Musicians of New York Preview: My Top 13

Welcome!  The cover picture is of me, Bob, at the office of WHCS: Hunter College Radio! This is a preview of a very special project I’m taking on for the great Monkeys Fighting Robots.  “Musicians of New York” will be a weekly to bi-weekly article focusing on indie musicians in a questionnaire type format who are usually, but not always, located in New York City.  This particular piece will be my introduction to who I am by showing you what music I gravitate towards.  It’s my opinion that music, especially indie, is one of the most powerful art forms because it reflects emotions through lyrics, melody, instrumentation, vibration, and energy.  Also, I respect the process, collaboration, and dedication of it all. I find Pop music as catchy as the next person; however, there is something about the creative authenticity of music made from the heart instead of a business minded brian. Here are my top 12 songs, and how they’ve influenced me as they’ve carried me through life.

(WARNING: There may be cursing in the music).

  1. Regret The Hour“The Runaway” [embedyt][/embedyt] Regret The Hour will be the first band interviewed for this article.  They consist of brothers, Ben and Nate McCarthy, whom attend Hunter College, Anders Flemings, and Tim Emmerick.  “The Runaway” is a song that captured me with its pain and sense of loss.  What’s more impressive, is the fact it was written when they were in high school.  Another self-recorded version of this song as over 94,000 views on youtube.  More will be said on their foundation, and evolution as a rising indie rock band within a week.
  2. Noah and the Whale-“L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” [embedyt][/embedyt] I found Noah and the Whale in 2011, as I was in between colleges looking for an escape of the drudgery of a convenience store clerk and recent romantic disappoints. They provided lyrics that eerily correlated with my life and an unique harmony of vocals and string instruments that gave me warmth.  They recently broke up, but their music and messages are still helpful for me to this day.
  3. Bon Iver-“Blood Bank” [embedyt][/embedyt] When I saw Bon Iver, in concert at Radio City Music Hall, the performance gave me chills. “Blood Bank” was the song that drew me into his discovery.  It was the first song of his I understood lyrically, and the imagery within this song is beautiful. Justin Vernon, the lead singer, may no longer be longer consider indie, but that’s how he approaches music, not for fame, money, or awards, but for “the inherent reward of making songs”.
  4. Guster-“One Man Wrecking Machine” [embedyt][/embedyt] It was incredibly difficult for me to pick just ONE Guster song.  They probably aren’t consider indie either, but they aren’t exactly mainstream.  Guster is an amazing band to see live, as they treat their fans extremely well.  What I find so admirable about them, is the experimentation they exude in each album.  Also, who can’t relate to being an one man wrecking machine at times!  I find them incredibly catchy, and refreshing especially with their story-esque lyrics.
  5. Trampled by Turtles-“Wait So Long” [embedyt][/embedyt] I can’t lie, the name alone does it for me, but i’m also enamored with their songwriting and pace of play.  This is a bluegrass band, that I just adore.  It also helps that a lot of their songs are about struggle, sadness, depression, and so forth.  I’m incredibly allured to material that delves into that subject, as you’ll see with the next couple of bands/songs.
  6. Frightened Rabbit-“The Loneliness & The Scream” [embedyt][/embedyt] Much like Noah and the Whale, I discovered this band searching for help, for comfort, for hope, and they provided.  This song in particular, felt like such a strong reflection of my mindset at the time.  Their albums are so dark, and I used to cry in comfort knowing that their music spoke for me in a way.  Also, the scottish accent in the vocals is fantastic.
  7. Daughter-“Smother” [embedyt][/embedyt] There is something about music spurned on by pain that really gets me.  I feel like I belong floating with it’s vocals.  Daughters music is ingeniously poetic.  It’s breathtaking.
  8. Wilder Maker-“Relief” [embedyt][/embedyt]  I know, I know, another depressing song, but I can’t help how impactful they are on me.  Wilder Maker are a relatively new band based in Brooklyn.  They are extremely indie at this point, but they did get a shoutout from Ryan Adams on instagram.  There is no doubting their talent. Awesome, yet simple video too!
  9. The National-“About Today” [embedyt][/embedyt] Have you picked up on my taste yet? Admittedly it’s very hipster, but what’s good is great!  I came across this song from the movie Warrior, which is about MMA, a sport I couldn’t care less about, yet the song stood out to me.  The National have created masterpieces of music, this just happens to be a small piece of their magnificence.
  10. The War on Drugs-“Lost In the Dream” [embedyt][/embedyt] An extremely relevant song for anybody with crazy dreams, I know that I do and I struggle with understanding that everything I have envisioned may not be possible.  This self-titled song of the album Lost In the Dream, explores that and depression, which is a consuming subject for me…shocker!  The influences of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are delightful, as well.
  11.  The Belle Brigade-“Losers” [embedyt][/embedyt] I think this song was more upbeat, yes? Well, it doesn’t matter because this list rules anyway. This song has been my motto for awhile, and I love the dynamic of the brother/sister vocals.  I believe I stumbled upon them from a performance on Conan, who is a comedic GOD!  He also has great taste in music, so…
  12. Creedence Clearwater Revival– “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” [embedyt][/embedyt] The song didn’t matter here.  This band is superb, and if you don’t know who they are, I can’t help you.  I saw John Fogerty, the voice behind the epicness, and was blown away further.
  13. Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker-“The Waiting” [embedyt][/embedyt] Another musical hero.  I picked “The Waiting” because it was the one song I missed when I saw him live. I’ll never forget that night.

I hope you all enjoyed this list.  Don’t forget to check up on the interview with Regret the Hour!

Robert Franco
Robert Franco
Hey! I'm Robert Franco, but I go by Bob. I love movies, television, cartoons, comics, music, beer, football, hockey, Conan O'Brien, Bill Burr, Tom Hanks, and dogs. I've had an extremely eventful 24 year of living, which has impacted my writing and mindset tremendously. I have a quirky, sarcastic, and dark style that I hope you all enjoy, and please check out my youtube video...