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Top 10 Songs from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (or The birth of Indie Music in TV Shows)

"One girl in all the world..."

These days, some of the best outlets for new indie music are commercials and TV show soundtracks. Since it is so prominent at present, it's actually kind of hard to believe that this is a fairly recent development. It wasn't that long ago when indie music was never heard in places like that. I mean, never. And the place where this ground was broken was in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In it, the show's writer/creator Joss Whedon made up a fictional night club called The Bronze for his characters to hang out in, and to make it more realistic (as well as cost-effective) the show found local L.A. indie bands to play their original tunes in the background of scenes -- essentially, the bands were meant to be extras, but it turned out that they added so much more and it became a huge part of the show. It was an approach that worked really well, and was quickly copied until it is now omnipresent.

So, many thanks to Joss Whedon and company for getting that trend going, as it is definitely the best thing to happen to independent musicians since the invention of the 4-track recorder.

Following are nonhollywood's choices for the Top 10 Tunes by a few of the bands featured in that show.

(song previews provided courtesy of iTunes).


Overfire by THC

Well, when it comes to songs sung by sexy werewolves, you really can't get any better than this one. The fictional band Shy is actually the real band THC which features the haunting synths of George Sarah and the haunting vocals of Sarah Folkman.

Wait, did I mention that it was "haunting?" Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)


Need to Destroy by THC

I know that I already mentioned this band, but they packed 2 fantastic songs into their BTVS episodes. When she sings "You might be something I need... to destroy" it just sends a shiver through me. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

Azure Ray

Displaced by Azure Ray

I've been a fan of the duo Azure Ray for quite some time now. I love their low-key approach, the fact that they whisper most of their vocals (and you often can't tell which of the two ladies is singing) and the fact that they aren't afraid to use very different styles of arrangements in their tunes. This one finds them with little more than a beautiful acoustic guitar riff, and it really works. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

Velvet Chain

Treason by Velvet Chain

This band made a few very prominent appearances in some of the early Buffy episodes, and their distinctive band graphic was featured in the background of several scenes throughout Sunnydale. Random factoid: though I didn't realize it until later, I recorded some and mixed all of the songs from my album Sparse in the same small studio in L.A. at around the same time as Velvet Chain was recording these tunes. Weird. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

Trespassers William

I Know by Trespassers William

I freakin' love this band. Fantastic (and often ethereal) guitar work highlighted by great vocals of somber lyrics. Personally, there's really nothing more that I would want from a band than what I get from Trespassers William... Though I do wish that I knew what in the world their name is supposed to mean... Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

K's Choice

Virgin State of Mind by K's Choice

One of the few indie bands from this era who are still out there and doing it, this tune was a huge part of an episode of BTVS, and even after all of these years, this is one tune that always pops up in whatever current playlist I have on my ipod. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

Biff Naked

Lucky by Bif Naked

Though this band has some pretty kickin' rock tunes, belted out by their tattooed lead singer, Lucky finds them in a ballad state of mind.

Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)


Back to Freedom by bellylove

This is the "I'm so glad we came here on Depressing Night" at the Bronze song. And I love it. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)


Sweet Charlotte Rose by Headland

This song was featured in close proximity to a song by The Cure. That was a great choice by the music supervisor as this one has the attitude and swirling effects of the aforementioned. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

Four Star Mary

Fate by Four Star Mary

Wasn't sure where to work this one in, but it had to be somewhere. For a couple of seasons, the band Dingoes Ate My Baby was regularly featured. The thing is that they weren't a real band. The real band behind the TV band was Four Star Mary. Buy it on iTunes (or hear longer preview)

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