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What Are You Listening To?
Three New Yorkers take off their headphones and chat.
By Kristin Hunt and Maura Hehir
What were you listening to when we just stopped you?
I was on the train yesterday and I was listening to NPR, and they told me I should download Tammar.
Listen: Tammar, "The Last Line"
Were they right?
Yeah, I like it. It's kind of like Arcade Fire — epic, searching music.
What are some other things that they've recommended?
A couple years ago, one of their recommendations I absolutely fell in love with was Wale. He's a rapper from D.C. And I lived in D.C. for like four years, so I was pretty psyched. That was probably my favorite NPR recommendation.
What are some of your favorite bands?
Well, I'm pretty psyched about the new Tom Waits album. I haven't made it all the way through, but it sounds like a combination of some of his previous albums. It's not totally new, but I still like it.
What's you guilty-pleasure band? You don't have to answer.
No, no, it's fine. When you guys said you were doing this article I was excited, because I always thought it would be fun to ask people what they were listening to, and then make them take out their iPod and prove that they were telling the truth.
Make sure they're not just naming a cool band?
Right. Make sure they're not actually just listening to Katy Perry. Which maybe sometimes I listen to.
Do you have Katy Perry on your iPod?
Yeah... but not any full albums!
Yeah. Except, you know why she's a double guilty pleasure? Not only is she super-poppy, but I feel like she's a really bad role model for young women. Her songs have such horrible messages. I feel even worse listening to — supporting something that I don't think is good.
So who do you think is a better musical female role model?
Hm. Good female role model. Oh, I just started listening to Kimbra. She's pretty cool. I feel like she's got some good messages for the young ladies. She's kind of poppy, but a little more interesting.
So if you were to start a band, what kind of band would you start?
I'm trying to teach myself how to play the harmonica. It's way harder than I thought it was going to be, which is disappointing. But something that involves the harmonica. And I've been listening to a lot of early Rolling Stones lately, so something like that, maybe.
So would you choose Beatles or Stones?
Early Stones, definitely. But the later stuff... I don't know. Maybe some of it has just been ruined for me because of pop culture. Which is fine.
Who would you have rather been a groupie for, the Stones or the Beatles?
I've always thought that I would have been an awesome groupie. I never did it, sadly. I'd say the Stones. But I would change my entire personality to be friends with Tom Waits. I'd be whatever he wanted me to be.
Why do you say you'd be an awesome groupie? What are the qualities one needs to have?
Well, you know, I still get emails for jobs from roadiejobs.com. That's how like, committed I was to this. But I don't have any upper-body strength, so no one would hire me. I'm not talking about my sexual prowess when I say I would have been a good groupie. I just think I have a romantic vision of what being on the road would be like. I'm sure it's not accurate, but it sounds fun.
Listen: Kimbra, "Settle Down"