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Table of Contents
*sigh* So, the Well Cultured Anonymous wants to learn about music? Music is emotion. A lot of things can be surmised from a person's musical tastes (including how shitty and generic you are.) Let me put it this way, certain girls like certain music, and seeing as this book is about becoming a date-able fuck lets get to it.
Broadly speaking, music can be broken up into a handful of prototypical genres, which will then break down into smaller genres. At its most general, music can be categorized as belonging to one of the following or some blend thereof:
- Most modern instrumental music is some form of this.
- Another modern genre in which the emphasis is placed on lyrical structure.
- The third 'modern style', differentiated from rock by its dependence on synthetic sound.
- Highly traditional music. Sooner or later anything worth listening to will become so copied that the examples which persist become 'classical'.
- Jazz (is there a more generic term for this? Jazz feels way too specific)
- Broaching the gap between classical and modern music, this is associated with swing music and the brass bands and those artsy beatnik improvisational shit most popular in the mid-20th century before everyone got hard for electric guitar leads.
Christ! is this really that hard? Electronica covers a shit load of things, Hip hop covers a shit load of things, PUNK DOES NOT!! FUCK!--Cyber Pope 19:01, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Rock is pretty broad, it includes everyone from Fallout Boy to DragonForce to The Who to The Suicidal Tendencies to the Grateful Dead to Nile to Nirvana to Rush to Lynyrd Skynyrd...
Rock music that spans from the late 50s to the early 80s, this genre evolves as time moves forward. There are certain bands that are of disputed genres, but here are the big classic rock bands that most classic rock fans (read: potheads) identify with
The Beatles - The four Liverpudlians who revolutionized music, no introduction necessary. The Beatles have an incredibly diverse discography, many solid Rock n' Roll numbers, poppish numbers, a few proto-metal tracks, and lots and lots of experimental shit as the result of them doing tons of LSD. Many Beatles songs feature exquisite, deep lyrics, while others can stray into sentimental puppydog tripe. Recommended albums: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road, White Album.
The Who - Heavier than the Beatles, started with solid track based albums, and moved on to concept albums. While many of The Who's songs are familiar as easily accessible pop numbers, all of the band's members were talented musicians and consequently a certain level of technical skill, and even progressive elements, present themselves. Two of the original members are still alive and the last time I checked, they are still touring under The Who name. Recommended albums: Tommy, Quadrophenia, Who's Next
Led Zeppelin - Arguably the most influential band in the history of rock, Zeppelin revolutionized everything; the music, the stage antics, the backstage antics, management style, concert booking, and fucking lots of hot women. Zeppelin songs range from heavy, galloping rock, to soft acoustic numbers. They are a particular favorite of douchebag pot-smoking highschool freshmen, but this should not discourage anonymous from giving them a good, long listen. Recommended albums: Presence, Led Zeppelin 4, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti
Pink Floyd - Psychedelic rock at it's most easily defined. Pink Floyd shares some similarities The Beatles, but generally more experimental and with darker overtones, while still keeping with the deep lyrics. Pink Floyd is usually divided into the Syd Barret era, Roger Waters era, and David Gilmour era. The Barrett Era is considered to be more acid-y, but still heavily maintained pop sensibility. This era lasted the shortest, but Barrett's work with Floyd influenced Pink Floyd for the rest of their collective careers, as will as millions of artists worldwide. The Waters Era is characterized by political messages, deeper lyrics, and discussion of quasi heavy issues. The albums in this era are the most well known, and every casual Floyd fan (read: pretentious college fuck) has listened to these albums. The Gilmour era albums were considerably lighter, and slightly less psychedelic. Albums from this era are often the most neglected, but contain some sick guitar work. Recommended Albums: Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall.
Queen - Queen have some of the world's biggest hits ever and not essentially created the "Rock Opera" with the epic song Bohemian Rhapsody. Their music is probably the most likely music you will hear in a pub as a lot of their songs have become instant pub classics. Queen is highly definitive of the Arena-Rock style, with a bombastic, highly-wrought feel about the music, heavily harmonized vocals, and easily accessible music. The majority of their songs are upbeat tunes that will want to get you moving. (It is law now that if Bohemian Rhapsody is played, during the first guitar solo you must drop everything [including] and play the air guitar. Then, during the start of the metal segment, you must head bang. Failure to do this will invariably result in death.) Recommended Albums: A Night At The Opera, Jazz, Innuendo, Greatest Hits
David Bowie - David Bowie's career has stretched from the 60's to now, and has stretched and accomodated every decade and major genre out there at least once, You may not like his most recent work as much as his older work, as it has stretched into electronic music and hearing an aging rock star singing to a techno beat can turn people off. Recommended Albums: Ziggy Stardust, "Heroes", Aladdin Sane, Best of Bowie(2-Disc)
U2 -Ignore "Vertigo", these guys are simply amazing if you give their earlier music a try. Theyve done everything from hard rock to dance. Recomended Albums: The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, Zooropa, War
Van Halen - One of the biggest bands of the late 70s and early 80s, Van Halen pretty much defined 80s rock, and pretty much all rock lead guitar since Eddie Van Halen recorded "Eruption." Catchy, simple, and accessible songs usually about stuff like girls and partying, Van Halen do what hair metal wanted to do, but they do it right. Recommended Albums: Van Halen, 1984.
