Despite what our instincts of loyalty and appreciation for “what came first” tell us, side and solo projects are most likely the truest expressions by their creators. In most cases we suggest you attempt to appreciate a musician’s evolution—even if sometimes (most times?) the new style isn’t your fancy.
We’ve found five of these projects to appreciate and to fancy equal parts.
Alexander Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)
His Jesus-like image and eccentric crew of Magnetic Zeros is a progression toward self discovery, said frontman Alexander Ebert in a recent interview with Time Out Chicago. He began with the self-proclaimed defiant pop band Ima Robot, then initiated Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and now he’s leveling more toward hip-hop tastes with his solo album Alexander. All the while holding on tight to everything that makes his music endearing.
CANT (Grizzly Bear)
CANT is the latest project of Chris Taylor, producer and musician best known for his involvement with Grizzly Bear. Although CANT boasts the same vocals as Grizzly Bear, styles are lower pitched and slower paced. Taylor leaves the pop elements of Grizzly Bear behind in this project. This downtempo dubstep—not unlike James Blake—is nice and chill electronica dosed with waves of powerful crescendo.
James Murphy for Greenberg (LCD Soundsystem)
Greenberg OST allows us to hear more of James Murphy’s voice, as it is sometimes too secondary to really appreciate in the midst of LCD’s electronica. This is an album of reverberating ballads that narrate the mid-life breakdown of Roger Greenberg, played by Ben Stiller. Murphy’s score is curious, artistic and suits the social dissonance of Stiller’s character. It’s also probably the only reason to watch this film again.
Will Weissenfeld / Geotic (Baths)
Geotic sounds grainier than Baths. There is certainly less to grasp onto; Geotic seems to wander up atmospheric space, while Baths seems to be exploring the tangible world. Both are abstract and meant to be enjoyed solo, with big headphones and an itch to explore.
Nicolas Jaar & Dave Harrington (Nicolas Jaar)
Nicolas rose to fame young and quick with his techno/minimal beats and minor-key mystery. He’s far from settling on a single sound or project though. He recently released the project Darkside EP with label-mate Dave Harrington, with which they pursue an even darker abyss fusing guitar riffs with his slow beats. If you can imagine this as something beautiful you’d be right.