So I guess this year's New Moon soundtrack is this year's Garden State, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine...well, you get the point.
I recently spoke with Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear and we discussed the idea of having lesser known bands being a part of a mass marketed soundtrack or compilation.
Let me make this clear, I'm not opposed to great underground artists using these channels to get their music out there. I just have no faith in the system. The one example I can think of is the Guitar Hero/Rock Band franchise.
Beginning with classic shred tracks, the video games now contain choice cuts from bands we would have never expected to see on such a mass level. Many of my friends who don't normally listen to the artist they were now introduced to, only listened to those tracks, and nothing more - singles on their iPod.
When Juno came out, we had calls every hour at the KLSU radio station to hear "Anyone Else But You." Oh, Inverted World is my favorite Shins album, but many friends have only heard the two cuts off the Garden State soundtrack.
Like Taylor had said, it is a way to make money. That's not selling out considering that leaks and illegal downloading has hurt the pocket books of many underground artists who still work 9 to 5 jobs. If it helps put back into a great band putting out more great music, then I say go for it.
Since we now have the ability to buy in a pick and choose digital market, it's great to sift through the filler as a Top 40 listener, but for those of us who still are enthralled with the idea of an album, and great albums at that, it seems like a double edged sword to move your music in one song units above the hazy underground line.
What do I know? Maybe it's my cynicism and fast paced views of popular music that will not change. Maybe if one person hears the soundtrack and they put down their Breaking Benjamin albums for a Muse or Bon Iver one, then it's a win on many levels. In the end, that's all I can hope for.
On Tuesday I posted my review for the New Moon soundtrack and later had my interview with Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear. At the end of the interview, I asked Taylor what he thought about his band being on the soundtrack. That led into a five minute conversation/bout about how effective lending one song to something mainstream would be for a lesser known band to the casual, every day listener.
I will have that interview up next week along with my thoughts on the subject, "indie" soundtracks and Guitar Hero track lists.
For now, I get Taylor's point of exposure, and with that, here are five singles that led me to five great albums that I may have otherwise not have checked out.
1) St. Vincent - "Actor Out of Work" (Actor) --- This upbeat guitar drive is catchy as hell. Annie Clark's voice sounds so elegant over the noise that accompanies it. The rest of the album is even more stellar and is definitely one of the best of the year.
2) Wolf Parade - "I'll Believe in Anything" (Apologies to the Queen Mary) --- This may be one of the best songs of all time. It may sound repetitive, but I just can't help but get into it every time it comes on. I blame my roommate and MTV's Subterranean, but the album goes down as one of my favorites of all time now.
3) TV on the Radio - "Wolf Like Me" (Return to Cookie Mountain) --- I remember hearing these guys while working at the radio station for my first few years, but like everyone, their single really got me enthralled into the album. Let's just say, the rest of the album doesn't disappoint, and certainly showcases quite a talented band.
4) Silversun Pickups - "Panic Switch" (Swoon) --- One of my favorite songs of the year. It drives (not like Jehu) and is catchy as fuck. The vocal layer at the end is what brings this one home. Kudos to Silversun Pickups for restoring my faith in good guitar driven rock again.
5) Spoon - "The Underdog" (Ga Ga Ga Ga) --- No, it wasn't the Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack, but this single that got me into one of the best pop albums out there. It's got horns, a hell of a vocal hook and a salsa feel that makes you wonder where you left that bag of chips. It got me to check out the back catalog, and I am now hooked on this band.