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I'd like to expand my musical horizon - what is out there today with more than 3 chords?


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1 hour ago, JazzDoc said:

Someone has recommended Grateful Dead. They are perhaps, an acquired taste and are often the muse of those who were enjoying contemporary music genres back in the 1960s and 1970s. I love Grateful Dead when they stretch out and improvise. The usual format of a Grateful Dead concert was play some songs, take a break, play some longer songs and improvise and then play some more songs to finish the show. I really like the music that they created.


The example I chose is from the 1990s.  I absolutely despised them until I was pranked (by a girlfriend at the time, who didn't particularly like them either) who tricked me into going to a concert in 1985. It was only then that I "got it" (and without any intoxicant).  The recording quality on this is absolutely superb, and Branford Marsalis makes a guest appearance.  If you haven't listened to this one, I suggest doing so.  You won't be disappointed.   (I like their 1980s and 1990s stuff the best, unlike "real" deadheads.)

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10 hours ago, sockpit said:

Contemporary bluegrass/americana a la Chris Thiele, the Punch Brothers


I got to see the Punch Brothers when they opened for Paul Simon a couple years ago.   As good as the SQ of their recordings is, the dynamics of them live was unbelievable.   I hadn’t heard them before so was quite pleasantly surprised.

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The real 'funny thing' is most of the recommended stuff here is hardly 'today'. The reason is simple. Most of today's music is a disaster, musically speaking. So, I've been reading this one interested myself.


I'll make my statement recommending two bands (out of many more available). For the sake of it we'll have to jump in the time machine and travel some 45 years back. One of them not always strictly melodic, but boy, were they proficient, daring, brilliant, creative, never commercial, pushing the boundaries of pop music! The other one is more melodic and mesmerisingly beautiful. And yes, in both cases there're more than 3 chords/melodies/harmonies/time signatures. AIMHO. Happy listening!







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I second Nick Cave. If I had to pick a favourite musician it would probably be Nick Cave. There's a lot of output to explore, solo, with the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, soundtracks with Warren Ellis. Also Warren Ellis side project Dirty Three.


I'd also suggest Wilco, with "Sky Blue Sky" being a particular favourite.


It's really tough to make suggestions other than just throwing out a bunch of different names. Hopefully you like some of the suggestions you're getting and from there maybe get more like that.


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11 hours ago, sockpit said:

Contemporary bluegrass/americana a la Chris Thiele, the Punch Brothers, Alison Krauss and Union Station, David Rawlings Machine, and even Ryan Adams (recently defrocked in his womanizing) are artists that I’ve found interesting and complex enough chord wise, melodically, and rhythmically to listen to repeatedly.  I too prefer jazz and classical because it stands repeated auditions.


A second from me re: bluegrass, particularly Chris Thile, Alison Krauss + Union Station (love literally everything she's ever done), Punch Brothers, Steve Martin / Edie Brickell / Steep Canyon Rangers (yes, really).


I'm very centered on classical, with extension into jazz and classic folk / rock, but bluegrass really grabs me, as well.


EDIT:  Also The Milk Carton Kids, Sarah Jarosz, and Gillian Welch.

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@Musicophile It's my impression and understanding from a local (Seattle) rock band leader friend that a) rock is indeed "dead" as we olds knew it (okay, you may not be one, sorry) and b) the good stuff is online at Soundcloud and the like.


As for musically interesting and technically proficient arrangements/performances, well, maybe check out some of the suggestions on the old AudioStream.com "Weird Pop" or whatever they called that series before Lavorgna left. I keep meaning to do that myself, but am instead listening to my three versions of Aja (really), and now three versions of Carmina Burana because my son just sang it and WOW to sit ten feet from the baritone and ensemble and...well, you get the idea.


I'll put a plug in for my current favorite jazz drummer: Stanton Moore. Joe Bob says, "check it out."

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Indie is where all the good music is these day. If you look at only mainstream sources you will find nothing but garbage, imo.


