The British Rock/Folk Explosion

What am I listening to? This is the question I hear the most often when I walk around the my local streets. I'll tell you, I've been listening to a lot of things but mostly British music. More specifically folky rock such as Gomez, Belle and Sebastian, Richard Ashcroft, David Gray, and the classic Nick Drake.

This Music is superior in many , many ways to most of the clutter filling American airwaves. You know what I'm talking about, I don't have to go over it. My opinion on the matter, people have forgot about actually listening to the words of the music and just taken what is fed to them. I made an attempt to delve into the latest Britney Spear's single but had to shy away due to fear of my stupification and fear for my well being. I can understand a brainless song here and there, but retreading of junk is still junk.

Has America lost its wits? Maybe not but it has strayed from a path of decent music. Good music was at one time filling the radio.  Think of the 70's and 70's. Every radio station's play list featured Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, CSNY, Led Zeppelin, Iggy Pop and Steve Miller.  Compare that with Britney Spears, 'NSync, Nelly, Christina Aguilera, Limp Bizkit, plus a bunch of perpetual one hit wonders whose one hit wasn't good to begin with. Tolerable music on mainstream radio is dead, long live constant junk.

Dig deeper, expect more from yourself, find some meaningful, soothing music and flood any station with requests for that artist. I know people think underground is cool and once they become they big, they are selling out. I know I'd rather see The eels on the cover of Rolling Stone rather than Backstreet Boys. I'd rather people listened to Radiohead than the new 98 Degrees album.


Here are some albums for people to take a look at, click on the album cover for more info:


"White Ladder' by David Gray - A velvety voiced Brit who has opened for the likes of Dave Matthews and Radiohead. While all 4 of his album's have garnered critical acclaim, his latest has finally hit with fans. An album he recorded in a basement after losing his record contract has become one of the biggest sellers in Ireland. His video for "Babylon", the song on the album that most accurately showcases his voice, is in heavy rotation on MTV2. I personally love the album's opening track "Please Forgive Me" which Gray jettisons through words while stopping long for a few long syllables to express his forgiveness for being strange. Some of the middle tracks are weaker but when Gray's good, he's real good. Prime Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 9, 11.

"Alone With Everybody" by Richard Ashcroft - The voice of the song "Bittersweet Symphony" has broken away from his band, The Verve, to go his own route, an album that will definitely be appreciated by fans of The Verve. Ashcroft has taken a hint from the popularity from "Bittersweet Symphony" by taking inserting some symphonic melodies on the album's first single "A Song for The Lovers". Ashcroft voice is very unique and it shines through on this album with complimenting harmonious music. Other good tracks include "You on My Mind When I Sleep", and “Brave New World”. Prime Cuts: 1, 3, 5, 9.


Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant

"Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant" by Belle and Sebastian - Belle and Sebastian are the leaders of the pack in my mind. A band that came out of a college project.  Their first album "Tigermilk" achieved minor popularity in their area that they decided to make another album, then a few more album. They are less of a band, more of a collective of the musically talented lead by vocalist Stuart Murdoch. They are known for weird song titles supplemented with some brilliant lyrics and supremely folky music. Belle & Sebastian are a collaborative effort of musical geniuses. Everything they touch is brilliant. "Fold Your Hands..." in which they're range has been extended. They have their ballads, their stories and now have their 60's Motown sensibilities awakened by their track "The Wrong Girl". Unlike their previous albums, no tracks stick out as singles. The album is great straight through. If you feel like going on Napster and getting some good classic tracks by them check out they're most popular song, the life anthem "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" and the smooth guitar sound of "Dog on Wheels and "Like Dylan in The Movies". Best Tracks: All of them.


“The Man Who” by Travis- An album that does not have the most unique sounding songs, or even most unique lyrics, just some soothing easy on the ears Soft Rock. Lead singer Fran Healy showcases his vocal range on songs like “Why Does it Always Rain on Me?”, “Driftwood”, “Turn” and “As You Are”. These Scots showcase soft acoustics, a soothing voice with an album full of some plain old good songs, nothing brilliant here. Top Pick: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7.


"Pink Moon" by Nick Drake- One of the most brilliant albums I have ever heard. An album that has influenced almost all modern British musician. Every band you can think of can claim him as a driving influence. In his short career, he only produced 3 albums before his self-predicted untimely demise. "Pink Moon" is considered his masterpiece by general consensus and for good reason. A man, his guitar, and his amazing vocal stylings make this a necessary album for any true music lovers collection. Most people know his voice from the Volkswagen commercial in which they're driving at night and Drake's voice sets the mood by mumbling through the lines of "Pink Moon". Nick Drake is undesirable for me. He's beyond words. Just check him out, especially tracks like "Pink Moon" and "Which Will". Choice Songs: Basically everything he's ever done


Supergrass - Supergrass

"Supergrass" by Supergrass- A great Rock album featuring the unbelievably catchy "Pumpin' on Your Stereo" and the psychadelic "Moving". I prefer their two earlier albums, "I Should Coco" and "In it For the Money", of these young Brit boy band/cartoonish  indie heros but this album is excellent as well. Best Songs: 1, 8, 9.


"Kid A" by Radiohead- The leading musical innovators in the world have done it ago with their poignant, brilliant fourth studio album. Radiohead is one of my personal favorite bands so they can do no wrong in my eyes right now. From the techno opening of "Everything in Its Right Place" and the title track to the guitar laden "Optimistic" back to more beauty in "In Limbo" to one of Radiohead's greatest songs "Idioteque". I recently paid an inordinate amount of money to see them and it was worth every penny. Just writing this review I'm crying thinking about this concert. The album even took the #1 spot in its debut week, and Radiohead is about to take over with a Tent concert tour later next year. Radiohead is the future of music. Best Tracks: Everything they've done except "Pablo Honey". 


There they are, albums that I hope which reverse the current musical trend. Of course they won't but a person can dream. If you have any albums that you think I should check out or review please email them to me at A change is upon the horizon get on the train early.


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