Any suggestions for good obscure music?

Category: Speakers

Doesn't have to be too obscure. But I'm looking for some new stuff to listen to. Good music that's well recorded by someone I haven't heard of. Any suggestions?
If anyone is interested I would suggest a compilation disc titled "A Nod to Bob" on Red House Records. This is a tribute to Bob Dylan by artists on the Red House label. Not one bad rendition on the cd. Although they were all written by Dylan, there are a few I hadn't heard before.
I've purchased several cds by artists found on this disc and have yet to be disappointed. I'm listening to Greg Brown "Covenant" now. He's one of the artists on the Nod to Bob. Great stuff with wonderful sonics.
Dengue Fever, Escape from Dragon House. It's one of the oddest discs I have. It is a Cambodian woman singing with an american pop band. The band sounds very retro-60s, kind of like what you might have heard in a 60s spy movie. The singer sounds a bit like Debbie Harry of Blondie, but sings in Khmer, a language I was never familiar with, but which is interesting becasue they have alot of consonant combinations that are not in any other language I've heard (like p and n together), which gives the music an unusual rhythmic quality. The first couple tracks aren't great, but there are some real gems later on, with the final track, Hummingbird, quite appealing. It took a few listens before I liked the disc, but it grew on me. Recording quality is good, no obvious irritants, but not great by audiophile standards. I think I'll listen to it tonight!
Greg Brown is a current favorite of mine as well. What a great voice.

Hmmm, obscure...guess I'd have to know your tastes to know which direction to go other than recommending others who might sound like Greg Brown. In that vein try Jeffrey Focault (I'd recommend his first album, Miles from the Lightening). Also, try his group effort with fellow musicians Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey, Redbird which begins with Greg Brown cover (Ships) and is a great collection of tunes. In a darker, more cynical take on that same alt-country direction with some compelling male vocals try Richard Buckner. I like his early albums, "Devotion & Doubt", and "Bloomed". You also may enjoy Ray La Montagne, though I wouldn't necessarily catogorize him among the obscure. Both his albums are great.

Taking off from that to female vocals, try the Canadian group, [url=]The Be Good Tanyas[url]. Just saw them live and they are definitely worth catching if they come near you on their current tour. I love their album, "Blue Horse". Another really unique favorite on the female vocals is the harpist, Joanna Newsome. Her only album is "The Milk-Eyed Mender", but she has a new one coming out soon. That one's an acquired taste and may take a few listens to warm up to her.

I'll stop there and let someone else pick up...

Here are some wide and varied recommends:

The Delays "Faded Seaside Glamour"
A gorgeous album with unbelievable vocals

Hem "Eveningland"
Beautiful acoustic music, outstanding songs and performances, top 10 album of the year for me 2004

Eastmountainsouth "Eastmountansouth"
Excellent acoustic music, many duets and great songwriting

Imogen Heap "Speak for Yourself"
Wonderfully dense mix of pop and elecronica, stands up to repeated listens

Story of M "These Little Crimes"
Fantastic album from this hard to categorize female led group. Available only via CD Baby, where you can find lots of unknowns making great music.


Diversify with 2004 and 2005 mississippi studios live CD compilations. They are listed under Studio Projects. The studio owner took his favorite live recordings for the year and made CD's out of them. Proceeds benefit the low income after school music program. Hey, can't beat that. Both collections are excellent. I can't wait for 2006!


Hey Marco, I saw Kris Delmhorst at Mississippi studios too. I have most of her CD's as well. Songs for a Hurricane is excellent. If you're a book nut you might like Strange Conversation, her latest.
Want obscure? Try ''Has Been'' by Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner. This cd is no joke, and is critically acclaimed, if not a commercial success. The music is smooth and impeccable. It's different, intelligent, and very nice to listen to.
First off, thanks for replies. Second, I apologize for the location of this thread; I noticed it wasn't in the music category as I was hitting the "submit" button.
I'll definitely be checking some of these out. As for my taste, I'll try just about anything.
One of my favorites from cdbaby is Ross Beach - Country. The guy tells a story like John Prine.
If you like jazz and good songwriting, try the Brooklyn-based group Brock Mumford, led by guitarist and vocalist Matt Munisteri. Their first cd is excellent and is called "Love Story." Check out the band at
I Am Walking:New Native Music.Available at believe you can listen to samples.Rita Cooludge working with native indian tribe,finally got them to a studio.It's a great demo/evaluation disc also.
Timrhu - Along with the interesting input you're getting here, you may also want to check out Pandora, which not only will suggest songs based upon your input, but will play them in their entirety. You'll get some good input there too. Also, I based on your mention of John Prine's storytelling, I'll strongly reiterate the recommendation for Jeffrey Focault. You will not be disappointed - I'd bank on it!

