Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Late to the party again

I remember the first time I heard The 1975 for the first time, October 24, The 2015.  (Fans will get the reference.)  I felt like I'd had an awakening and couldn't wait to find out about this "new" band.  Well, they weren't new.  They had EP's they released in 2012 and their first album (affiliate link) was 2013.  Girls and Chocolate both reached number 13 and 12 on the Billboard charts but I never heard them probably because I'm not a big radio listener and hadn't started putting Music Choice's Alternative on full rotation yet.  If it wasn't for Target playing Love Me on the big screen over the electronics department, I probably would still be oblivious.  *shame*  I'm so glad I'm not because truly, their music changed my life for the better.  I can't wait for their new album to drop supposedly on June 1st.

Now that I do have the alternative station on for 12 hours a day (because pop music is barf-worthy compared to what it was when I was growing up- Signed, Old Lady) I have been exposed to some other awesome artists.  I'd always heard of Imagine Dragons, Arcade Fire and the like but don't know if I ever sat down to listen to them.  Now I really love them but I know I'm late to that party too.

The other party I'm late to is this incredible New Zealand artist, Marlon Williams.  Around Halloween last year, I heard his song Vampire Again, and it was so weird, quirky and sounded straight out of a 1930's movie score in some parts.  So I had to look up the video.  At first, I was like "WTH is this!?" and then I laughed so hard, I cried.  I looked up some of his other videos like Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore (affiliate link) (a duet with his ex-girlfriend after they broke up) and it was another video to distract you from the heartache of the lyrics.  This became a common theme with many of his videos.  His style is so hard to categorize which is one reason why I love it because it's truly like nothing else out there.  Wikipedia says "Williams' music style straddles folk, country, bluegrass and the blues."  I get those influences, but I hear very swoon-worthy slow jams of the doo-wop era as well.  There are probably about 10 actual "crooners" left in this world and Williams is one of them.  I would say his voice is like a mix of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and the haunting vibrato of Roy Orbison.  Elvis, I love but the other two I'm not huge fans of (gasp!), but he pulls it off in such a brilliant way, I make an exception.  Some of his more recent songs also have hilarious videos like What's Chasing You, and the "dancing" he does in it makes me crack up laughing every time.  Come to Me is his newest I think.  If you watch the video, it has nothing to do with the song, and you have to replay it to listen to the song again.  It takes on a whole dreamy undertone that makes you feel kind of floaty is the best way I can describe it. 

His early career started in 2007 but didn't start picking up a little steam until 2011 and then really hitting his stride in 2013.  Problem is he's from New Zealand and sadly artists from other countries just aren't promoted here like they are in their home countries.  Many bands have the goal of "breaking America" but their hardcore fans know they've lost them once that happens because like a lot of things we Americans touch, we just want to consume, consume, consume until we spit them out and want the next thing.  It's not unlike when homegrown artists like Metallica and Green Day were considered underground bands and then one day they got their big break.  Suddenly the preppy dude or football player was wearing one of their shirts and the fans who were there with them from the garage days were like "you sold out!  Posers!!"   (To be clear, I wasn't one of them, not a fan of either, but they were the only examples I could think of.)  I digress.

My point was there are so many talented artists in other countries we are not exposed to.  I remember hearing "Walking on a Dream(affiliate link)  by Australian band, Empire of the Sun on a 2016 car commercial in the States.  Well, people went batchit over it and rightly so.  That song was 8 years old!!!  It revived them on the charts where they reached number one on the Billboard Dance Chart.
After having the alternative channel on non-stop, I'm exposed to so many more international artists and I'm grateful for that.  After going through a serious musical dry spell for basically 15 years (2000-2015), the amount of music we buy now is insane and so refreshing.  We have hope for many more playlists to come and while I may be late to the party on Marlon Williams, I'm glad to slip in the side door and have a listen.

What band/artist did you discover well into their career?

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  1. We are in a period where we're finding new music to enjoy and that is awesome. We did go through a dry period where the only music we had was music from the 80's and 90's and, while I still love all of that, it was time for some new tunes!

  2. The one that comes to mind is Rodney Crowell. This song was done with his ex-wife Rosanne Cash, so it's particularly poignant. I love the harmonica at the end...happy sigh.



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