SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE HOLDING HANDS. YAH.
Ten Duchess points toward the giveaway for who ever can guess which 80’s song that’s from.
So sometimes, I don’t want to hear beautiful music. Sometimes, it’s the dissonant background noise, those roughened voices, the clash of the guitars set to the lyrics of ironic poetry that sets my nerves at ease. Sometimes, I don’t want to be calmed by whispering violins, or feathers of piano– I want my blood to pump ever faster to these do-it-yourself bands that candidly spit out the truth to your face, the music almost an afterthought. I wanted to give you guys some of the music that I reach for when I want to feel something in the words of the music. I know I already created a post about wordless music
, and what that means to me, but there also does come a time when you want to connect to the music through the words, and for that, I simply love Alternative Rock. Perhaps it’s the ever-varying beats that somehow just gets into your blood. Maybe it’s the ridiculously creative cover art Alt. Rock artists come up with. Or it could be how Alt. Rockers simply celebrate their imperfections, playing on their weaknesses until they turn into their strengths. (I am aware that I am romanticizing just a tad). Even so, for whatever reasons, I find myself consistently reaching for Alternative Rock bands whenever I want the music to speak to me. Therefore, I present to you, my top 5 Alternative Rock bands. HERE GOES:
I. F.T ISLAND
This band. Will melt your soul. I am exaggerating slightly. Honestly, I don’t even have the words to start describing how much I love F.T ISLAND. This is a South Korean Rock band, and I lied slightly when I included them in this Alt. Rock list, because their vocals and tracks go way beyond alternative sounds. They are actually extremely hardcore. Lee Hong Ki is one of those rare vocalists who sounds like he’s crooning poetry when he sings. Yes, I do not know Korean, (except for a scattered collage of words here and there), but there is something about Lee Hong Ki’s voice that simply transcends language. Through the semi shrieks, and the dissonant guitar riffs, you can hear something so genuine emanating from F.T ISLAND’s tone, and it really makes a difference. The band is also very internationally friendly, as 50% of their lyrics are indeed in English; so if you are one of those people that needs to understand the lyrics of a song, you will still get the essence of the music, even if half of the lyrics are in Korean.
II. PANIC! AT THE DISCO
This is probably the most unique Alternative Rock band I have ever listened to. It doesn’t sound like poetry–it sounds like philosophy. Each music video is so uniquely crafted, telling a crazy story of its own, but somehow, managing to tell a single coherent tale through a chain of music videos. I have honestly never seen that done with any other artist. Furthermore, Brandon Urie’s voice can reach almost all ranges, and spans most genres, which is a completely different level of talent from your average singer. I’ve seen him do classic Sinatra-style jazz, hard rock, candid acoustics– and what’s insanely insane is how he actually nails every single vocal style. As a singer, I can attest to how difficult it is to be able to excel at more than just a few genres of music; a person with an operatic voice will not necessarily be good at a breathy, T-swift style of singing, and vice verse– But Brandon Urie. Brandon Urie. I don’t think I have anything more to say. Except Brandon Urie.
—Death Of a Bachelor
—This is Gospel–* CONTAINS A WORD WHICH MEANS ILLEGITIMATE CHILD. (I personally don’t have this one on my iPod, though I think it’s a great song, and if not for that word, one of my favorites).
Bastille could possibly be the first Indie band I ever discovered on my own as a teenager. I have ranted and raved about them already on this post, but I am going to do it again. Cuz it’s been a year already. And I have an audience now. What initially drew me to them was again, their sense of genuine poetry, and the topics they covered in their songs. It wasn’t the usual fare of love, breakups and partying, that you see stamped across so many western songs– they were singing about future laughter lines, and hidden flaws, the destruction of Pompeii, and a dead girl named Laura Palmer. They also have the most interesting electronic tracks, and lead singer Dan Smith’s voice just happens to have the roughest, most beautiful pronounced British accent ever. Which for any American ear makes the lyrics that much more beautiful to listen to.
—Things we lost in the Fire
IV. ALEX CLARE
Alex Clare sings like it’s his manifesto to the world. He has a voice like polished gravel, and he takes you into the music when he sings, inviting you to see what he sees. He has such an amazing mixture of strong, rough vocals, set against unique, jarring, dubstep that just makes him so different to listen to. Alex’s lyrics, just like the rest of the people in this list, are so packed with metaphor and meaning, that you know you aren’t listening to emptiness when you listen to his songs. I hope you can sense a running theme here– if you didn’t, I’ma say it again: I LIKE SONGS THAT MEAN SOMETHING. There is however, one other reason why Alex Clare really intrigues me– He’s an Orthodox Jew. I don’t think many people know that about him, because there are basically little to no Orthodox Jews in either the mainstream or underground music scene. But Alex Clare defies stereotypes by sticking wholeheartedly to his religious beliefs, while excellently rocking the underground alternative scene. The guy is just so cool, honestly. You can watch his story HERE. Also he’s British. Which makes him instantly cooler. (*Cynical Duchess apologizes for her fetishization of the British accent. It is a very unfortunate American weakness, and probably not going away anytime soon).
—War Rages On
—Up All Night
V. FRANK TURNER
So Frank Turner is some one I recently re-discovered. I got one of his songs, ‘Recovery’, free off of iTunes back in 2012, (back when iTunes actually gave out free songs. Hint. iTunes. Hint). I remember really loving the song but for some reason, never looking into the rest of his music. Yet as I was scrolling through my iPod last week, looking for bands to include in this post, I re-found him and decided to give him a shot. What I found was a guy who sings like he’s talking to you. It’s like he put his diary to free verse lyrics and added some drums and guitar. His rough Alternative voice also verges on the border of Rock as he can get into the screaming zone a bit, yet altogether, listening to Frank Turner feels like listening to your British best friend, pouring his heart out into an Indie diary.
—The Way I Tend To Be