It's no secret that a promising portal to mainstream music consumers is popular television. Looking at a shortlist of today's top performers, we can recollect the first time we became aware of their sounds. I'll never forget my initial experience with The Black Keys - stoned to the gills in college, deeply absorbed in my new favorite show: Eastbound and Down, I watched the all-black mulleted badass buffoon Kenny Powers blast into a high school with the wind of "Your Touch" at his back.
I was immediately driven to consume Auerbach and Carney's entire catalogue. Their music started popping up everywhere. HBO's following risque series Hung selected "I'll Be Your Man" as its perfect intro tune. Looking back, since "10am Automatic" was featured on Fox's The O.C. in 2005, hit series have been riddled with songs from the Keys.
Recent history shows that indie music gained its greatest early recognition through the boom of HBO original programming. Six years prior to their stunning Grammy win, Arcade Fire was featured twice in the fifth and final 2005 season of Six Feet Under with their songs "Cold Wind" and "Rebellion (Lies)". And who throughout Entourage's lengthy eight seasons didn't discover a new favorite song as the credits of an episode rolled past? I remember hearing TV on the Radio's "Staring At The Sun" end a particularly jarring ep.
But this trend of using up-and-coming and undoubtedly cheap soundtrack sources has spread like wildfire throughout the TV universe. Bands that we regularly cover are heard most prominently in teen dramas, and although we at first react in a jeering manner, it's proven to be - and hopefully will continue to be - a great source of recognition for our favorite artists. It's no surprise that television producers are using these songs as they are far more plot poignant than your average Bieber or Nicki Minaj slop. Seeing how we don't all watch The Vampire Diaries and Grey's Anatomy (yeah, this shit is STILL on), we thought it would be an interesting trend to follow. In doing so, here are a few familiar faces (to us), whose songs have appeared on primetime in recent weeks.
Phosphorescent - "Song For Zula" on The Vampire Diaries s04e19
I actually received a text the night this aired that read, "It's officially over, 'Song For Zula' was on Vampire Diaries." But I was pretty thrilled to hear that Matthew Houck's brilliant album Muchacho would be shared with the masses (of teens and middle-aged single women with lots of cats). The more the merrier!
Lord Huron - "Ends of the Earth" on Shameless s03e12
I recognized this appearance the week it aired, but the use of Lord Huron's enriching song injected a level of realism this television series had lacked until this point. The show I had once watched as a guilty pleasure finally had real-life relevancy.
Radiohead - "The Tourist" on Bates Motel s01e01
Radiohead is by no means a new and upcoming band, but the use of the underpraised Paranoid Android tune "The Tourist" showed the producers' of the new A&E series had a serious desire to be different. It's an eerily intoxicating song that seamlessly complemented the show's cryptic theme. It was a bold move that hooked viewers like me to the Hitchcock revisit through at least the first season.