Local Unsung Heroes, Vol. 1

HIDDEN GEMS

New York has a lot of bands. I doubt that’s much of a surprise. Some of them churn out superb albums every couple of years or so, to little fanfare. Here are four albums by New York artists from the past few years that you probably need to catch up on.

The Nightrats [...]

WTF? Story Songs

HIDDEN GEMS

Pop music has offered dozens of story-songs, from the funny (“A Boy Named Sue”) to the tragic (“El Paso”) to the sorta nonsensical (“Hotel California”) and beyond. The following four story-songs are all pretty good… but they’re pretty darn strange, too.

The Royal Guardsmen | “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” A fairly weird [...]

Country Women Do Covers

HIDDEN GEMS

Here’s 4 songs you may or may not know well, re-done by four of the best acts in Country music.

Dolly Parton | “Stairway to Heaven”

Great: it’s a bluegrass version of Led Zeppelin’s inescapable, nonsensical anthem about buying heavenly stairways and bustling hedgerows. Did the world really need this? Well, actually, I’d [...]

Hidden Gems: Second Golden Age of Movie Soundtracks

HIDDEN GEMS From wholly original soundtracks like Curtis Mayfield’s work for Super Fly to iconic oldies compilations like American Grafitti, the 1970s was the first golden age for the movie soundtrack.

After a glut of ’80s crap, the art form of the movie soundtrack bounced back in the ’90s. Pulp Fiction is the key example [...]

Hidden Gems: Banjo Pickers

HIDDEN GEMS

No, you won’t find anything about Sufjan Stevens here.

Loudon Wainwright III | High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project Maybe this gem isn’t quite so hidden—it did just win the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album—but I doubt you’ve heard it yet. Loudon Wainwright and some of his famous family (son [...]

Bizarre Follow-ups

Sometimes musicians return to the studio after big hit albums by trying to top that album commercially. However, here are 4 albums where the artists instead went in a memorably weirder, less-commercial direction.

HIDDEN GEMS

Todd Rundgren | A Wizard, A True Star After the seeming fluke success of his 1972 double-album Something/Anything? — which [...]

Hidden Gems

HIDDEN GEMS

Orchestre Stukas | L’Afrique Danse Presents Orchestre Stukas Yesterday was a sad day in the music world, and devastating for the world at large. I was once the wallowing type, but I’m instating a rule for myself this winter: NO DOWNER MUSIC. So I’m glad that I just found Orchestre Stukas, (also sometimes [...]

Hidden Gems

HIDDEN GEMS Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue | Heavy Dirt Billy Childish is known for his millions of side-projects almost as much as his work influencing garage punk as we know it. But what about the people HE works with? Holly Golightly’s had her White Stripes fun (“It’s True That We Love One Another”), but what [...]