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techstepgenr8tion
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15 May 2011, 8:28 pm

Just a question, has anyone heard of any new singers or bands - anywhere from rock and alternative to trip-hop, who can really authoritatively commands a tune? My instructor was driving back with me from a major seminar three hours away, we ended up listening to some Lebanese music that he had on cd and, honestly, he had a female vocalist who seemed to be really lighting it up in a way where, I could only describe her as a female Brad Nowell (the mood shifts in the tune, the eerie, dark, or profound she liked to insert around the angles, etc., probably throwing incredibly dark topics in at times with a similar type of playful sarcasm), the whole time I'm thinking "Damn, I really miss this in our music and, quite sadly, I don't think I've ever heard a US female vocalist roll that deep".

I guess I have to break this down because - I don't know how many of you will or won't get this, I think the way many people put together music in their minds is obviously different, I'll try to detail it as best I can in my own words to get the idea across but likely I'm speaking Greek or Latin to many of you (assuming you don't know those languages) but for those who do, holler please.

There've always been bands who've been able to really sink deep into subject matter, really drop a mood - hard. Not heavy metal necessarily, just music that was.... even poppy or theatrical, but had a real emotional punch in the stomach, had some Training Day or No Country For Old Men type of intensity in it, real hard and gritty vibes. You get me? I liked that a lot out of bands like Tool, like Alice In Chains, Skinny Puppy (well....at least on Last Rights...), Sublime, more recently Muse really nailed this on some of their albums. I can think of a few female vocalists who I've found to have this sort of strength but they were both brits - ie. Martina Topley Bird (MTB), at certain points particularly with Tricky, and Roya Arab when she was with Archive. Recently I kind of found this in Klaxon's newer stuff, Porcupine Tree seems good for it in certain ways but - I think I've tapped these guys out.

So, for anyone who kind of follows what I'm saying, who rolls deep these days? Is there anyone you think I'd want to look into?


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15 May 2011, 9:34 pm

I don't know if any of these would qualify for you and they're not all American but:

Adele
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Florence and the Machine
Imogen Heap
Kate Bush
Nicki Minaj
Aimee Mann

well most of them are British. But really what does it matter?

Was this the kind of thing you meant?

I love Muse by the way. Particularly Undisclosed Desires.



techstepgenr8tion
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15 May 2011, 9:39 pm

Don't know but I'll have to take a look. Any particular songs you'd suggest as a starting point?


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15 May 2011, 9:52 pm

Making my way through this list, and immediate funny story to tell on Adele - I heard one of her tunes, 'Tired', for the first time today at lunch, lol, thought it was slick and I was wondering who what was. Might not be someone I'd run out and buy a cd from but yeah, she's got some honesty and realness in her ish. Dig it.


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15 May 2011, 9:57 pm

Adele: Rolling in the Deep & Set Fire to the Rain
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Maps
Florence and the Machine: Dog Days Are Over & You've Got the Love (cover)
Imogen Heap: Hide and Seek
Kate Bush: This Woman's Work
Nicki Minaj: Did It On 'Em & Moment for Life
Aimee Mann: Today's the Day & Save Me & Lost in Space & Pavlov's Bell & It's Not
Oh, and La Roux: Bulletproof
And Lady Gaga: Judas (in my signature) & Monster
And Paramore: Decode & That's What You Get & Misery Business & Crushcrushcrush & Brick by Boring Brick

Some of these have more depth of soul to them and others have more sharpness of brain, if you know what I mean.



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15 May 2011, 9:59 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Making my way through this list, and immediate funny story to tell on Adele - I heard one of her tunes, 'Tired', for the first time today at lunch, lol, thought it was slick and I was wondering who what was. Might not be someone I'd run out and buy a cd from but yeah, she's got some honesty and realness in her ish. Dig it.


Neat! Yeah, I'm not saying any of these is THE ONE you are looking for, but they all have something to them I think. Adele is something special.



