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October 6, 2014 / bloggenstatt

C is for Cloud Nothings, Cheap Trick and Common. C is not for Captain and Tennille

C was a hard letter to work with. There are a lot of pretty good bands(The Cars, CCR) and interesting up-and-coming artists(Chairlift, Chance the Rapper, Chromatics), but there is a dearth of truly great bands.

I was also at a disadvantage, because I hate the only band that matters. Still, I think I found a pretty good blend of genres and eras that start with the third letter of the alphabet.

Picking the terrible band that starts with C was remarkably easy, however. I have a sneaking suspicion the ’80s one hit wonder anthology I downloaded will provide a lot of alphabetical lowlights, Toni Tennille is an alumna of Auburn University, so a Captain and Tennille song will likely always haunt my music library.

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

Cloud Nothings: What started as a goofy, one-man garage rock project has blossomed into one of the most exciting bands in rock music. Dylan Baldi’s early, fuzzy pop songs are awesome, and their more recent releases are simply excellent. Cloud Nothings are one of the best bands currently making rock music.

Cloud Nothings make  heavily inspired by ’90s alternative bands. Their sense of urgency dynamic sound that groups them closer to Jawbreaker and Laughing Hyena than Pavement. This is a band that waxes poetic about ennui over visceral instrumentation, and it rules.

Cheap Trick: Cheap Trick are one of the best power pop bands ever. They knew how to write a song that would lodge itself in your brain, and they always sounded slick doing it. They are also responsible for one of the greatest live albums ever, Cheap Trick at Budokan, Cheap Trick certainly isn’t the most serious band ever, but they were excellent at pumping out ruthlessly efficient guitar pop.

Common: It is impossible to discuss the best lyricists in rap without mentioning Common’s name, and he is probably the best rapper to come from Chicago.

His best days are behind him, but at the height of his prowess Common’s lyrical content inspired serious comparisons to Illmatic. He was an excellent backpack rapper, and some of Common’s attempts at radio singles have been listenable and sometimes amusing.

Resurrection is probably Common’s strongest album, but an anthology collection might offer the best insight into the flow, vocabulary and social stances that made this conscious emcee a regional legend.

Even if Common’s last few albums have had more hits than misses, this is the man who made “I Used to Love HER”, which is a top 5 all-time Hip-Hop song.

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