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Here are the new music geniuses, v.1.0.

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I caught a whiff of consensus for these three.

Consider this a placeholder that can perhaps be fleshed out by someone better qualified on the subject.  [Subtly requests volunteers.]

Yesterday I posed the question:  who are today’s music geniuses?  The discussion, the stellar discussion, yielded a lot of names.  Rather than update yesterday’s post, I’m going to take a stab at cataloging them as I did my gen’s geniuses.  (Remember, we’re working with individuals, not groups.)  Here’s what I got from the comments.

Multiple nominations:


Damon Albarn.

  • Cobain, Nirvana
  • 9, Thom Yorke, Radiohead
  • 4, Beck
  • 4, Jack White, White Stripes
  • 3, Damon Albarn, Blur
  • 3, Jeff Tweedy, Wilco
  • 2, Aphex Twin
  • 2, Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins
  • 2, Colin Meloy, Decemberists
  • 2, Daft Punk
  • 2, Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters/Nirvana
  • 2, Johnny Greenwood, Radiohead
  • 2, Josh Homme, QOTSA
  • 2, Les Claypool, Primus
  • 2, Maynard James Keenan, Tool
  • 2, Ryan Adams
  • 2, Stephen Malkmus /Pavement


    Jeff Tweedy with Mavis Staples.

Single mentions:  Aesop Rock, Amy Winehouse, Andre 3000, Big Boi, Bradley Nowell /Sublime, Cat Power, Chris Cornell /Soundgarden, Colin Stetson, Connor Oberst /Bright Eyes, Craig Finn /The Hold Steady, David Sitek /TV on the Radio, David Thomas /Pere Ubu, Derek Trucks, Dr. Dre, El-P, Elliott Smith, Frank Black /Pixies, Gary Louris /Jayhawks, Henry Rollins /Black Flag, Ian MacKaye, Imogen Heap, J Mascis /Dinosaur Jr., James Mercer /Shins, JayZ, Jeff Mangum /Neutral Milk Hotel, Jim James /My Morning Jacket, Jimmy Tamborello /Dntel, Jonsi /Sigur Ros, Justin Townes Earle*, Kanye, Ketch Secor /OCMS, Kurt Vile, Laura Marling, Mark Olson /Jayhawks, Morrissey /The Smiths, Nas, Nick Cave, Patterson Hood /Drive-By Truckers, Paul Westerberg /Replacements, Richard Thompson, Rivers Cuomo /Weezer, Seu Jorge, Steve Albini, Sufjan Stevens, Susan Tedeschi, Rza /Wu-Tang, Todd Snider, Trent Reznor /NIN, Win Butler /Arcade Fire, Eugene Hutz /Gogol Bordello), Esperanza Spalding, PJ Harvey.  Dan Auerbach /Black Keys.


Now then, here’s Kanick putting them into the buckets I used with my generation’s artists.  There is no pride of ownership here.


Ketch Secor.

Einstein level.
Kurt Cobain, Beck, Thom Yorke.

Planck level.
Albarn, Grohl, Greenwood, Homme, Keenan, Tweedy, Jack White, Secor. 


/stops self.
/realizes this is beyond ridiculous.

Now I’m not saying there’s anything in the internet code of ethics that requires a blogger to know what he’s talking about.  But when the subject is music common sense — common decency — requires that I stand down.

My main take.


Remember this when guys my age give you crap about your music…

My thesis, if you hadn’t read between the lines, was loosely:  music isn’t as good as it used to be.  The thinking of it jolted me because:  that’s what 50 year olds have always said about current music since forever.

My takeaway, having read the responses is that the music is still there but the open distribution channels available now have changed everything.  Artists can work within segments and their audiences find them.  I won’t even start to categorize the different types of music comprised in the artists above.

But I’m satisfied there’s something in there I can latch on to.

And also, there have been no albums like as shown at right, so you’re all maybe actually ahead.