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15 May 2011, 10:07 pm

Following a bit more here with Karen O:

Karen O - Go is hard-hitter, for Hello Tomorrow - I'd love to hear a Mount Kimbie remix (this is why). Also listened to Santogold - Creator, that's def headbanger as well, not quite emotional depth but gangsta as f--- for sure.


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15 May 2011, 10:14 pm

Never heard Santogold but keep hearing she's good! And I haven't delved as deep as you have into Karen O's stuff. I usu. don't know more obscure songs but wish I did.



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15 May 2011, 10:57 pm

Had the chance to listen the rest of the way through the list. Liked Imogen Heap, they're clever on the moods and electronics (heard First Train as well and liked), obviously Hide & Seek is built on a real simple trick - vocoding, but powerful results, I give em credit. Also an honorable mention to Aimee Mann, had both well built and engineered music but it also fit her voice and what she has in it well.

On another note though I'd be curious to see what Riya might come up with one of these days if she had her own album. Obviously me being a big drum & bass guy and liking stuff by D Bridge, Instra:mental, S.P.Y., and Lenzman already helps but - even if her lyrics don't have anything wildly new or adventurous - she's got a very strong and honest presence in her vocals IMO.


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15 May 2011, 11:43 pm

purchase, not to push the topic too much on Santogold - couldn't believe she was from Brooklyn but then I found out about M.I.A., her influence looks pretty direct.

I don't know if you're from the UK - has been building over there for a while?


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16 May 2011, 12:14 am

Well, Queensryche isn't new, but Geoff Tate from 1985 to 1991 was untouchable. Operation: Mindcrime and Empire were two of the best albums ever made IMO (but of course I'm biased) Jet City Woman is probably the best example of what you are describing, but I Don't Believe In Love and Della Brown are good too.



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16 May 2011, 1:38 am

I just spent the last 40 minutes watching M.I.A.'s Q interview, really interesting. I guess all I'd ever heard was Paper Plane but apparently that's a pretty shallow representation if taken on its own.


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16 May 2011, 7:36 am

I'm from the U.S.! Yes, I've been hearing about Santogold for awhile and I've loved M.I.A. since I first heard Paper Planes a couple years ago.

I don't know who Riya is, will have to investigate!

I know nothing about vocoding but it does sound good in that song. I was wondering what exactly was done to her voice in that. I've tried to sing it like it sounds and obviously not an exact success!



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16 May 2011, 8:11 am

Well... you know that Commodores 'Buggy Down' song? The one with the talking synthesizer? Any time people are able to make a synthesizer talk or a guitar talk, they have a tool (a vocoder) where they speak into a microphone and the formants (oohh...eeeh...ayyhh..uhhhh... as well as the consonants) subtractively cut into the sound. To tell the truth it doesn't even need to be your voice, you could take a ship horn, load a violin sample somewhere, and have the violin modulating a ship horn in the same way - one sorce is the modulator, the other sound is what you ultimately hear at the other and but it gets shaped/sculpted by the previous sound. With this song she originally wrote a composition, a melody, at least a few good loops, she modulated the whole entire tune with her vocal track (I'm sure that wasn't done in real time), and then they popped her vocal track back down over it. Hence - you hear both her voice and her voice cutting everything else out of the tune.

As for singing like that - sure you can! But... you'd need to buy a microphone, a vocoder, and some good instramental music ;).


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16 May 2011, 10:35 am

My vote goes to Spencer Sotelo from Periphery. They're a Djent band that pretty much are the leaders of the pack at the moment. And with good reason. This guy can reach some incredible highs. I really like how he can do a death metal grunt and then immediately go into a very high octave without skipping a beat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdQFDKB0gig[/youtube]


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16 May 2011, 11:06 am

Ok I read the original post in FULL this time.......and I don't think that Periphery song falls into...whatever it is you're looking for. Not many bands live up to the likes of Tool or Porcupine Tree. Opeth, maybe?


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