Anything that's not classic rock. This isn't a genre per se, moar like a time period. There are many genres and sub genres of modern rock, a few examples are as follows -
Nirvana - (Grunge Rock) Older /b/tards will remember the 80s as a time when powerballads and hairbands ruled the charts. It was good in the beginning until bands started copypasta-ing every KISS and Van Halen song there was, and hair metal towards the late 80s was filled with faggotry, shallowness, 30 minute guitar solos, etc, with each band sounding and looking much the same. Nirvana is pretty much the reason why these bands are no longer around. Nirvana started the Grunge subgenre (AKA the Seattle sound, its dead now guys!!), with moar simplified guitar tracks, less emphasis on guitar solos, faster rhythms, more ferocious vocals about the bleaker aspects of society, crazy people, etc, a welcoming change from some guy in tight pants singing about his wives. Recommended Albums: Nevermind, In Utero
Weezer - (Alternative Rock, "geek rock") Weezer is one of those bands that do one good debut album then put out shitty albums for the rest of their career, but once in a while you hear a rare b-side or unauthorized recording and wonder why it never made on any of their official studio records. Very catchy, well composed music that combines the liveliness of punk rock, but also has some tight guitar riffage and solos too. A lot of their songs are funny and nonsensical, and a lot of songs are about girls, love and all that, and a LOT of songs about randomass stuff. An important upside to Weezer's music is that their catalogue (their collective recordings, including those rare b-sides and stuff) is very diverse, they do songs that incorporate elements of almost every genre of rock, while adding their own touch of melody and punk. Recommended Albums: The Blue Album, and every b-side or rare recording you can get your hands on. In fact theres a torrent floating around somewhere thats about 1.3 gigs big, includes all the studio albums and rare recordings, worth the download.
Muse - (Alternative Rock, New Prog) Muse is a trio that hails from the UK, a favorite of /b/tards, has a surprisingly big sound for three people. The music of Muse combines fast, ferocious guitar lines with rock steady basslines and drumlines, while incorporating elements of dance and electronica, and most importantly, classical music. Lyrical subject matters usually include conspiracy theories, end of the world, that kinda stuff. Recommended Albums: Absolution, Origin of Symmetry
The Strokes - (Alternative Rock, Garage Rock Revival) The Strokes is a much hyped band from New York, but found initial success in the UK. Their music is very raw, energetic, and sometimes simplistic, but the songs sound like you've known them all your life. Lead singer Julian Casablancas brought the band and writes most of the music and lyrics. Recommended Albums: All of them
Foo Fighters - (Alternative Rock) After Kurt Cobain became an hero, Nirvana's drummer, Dave Grohl, traded in his drums for a guitar and a mic to surprisingly good results. The band has everything from hard hitting rock to some of the most soothing tunes around. Sometimes it will appeal to everyone in the room, other times it will come down to personal taste, but either way these guys have some of the best current music has to offer. Recommended Albums: In Your Honor, There Is Nothing Left To Lose
Pearl Jam - (Grunge Rock, Alternative Rock) One of the biggest bands from the grunge scene along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam kept the bleak outlook and dark lyrical themes of the grunge, but took a lot of influence from '70s rock, with a more polished production, lots of catchy choruses and prominent guitar solos, at least on the first few albums, after which they started going into somewhat more experimental and somewhat folk, or at least Neil Young-influenced work, but they've been returning to their early '90s style. Recommended Albums: Ten, Vs., Pearl Jam
Nine Inch Nails - (Industrial Rock, Alternative Rock) They're grunge without guitars and only keyboards. INCREDIBLY dark lyrics, catchy melodies, a lead singer who gets more vagoo than Hugh Hefner, and a just plain badass sound. Recommended Albums: The Downward Spiral, The Fragile, Year Zero
Nowadays "emo" is a tag mostly attributed to angsty pop rock bands such as My Chemical Romance or Panic! At the Disco, when it actually started as a hardcore punk spin-off, but those days are long gone, nowadays it's just a bunch of faggots in girl pants playing pop tunes about breaking up. Recommended Bands: Fugazi - Together with Rites of Spring one of the defining bands during the transition from hardcore to post-hardcore/emo, their earlier works is pure hardcore but came increasingly complex, thoughtful and angsty over the years. Recommended Albums: Red Machine, In On the Kill Taker
Rites of Spring - Probably the defining emo/post-hardcore band, good music, sadly relatively unknown compared to all the shitty popular emo stuff nowadays. Recommended Albums - End on End, Rites of Spring
mewithoutYou - A more recent post-hardcore band that incorporates folk elements, melodic bass playing and a mix of cried, wailed, sobbed and screamed vocals, which works out a lot better than it sounds. They're Christians, but their relatively symbolic and deep lyrics touch upon subjects that are relevant even to atheist Anons, namely being a loner and a 25-year-old virgin.
At The Drive-In - A now legendary post-hardcore outfit from El Paso, Texas. This band, while short lived, are now famous among those in the know of alternative music. With highly metaphoric lyrics and guitar playing ranging from conventional and basic to unheard of stylings, this is one that needs to be checked out. Fun fact: After the band split, the various members went onto form Sparta and The Mars Volta Recommended Albums: Relationship of Command
- Shoegaze: A combination of Britpop, Dreampop, Alternative Rock and ton of distortion, main bands include My Bloody Valentine and The Verve.
...is a mess. There's just too much of it. Go to /mu/, and you'll learn more than you ever needed to know, all you need to know right now that you can blame Black Sabbath for kickstarting it and Iron Maiden for eventually giving birth to all the faggoty fantasy-themed stuff.
Essentials: These are the classic bands that don't really fall into any of these subgenres, but have been around so long that they've had a major role in developing them (i.e. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest in developing Power Metal, Black Sabbath in developing heavy metal in general)
Black Sabbath - The band that is considered the most important founder of heavy metal as we know it, influencing many bands for decades after their rise and fall. Way ahead of their time, they preferred use low, droning distortion and leitmotif-like riffs to tell epic narrative stories (Iron Man) or fast and powerful minimalist jams (Paranoid) about the "heavy" elements of life and existence from a realist standpoint, unlike the hokey, cyclic pop songs of the decade. Their career tapered off after the mid-70's due to excessive drugs and tension between members, notably Ozzy Osbourne. They opted for a more power metal sound after Sabotage into the 80's, which attracted a whole different set of fans. Recommended albums: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality and Vol. 4 are essential.