I find a lot of new artists by listening to my local public radio's indie station. You can listen as well at www.thecurrent.org they have a playlist as well so if you hear something you like you can find out who is playing. You'll also find out that the Minnesota/Minneapolis music scene is as healthy as ever, even with Prince gone.


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Alt country/americana/bluegrass masterpiece, IMHO

Gillian Welch - The Harrow and the Harvest



A great catalog, sans the first one (Pablo Honey):

Radiohead (especially Amnesiac, Hail To The Thief and their latest, A Moon Shaped Pool).


Like classical and mostly jazz, these non-3 chord performances require patience, repeat listenings and some serious attention (once they flow over you a few times).  :)

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On 2/23/2019 at 2:06 AM, Musicophile said:

Here's my criteria:


- More than 3 chords, ideally harmonic progressions you haven't heard a gazillion times before (3 chord music bores me, two chords music should be reserved for non-violent torture)

- However, I'm also a sucker for melodies, when stuff gets to weird, I switch off quickly


The combination of the above is rarely achieved, which makes it so interesting. 


And finally, I'm open for any genre, but should be outside Jazz or classical music.


Very much looking forward to your input!


I think popular music pretty much died sometime around 1985. 95% of what I listen to now was recorded before 1980.


Here are some suggestions:


Van Morrison "Veedon Fleece" and earlier - "Astral Weeks" is phenomenal.

Jethro Tull "Wild Horses" and earlier.

Pink Floyd pre-1980.

The Moody Blues pre-1970.

The Who (the Keith Moon years).

Genesis (the Peter Gabriel years).

Jackson Browne up to 1976.

Warren Zevon

Nick Drake


I don't know how many of these actually meet your criteria....but I do know that the musics and often the lyrics of the above artists have proven captivating to me.


I have never graded music based on how complicated it was or wasn't. I have always chosen it based on how I responded to it. I couldn't care less about chord progressions. I care about the music and vocals combine with the lyrics and presentation and how that combination moves me and makes me feel.


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14 hours ago, JazzDoc said:

Electronic music in that it opens the door for those who may not have formal music training to engage in music creation.


It certainly does that. Much as wailing on instruments in a garage served the same purpose at one point in time. 


At the pro level it is an intricately layered, and often discordant, assemblage of everything that came before it musically. Mathematically boggling, it often tends towards sheer madness outside the most capable hands.  Young distracted hands counter discovery of this by adding mind numbing bass. 


In any case, French electro has long been one of the more enjoyable sub-genres. Musicophile is well placed to delve into this with a mind primed by the intricacies and subtlety of more refined music.  He may or may not enjoy the native simplicity of the themes exposed or deeper musical intricacies being used to draw listeners in without their need to understand why it's enjoyable. 


Here's an older song by a duo who possibly came first to mind because of starting with the letter A.  This is the style of soft vocal focused pop I mean by the term French electro.  No thumping bass or glowsticks.  Just soft enjoyable pop nothing's. 



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@Musicophile just to satisfy a curiosity.  How exposed to indie rock and NPR validated contemporary music are you at home and during business travel?  


Dad rock is very much alive. Chock full of the reassuringly familiar with modernish updates that preserve the original atmosphere. It is however not recorded and pushed by the promotion vehicles charged with feeding fresh (🚮) content to cubicle bound commuters, business travelers, or the teeming masses looking to escape from the tedium of their present situation. 


I almost wonder if a travel electric guitar/physical or virtualized instrument that plugs into a set of headphones couldn't be successful here. There is a reason why so many others took to a laptop recording software and developing through their own interests to their own ends. 

