So, how did you mean your special...band?

I’ve heard lots of testimony from people who have said that when they met that special someone, they just knew. The stars were aligned and everything felt right. Well, I myself have not experienced that yet, but I am definitely a believer in finding that special band.

The New Pornographers. I never thought it was possible to love one band this much. They were always a name I had heard through indie rock circles, though I hadn’t heard any of their music. I got a friend to send me a few tracks, and from the first second of Mass Romantic, I knew this was it. I felt like every band I had ever liked was leading me to this point. In the few months since, I have both of their albums and have listened to them so many countless times at ungodly volumes and their music still shows no sign of slowing down. I still feel the same amount of energy and intensity with each listen, maybe even more. This is the band that will make me lose my hearing someday.

So, when did you find that special band?

I found mine on February 9th, 1964. They appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was the start of a love affair that continues to this day. Just watching those four guys on that little screen, even with my age in the single digits, I knew what I wanted to do with my life - learn to play music like The Beatles were doing. And I did!

Thanks, John.

Monkey, I love the New Pornographers too. If I may make a few recommendations:

The Shins. I’d classify them as an “indie power pop” band like the New Pornographers, but they are much more mellow and tuneful, while the NPs can become experimental and dissonant. Still, the Shins are one of the best bands of the last few years, and they have two tremendous albums on Sub Pop Records: Oh Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow. If you saw *Garden State * (amazing movie in its own right), you heard two Shins songs on its award-winning soundtrack.

Neko Case. You must know she is the Pornographers’ female voice, but she is also a fine singer in the genre of alternative-country (which is as far removed from the Nashville pop country on the radio as Chuck Berry is from death metal). I worship Neko as a goddess (voice of an angel, with a face and body to match), and she has four great albums. I’d give my highest recommendation to her third album Blacklisted, which is dark and smoky and sexy and twangy and torchy, but The Virginian, Furnace Room Lullaby, and *The Tigers Have Spoken * (her most recent album, a live one) all belong in your collection as well.

I went over to my bass players house one day and he dropped ‘The Introduction’ by the Steve Morse Band on the record player. He put on Cruise Missile and my jaw dropped to the floor. A whole new world of guitar opened up that day.

Slee

Hm. Good thread.

I guess I’ll take The Polyphonic Spree. I heard an interview with the lead guy, Tim DeLaughter, on NPR. And it sounded so interesting and strange and funny and happy. I can’t really describe it, but if you’re a fan as well, I think you know what I mean.

A guy I worked with suggested many of my favorites. His raving about the Bonzo Dog Band when “Urban Spaceman” came out made me want to buy it, and I’ve been a major fan ever since.

He also got me interested in Soft Machine, another great obscure.

I’ve had way to many moments like that across music - for specific songs, albums/CDs, bands, etc.

  • Hearing “What’s Goin’ On” by Marvin Gaye for the first time as an adult
  • Listening to “Let me Love You” by the Jeff Beck Group as a 16 year which transformed how I thought I about guitar
  • Hearing Keith Richards’ intro to Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
  • Hearing Tomorrow Never Knows off Revolver - heck, hearing Revolver
  • Getting turned onto Prince, then listening to Sign o’ the Times for the first time.
  • Hearing Bernard Purdy’s drum break in the middle of Aretha Franklin’s Rock Steady.
  • Staying up late as a kid, listening to a $10 Panasonic transistor radio, hoping that they’d play Fame by David Bowie - and they did.

The list goes on. The number of times music has blown my hair back are too numerous to mention.

Yeah, saying there’s just one is difficult.

But…

Flash back to about 1982. I would have been 15 or so. Couldn’t sleep. Was up in the wee small hours listening to DC101. The jock plays ‘The Trees’ by Rush. First time I’d heard it. And in my prentiously intelligent high school boy ways I thought ‘This is the coolest thing EVER!’

They have much better songs (ones, for example, that are LESS subtle than a brick to the temple) and the love affair continues to this day.

I take you back to the junior common room of an English boarding school. This was at the time of the punk wars where anything that involved long hair was to be thrown out in a year zero approach to music.

The resident school hippy (the only one left, and he was only tolerated cos he was a big bugger) sidles up to the record player (ask your grandad what one of those was) and puts on Physical Graffitti by Led Zeppelin.

It’s like crack for the ears - one hit and you’re hooked for life.