Judas Priest - Through the '70s and early '80s they were a Zeppelin and Sabbath influenced hard rock group, but through the '80s started making faster, heavier and slightly more technical music. Defined, like Iron Maiden, by having dual guitar solos/harmonies, and a distinctive, multi-octave range singer, but whereas Maiden were more of an "epic" band, writing somewhat progressive songs more about fantasy, mythology and the like, Priest had a more straightforward but still technical (for that time) sound, and while they sometimes wrote about somewhat fantasy-related subjects, they have a lot of songs that are pretty much just about rocking out. Recommended albums: Sad Wings of Destiny, Screaming for Vengeance, Painkiller
Iron Maiden - One of the biggest bands out there, it's extremely difficult to find a metal fan who doesn't love Maiden. Basically formed the template for power metal in the '80s, with fast, galloping guitar riffs, intricate dual- and later triple-guitar harmonies, Bruce Dickinson's powerful vocals, and fantasy/history themed lyrics. Recommended albums: The Number of the Beast, Powerslave, Piece of Mind
Black metal is an atmospheric form of the metal genre that arose mostly in Norway during the mid-80s to the early 90s. It's characterized by fast tremolo picked guitars, generally mid-ranged to high-pitched screams/grunts, and production that ranges from thin (grim) and atmospheric to piss-poor. Calmer, atmospheric bands include: Burzum (Filosofem & Hvis Lyset Tar Oss Only), Drudkh, Darkthrone, Summoning, Wolves in the Throne Room; If you're looking for more aggressive and chaotic bands, check out: Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Emperor, Melechesh, Immortal;
Fast, rhythmically intense metal music that involves guttural/throaty growls. The instrumentation is not unlike thrash metal, save the music tends to be more atonal, hostile and dark. Seminal early death metal bands include: Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary, Carcass; Some bands (mostly Scandinavian) have a more melodic approach, check out: At the Gates, Dismember, Dark Tranquility, Therion; Some infuse the genre with technical/progressive elements: Suffocation, Death (Human and onwards), Atheist, Gorguts, Cryptopsy;
Slow, ominous metal meant to induce feelings of foreboding and dread. Highly atmospheric at its best, and often strives for a sense of crushing power, can be divided into two major factions, the fuzzy, thick stoner doom metal: Sleep, Acid Bath, Electric Wizard, Bongzilla; and the more epic, cleaner epic doom metal: Agalloch, The Sword, Candlemass, Doomsword;
Probably the first thing that comes to your mind, if you hear "Metal" as such. The focus is often on fantasy and there's almost exclusively clean vocals, the guitar work is usually very melodic, often supported by more or less cheesy synths. The genre's forefathers are generally Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, the current spearheads of the genre are: Blind Guardian, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Hammerfall, Elvenking, DragonForce, Kamelot, etc.
Progressive emphasis on the technical aspect of Metal music, songs features over-the-top solos, general pretentiousness and epic length. Dream Theater is the most recognized name of this scene, but there's more to it, such as Queensrÿche, Pain of Salvation, Fates Warning, Symphony X, Gordian Knot, Atheist, Cynic, Pagan's Mind, etc.
Dream Theater - One of the most technically-skilled bands of all time, Dream Theater are a rather polarizing band in the progressive and metal scenes. While they have their own distinctive sound, their songs vary widely, from calmer pieces with only piano and vocals, to 14-minute thrash metal tracks, to a hell of a lot in between. Known for their extended song lengths and complex, lengthy instrumental sections, Dream Theater are worth a listen. Recommended albums: Images and Words, Awake, Scenes from a Memory, A Change of Seasons (just the song, it's on an EP titled A Change of Seasons)
Symphony X - Combining power metal, progressive metal, and even classical influences, Symphony X are a fairly unique metal band. While they have the technicality and insane soloing of prog metal, most of their songs aren't extremely long, usually ranging between 3-8 minutes or so. With one of the best singers in modern metal and Michael Romeo's offbeat yet badass riffs and solos, Symphony X should be checked out by anyone into power or prog. Recommended albums: The Odyssey, The Divine Wings of Tragedy, Paradise Lost
Queensrÿche - One of the earliest prog metal bands as it's known today. While they have their occasional hair metal moments, they still hold their place in the genre as legends. Recommended albums: Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, Tribe
Thrash Metal serves as a bridging point between classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and the more extreme genres such as death metal. Most thrash more or less abandons melody in favour of the almighty riff, meaning that this section's previous author didn't know what he was talking about. Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer are often considered the "Big Four" of Thrash Metal. Other good, less-known American thrash metal band include Exodus, Testament, Dark Angel and Sepultura. Beyond those, there's the Teutonic thrash bands that were seminal for the development of black and death metal, the three biggest bands being Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. Thrash is not the most varied of genres, but there's plenty of it if you like it. It's also getting quite popular again just now, with the "retro-thrash" or "new school" movement (bands like Municipal Waste, Evile, Warbringer). There is some confusion about this genre because the music media in America mostly called it "speed metal" during the 80s, while in Europe it was always "thrash" and "speed metal" referred to a ballsier version of power metal (like Painkiller-era Judas Priest, Primal Fear, etc.). Nowadays it is usually called thrash on both sides of the Atlantic, but there is still some confusion.
What happens when Reggae/Ska fucks around with rock? You get Punk, that's what. Early punk started way back in the seventies, mainly in New York around clubs like CBGB's and Max's Kansas City, with The Ramones, New York Dolls, Dead Boys. Later the fashion aspect of "punk" was taken by Malcolm McLaren who managed the Sex Pistols after having failed as the manager for The New York Dolls. Some songs were harder(Anarchy in the UK), some softer (Rock the Casbah), and it split off into groups in the eighties, New Wave, Hardcore Punk, Punk Rock. There was also the 3rd rebirth of ska around that time, which infused with some Punk and Hardcore Punk, creating Ska Punk and Skacore. Then, the nineties came around, turning the focus mostly on Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk. Since the beginning, punk is characterized by powerchords, simple musical structure, repetition, usually about the government, the establishment, anarchy, etc.
The Velvet Underground - Seriously a mindblowingly influential band for punk music. If you want to call yourself well cultured, you will have to at least know they exist Recommended album: The Velvet Underground & Nico
Rancid - A pretty popular Punk Rock band from the nineties, also infusing some Ska elements to it. Recommended Album: Out Come the Wolves
NOFX - Also very well known, mostly for Punk Rock and Hardcore. Recommended Album: Seperation of Church and Skate
Operation Ivy - A Skacore band originating from the west coast, very little is known about them in the mainstream, they only put out a few albums. Later, they added another guitarist and changed drummers, and became Rancid. Recommended Album: Energy
Sex Pistols - Highly recognized punk band, wrote of classics like "Anarchy in the UK" and "God Save the Queen". Look them up. Recommended Album: Never Mind the Bollocks
The Clash- "London Calling" ring a bell? That's The Clash, popular around the same time as the Sex Pistols Recommended Album: London Calling
The Ramones - Awesome Punk Rock band from the late seventies, notable for "I Wanna Be Sedated", "Rock and Roll High School", "Blitzkreig Bop" and "Do You Wanna Dance" Recommended Album: Greatest Hits
The Stooges - Iggy Pop and the Stooges actually, famous for crazy live shows and playing the bass really loud. Notable songs like "I Wanna Be your Dog". Recommended Album: Fun House
Dead Kennedys - One of the first hardcore punk bands, they were defined by their surf guitar, the melodic bass playing and Jello Biafara's nasnal machinegun vocals that transported his cynic, aggressive, yet witty lyrics. Remember that awesome song from the first Tony Hawks Pro Skater with the chorus "Let's riiide, loooooow riiiide!"? That's them, song's called Police Truck. Recommended Albums: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, Plastic Surgery Disasters
Jim Carroll Band - Lesser known, Jim Carroll is probably more famous for his poetry (The Basketball Diaries). "People Who Died" is maybe his most recognized song now days. Recommended Album: Catholic Boy
Green Day - Before you say anything, listen to their earlier work. Holiday isn't bad, but before the year 2000, they had a much more Punk sound. Recommended Albums: Dookie, Kerplunk!
Black Flag - Probably the best punk bands to come out of the 80s. Henry Rollins in his natural habitat. Recommended Albums: Damaged, Slip It In
Mainly a product of post-punk and glam rock, goth developed in the late seventies - early eighties by a handful of European bands, while its cousin, deathrock, was developed in the U.S. The origin of the term is subjective, however, as it was used to describe the bleak sound and lyrics of Joy Division, and it was applied to Andi Sexgang of Sex Gang Children, who was known as "The gothic goblin" for his strange habits; as such, many goth bands were simply known as post-punk before the term became a solidified genre. The scene gained much of its growth from clubs like London's Batcave (where bands like Alien Sex Fiend and Specimen were very popular). The genre itself is often very atmospheric, usually involving brooding basslines, wavering guitars, tribal drumbeats, and crooning vocals (if male) or wavering vocals (if female), though different elements are often used, making it very experimental. After goth and deathrock, genres emerged such as darkwave, dark cabaret, ethereal, and others. Themes include gothic horror, romanticism, existentialism, nihilism, mythical/macabre creatures, and others. As such, some songs are SRS BZNS, while others are blatantly campy.
Bauhaus - Frequently known as "The godfathers of goth" by critics for their breakthrough single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead." However, their style often fluctuates in each album, occasionally drawing influence from dub, reggae, funk, and others. Recommended Albums: In the Flat Field, The Sky's Gone Out
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Though they also did punk and post-punk, their later work evolved and made this band another goth icon. Recommended Albums: Peepshow, A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
Joy Division: - Mostly known for Ian Curtis's suicide and the song, "Love Will tear Us Apart," their gloomy lyrics were a major influence to later bands. Recoommended Albums: Unknown Pleasures, Closer
Alien Sex Fiend - A much more light-hearted group, known for Nik Fiend's on-stage antics and songs such as "Now I'm Feeling Zombified" Recommended Albums: Who's Been Sleeping In My Brain? , Here Cum Germs
Sisters of Mercy - Fairly popular back in the 80's; mostly known for songs like "Lucretia My Reflection" and "This Corrosion" Recommended Albums First and Last and Always, Floodland
Christian Death - L.A. band that helped to kickstart deathrock in their earlier days; nowadays they have left their deathrock roots and become goth metal (since the original frontman, the late Rozz Williams, left). Recommended Albums Only Theatre of Pain, Ashes
Xmal Deutschland - All-female German band, mostly known for the single, "Incubus Succubus"; drew heavy influence from Siouxsie and the Banshees in later work. Recommended Albums Fetisch, Tocsin
The Cure - While they are known for their pop work, early Cure had their "dark trilogy" during their 2nd-4th albums. Recommended Albums Pornography, Seventeen Seconds
Virgin Prunes - Prominent Irish goth band, known for weird acts onstage (much like ASF and Bauhaus); some of their work tends to be quite tribal in sound. Recommended Albums If I Die I Die, Heresie
A form of music driven by rhythmic, controlled speaking over instrumentals (usually beats and/or samples), with a focus on lyrics, image and well, rhythm. Lyrical subjects range from hedonism (most commonly found in gangsta rap in the form of bling, bitches, etc.) to social criticism to philosophy and religion.
Aesop Rock - The backpacker, good lyrics, dark, atmospheric production and decent vocal delivery. "Labor Days" is a classic.
Ambassador - Good old school rap that spreads the message of God. Even if you're an athiestfag, doesn't mean you can't enjoy this guy's music.
Canibus - This guy's for you, the intelligent Anonymous with a soft spot for hip hop and rap. His lyrics are definitely on a new level, and may take a few replays to fully understand his songs
Immortal Technique - Hailing from Harlem, a Hispanic whose raps usually revolve around social criticism, nutty conspiracy theories or homophobia and misogyny. Still, he's an excellent storyteller (check out the song "Dance with the Devil").
Kanye West - Just because he's mainstream doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to him.
KRS-ONE - Said to be one of the greatest names in underground hip-hop. Check out: Kristyles, A Retrospective;
LL Cool J - Ladies love Cool James. Listen to his old albums, unless you're into the mainstream shit that you hear in the radio these days. I personally recommend All World.
Nas - His debut "Illmatic" is generally regarded as one of the most intelligent and important rap records ever, get it. Now. Skip his mid career, he did a lot of poppy shit before he returned to his initial, intellectual style.
Notorious B.I.G. - Along with Tupac one of the defining gansta rappers, he was fat, his eyes drifted apart like those of a fish and was shot shortly after Tupac.
Tupac Shakur - The gangsta rapper, even though he eventually wrote more and more socially conscious lyrics as time went by. His last album was so atypical and unorthodox for him that it left a conspiracy that he is still alive to this day, producing more and more of his own albums.
Grandmaster Flash - This dude was involved with rap from the start.
A Tribe Called Quest - Grammy Award-winning group, except they don't brag about it every chance they get *coughthreesixmafiacough*. All of their albums are sublime, very intelligent.
Brand Nubian - Essential in turning hip hop mainstream in the 90s.
Blackalicious - Look at this group's fucking name! Listen to these motherfuckers! (No seriously, they combine intelligent lyrics, complex, funky instrumental with excellent technique and delivery)
Black Star - Mos Def and Talib Kweli, two hip hop legends.
Cunninlynguists - Gangsta.
Gangstarr - classic rap duo. Both albums are worth checking out, and you will sound like you know you shit if you reference them.
D.I.T.C. - Diggin In The Crates crew. Members include Showbiz and A.G., Big L, Buckwild, Diamond D, Fat Joe, Lord Finesse, O.C. These rappers also have great solo careers.
Eric B. & Rakim These two are those who started it all. Before these motherfuckers, rap was simple rhyming poetry that had 2nd grade vocabulary and styles. Pick this up and you can see how much hip hop today is influenced by this duo.
Jurassic 5 - There's actually 6 members. However, if you're not listening to these guys, you're missing out. I personally recommend their self-titled LP and Power in Numbers.
Nujabes - Yeah yeah, I know, this guy you've heard from Samurai Champloo. Listen to his collaborations with rappers, though. Specifically: Feather feat Cise Star, Lady Brown feat Cise Star, and Luv Sic 3 feat Shing02
N.W.A. - One of the most successful gangsta rap groups. Banned from mainstream radio due to it's controversial lyricism, that's were Ice Cube, Doc Dre and AIDSY, err, EAZY E started their careers. Funky production, offensive lyrics, diverse rap styles - what's not to love?
Pete Rock & Cl Smooth - Another great group that deserves great praise.
Run DMC - Best rap group out there (well was out there), fact. from early - mid nineties, these guys fucking pwned the world, until one of the members was killed over some KFC or something, these guy's probably have the best rap music video as well with "It's like that", Youtube it bitches.
Sugarhill Gang - If you hear only one song by them, make it rapper's delight. and make sure you hear the long version. The long version is 11 minutes of the group rapping. It's rap music's odyssey, or it's Bible, I can't remember which analogy works best.
Dj Shadow - Dj Shadow released the first-ever one-hundred-percent sampled album, "Entroducing..." which is considered a mile stone.
Wu-Tang Clan - When Doc Dre's style of production threatened to turn rap into a poppy, funky samplefest, seminal producer/composer RZA instead wrote and recorded most of his instrumentals himself, creating a new, dark and minimalist style on Wu-Tang's epic debut, "36 Chambers". The lyrics mostly revolve around eastern-themed tongue-in-cheek violence and social struggles, the rapping and lyrics are diverse, fun and never monotonous. GZA/Genius (GET LIQUID SWORDS IF YOU HAVEN'T YET), Method Man and Old Dirty Bastard among others started here, but they never equaled the "36 Chambers".
(Note: while GZA/Genius' Liquid Swords is argued to be the best Wu solo effort, Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" definitely gives it a run for its money - while being one of the pioneering "Mafioso Rap" albums out there. Get it nao!)
Madvillain/MF DOOM - All the same person, great voice. Hot beats. All albums are highly reccomended.
Madlib/Beat konducta/Quasimoto - Same person. Best producer out there. Gets the greatest samples. All albums are reccomended.
First of all, there is no such fucking thing as "Electronica". It is a marketing term used to appeal to the ignorant, unwashed masses.
Secondly, it's not all fucking "techno". If you want to establish credibility with anyone who has half a clue about electronic music, you will know this.
This genre nabbed it's name from the warm cozy sound that often can be heard from the speakers of a House party. All of that electro rock crap and Mr. Timberland get their playthings from House. It's obviously the most human sounding, and it's main stay, the 4/4 beat is still catchy after three decades.
Also, there's about seventy-billion different subgenres, among which:
- Acid House.
- Progressive House (like any style of music with 'progressive' appended at the front) is a load of bullshit. If you buy into it, by the power of Greyskull, I will come through your monitor and rape you with the force of a thousand Pyramid Heads.
- Translation of this: hurr I hate music that isn't like what I'm used to. Listened to fucking any music you can, if you like it, good, if you don't, listen to shit you do, but never disqualify an entire genre.
Techno came out of Detroit in the late 80's. For those of you who don't know or give a fuck, Detroit was the entire US's bitch for cars at the time. So naturally a gritty electronic beat came forth from their greasy garages. Not long after everyone and their cam whore of a sister called EVERYTHING ELECTRONIC FUCKING TECHNO! (please see the opening statement)
The one genre that has a reputation for shoving the emotional essence of itself so far down your throat that it will actually pump your blood for you, via the bass line coming from the woofer. It is by far the easiest to listen to and by fucking far the best way to get laid, this and house.
This is the one genre that has been usurped by the mainstream the most. Originally, the music itself was more repetitive and tribal, inducing an almost trance-like state, hence 'trance'. Then some assholes like Sasha and BT started making formulaic shite that turned the entire genre into a series of anthems and breakdowns. Nowadays, everyone thinks that Trance is supposed to be 'uplifting' or some shit like that, but they are just dumbfucks. Don't listen to them.
Another overarching genre that encompasses a million subgenres. Hip-hop just happens to fall under it.
A crazy subgenre that combines a thousand others to create one mutant omnigenre. Characterized by extremely fast tempos, strange time signatures, and the Amen break. Good albums come from this genre all the time. A good way to explain it to someone seems to be 'where the melody is played on the drums'.
Venetian Snares - Crazy breakcore producer who releases two to four albums a year. Has some of the most absurd beats around that encompass everything into one song. Makes music in unusual time signatures (but usually sticks with the trusty 7/4). Based in Winnepeg, manitoba and cant stop talking about how much it sucks. He has made a ton of crazy insane breakcore and alot of subdued glitch. His latest album is proof of how flexible he is when it comes to music; all but 4 or so tracks on the album is just classical orchestra music. The entire album is a testament to how albe he is when it comes to electronic music making. Recommended albums - Meathole, Songs About My Cats, My Downfall (Original Soundtrack), Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding
Imagine your girlfriend on her period. Either she hates your fucking guts, or wants your cock real bad. Happy Hardcore is kinda similar. Some of it is horrible noise you'd find coming out of a detuned radio, and some of it is just so candy coated it makes most people with taste sick. This is the Emo Rock of the Electronica world.
Eva' seen a nigga on a drum? maybe a white guy close by with a bass? your pretty close to this genre then. Or better fucking yet, remember the sweaty dance scene in the second matrix? yeah, yeaaaaaaaah... that's DnB.
It's the sound of hip hop with strong electronica influence and that's very downtempo. Popularized by "The Wild Bunch", but known mostly as the style of Portishead and Gorillaz.
Sound Interface Device, this term is used to refer to any computer generated music of 1980's origin, the original term refers to the sound chip of the Commodore 64 computer. Original SID tunes aren't produced much anymore, but a rather large C64 music community exists. http://www.slayradio.orghttp://remix.kwed.org
Can encompass a lot of different sounds, but generally speaking this is the electronica version of Goth. Aggrotech, or EBM (the genres overlap so much they're nearly indistinguishable) is the best type in this anon's opinion. As a genre this is also typically associated with more instrumentally traditional 'Goth-like' groups employing a good density of electronic effects, such as Nine Inch Nails.
The pretentiously entitled genre known as Intelligent Dance Music. Aphex Twin simply calls it "BrainDance". Pretty much the "miscellaneous" section, this encompasses the weirder end of the spectrum. Albums can consist of pretty much anything made using computers and digital equipment, and what the genre lacks in consistency it makes up for in variety. Expect drums made out of motorbike samples, etc.
Anyone who recommends Tiesto, Oakenfold, or Ferry Corsten should be killed on-site immediately (lolwut have fun trying to kill 98% of the trance community).
DJ Sammy - a horrible fucktard of a DJ who remixes classic 80's tunes and has hit mainstream acceptability. Anyone with any kind of experience in this genre will instantly know you're full of shit.
Darude - If I fucking hear Sandstorm, hell if anyone even fucking mentions it, I will personally slip out from under your bed, shove a fucking K-Bar through your dick and into your gooch, then take a fucking defibrillator to your computer. Read me?!
Armin van Buuren - one of the more skilled DJ's out there, while known extremely well in the Trance community as being a god of trance along with Paul van Dyk no one else in the world outside said community even knows about him. Fuck, go look him up on Youtube and listen to some of his stuff and look up A State of Trance, his radio show, it fucking wins.
Dash Berlin - behind one of the biggest hits in the trance community at the moment, "Till the Sky Falls Down" (dub mix is made of win), they have some other great trance hits out there as well, look them up on MySpace as well.
Justice - Do the D.A.N.C.E 1234, fight! They are pretty much the biggest thing right now in House, and are behind the hit "We Are Your Friends" and "D.A.N.C.E". Recently, "B.E.A.T" was released which has sparked discussion if Justice is trying to become the next Daft Punk, and it's fucking obvious, yes, who the fuck doesn't want to be Daft Punk?.
Aphex Twin - Started making music at 14 by -not kidding- manually chopping up audio tapes and re-gluing them together again. In his early days he made typical early rave stuff, but with a perplexing oddness to it that caught people's attention. In his "middle years" he branched off into what can only be described as Aphex Twin. Tunes that sound only like Aphex Twin are "Funny Little Man" in which a digitally manipulated voice begs "come on funny little man, come on! COME ON!" over a glitchy soundtrack and "Windowlicker," a tune made out of voice samples which features a video so epic that it needs credits. Recommended albums - Drukqs, I Care Because You Do, Come to Daddy. Also, Google "Rubber Johnny" for mildly disturbing Aphex Twin video fun.
Paul van Dyk - one of the only artists in the electronica community where you actually have to pre-order your tickets months in advance, along with Armin van Buuren, this man is considered a god of trance. The guy fucking smuggled music into East Germany during the soviet occupation! That's how much more awesome he is than you. Paul van Dyk's Myspace
Basshunter - Some guy from Sweden. His music is aimed at gamers, so the only time his music should be played is at LAN parties (or at shitty "Pop" Nightclubs). If the the video to "Vi Sitter Här I Venten" is correct, by playing that song during a LAN party you will be swamped by a bunch of some of the hottest, horny Swedish girls.
Massive Attack - popularized trip-hop as "The Wild Bunch" in the late 80's. Their debut album "Blue Lines" has often topped charts of albums you must listen to before you die in many publications. Their latest album "100th Window" is more electronic and a move away from the earlier trip-hop.
Portishead - Categorized by their dark, spaced out, and highly compressed sound that is like electronica and soul put through a vintage hi-fi stereo system.
