You’ve all heard the big names, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Justin Bieber. The bands and singers that everyone knows about, that when you say their names, people know immediately who they are. It also just so happens that popular =/= good.
At least not always.
So, I am here to hopefully introduce you to a few bands that you have never heard of, but will want to listen to more of, once you have heard them once. I have a wide range of tastes in music, from progressive rock/metal to indie to folk(?).
Now, before you come after me from using “Metallica” and “Avenged Sevenfold” in a sentence with “Justin Bieber”, here is my list:
I was turned onto this band a few months ago when I was searching for music for a school project, and instantly liked the unique style that they offer. I can only describe them as an “art rock” band, and a great one at that.
My favorite album is definitely Catch Without Arms, their third album, and much simpler and more straight-forward than their previous albums. This definitely makes it a good intro into the band.
Check out “Bug Eyes” and the title track for a good sampling of what the album has to offer.
This is definitely a love it or hate it band. Playing a weird blend of folk, metal, rock, and just about everything else under the sun. There is one thing you should know about Ayreon- it is a concept band. Every single one of their albums is tied to one single, overarching story.You can certainly listen to them out of order- there is a fair amount of overlap between the albums, some of them happening simultaneously, some of them focused on smaller subplots. What album should you start with? I would recommend The Human Equation, or Into the Electric Castle.
3. Sigur Rós
This Icelandic band is another acquired taste. Sigur Rós plays the type of music you put on when you need to study or write an essay- quiet but at the same time something that doesn’t want to make you fall asleep. There are vocals on the songs- but they are meaningless, instead the singer uses his voice as just another instrument. What matters is the sounds that he is singing, not the words. Definitely give this band a try, especially the album ( ), which is by far their best, and you will not be disappointed.
Here is another good study-time band. Balmorhea is a little different than Sigur Ros, in that they are instrumental and have a much more classical feel to them. In fact, the band can be described as “neo-classical”. I haven’t heard a song that they have performed that I haven’t liked. I use this all the time for everything from writing essays to studying to playing Minecraft.
All of their albums are great, but I would have to recommend All is Wild, All is Silent, which is my favorite, and a great intro into the band.
5. Nine Inch Nails
You might have heard of this band before, but I thought it was worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. Not only is it a good industrial rock/metal band, but NIN also released 2 free albums in the last couple of years. The first one, called The Slip, is a great album for anyone that likes industrial metal, or has never heard of it and wants to know what it is. I didn’t know that I would like anything from that genre until I downloaded my free copy from their website and gave it a listen.
The second reason is that the other free album, Ghosts I (part one of 4, Ghosts II-IV are not free) is something completely different than you would expect from a band like NIN. It is all soft, ambient style music that also makes a great addition to your studying/essay-writing playlist.