Let’s Spotify, Shall We? (1)

One comment in my post about Joe Rogan pointed out that Spotify does have the virtue of bringing new, unknown, musicians and performers to our attention. There’s truth in that.

But I don’t believe much in the benefit of those “algorithms” because they are manipulated by clickbots run by marketing “optimization” companies. Back in the day, when I bought 50,000 followers on instagram for $100 [stderr] as an experiment, it was pretty obvious that we cannot trust these organizations to do anything other than marketing bullshit.

mjr, 2017 (I actually made the bar out of resin. but I’ve also made them in soap. CNC original model carved for me by SPDtool)

There’s an idea I had years ago, which nobody has built (that I am aware of) which would be a website that implements “clubs” where anyone who wants to can curate a playlist of stuff they think is great and then people who want to follow a particular curator can do so. Obviously, some curator could be in the pay of Big Music but if that was obvious enough, it would hurt them eventually. The idea would be a sort of automated book club/music club/fan club system specifically designed to resist marketing. Another point: systems like Youtube know who the sockpuppets are because they keep shit-tons of metrics about post-rates, content types, preferences, time spent on the platform, etc: it’d be ridiculously easy to develop fingerprints to detect sockpuppets, and I assume they have. Because their marketing dollars come from sockpuppets. What would a sockpuppet-proof system look like? I think nothing would be sockpuppet-proof but a site with a strong “cancel culture” aimed at marketing weasels could maybe do it.

Meanwhile, we should not give over to Spotify that essential human activity, which is sharing stuff we think kicks ass. The remainder of this posting and comment thread, I would like to turn over to: posting links to musicians and people and performers who you think don’t get mainstream attention, but kick ass. Let’s be a music playlist, book club, or whatever, right here, right now.

There are no rules but I’d suggest nobody posts comments like, “what? you’ve only just now heard of…?” because some of these might now be ‘just now’ but rather people we don’t think get enough attention.

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Remember that the blog’s antispam may block a posting if you have a lot of links in it. Go ahead with the links, but just be patient for me to approve them, OK?

I think that the idea of having music sharing threads is a good one. Should we do this more often? [OK, I am going to try to drop these Spotify Threads every so often, probably every 4 months. And I’ll chain them into a linked list so that anyone who wants to spend a day lost in the music, can.]


  1. says

    Charles Berthoud is someone I discovered via Davie504 (the crazy Italian bass player). Charles is remarkably skilled and I also appreciate his sense of humor, which is quirky and works well with some of his music.

  2. says

    Leo Moracchioli just popped up on my screen one day; I think I was looking for Highway to the danger zone and found his version. Instantly became a huge fan.

    Leo’s thing is to do ass-kicking metal versions of other popular music, recorded with a weird funny flair and relentless metal thrashings. His cover of “Sultans of Swing” (one of my favorite songs ever) is really good

    Also, his cover of Adele’s “Someone like you” is better than Adele’s moopy version, IMO

  3. says

    Elise Trouw does really clever stuff with timed recordings and self-loops. That’s when you assemble a piece of music by playing all the parts. I guess it’s easy for a good musician but to me it’s just magic and I love watching the self-assured way she moves in the music and in time.

  4. tommynottimmy says

    Bloodywood is an Indian street metal band (their description) hat has managed to become popular enough to get invited to Wakken without even having an album out yet(they have a documentary called Raj Against the Machine about their journey there). They used to do metal covers of songs which are worth checking out.
    Their original songs are typically around topics like depression, bullying, and lately politics. Having picked almost randomly, Endurant isn’t a bad place to start:

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Decades ago I came up with, but lacked the skills to build, the idea of “taste dating”.

    Imagine a site like a dating site, but where you just enter your likes and dislikes in all fields – sports, books, music, theatre, film, comedy, all media, all THINGS. Then the algorithm pairs you up with people who have many of the same likes… but crucially just tellls you the OTHER stuff they like in that genre, with the idea that this is stuff that will probably do it for you. Bonus points if several of your matches recommend the same thing you didn’t list, because that’s likely something actually essential that you somehow missed (or forgot to include).

    You can monetise the thing (at least) two ways before you ever place any actual ads on the site:
    1. here are these things that are recommended, or especially HIGHLY recommended, by the people who like the sort of things you like…. and here’s a link to buy them/buy tickets to them/buy some nights in accommodation near them/whatever.
    2. here are the contact details of the people who matched you most closely AND also said they were looking to meet people with similar tastes AND also matched you on the bit of the questionnaire that asked about actual dating and stuff.

    The important thing would be to mainly make the thing about finding new stuff to consume, NOT the dating side of it – that would need to be strictly a sideline.

    Thinking about it, it would likely be somewhat open to gaming by bots, but again, it would be heavily in the interests of the operator of the site to make the recommendations REAL and filter out the spam. Authenticity would be the selling point.

    Music that kicks ass:
    Lately I can’t stop watching Doreen Ketchens REALLY getting it on with her clarinet:

  6. sonofrojblake says

    Ed Alleyne-Johnson studied Fine Art at Oxford, was a member of New Model Army, and carved his electric violin with a kitchen knife. I last saw him a couple of months back on his home turf busking in Chester. Always amazes me how people can just walk past when his sorcery is in progress…

  7. crivitz says

    This is a bad idea! I mean come on man… I’ve already got tons of music to listen to, movies, TV shows and YouTube videos to watch. I’ve got stacks of books yet to read, and a quota of blog posts to review daily as it stands already, so now here comes good old Marcus who’s just got a “Great Idea” and now my unbearable burden just got heavier. What a swell guy, thanks for nothin’ pal.

    Seriously though, these are some wonderful artists here, at least the few I’ve checked out so far. I know of Mr. Moracchioli and really liked the covers he did. I believe my introduction to him came a few years back on these very pages. Or it was the YT algorithm, but just fine no matter what.
    I’m linking to a video of Richard Hawley who is someone that may not exactly qualify as under appreciated, but maybe falls into the category of guilty pleasure.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    I am not into music enough to know about obscure performers that no one else has ever heard of. But I’d like to join in, so I’ll go with the theme of “kicks ass, and is better than the well-known version.” Here is a terrific cover.
    Seven Nation Army

  9. Tethys says

    I’ve worked my way through most of the above links, and found them quite well done. I especially enjoyed Charles on his bass, Maggie Koerners soulful voice, and Doreen absolutely being phenomenal on her clarinet.

    I will share a few of my more eclectic favorite musicians, starting with the voice of Toni Child’s..


  10. seachange says

    The Moracchioli Sultans piece would not work without Mary Spencer. My reaction to Uyanga Bold is this is Brain Damage Pink Floyd that has been put through the Avatar movie soundtrack. I have gotten lost exploring a number of Trouw’s videos, very interesting

    Here is the new thing I have found about six months ago, on the way to listening to Alison Krauss. Some close jazz a capella

    I love the music for Cowboy Bebop, and it turns out Yoko Kanno has made other stuff (this is a whole album, skip around)

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    I haven’t seen the movie (Gumnaam) this dance scene comes from, but it shows India “got” the ’60s better than the US & UK put together: Jaan Pehchan Ho.

  12. Tethys says

    Another astounding female singer who works with equally talented musicians in multiple genres. Here she is in a vintage, Marlene Dietrich moment complete with German double entendres and a jazz trio*.

    The Lady & The Cat – Bitte Erschieß Deine Gattin. (Alternate trans. Please shoot your wife.) German sideways speaking is punnery raised to an art form.


    She also does polyphonic overtone singing, which I find somewhat magical. Clearly she can breathe through her ears and is part Elf.

    Supersonus- The European resonance ensemble.



  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    Not a musician, but an incredible 15 year old artist who will be getting a lot of recognition soon

  14. Sunday Afternoon says

    @sonofrojblake, #9

    I’m an expat Scot living in California. In 2017 I drove from Yorkshire to visit my sister in North Wales and we stopped in Chester for lunch. As we wandered through Chester, I heard something and thought, that sounds like “Purple Electric Violin”! My girlfriend in the mid ’90s had the album and listened to it a lot. It was indeed Ed Alleyne-Johnson busking in Chester and it was awesome!

  15. theflyingchipmunk says

    Great idea, Marcus. I comment rarely but I am a loyal reader lurking in the shadows. This is a great way to find out good stuff that I would otherwise have missed out. I liked many of the videos you and others have shared above.

    I will share two of mine. They are not exactly underappreciated but they are relatively unknown in the non-Slavik world. The first one is a Russian folk song. The singer is a bit less important to me than the song itself as I’ve liked many different versions of this song sung by other people as well. I don’t know Russian, btw.


    The second one is a French song sung by Dimash Kudaibergen, a Russian/Kazakh singer. He has an incredible 6 octave range.

  16. says

    This is also glorious. I have no other word for it. I don’t see much else from Kovcheg but I don’t care, this one track is so badass I am their fan forever.

  17. says

    Anna-Maria Hefele is the name of the singer in my previous comment @18.
    She also does polyphonic overtone singing, which I find somewhat magical. Clearly she can breathe through her ears and is part Elf.

    I did a posting on her back in the fog of time: [stderr] She very kindly explains how her polyphonic singing works. Cute accent, too. [Austrian?]

  18. says

    Audiomachine produces what I consider a mix of mediocre to great music. Most people have likely heard music from them, though I doubt many know of them. However, one of their albums, Nomad consists of music that I’ve yet to get tired of listening to.

    And for a less known interesting artist:

  19. says

    I love the music for Cowboy Bebop, and it turns out Yoko Kanno has made other stuff (this is a whole album, skip around)

    Yoko Kanno is a goddess. I thought everyone knew that!

  20. says

    MC Solaar’s voice is what sunshine would sound like if it congealed.

    This is not the best performance but it’s cool to watch his stage presence. The mix on his mic is, unfortunately, low – the orchestra is drowning him out. Someone should have rehearsed with that set-up a couple more times and corrected it. But I don’t care. I don’t care.

  21. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    A word for Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi! Stephanie was a brilliant stride/boogie pianist when she met Paolo, a jazz pianist; they married; and since have developed a brilliant four-hands piano act. For the last year they have done a series of monthly online talks about jazz composers and styles, see https://www.paoloandstephanie.com/ .

    How do y’all get the video to show up in the post? Here’s a good sample:


  22. seachange says

    My guess whether or not the video shows is random?

    I’ve been in a smoky smooth club with the mix like MC Solaar has. I think the warm buttery mix with the implied missed words where he is just another instrument sometimes, this is on-purpose. Sade not from Senegal like M’Barali but Nigeria, she does that too. *Definitely* he does shoulder.

    Audiomachine to me sounds like Tangerine Dream -still on LSD-, remembers randomly that they learned to do flamenco and ballet folklorico. Worth a glossy lazy listen, and if some of the pieces are less inspired like the OP mentions, it’s a so-what I’m still all mellow.

    Dimash does have an amazing range. Meh. I have looked at other video of his, and to me he sounds like he is being a virtuoso just to be a virtuoso. When he goes past countertenor into alto and soprano ranges, his voice just isn’t as nice as his tenor-countertenor voice. To me it sounds like the mating-call of the female half of the human race.

    Kovcheg-nothing but nothing is quite like a real Russian Basso voice. Dang!

    Of Trick and Alderigi I like the St Louis Blues the best.

  23. says

    seachange@#33: and others
    My guess whether or not the video shows is random?

    It appears that when wordpress ingests a comment it parses youtube links and somehow decides if they will be displayed or not. And if the blog owner posts or edits the link, it is more inclined to accept it. Some of the comments above, I have goosed the links. But sometimes even when I do it, it doesn’t take it. This is annoying as all get-out but I’m not going to ruin my life trying to figure out why wordpress presses words the way it does.

  24. Rob Curtis says

    I started watching the videos posted. I went down the rabbit hole with Leo Moracchioli. He has a lot of good fun music! Thank you for sharing!

    thought I would share one of the best live bands out of minneapolis in the 90s. Walt Mink. The drummer went on to drum for a a couple bands you may have heard of, Beck, REM.

    The vocals on this live performance are poor, but the instruments and energy come through well.

  25. Tethys says

    Marcus @26.

    I did a posting on her back in the fog of time: [stderr] She very kindly explains how her polyphonic singing works. Cute accent, too. [Austrian?]

    I’ve been a fan for awhile, and have managed to achieve the vibration drone at will, but not the ethereal whistling. Thanks for the thread link, CR’s comments were very informative.

    According to Wiki she is from Munich. Her German accent is modern urban. To my ears it almost has a clipped British quality? Posh, as they say in London.

    Loved both the Kovcheg chant, and Marcin doing amazing percussion with a classical guitar.

    In return I offer Mean Mary, and fast banjo.


  26. kurt1 says

    Youtube and Bandcamp are amazing platforms to find new music. I have found a lot of really cool music there.
    One of my favourites is All Them Witches. Been following them for some years now, luckily they get more and more attention and if you are into psychedelic blues rock, definitely check them out:

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLE6A0aQpd4&w=780&h=450%5D

    Probably one of the best contemporary bands to watch live, sadly the tour in europe last year was cancelled because of covid.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eovMuxGqyGQ&w=780&h=450%5D

  27. Sunday Afternoon says

    @Marcus #25 – what an incredible sound from only 5 voices! And those bass notes at the end – wow!

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