Katy Perry Made Me Do It

If Aaron Paul told you to do something, you’d do it, right?

What about Katy Perry?

What about ME?!

As a wannabe “music person,” I really love recommending music with my friends or really anyone who asks (and then subsequently feeling hurt and dejected when their Spotify feed makes it clear they have ignored my thoughtfully selected suggestions).

But the art of music recommendation is subtle and delicate. To do it effectively, you have to ask some questions to figure out what, exactly, the potential listener is looking for. What he or she likes, what kind of vibe they are looking for, etc.

It’s difficult to make universal recommendations. But sometimes…sometimes a band is just too good. Sometimes you know that they can’t help but be beloved by all whose ears they touch.

Here are two such bands. They have been endorsed by the likes of not only me, but also Aaron Paul (super cool, super studly co-star of Breaking Bad) and Katy Perry (just go with me). And BONUS: neither has released a full album, so you can totally impress your friends with your knowledge of obscure music.

Years & Years
This is a love story borne of our digital age. But for Twitter I never would have heard of Years & Years, or at least not before they released a full album. Aaron Paul, aka Jesse from Breaking Bad, tweeted a link to the video below, saying “Saw this band last night in London town and was blown away.”

My first instinct as the video played: these guys are having fun. Years & Years classifies themselves as indie-electro-pop; I would say their music combines the joyful fun of Passion Pit with the electronic swirls of Beach House. As the song goes on, the driving beat airs out with each repetition of the chorus and the performance evolves into a jumping-around-in-confetti dance party, which may be the very best kind of dance party there is.

These guys have been around since 2010 but just released their first 2-song EP to Spotify today. (I may or may not have checked on this every day for the last month.) I couldn’t find any verifiable ages for the five guys that make up the band but by the looks of the video they are young dudes. With the help of Aaron Paul these Londoners have broken into the American scene before releasing an album, and I for anxiously await their next move.

Years & Years – “I Wish I Knew”

My relationship with Haim was not love at first listen. They were a midday band (aka get drinks-and-food time) at Mumford & Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Dixon but, because one person in my group had heard them before and was excited to check them out live, I found myself front and center for their set. All I knew about them is that they were “a girl band” and that their name was confusing. (It rhymes with ‘time.’) That they started the show off so intensely–just the three of them, sisters Alana, Este, and Danielle (ages 20, 23, and 26), banging on drums–for some reason really caught me off guard. I thought they were angry and honestly, a little bit scary. But after a few songs I started realizing how refreshing it was to see girls who aren’t afraid to be so intense. For some reason I had come to expect female musicians to be gentle singer-songwriters. I had forgotten they have every right to rock just as hard as their male counterparts.

The sisters of Haim are on the cusp of a pretty exciting career, in my opinion. They have released an EP that, in the last few weeks and months, has earned them attention from not only Mumford & Sons but Stereogum, The New York Times, and Katy Perry. Actually, Katy Perry tweeting about them makes me question my musical taste–but hey, the Beatles were popular, and also Aaron Paul tweeting about my other band more than balances it out. Did you know he met his fiancee at Coachella? Fun fact.

But back to Haim, who, Katy Perry or not, are unquestionably awesome. And they are just setting out on their own: they announced that the Dixon show was their first without parents present!

Haim – “Go Slow (Acoustic)”

Continue past the jump for a Spotify playlist of both bands’ intro EPs!


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