* Not sure where JT Earle fits, but … somewhere.


  1. pete says:

    Have you tried Incubus? At this point they are not so current, but far more so than Nirvana.

  2. supermadelf says:

    N.M.H. changed my sonic, but I was already on the Pavement. One glaring omission (because this seems more to be a “Old Man” thread is Grandaddy. Sophtware Slump should be way, way and way up there. Funny Like Beck, Bitches.

  3. art brosef says:

    A couple things ill chime in with

    Nirvana Unplugged is just byond brilliant. Hindsight adds a lot here, but “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” is just amazingly apropos to end the album (his life). At one point towards the end you hear him sigh, you can literally here his pain and at one point towards the end, he takes a break from screaming (around the 4:48 mark in the link below) and just takes a sigh. As if hes given up, and he knows what lies ahead. Also as it relates to that album, Bob Dylan said “Polly” cemented Cobains legacy as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. If anyones looking for a good read, Heavier Than Heaven by Charles Cross is worth your while.

    Ketch Secor is not only a very talented musician, but an amazing entertainer who appreciates the history of music in a way that very few musicians today do.

    It should be noted Jack White was not only in the White Stripes, but founded The Raconteurs and The Deadweather as well. All are good.

    Love the JTE mention. I assume you know the story behind him….Steve Earles son, named after Townes Van Zandt, huge addiction issues, etc….

  4. DK says:

    Saw the Stephen Malkmus/Pavement reference and was happy.

    That’s all.

  5. Max says:

    I had a 500 word response to your original post on this idea, then the kid dumped some milk on the keyboard, and…yeah

    Short story is: add another nomination for David Gilmour and Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000).

    Other than that, I’m never into much “new” music. I like what I like and it doesn’t change much. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent listening to Zeppelin albums in their entirety. From the first time I heard “Rock and Roll” when I was 8 (my 13 year old sister bought the Untitled album for Stairway, naturally), I was hooked.

    Yes, I’m a 35 year old grumpy old man. Stay off my lawn with this dubstep crap (although some of it is kinda cool). It used to be that I didn’t buy anything “new” because I didnt want to blow 18 bucks on a CD for 2 good songs. I guess I should get hip to the times and strt buying music track by track. In fact, I did that not too long ago, but the tracks I bought just so happened to make up the “Pulse” version of “Dark Side of the Moon”.

    Id also like to give a shout out to the guys in Ween. If only for their range…they put out metal albums and even a country album, just to show they could.

  6. NeedsFoodBadly says:

    One very minor correction which might be pedantic but isn’t meant to be so…

    Jeff Magnum and Jeff Mangum are different.

    Jeff Magnum was the bassist from seminal Cleveland (and CBGB-fixture) punk band The Dead Boys, who are tremendous in their own right (and is who you put you in your lovingly curated list which is chock full of enough good musicians to please anyone for quite some time).

    Jeff Mangum is the guy behind indie-music touchstone Neutral Milk Hotel (the album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is holy writ in certain circles) and I assume who Borcas was referring to.

    But in the end, everyone should listen to Dead Boys and Neutral Milk Hotel both, forever.

  7. spencer096 says:

    hmm…bela fleck and the flecktones, medeski martin and wood, steve vai, children of bodom, mastodon and dream theater could be nominated too. pianist lang lang. guitarist scott henderson. herbie hancock’s still killin it too. maybe robert randolph?

    music might not be as “good” but there’s a lot of diversity, access to so much music from around the world and still such a ridiculous amount of music that’s already been made to still go thru, so we’re still good.

    loved these posts.

    • jimkanicki says:

      this is that ‘thing’ again. for instance, i didnt have rick wakeman or jeff beck in the other listing. meantime, i just listened to unplugged all apologies and there’s not a simpler bass line and it is sublime.

      that being said, i too like bela fleck.

    • Max says:

      Bela Fleck and MMW…two excellent choice. I’d add to that list String Cheese Incident

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