Slaw3 - I have, and enjoy, 3/5 of your suggestions so I'll definitely check out the others. Good suggestions!

Soniqmike - I've heard a few cuts from William Shatner's CD , and they were all humorous or satirical. Not bad at all, but these cuts don't sound like what you are describing. Maybe he has more than one CD out(?).

Steuspeed - Thanks for the book suggestion...I didn't even know she was an author as well. I do have her solo CD and enjoy it as well - If you have not heard "Redbird" definitely check that one out too.

Good thread! Thanks Timrhu.

Try Break Of Reality, three cello players and a drummer - hard rock meets classical in a fusion format. Listen at

Well I have my work cut out for me now.
I've been going to cdbaby for a few years now with mixed results. Some wonderful stuff along with some not so. Maybe I'd be better off if I took advantage of the preview function.
A really good, and unexpected as I'm not a true jazz enthusiast was Micheal Halaas - The Lucidity Project. Piano, cello, guitar, and some percussion, beautiful.
Thanks to all, I've already ordered a couple of your recommendations Marco.
I hope the suggestions keep coming.
WILLIAM LEE ELLIS "God's Tattoos", producet by James Dickinson (Yellow Dog Records) and CHRIS COTTON's "I Watched the Devil Die"
Lou Reed is married to a avant garde Artist and Musician named Laurie Anderson - she has a lot of records but I love Mister Heartbreak especially Sharkey's Day & Sharkey Night-- William Buroughs of Naked Lunch Fame reads some of the cryptic lyrics and Laurie adds lots of layers of sounds over her electric Violin. When I saw her Andy Warhol was there.

Rain Dogs by Tom Waits is another Favorite. "Rain Dog"s" is way way out there and Keith Richards is all over the place as well as Robert Quinne the guitar player from the Voidoids a true master of Kaotic ectasy and a high wire act.

If you like Country the original soundtrack to Ned Kelly has lryics by Shel Siverstein with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Mick Jagger him self.
Ned Kelly was an austrailian outlaw and Shel Silverstein tells the story in a twisted kind of way

Best to you this Christmas

Groovey Records

Listening to Laurie Anderson Mr. Heartbreak WB 25077
Hey Groovey = You hit on two of my all time favorites: Sharkey's Day - If you haven't yet, check out Laurie's collection titled, "You're the Guy I Want to Share my Money With", including a couple by Buroughs. Hard to find, and more spoken pieces than musical, but if you like Buroughs his contributions are amusing here as well. For more conventionally accessible Anderson tunes I'd recommend "Bright Red" - her stuff is great!

I'm also a big Tom Waits fan and Rain Dogs along with Swordfishtrombone are right at the top of my list.

I've got one for you given you're tastes here...this may be pushing it a bit as it's dark material, but have you heard Woven Hand? I've recently been listening to their CD "Blush Music"....they take the Bill Withers tune, "Ain't no Sunshine when She's Gone", and turn it into an apocolyptic dirge with sound loops that'll make you want to string up a noose. Not for everyone...not for many...but I am strangely drawn to it.

You know, I can see two tiny pictures of myself And there's one in each of you eyes. And they're doin' everything I do. Every time I light a cigarette, they light up theirs. I take a drink and I look in and they're drinkin' too. It's drivin' me crazy. It's drivin' me nuts.

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Grant - I do like the Kronos Quartet colaborations with Glass like the soundtrack to Dracula.

