I always feel like I have to make suggestions and push things on people - not the greatest quality, I’m sure, but sometimes it comes in handy. And, other times not.
Through the Pop Chronicle, I’ve been able to suggest holiday films, forgotten films, undervalued music and movies, and things that generally make me happy. This list of five bands, or music makers, fits that bill pretty well.
I’m not offering any bands that aren’t popular, or haven’t gained notoriety with this list —all five have won awards and have been presented on national and international television and radio programs around the world. They have all enjoyed great success. But not “mainstream success.” At least not yet.
Manchester’s Elbow is huge in the UK, with a reputation as a tremendous live act and a slew of songs and albums released to immense critical acclaim. But it isn’t often that I find someone in Tennessee who has knowledge of their repertoire, or appreciation of what they do. They’ve been together for almost two decades now, and have amassed a fan base full of dedicated and loyal fans who patiently await each release, and I’m hoping someone will watch this video, follow up by searching online, and realize they’ve probably heard a handful of tunes from Elbow on their favorite movie soundtrack.
The Revivalists are fan favorites in New Orleans, and have spent the last few years spreading their sound nationwide, but they aren’t quite hipster enough to be called Americana, and too soulful to be pop —one of those bands that defies classification. They enjoy riding that line that keeps them on the radio, but not on the Top 40 stations. As long as they keep pumping out great songs and playing unforgettable live shows, they can call it whatever they want. Do not sleep on this band.
Bob Schneider is somewhat of a living legend in certain parts of Texas, and has accomplished the near-impossible task of becoming a big fish in a pond that generally doesn’t allow it —the Austin music scene. Winner of several Austin songwriting awards, and a popular live show in and around town, Bob has made just as much news for his trysts with starlets, such as Sandra Bullock, as for his songs and shows. Once a party-rocker cliche with a big reputation, he has since become rather reclusive and concentrates more on his music these days. Check him out.
Vulfpeck is a newer outfit taking the internet by storm. A DIY group of uber-talented musicians with a penchant for traditional soul and funk sounds, the group began as a studio and session ensemble at the University of Michigan hoping to take up the mantle of the Funk Brothers or Swampers. Along the way, they began recording audio and video tracks and releasing them direct to the web, picking up a huge online following and developing a reputation as the ultimate musician’s musicians. If you have a drive to make, some time to kill, or you just want to put a smile on your face, spend some time with the fellows from Vulfpeck.
Donald Glover is about to take over the world, folks. Seriously.
The actor/comedian/musician has won Emmys for his show Atlanta, has been nominated for Grammys as Childish Gambino, and is poised to be our next great sci-fi hero as he takes on the role of Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars film focusing on the young life of Han Solo. Out of all those things, it’s the music that I take away, because he’s doing things that haven’t been done in years on a mainstream level, and continues to stretch himself and push the envelope. If you want to know what I mean, and you haven’t given him a listen yet, you should remedy that as soon as possible.
So, there you have it, a list of five musical acts I think you should be listening to right now. But don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself.