it. Listen to the original.
How I First Came to Know Them:
A wonderful friend of mine named Cora turned me onto Beirut. I don’t remember the schematics of the conversation, but her cousin used to turn her on to cool music, like Cuban Cigar Crisis and Beirut, so it was probably from him she heard it. She and I watched the video for Elephant Gun and from there it was history.
Beirut is an American band which was originally the solo musical project of Santa Fe native Zachary Francis Condon, and later expanded into a band. The band’s first performances were in New York, in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. Beirut’s music combines elements of indie-rock and world music. Condon attended Santa Fe High School, where he was a student until he dropped out at the age of 17. According to a 2011 interview with David Dye on NPR, growing up in Santa Fe meant that Condon was exposed to Mexican music such as mariachi. He also worked at a cinema showing international films and this piqued his interest in Fellini arias and Sicilian funeral brass as well as providing his first experience of Balkan music.
Why I Love Them:
I had been looking for a long time for this this style of music. I’m Italian, and I love folk music. Italian folk music, tarantellas, folk songs- they’re inspirational to me because of the simplicity in the words but the passion in the music. So, when Cora told me about Beirut, I was astounded. The trumpets were there, the percussion, the rolling words and the subtle feeling that I’d heard the music before made my heart soar. Not all of Beirut’s songs are folk- some of the first EPs, (Pompeii EP, Realpeople Holland) are very electronica, very different from the music they would soon make. Folk music, to me, is that style; the horns, the piano, the simple percussion. And accordion. Beirut’s words are not always intelligible, but that doesn’t matter- the sounds mesh with each other so well that you have no clue you’re humming the song the next day.
Florence + the Machine did a cover of their song Postcards from Italy. It was good, but you know, not the original. Anyway, you’ll see some lives in there, I apologize for the not-so-great quality of Scenic World, but it’s still pretty amazing to hear such amazing playing live. I think that’s another reason why I like Beirut- because when Zach was doing his solo stuff, he still knew how to play a lot of those instruments. That, to me, is something that makes takes a band from being good to fantastic.
How I First Came to Know Them:
I wish this was as interesting (if you can say that) a story as my other stories, but it’s really not. When MuchMusic used to play music videos as opposed to television shows where their VJs are more prominent than the music, they used to play a lot of Bedouin Soundclash. They used to play Sam Roberts, too, another wonderful Canadian artist. I’m sure the first song I heard by Bedouin Soundclash was When the Night Feels My Song, but I remember the video for Shelter so vividly, I feel like it might have been that. They’re right after each other and on the same album, so really, it’s a toss-up.
A Brief History, Thanks to Wikipedia:
Bedouin Soundclash is a Canadian band currently based in Toronto. Their sound can be described as reggae and ska. Their debut album, Root Fire, released in 2001. The band released their second album, Sounding a Mosaic, in 2004. The album’s single “When the Night Feels My Song” was the band’s breakthrough single on Canadian radio, charting No. 1 on 102.1 The Edge CFNY and gaining airplay on commercial radio stations throughout Canada in the summer of 2005. The band released their follow-up record Street Gospels on August 21, 2007.
Why I Love Them:
So, this is easy. They’re ska. And regge. What’s not to love? Jay’s voice is high, but like Neil Young, it suits the music. For a white guy, he does the vibe pretty well, to me. But I’m white, so what do I know about regge? Anyway, the lyrics are gorgeous, and the music is fun. I do a version of St. Andrews when I play shows sometimes, and it’s always fun to sing! Another thing I love, and I love this about all Canadian artist who do this, they mention, kind of, inside jokes about my city in their songs. It’s fun to recognize what they say and be able to picture their situation in the song because of that. Of course, their music is still appealing to other people- it’s really the vibe. They play funky music that’s fun. That’s it. That’s why I love them- their music makes me feel good and makes me want to groove, while their lyrics make me think and want to hear more.