You bet. They changed the country that night. 62 million people watched the show. It started the 60s for the public, not just for the few hipsters in NYC and SF.

There’ve been lots of songs since then that made me grab for the dial but the Beatles were like sunshine after a decade of rain. And then they just kept getting better year after year even when they didn’t have to.

A friend of mine sent me an MP3 of a “yammy song” that she knew I would love. It was California Stars by Wilco, off the Mermaid Ave Vol 1 CD. When I asked her for more, she sent me How to Fight Loneliness from Summerteeth, and Someday Some Morning Some Time from Mermaid Ave Vol 2. I had these three songs on repeat and finally knew I needed to get an album. I enjoyed the band at this point, but that was it.

I bought Mermaid Ave Vol 1 and Summerteeth and oh my god! I also found A Ghost is Born streaming on the Internet (from their site, I think) and I just fell in love. When I saw them live (as an aside, Neko Case opened for them and she was awesome) that was it. I turned to my husband and exclaimed, “I love them as much as the Beatles!”

He concurred.

I’m addicted to them.

I “met” They Might Be Giants during the summer of 1990. I’d heard the name before, and to tell the truth, I was a little put off by it. I’d never heard the music, but the name made me leery.

It changed when I was twenty, spending a few weeks home from college. My favorite band at the time was Jefferson Starship (whom I still like.) My sister and I decided to drive to Pittsburgh, which is about an hour and a half by car south of my hometown. She asked me if I’d ever heard of They Might Be Giants, and then put a copy of Flood into the tapedeck. We were heading from the Shenango Valley Mall to route 60 when it started. In the mall parking lot, “Birdhouse in Your Soul” started, which grabbed me right at my core. I’d never heard any song like this! This was the greatest piece of music I’d ever heard in my life! Is there such a thing as a perfect song? I think so. And “Birdhouse in Your Soul” is it. Here it’s fifteen years later, and I still think so.

As soon as “Birdhouse” was finished, I did something I never do with an album: I hit rewind and played it again. Then a third time. My sister got annoyed and told me we had to listen to the whole album. Okay, I let it play through. “Lucky Ball and Chain” is a good tune, and I dug it, but then “Istanbul, Not Constantinople” came on, and I was similarly thunderstruck. This song was one that already had mystical significance to me. I remember my mother singing “Istanbul” when I was a kid, and I remember wishing I could find a copy of it. As a kid (as now,) I was a geography fanatic, so this song just spoke to me. They Might Be Giants’ cover was not only fantastic, but it was also connected to my past by a golden thread. This one I had to rewind a couple more times, until she got annoyed, and I somehow managed to let the rest of the album play through.

Since then I’ve purchased every They Might Be Giants album ever made, and have pounced on each new one as it came out. I’ve seen them in concert many times, I’ve seen People are Wrong, I saw Gigantic in the theaters and own it on DVD. I’ve chatted with John Flansburgh’s wife and I’ve shaken the hands of both Johns.

Something about this band touched me from the first time I heard them, and something continues to touch me. They’ve never cut an album that’s as good as Flood, but that’s kind of like saying you’ve never made as much money in a single day as you did the day you won the lottery. So many songs touch me in so many ways, in light ways and in profound ways. “James K. Polk” is a straight-up history of the presidential campaign of President James K. Polk, and I’m delighted to no end that they wrote such a tune. Who else would? Other songs like “The Spiraling Shape” and “Museum of Idiots” have shown themselves to be strangely pertinent to my life when I first heard them. Sometimes it feels like the Johns sit around the studio thinking, “Hmm… what songs would Chance want to hear?” I’ve never felt so utterly connected to the works of anyone else.

6/20/83

Some very pure Windowpane and what seemed like a lifetime or three spent at Merriwether Post Pavillion.

Great waves of energy flowing from the stage. Watching it slither out through the crowd, around, between, and among people. Rain so hard that I started to think we should pair up two by two (and what beautiful colors rain comes in - I particularly liked the violet). “Wayne! Wayne! Come back, Wayne!” Thinking that I may have lost a filling because Dr. Lesh hit me in the face with a 30’ pressure wave from his bass. The unGodly screaming of a Hammond B-3 coming through great Leslie speakers - and watching the speaker cones whirl and whirl and whirl (“The faster we go, the rounder we get.”) “Nothing left to do but hang around and shine…hang around and shine…hang around and shine…”

I guess you had to be there, too.

