Exposing just the tip of the hipster’s musical iceberg

Bands you need to know

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

You’ve all been there " you’re staring into some gorgeous person’s eyes when suddenly the conversation turns to music. They name-drop bands you’ve never heard of and look at you quizzically when you say you’re really into Nickelback. What do you do? First, break all your Nickelback albums. Second, start researching the following historical musical milestones:

“Dirty Boots” " Sonic Youth
“Time to take a ride/ time to take it in a midnight eye/ and if you wanna go/ get on below.”

Although Sonic Youth’s latest album is great, there’s nothing like a little dose of Goo. Sonic Youth has called the 1990 album a “mistake” " but damn, it’s good. “Dirty Boots” epitomizes early Sonic Youth’s almost-whiny, anxious rock sound and twisted, obscure lyrics.

“Girlfriend In A Coma” " The Smiths
So you’ve probably heard of The Smiths. Good. But the real question is, do you know The Smiths beyond “Hand In Glove,” “This Charming Man” or “How Soon Is Now?” Any good hipster loves The Smiths and now you will, too.

Aside from Morrissey’s voice, one characteristic thing about The Smiths is their ability to write songs about depressing subjects but disguise them behind a catchy synth background. Enter “Girlfriend In A Coma.” You can’t help but dance as Morrissey laments his lover falling into a coma.

“Little Fury Things” " Dinosaur Jr.
With its strong combination of Lo-Fi and grungy punk, Dinosaur Jr. is one of the best things to come out of the ’80s. You may know the band by association; its vocalist/guitarist J Mascis’ solo career has been quite successful.

“Little Fury Things” has tons of distortion, some screaming, self-deprecating lyrics and was released before Lou Barlow was kicked out and Dino started slipping. On a scale of one to 10, this song deserves “bad-ass.”

“Silly Girl” " Descendents
Descendents are a poppy-punk band formed in the late ’70s known for their great songs and really great joke songs, like “Parents” and “Pervert.”

“Silly Girl,” from 1985’s I Don’t Want To Grow Up, foreshadows today’s emo-obsessed music world. It’s really hard not to love a song by an early hardcore band, even if the song is about unrequited love.

“Range Life” " Pavement
Unfortunately, Pavement" or its lead singer Stephen Malkmus’ solo songs " have probably landed on a couple O.C. soundtracks; of all the bands on this list, Pavement is likely the most accessible.

However, all good music still deserves celebration. “Range Life” makes fun of alternative bands and the rock-star lifestyle. The song skateboards with its melody, giving listeners a sense of freedom. This song shows exactly how much fun Pavement can be.

Added bonus: “Never Too Young To Smoke” " Superchunk
A bonus, you ask? Why, yes. It’s a B-side. And that makes it a bonus.

Although the rest of Superchunk’s tunes are more than worthy of further investigation, “Never Too Young To Smoke” is a song to cherish.

Like Sonic Youth, Superchunk tunes display anxiousness. “Never Too Young To Smoke” was released on a seven-inch in 1995 and then re-released on 2003’s Cup Of Sand, a compilation of B-sides, singles and other rarities. Enjoy!

Other bands worth knowing everything about: Talking Heads, Pixies, Joy Division and Neutral Milk Hotel

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