UNKLE - Their first album was hyped to extremes and it both owned and fell flat on its face at the same time. The second one was quieter and less awesome and then their third album was like "Queens of the Stone Age" and "Massive Attack" had a baby.
Combichrist - A nazi guy fucking around on a drum machine and singing the absolute weirdest lyrics you'll ever hear. It's actually really, really fucking good. Recommended Album - Everybody Hates You. Recommended Music Video - Blut Royale.
Important Links and a Final Word
Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music is a, well, what it says it fucking says, a guide to Electronica.
A State of Trance is Armin van Buuren's radio show, and it should keep you up to date with what is popular and upcoming hits.
Armin van Buuren Myspace check it out for some tunes.
Dash Berlin's Myspace check it out for the hit "Till the Sky Falls Down". The vocal mix is the more popular one, but you will probably hear the dub mix being played more during raves.
DJmag Top 100 DJ's pretty much go to these event's if you wish to get laid.
Ibiza Go here (pronounced e-bi-tha) if you enjoy cheesy nightclubs, hedonism, casual sex, and fights with sunburnt British people.
Now you've seen exactly how not to describe a band's sound. You should never use other artists as examples when describing a musical sound, unless you're talking to someone face-to-face and they know what you're talking about. Dumbfuck.
One final note: All of this music is best appreciated with the use of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (better known as 'MDMA' or 'Ecstasy'). Go score some from your friends (if any) that listen to this.
There are many different styles of music that are put in the "Classical" category, one of which is called classical. Oftentimes classical music is interjected into modern productions, to the effect that certain melodies are instantly recognizable, even if you don't know the title or composer. The purpose of this section is to get you at least passingly acquainted with the true musicians and their works.
What we consider Classical falls into several chronological periods:
- Renaissance Music
- J.S. Bach
- The standard in Baroque-era music, and surprisingly popular and recognizable. Highly structured and organized, Bach's music is undoubtedly Baroque, characterized by a lack of winds in the orchestra. Works that would be most familiar to the Well Cultured Anonymous would include the Goldberg Variations, the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for Organ, and the Brandenburg Concertos. As one of the first of the great composers, Bach is essential in a classical collection. For you Evangelion nerds, Bach's music is featured prominently throughout the series.
- Pachelbel is a composer whose sole claim to modern fame is his work Canon in D Minor, his only canon work and entirely unrepresentative of his talents as a composer. Often overshadowed by Bach and his contemporaries, Pachelbel is still an excellent composer and well worth listening to if you have a little extra money in your wallet after payday.
- J.S. Bach
- Early Classical, High Classical, and Late Classical
- Haydn's work really began the musical change from Baroque to Classical, and his work is marked by several periods of change that make his style difficult to accurately judge (a notable feature of Classical composers). While Haydn's works are often overshadowed by his contemporaries, the passing Anonymii should be able to recognize his Surprise Symphony, his Creation oratorio, and his collection of string quartets.
- Mozart remains the optimal example of a Classical composer, whose works throughout his life were purely and unmistakably classical in nature. His music is popular in modern culture, resulting in the prevalence of his work in the media today. His opera The Marriage of Figaro, serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik, and the Requiem mass are instantly recognizable to people who may never have heard of these works. Mozart is a must-have in a classical music collection.
- Undoubtedly the most recognizable and powerful of the Classical composers, Beethoven's most famous works include his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Ninth Symphony (the Ode to Joy), Fur Elise, the Moonlight Sonata, and his string quartets. Powerful and grand, soft and emotional, Beethoven remains one of the few composers able to cross the emotional spectrum successfully. You can't go wrong with a collection of Beethoven in your CD lineup.
- Schubert led a life that most Anonymii can sympathize with. He died young and poor, an accomplished composer but not recognized as such until well after his death. A background composer that few outside the music community have heard of, he still maintains his fame with the familiar tune Ave Maria, a common fixture among Italian restaurants and fake opera singers. Having a Schubert collection may single you out as a classical nerd, for better or for worse.
- Russian composer from the later part of the Romantic, gayer than the Pope of Gaytown, for a long time had a patron that would sponsor his works on the condition that they never meet. Wrote astonishingly expressive, evocative pieces with a distinctly Russian sound. Probably most famous today for the love theme from "Romeo and Juliet Overture," and his ballets "The Nutcracker Suite" and "Swan Lake." In addition to the aforementioned works, check out his sixth (and last) symphony, the Pathetique.
The German Opera composer to know from the Romantic period. Widely known to be a right bastard, and probably Germany's biggest anti-semite until Hitler showed up (Hitler was, in fact, a great fan of Wagner's works). Asshole or not, fucker knew himself some opera, composing some of the most famous and dramatic works ever including the epic Ring cycle (so long that it is typically performed over the course of four nights) and the romantic tragedy "Tristan und Isolde." Both are definitely worth listening, though it isn't exactly impress-your-friends-with-your-good-taste music. Also, most people already know one section of the Ring opera, popularly known as the "Ride of the Valkyries." Think Elmer Fudd singing "Kill da wabbit!" It'll come to you.
- Some people will associate people listening to wagner with Hitler (see what a lack of brain can do, huh?), don't mind them, my typical answer was "being a racist doesn't deprive of music tastes" and "I may listen to it but it's not like I believe in W's ideas"
- The German Opera composer to know from the Romantic period. Widely known to be a right bastard, and probably Germany's biggest anti-semite until Hitler showed up (Hitler was, in fact, a great fan of Wagner's works). Asshole or not, fucker knew himself some opera, composing some of the most famous and dramatic works ever including the epic Ring cycle (so long that it is typically performed over the course of four nights) and the romantic tragedy "Tristan und Isolde." Both are definitely worth listening, though it isn't exactly impress-your-friends-with-your-good-taste music. Also, most people already know one section of the Ring opera, popularly known as the "Ride of the Valkyries." Think Elmer Fudd singing "Kill da wabbit!" It'll come to you.