It was about five years ago (I’d have to look at my ticket stub at home for the exact date). I was going to a small club in Springfield, VA to see a concert. One of the opening acts was a band called Opeth. I’d never heard of them. I downloaded a few tracts to check them out (back when it was still not illegal) and decided they were “very not bad”.

Then I saw them live. I wasn’t into death metal at the time, but even I couldn’t deny that these guys were very talented. Then they played a song called Forest of October. About seven and a half minutes into the song, there was a guitar solo that literally knocked me to my knees. It was very simple, something I was able to play as soon as I got home, but the passion behind the music just rocked my world.

I owned four of their (then) five albums within the week.

Tracks. I meant tracks. Somehow I doubt that I would’ve gotten any death metal songs from the Jack Chick website.

Chance the Gardner’s description of his affair with They Might Be Giants reminded me of mine with Better Than Ezra.

I’m not even quite sure of when I heard the song that lit the flame, Rosalea, but when I got the CD Deluxe and popped it in the player, I was HOOKED. Subsequent albums Friction, Baby and How Does Your Garden Grow? increased my infatuation.

But I knew it was love when Closer came out. I was living in Florida at the time and was very lonely as I knew no one and was unhappy in my job. My only respite was wandering around the humongous Sawgrass Outlet Mall in Sunrise a couple times a month. One day I wandered into the Virgin MegaStore and saw Closer at one of the listening stations. When the strains of the first song Misunderstood filled those headphones I burst into tears. I remember it still…my heart about burst it filled me with so much joy.

I’m sure it won’t be quite so emotional when I listen to their new one Before the Robots, but I know the love affair will continue. They come to KC in late May, maybe this time I will have the guts to go up to them after the show just to say hi, but when I saw them back in November I was just too nervous!

I was living in NC in the late 90s, when I heard a new song on the local top 40 station. It was “Brick” by Ben Folds Five. The DJ announced that they were a local band and I remember not being surprised that a local band was played on the radio, since they also played Cravin Melon.

Anyway, I liked the song okay, but it wasn’t until I moved to NY and was still hearing the song, and my brother telling me to buy the CD because it was so great, that I fell in love.

My friend and I had just been dumped by our fiances and several of the songs tied in to my emotions–exactly.

“Song for the Dumped”- for the obvious reasons
“Smoke” - because my roommate and I had a photo burning party on a camping trip
“Selfless Cold and Composed” - because of the complex emotions I was feeling - in fact, that’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

I love piano-based music now and when it’s combined with talented songwriting, I’m it’s bitch. Because of BF5, I’ve discovered the genius that is Tori Amos, too.

Every Labor Day weekend Seattle host a music and arts festival called Bumbershoot. I went with some friends in the late 80’s, my goal was to see Bon Jovi. On one of the side stages we watched a local band called Mother Love Bone play. They blew me away. I bought a couple of cassettes they were selling and played them till they broke. The rock stations in Seattle were into big hair bands at the time so the beginnings of grunge received very little airplay. The leader of MLB, Andrew Wood, died about a year later and the remaining members split into a couple of fairly successful bands, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. They got back together later and released Temple of the Dog in memory of Wood.

One day in early 1998, I was driving along when Cowboy Mouth’s “Jenny Says” came on the radio. I listened to it because my name is Jenny, but by the end I decided that I liked it well enough, and it had been a while since I’d bought music by a new band so I went to Best Buy in search of the album (Are You With Me?). The only album available was Mercyland, but I figured “what the heck” and bought it. I think there was some cosmic force at work that day, because usually I only buy an album if I already know 2-3 of the songs on it.

When I left the store I popped Mercyland into my car’s CD player, and listened to it over and over for several weeks! That album made me a Cowboy Mouth convert, and I have remained a big fan ever since. In fact, they’re playing in D.C. on Friday night and I’m taking my new BF to the show: with luck, he will emerge as a convert, too. :wink:

Around 1992 – I was 19 or 20 and at a party on mushrooms, and I wasn’t really having that great of a time. Friend of mine, like divine intervention, comes in the door, grabs me and says, “Let’s go for a ride, I have this amazing album you have to hear.”

Get on the highway and drive for an hour, listening to “Bone Machine” by Tom Waits. Maybe it was the mushrooms (OK, I’m sure it was), but it was a near-religious experience for me. :slight_smile: