A quick Prologue to make a few things clear: This author has completed listening to many all time best music lists in full, taken music classes, has musician friends, and has been to almost 500 concerts, so this is a subject the author is SOMEWHAT qualified to discuss. The author listens to the following types of music: classical, jazz, ambient, electronica, dance, rap, blues, classic rock, rock, metal, and alternative (rock). EVERYTHING except Country and Pop. So when people say they listen to everything, though only cite stuff from about 3 or 4 genres, i’m the dude that says everything, and actually listens to (almost) EVERYTHING. Even though I dislike the genres, I still jam to some Hank Williams, Hank Williams III, Dwight Yoakam, Johnny Cash, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Michael Jackson, etc etc. Country and Pop. Anyway. Everything I write for this site is subjective, so i’m aware that all pieces are flawed, including this one, and that people could make arguments, or post separate opinions, some of which I may agree with, in contrast to my positions. Ultimately though, as flawed as the entire writing system is of WHO THE CURRENT BEST REALLY IS, and WHAT THE ALL TIME BEST IS, etc, I think my grasp on high quality unnoticed acts, and the well noted kings of modern music, as well as the legends of old music, is strong, and mixing them all together into whom really reigns supreme is something I grasp MUCH stronger than most, so you chose wisely. Without further ado, these are the 5 acts that I really think deviated from the normal way of life musically, or that broke boundaries/barriers, changed the game, kicked it up a few notches, and gave a lightning bolt to the industry that so few do.
5. Graffiti6 – Right off the bat, there is a flaw in this act being included. I said ‘of the last few years’, leading one to think that they made a massive impact within this time frame. Technically, indeed Graffiti6 put out an album in that time frame (so they’re eligible to be on here IMO), though that’s NOT AT ALL, what got them on this list. No way man. That album isn’t an excellent representation of this acts greatness. The reason Graffiti6 is significant and is so musically essential, is because of lead vocalist Jamie Scott’s lady like crooning that sounds like a crisper more soulful alternative to Alabama Shakes. MUCH more worthy of selling out arenas than Alabama Shakes. The Shakes have the listeners though. Graffiti6 never really scored listeners. Nothing to do with quality, everything to do with lack of promotion and lack of people just getting bloody with it man. The vocals are some of the best alternative vocals you’ll find. top 20 of the last decade, without question. Definitely a lightning bolt to the music industry vocals wise alone. Not to mention that excellent first record. Graffiti6 should have taken the world by storm, and that’s not hipster taste conveying this to you (I like MORE mainstream stuff than I do unnoticed gems, though I like plenty of those also). If Graffiti6 ever reunites, they deserve royalty. Wise up and give it to them. (P.S Alabama Shakes are good, hating on them not my actual intention).
4. Kendrick Lamar – This is the one rap act I included, because to me, aside from Run The Jewels (who almost made the list in his place), he’s ‘the king of the new school’. I like plenty of rap, though these two are the most significant and game changing. Run The Jewels brought back the fury of Rage Against The Machine, and continue to slay. Kendrick Lamar, on the other hand, is recording THE BEST, studio recordings, OF ANYONE, in rap, hands down. Furthermore, he has guests in songs, though he’s one of those few rappers who doesn’t need them. He can rap a whole song with the best of them. The all time best. he’s a significant lightning bolt to rap, because of those studio recordings, the infamous freestyle ending to Control, because he’s not letting fame get to him, because of his excellent albums Section 80, Good Kid Mad City, and To Pimp A Butterfly, and most of all, he’s taking risks, like putting a mob of dangerous African-American folks at the front of the white house with a dead prez on front. And spewing African-American self loathing with fury on “The Blacker The Berry”. Oh yeah, and did I mention he performed an entire concert on the back of a moving truck in L.A. Keep Killing Kendrick, and pushing the envelope.
3. Jake Bugg – Put Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Noel Gallagher in a blender and out comes Jake Bugg. To me, he sounds like a certain percentage of all three. He has all the potential in the world, and he’s an excellent high quality new act in alternative rock. Jake Bugg is significant to the industry, because he has a legendary voice, he has the songs, and he’s just a kid, who is NOT AT ALL intimidated by his fame, or by the scope of his greatness. He’s also constantly walking the line (pun not intended) between alternative rock, country, and alternative country. His music is essential. Jake Bugg reigns supreme.