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I see there is a lot of very good music, but most of it lacks the attribute "contemporary".
Contemporary music is very divided in different genres. It would defintely help if could define som sub-genre of Music you may be interested in,  so we would not tap into the dark with our music but closer to your taste.
I'd like to recommend:
- Arcade Fire, they have been great 5 years ago ... and lots of melodies
- PJ Harvey ... Polly is just marvelous, since more than 20 years
- If you like the dinosours of Led Zeppelin, maybe in world/ethic/jazz interpretation of Vincent Peirani & Living Being, you may as well listen to their very recent North American incarnation Greta Van Fleet (average age: 23 years)?
- The Dream Syndicate, a band from the Paisly Underground in LA , has recently reformed,  they've made a very good record in 2017 and their new record willl be out next month. The bassist of Led Zep, John Paul Jones, loves to jam with them.

- Steve Wilson is one of the most underrated (in terms of top 100 Charts) musicians of our time.
- and for "rebellious energy" check out Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance. It lacks a bit the melody aspect, but that is modern rock music.
Cheers, Tom

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On 2/23/2019 at 9:25 PM, sphinxsix said:

I personally don't look for musical refinement in rock, I look for raw, rebellious energy. I used to listen to bands like Yes, Genesis or Pink Floyd when I was a teenager then I moved in the other direction. IMO the problem with contemporary rock is - it just stopped being rebellious. It seems that kids nowadays simply accept the world as it is :) 

As for your your main question - did you check out the present day progressive rock - bands like Dream Theater? Maybe not the most melodic music out there but quite refined harmonically and rhythmically (and boring IMHO x-D).

So, going through this list one by one.


Tried Dream Theater, but realized I’m getting to old for anything resembling metal (I had a short phase around 18 liking stuff like early Metallica and Slayer), but the sound of too much distortion just annoys me today.


That said, I appreciate that musically they indeed seem to be more ambitious than your average hard rock album.

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On 2/24/2019 at 5:45 AM, christopher3393 said:

I was thinking later King Crimson myself, but...unsure. Similar thoughts about David Byrne, Radiohead, Bjork (very interesting musically but some don't get into her voice), the right selection of Frank Zappa, and yes, the highly improvisational Dead with the right selections. Bona Ventura!

Radiohead and Zappa I already experimented with, kind of appreciated it.  Bjork just confuses me, it’s not even a question of the voice, 8 simply cannot follow her musical logic.  Maybe too complex for my little brain.


Will check out David Byrne.

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As for Indian classical music - I explored the subject roughly 2 years ago after having realized that I have only a handful of R.Shankar albums. I ended up buying 50 CDs, some of them issued in India. I posted on that topic on 'Amazing Music..' thread. There are also posts by Nikhil and others there if you needed some guidance. It's a vast, different, IMO fascinating music world.

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.


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8 minutes ago, Musicophile said:

So, going through this list one by one.


Tried Dream Theater, but realized I’m getting to old for anything resembling metal (I had a short phase around 18 liking stuff like early Metallica and Slayer), but the sound of too much distortion just annoys me today.


That said, I appreciate that musically they indeed seem to be more ambitious than your average hard rock album.


The Astonishing is the only album from Dream Theater I really like, and even it has a few moments of wild wailing. ;).  They toned down the metal a lot to tell the story. It is very long however, and I tend to listen to it in two halves. The story is at least as much fun in this as the music, which is interesting.




You might also look into this rock opera. It is pretty interesting, and again, tells a good story. ;)






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On 2/24/2019 at 6:31 AM, rando said:

Having poked a bit of fun at you for exploration in your gym playlist. I highly suspect you already know where this is leading. 


Electronic music. This is a backwards transition in basically every way. I'll forward a halfway point closer to your age and temperament than the age demographic of 15-35.  This is someone who issues audiophile quality recordings and is focusing on his performance and SQ these days.    


To add a second, maybe the French producer duo Cassius would help ease the transition as well?





Wow, really like this.  I should definitely explore Electronica more. I did like the early Jean-Michel Jarre,,but basically am completely unfamiliar with anything written in the 21st century. Not surprising that Electronica may be more innovative than Rock these days, in the 1970s when you wanted to start doing music you likely picked up a guitar, today you’ll be more likely to use Logic.

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