Getting more adventurous, how about Rachel's - ever metamorphosing in their performances, they are also probably closest to the kind of Avante-garde Classical that Kronos is most known for. I like their CD's Selenography and Systems/Layers.
here are few favs. enjoy
EIVIND AARSET great modern guitarist from norway
MARI BOINE lapland vocalist - hauntingly beautiful
ANI CHOYING DOLMA BUDDIST NUN ]also w/ steve tibbetts
GEOFFREY ORYEMA great african voice
DHAFER YOUSSEF great oud and voice jazz artist
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I have several artists i can give you. I will give you one for now "Bowie" Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Space Oddity, Heroes, and if you are real brave, and cerebral. "Low" Dylans lyrics are good and basic. Bowies, blow the mind away!
Well I have purchased several of the artists mentioned above. Some take a little work to get into. Once the work is done the rewards are worth it.
Zane, no offense intended but I wouldn't consider Bowie obscure. I bought "Ziggy Stardust" back in 72. Never did own "The Man Who Sold the World" but all of the others you mentioned are in my collection plus a few more. My little brother was a fanatic back in the 70s, probably saw Bowie 10 times. Thanks.
A buddy turned mee on to proprius records, a swedish recording company that produces exquisite recordings. Everything from jazz and pipe organs to choral arrangements. All two miked with incredible air and ambience. Hard to find in the states though.
Salif Keita---->Moffou: He's a great songwriter/performer from Africa, truly original, very intimate sound.
Aphex twins---->ambient work collection(double CD): The early stuff of this electronic music genius, his use of the samples were very unique, some atmospheric music.
Antonio Foccione---->touch wood: He's amazing on acoustic guitar, with great musicians.
Eyes wide shut----->soundtrack: Legeti's music is back for another Kubrik film soundtrack, so simple yet powerful.
Susheela Raman----->salt rain: This was album was nominated for the mecury award in the UK, British born Indian took the Indian songwriting to another level.
Pink Martini------->Sympathique: Toe tapping stuff, great bands with good selection of songs, range from world music to jazz standard.
PJ Harvey----------->Is this desire?: My fav album of PJ Harvey, though she's not obscure in the UK at all, she's in a league of her own though.
Jesse Cook - Plays acoustic guitar, with much Spanish and Middle Eastern influence. In addition to the guitar, there is often doumbek (middle eastern drum), violin, electronic instruments, occasional singing. Fabulously well recorded, and beautiful music. Some songs get a bit repetitious, but great stuff. His first 4 or 5 CDs are great, although I've heard that his most recent 2 are only so-so. Don't let the "new-age" category put you off, this music has great depth.
Timrhu - Another obvious jump from Greg Brown and John Prine would be Richard Thompson. There's a good collection called, "Action Packed". His wife, Linda Thompson is also wonderful and their collaborations are great as well - oh yeah, son, Teddy Thompson is damn good just a few more. All in the family!
Jax2, I saw Richard Thompson live a couple years ago. It was just him and his guitar if I recall correctly. It was a jazz festival with acts going on all day. I felt like I was one of the few in the audience who knew who he was. Great set.
This is a pretty old thread and I have gotten some really good stuff from it. I think my favorite may be "Life On A String" by Laurie Anderson.
Judith Owen - Lost and found

Rock tracks transformed into Jazzy tracks particularly "Smoke on the water" and "Walking on the moon" are superb. Beautifully recorded and the disk is worthy of being used for female vocal reference for evaluating equipment.

The link at Amazon for a glimpse
Quadophile, I just ordered "Lost And Found." We'll see how it goes, I hope the music sounds as good as she looks.
If you like choral music, try Sacred Georgina Chants onthe Jade / Milan records label. Fabulously recorded beautiful music. I've never heard anything else quite like it, different than any other choral music I have heard.

I think you would really enjoy Rene Marie. She has a website were you can download some samples. Her older music is good also and cheap on Amazon.
if you like folkie stuff, check out the third party, by jules shear. probably the worst selling record in major label history, it features extremely good songwriting (shear is a renowned songwriter who has written hits for cyndi lauper, the bangles, etc. and the subject of many of ex-wife aimee mann's bitter daitribes) w/ just one guitar and one voice; also has the chordsand lyrics transcribed in the liner notes, which is kind of a nice bonus. very engaging stuff.

i've also been listening to the epynonymous cd of a guy named john davis, who's the majordomo of the successful power poppers, superdrag. apparently, he was driving drunk one night when he found god and decided to make a "christian" record. now, no disrespect intended, but normally i'd rather swap spit with satan than listen to this genre, but the damn thing is beautiful--sorta like a lost brain wilson masterpiece--really really tuneful stuff. and obscure.

my final rec in the quietcore dept. is the live album by mark kozolek, called (unsurprisingly) mark kozolek live. he's the czar of a couple of critically-revered bands, red house painters and sun kil moon (well worth checking out); this disc is just him and a bunch of great songs. he's an estimable guitarist and a great, idiosyncratic singer sort of in the vein of a less depressive nick drake/elliott smith. like the above picks, this has the loomis seal of approval.
i've also been listening to the epynonymous cd of a guy named john davis, who's the majordomo of the successful power poppers, superdrag. apparently, he was driving drunk one night when he found god and decided to make a "christian" record. now, no disrespect intended, but normally i'd rather swap spit with satan than listen to this genre, but the damn thing is beautiful--sorta like a lost brain wilson masterpiece--really really tuneful stuff. and obscure.

LMAO...I will definitely check this one out as I actually can name quite a few Christian artists at the top of my list of favorites (16 Horsepower, Over the Rhine, The Innocence Mission, to name a few). I otherwise completely get where you are coming from with the sentiment - but could say that about any number of secular artists too.