- Mahler is the most epic symphony writer of the Romantic period. This German wrote nine full symphonies (several of which are 80 to 90 minutes long) as well as an unfinished tenth before his untimely death. As he said of his Eighth Symphony, "Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound. These are no longer human voices, but planets and suns revolving." His music consistently brings listeners and performers alike to tears. Check out Symphonies 2, 5, and 8.
- Modern Classical
- Stravinsky pretty much kicks ass more then any other 20th century writer, cept' maybe he was on par with schoenberg. Oh what's that? You want tri-tones. He's got your ass covered. 12 tone writing. Way the fuck ahead of you. OH, and what's that. TONANLITY?!? Well guess what nig? He's fucking got it. Everything about Stravinsky kicks ass. When one of his ballets premiered, it was so awesome that it got a bunch of old people to start fighting. It was so awesome, he had to flee to avoid getting beat up. People of his time didn't appreciate him, but we know how truely kick ass he was.
- Carl Orff
- Not a particularly noteworthy composer, German dude from the early 20th century, but he set a bunch of medieval poems to music, the whole of which was called Carmina Burana, which contains exactly one movement "O Fortuna" that everybody and their fucking brother knows. Was the standard dramatic/epic music for a while, now it's sorta cliche (which is a pity, because it's still good).
- (Wikipedia classifies the man as romantic), most famous for his Symphony n°9 "From the New world" (it may not come to memory straight away, but the 1st part of the 4th move will remind you so many different occurences at the same time you're brain will be DDoSed). Czech author who infused in his music his origins, the 'Slavonic Dances' being a good example. (I'm not a connoisseur of music but it is pretty good).
Here are some slightly more obscure genres that don't really fit in the other categories.
Jazz is a musician's music. In fact, you most likely have to be a musician to even comprehend how amazingly complex and difficult it is. I mean, people take university classes just to be able to APPRECIATE it. That's how goddamn hardcore it is.
Country is an offshoot of rock, most notably seen in Lynard Synard (yes, the guys who made freebird), tends to focus on storytelling with acoustic guitars, typically telling a story. To be able to appreciate country (if you can't already, which, I don't blame you) you've got to ease into it, The Eagles are a good place to start, almost all of their songs are agreeable, and they're a nice mix of Classic Rock and modern Country. Most Country these days focuses on some story and has lots of repeats, stories tend to be either about sex ("save a horse, ride a cowboy"), or some depressing topic to the extent of "I love you, why can't we be together?", or "why is she dead?" Maybe someday someone else will write a better guide than what I came up with. Unless you're looking to pick up redneck chicks, or redneck-poser chicks, you'll probably be all right not knowing anything about Country.
Here goes every music that doesn't really have established standards others have (music sheets for classical, violent crap for rap etc.). This is the kind of spontaneous music you could hear anywhere, for example, you're walking outside (yes that already is a miracle), in a park, and you hear the sound of people playing the drums, that kind of music, nothing fancy, nothing elaborated, just play. This kind of music is the most natural one of all, it just goes with the one playing the instruments. Whether it's a guitar, drums, violin, hand claps, didgeridoo, etc. You don't need any "music" culture to listen to it and it can be pretty enjoying (hand claps are used in gospel for example). It also can be a much stronger experience than going to a concert, because it is spontaneous, full of feelings and spirit.
This is a very fucking important protip, so clean out your ears and listen closely. Take the following phrase with you to the grave, and live by it every day of your life. Don't take someone else's music away from them. Sounds stupid? Well listen up. Everyone has different tastes in music. So what if you're a speed metal fan, and your friend listens to video game music, or something equally/more weaboo? The only purpose of music is entertainment, when you boil it down to a single word. Don't ruin that for someone, even if they like Ricky Martin. Music is music.
If you happen to be discussing music with someone you don't have direct interest in destroying your relationship with, there are certain statements you should keep within you mouth.
NEVER directly say that their music is shit! Of course, you probably think so, but say that you haven't heard enough of it to speak your mind yet, that it wasn't your kind of music, etc. If you have to say that it's shit, give specific reasons, e.g. their vocals are bad, the bass lines are boring, they're no fun live, etc.
Don't go into a "hip-hop vs metal" discussion There's no way to really discuss what's best, because it's fucking individual. No one likes to be told that they listen to is crap, and in the hip-hop fans generally end up telling the metal guy he believes in Satan.
There is a certain art in admitting to what music you like. Fact of the matter is, people WILL judge you based on what music you listen to, and you need to know how to not look like a complete dildo when someone asks what kind of shit that Nano of yours contains. Admit it, it's hard to respect someone who thinks Paris Hilton is a good musician. It's also hard to enjoy the company of someone who doesn't like any album that sold over 500 copies.
You NEED to mention music that the other person at least somewhat respects. Since you can't really know what they respect or not, don't name SHIT. Simple, no? Take Hip-Hop for example, don't say you like 50 Cent. Say you like NWO, Run DMC or even Tupac. This way, if they know dick about music, they can't say anything. If they do, then you don't lose their respect and might actually *GASP* impress someone.
Avoid mentioning music the person has probably not heard of, because it leads nowhere in a conversation, and describing it will set off their dork alarm. This doesn't apply if you're on the topic of a certain genre of music, and especially when you have your MP3 player.
You can also try this trick. Name something the person has most likely heard of, but never actually listened to. Have you heard these names before: Cat Stevens, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa. Most likely rings a bell. Have you listened to them? It's an easy way to come off as being different than the other people at the party, but not in a creepy picks his nose and eats the plunders kind of way.
And a few pointers:
- If you mention an artist, make SURE to at least know some basic information about them like what genre they are, and a few song titles. Nothing's worse than finding a fan of the music, and you can't even name the hit song they've had on MTV constantly for the last two weeks.
- If you know something about a musician he or she likes, talk about it! Don't intimidate with vast and intimidating knowledge of the entire catalogue but tell 'em how you feel about it.