Top 10 Bands You Ought To Be Ashamed You Don’t Know: Part 2
Top Ten Tuesday: The Top Ten Bands You Ought To Be Ashamed You Don’t Know (Or Know Better)
Alternative rock is not a played-out genre. The searchlight of mainstream interest may have swung far from its dark forest path, but dredg continue to find their way through the night with depth, power and risk. When the thought police finally close in, we’d better have some amplifiers and a generator in reserve, because bands like dredg will be our only hope. Combining beats worthy of hip-hop, bass lines deep enough for electronica, ringing, endlessly sustaining guitars, and thoughtfully tragic vocals, dredg have edged their way onto my life’s soundtrack. Give them a chance; they may do the same for yours.
#3 Third Eye Blind
That’s right, those boys from the 90s who brought you “Semi-Charmed Life” have compiled a rich and still-growing catalog that lives up to their 1997 #1 hit. Stephan Jenkins’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics reflect the little tragedies and victories that punctuate our everyday lives. His clean, raw vocals soar over searing, crystalline guitars and possibly the funkiest rhythm section in pop/rock history.
Some part of my high school identity refused to grow up or die: I call him my inner teenaged miscreant. Here I am in my 30s, trying to reconcile that part of me with the rest of the world. Somehow, Third Eye Blind gets that, mourns it, celebrates it.
#4 Over The Rhine
My cousin Annie introduced me to Over The Rhine in 1991 (on cassette, b/w Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine), just when the alternative folk movement was reaching its peak, thanks to the popular success of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” The music stayed with me. During 7k’s final tour, I burned out an iPod playing the title track to their 2003 LP “Ohio” over and over as we drove through endless cornfields on our way across the country.
Multi-instrumentalist Linford Detweiler’s quotably poetic lyrics (“I’m the moth that’s resting on your windowsill/With a lust for light and an iron will) and erotically funky bass lines (case in point: “Lifelong Fling”) make a perfect bed for Karin Bergquist’s voice, whose honeyed clarity seems to smile and cry at once. But there’s something about Over the Rhine that goes deeper and darker than its two founding members – as if the music itself knows a secret about middle America that Petty, Mellencamp and the pop country legion either don’t know or won’t tell.