Also, love Kozolek's stuff, especially sun kil moon. Another favorite of mine that your reference brings to mind is Alexi Murdoch, who, though sounds as if he's channeling Nick Drake at times, but will not bring on the overwhelming desire to slit your wrists. Beautiful songs and great songwriting and guitar playing - I wish he'd put out more work...I think he is his own label and is a perfectionist about what he does put out. No doubt it will be worth the wait. For now, the available CD is "Time Without Consequence"- Highly recommended! Pending the loomis seal of approval.
jax2--i'll definitely check out your alexi murdoch. i'll also throw out two more, than shut up:
1. richard buckner--devotion and doubt. a real twisted puppy, once described as sounding like uncle tupelo on a bad day; really pretty, tuneful, strange folkish/vaguely countryish stuff.
2. david kilgour--revered in new zealand, but largely unknown here; plays a sort of jangly, melodic, velvet underground electric pop not too far removed from early rem or yo la tengo. his earlier bands, the clean and the great unwashed are also great.

cheers from the jungle.
Dude, LOVE Richard Buckner - though last time I saw him live he was in a particularly dark state of mind...yeah, a bad day. The earlier albums are better...last one was getting into the Nick Cave meets Damien Jurado territory.

I've never heard of Kilgour. Thanks for spending my money!

One back at you, and for anyone into the alt-folk genre, for lack of a better title: Jeffrey Foucault...I've liked everything he's put out, but "Miles from the Lightening" is a good place to start. Great voice, great lyrics, great guitar playing. His wife, Kris Delhorst is very good too, as is their joint venture, Redbird,but his solo stuff is really great, and he's great to see live if you ever get the chance. Buckner is truly a dark horse.
I sifted out a couple of vids that actually have OK sound to get some idea of these two recommendatons:

Alexi Murdoch, "All my Days"

Alexi Murdoch, "Orange Sky"

Jeffrey Foucault, "Northbound 35" Sings with his wife Kris Delmhorst in this vid. Wonderful lyrics!
Oh..and one more that comes to mind...Sufjan's hauntingly beautiful and simultaneously chilling song, John Wayne Gacy Jr.. It comes to mind as one of my favorite Jurado songs is equally as creepy...a spoken piece titled, "Amateur Night."
for some reason, sufjan stevens reminds me of yanni. foucault is on my ever-expanding list
i saw richard buckner playing outdoors on a saturday afternoon at the taste of chicago fest. he started out with a lengthy, obscene, unintentionally hilarous tirade about having to play next to a country line dance exhibit. he proceeded to play a brilliant hour long solo electric set, then simply walked off stage, further bewildering his audience. not the gregarious sort, i guess, though i've actually met him and he was very gracious.
for some reason, sufjan stevens reminds me of yanni.

He runs hot and cold for me, but I do like that particular song. Now that you've gone and polluted my mind with that thought, I'll never listen to him quite the same! :-I
Listened to Judith Owen once. Sounds promising. It will stay on the play stack for a few more for further evaluation. Good tip.
How about Sera Cahoone? A Seattle indie-folk type, sad and lovely songs, recordings might be better, but aren't offensive. "Only as the Day is Long" is a special disc. Definitely a lot more obscure than some of what is mentioned here, though she has lately been opening for Son Volt.

For Christian music, check out the excellent and somehow inexplicable Ollabelle.

Enthusiastically seconding (thirding?) Richard Buckner's "Bloomed," which has remarkable songwriting; among the classics. I've not warmed up to many of his other discs, though I admire his willingness to try new things. His on stage surliness if often remarked on.

"bloomed" is vg, albeit more conventional than buckner's later stuff, which can really get embedded in your brain if you let your guard down.
at jax2's suggestion, i did listen to some live stuff from jeffrey focault (on, the greatest website in the history of the world); he's good but didn't really grab me, perhaps because the songs weren't particualrly distinctive. however, while on the site i found some live shows by blitzen trapper, which are great. these guys really sound like the second coming of buffalo springfield or workingman's dead, with instantly memorable songs and that whole hippie vibe--one of the very few recent bands that are actually writing classic tunes instead of merely recreating a sound.
while browsing around, you might also check out low, from minneapolis (really pretty, quiet intense slowcore), mogwai (hypnotic guitar instro stuff from scotland) kevn kinney (ex-southern rocker turned folkie; sharp material, very tight playing and a lot of life).
keep the suggestions coming. back to work.
I'll second a vote for Buckner's early work, especially Bloomed. Sorry you didn't click with Focault...for me I prefer his stuff over Buckner's, especially from a songwriting standpoint. Buckner's definitively darker overall. I'll check out archive and the further recommendations, Loomis...thanks!