That's My Jam: Almost Famous

It's interesting how the other day how my Stevie Salas fanboy post led to a discussion about musical family trees -- those extended families that happen when bands breakup and former members head off in different directions or join up with other people for side projects and whatnot.

I could probably totally geek out and write pages and pages of music nerdosity about that sort of thing (and I surely will one day soon) but it dovetails kinda nicely into an opportunity for me to introduce people to another of my secret fave artists that I really feel is about to take off and become one of the next big things -- Imani Coppola.
Here's essentially how it worked:
  1. Young grommet guitar player discovers Metallica in the mid-late 80's, gets utterly obsessed for a while.

  2. Reads some guitar magazine interview with Metallica lead singer/rhythm guitarist/Napster-hater James Hetfield in which he's pictured wearing a Faith No More t-shirt.

  3. Wondered what was up with that and soon discovered a truly awesome band that soon after blew up on MTV with their exploding piano/dying fish video.

  4. Faith No More gets tons more interesting (and less MTV-Faith No More-ish) in the late 90's, leading me to become aware of lead singer Mike Patton's other group Mr. Bungle -- which becomes sort of a full-time obsession for a year or two (leading to a whole other tangent of purchasing John Zorn albums which is too complicated to get into right now) -- except that after a few albums Mr. Bungle sorta becomes The Fantomas and then becomes Tomohawk and it becomes clear that keeping up with Mike Patton's career track is sort of a pain in the ass and half the albums he's been putting out lately are only him making weird noises into a telephone microphones anyways.
Life gets infinitely easier when I decide that it's much more simple to just feel happy
about seeing Patton's name on things, like Bjork albums or the credits for I Am Legend.
Then Mike Patton goes and screws all that up by putting together a project called Peeping Tom, which is just loaded with fascinating collaborations -- including this awesome song called "Sucker" with Norah Jones of all people that is not only permanently locked into my iPod, (it also prompted me to stop talking shit about Norah Jones) -- but most importantly included contributions and then live tour band support playing violin (and we all know how I feel about sexy girls who play violin) by one Imani Coppola, whom I had not heard of before at that point.

Turns out Coppola has a rich history, but for many years was categorized in sort of a limboland of artists that I don't really personally find interesting like Paula Cole, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Meridith Brooks.
Truth is, as much as I always love to say that I'm completely
open-minded when it comes to music, it's not always 100% true.
For example, when I hear that someone performed on the Lilith Fair it almost immediately puts doubts into my mind about how much I'll like their music (despite the fact that MeShell Ndegeocello was on that tour). But then I read a little further and I find out that Coppola was apparently snarking on all the other artists the whole time -- including an interview she did with Toronto Sun back in 1997 that instantly made me adore her:
"I think [Sarah McLaughlin]'s a good songwriter, at times, and singer. She's boring to watch live, though.."
So I started looking into her music and found all sorts of awesome stuff, none of which fit into any sort of single category. She's all over the map with styles and genres -- which I actually prefer in an artist, but rarely find these days.
Here's the first song of her's that I fell in love with -- Woke up Hwite
Anyways, recently she put out an album with a band she's in with DJ/Programmer Adam Pallin called Little Jackie -- which if you're looking for groups to compare it with fits in nicely with Gnarls Barkley (a band I wish I could love but have grown utterly tired of despite their obvious talent and quirkiness because club DJ's got a hold of that "Crazy" song and just beat it into the friggin ground).
Little Jackie is a blast.
Much like Gnarls Barkley's debut album, it's loaded with summer songs. Road trip music. It's a little girly (not that there's anything wrong with that), but my impression (read: fantasy) is that Imani is probably the kind of chick who not only knows how to rock eye shadow, but also gets mad at hockey teams who trade away decent veterans for unproven minor league prospects right before making a playoff run.

And while it's entirely possible that in reality she's a macro-vegan who thinks all sports are barbaric and only dates guys who wear trucker hats strategically tipped to one side, that doesn't mean that this isn't an awesome little song:

-- "Liked You Better Before"
April's a little early for a Summer Song to catch on, but this is usually when they start showing up on mix tapes and iPod playlists. I'll be pissed if this or any other Little Jackie tune ends up on the soundtrack for some craptastical Kate Hudson movie (the chances for which I fear are pretty good) and probably disavow any knowledge of it -- but sometimes that's the price you have to pay when an artist you wish would always stay indie is this good.

Actually now that I think about it, there are a lot of sorta unknown/indie artists out there that I absolutely love to the point where I sort of quietly hope they WON'T catch on so they could stay "my little band that no one else really knows about." -- I guess that's kinda mean-spirited when you get right down to it, but if that's what it takes to keep the crowds at Earl Greyhound concerts small and manageable, then that's what I'm gonna keep wishing for.
So, who are some of your secret faves that you sorta quietly hope will stay yours forever?

[Listening to:  Killswitch Engage - "The Element of One" ]


Heff said…
I'm so out of the current scene, I can't even contribute.
wigsf said…
Most of the stuff I listen to is old. Staying secret is really up to fate. I don't really want it to stay secret though. I want other people to hear what I'm hearing and say "Dude, this is awesome."
Betty Davis, for example. Her first record kicks my ass every damn time I hear it. And I hear it a lot.
As time goes by, the stuff I like becomes a secret because I don't let go of a good record just because it isn't new anymore. I still listen to the ArcAngels. Other than you and my brother, who else is going to remember the ArcAngels?
Then there's the indie bands that only make the one album then break up because they all decide to get real jobs. Salmonblaster, Beru's Nephew. Even you never heard of those guys. But I like 'em. I like 'em a lot. I still listen to them. I think I'm the only one who does.
In my circle of friends, (I don't really have musically snobbish friends anymore,) the concert to go to is REM or the Tragically Hip. (Or U2 which I may have to go to in September.) The only place I find interesting different music is through my brother and his friends who listen to some pretty weird shit. But at times, it's too friggin' weird. I can't take too weird. I've never been able to sit through all of MMM. I tried a couple of times. Made it about 2/5 in before hitting myself in the head to numb the pain.
Werdna said…
I ain't telling. That way it will still be mine.

Adam said…
I don't really take issue with stuff I like becoming popular. And I guess a lot of this stems from the realisation that there are boatloads of people who've already heard whatever 'new' record I just discovered. No one is really ever the 'first' person to hear something (for the most part). I think realising that music shouldn't be a contest or a competition made listening to music more fun for me (but maybe less 'important').

That said, I DO sometimes wish stuff wouldn't blow up quite as big as it does. And the reason for that is shelf life. I can listen to a song or an album lots and lots of times before I get really, really sick of it. But when you hear whatever new song at every single freaking commercial break on TV, that honeymoon period is waaaaaay shorter.

(Insert obligatory reference to Hexacorde's 'Saved by Zero' blog entry from a year or two ago).

I remember when I first worked in a record store, how excited I was when a tape or CD that I liked was opened up for play in-store. And then I realised that I usually started to loathe my favorite albums, songs, etc. In fact, by the time I quite working at Camelot Music in 1995, I had pretty much stopped listening to music altogether, and it took me a few years to start liking it again.