So, let's say all my favorite bands get together and decide to do a SUPER PROJECT. Like the Justice League, but for music instead of crime fighting. Who do we include? We've got to make sure it is PERFECT in every way. Let's start with the writing.
Lyrics and Musical Arrangement: Colin Meloy (The Decemberists) and John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats)
We have to start with my favorite lyricists. Colin and John both write the most articulate and interesting lyrics around, and their songs are always awesome in general. With these two organizing, we're assuredly in good hands.
Vocals: Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Adam Gardner (Guster), Neko Case (The New Pornographers)
I have to give Colin Meloy a vocal slot in addition to writing. His voice is unusual but also beautiful. Please note that Adam Gardner is probably not who you think of when you think of Guster; Adam is master of subtle harmonies. You can hear him in the background of most Guster songs if you listen for him, and his somewhat deeper voice and graceful harmonizing would sound awesome with Colin Meloy's singing. Meanwhile Neko Case delivers an energetic touch, and adds a female voice along with improved octave range.
Bass: Nate Query (The Decemberists)
Last Decemberists choice, I promise. While there are certainly close competitors for my favorite bassist, what puts Nate leagues above the competition is the double bass. His steady and talented bass playing, combined with the amazing double bass performance, make him my favorite bassist of all time.
Guitar: Jack White (The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes)
Runner up: Todd Fancey (The New Pornographers)
Jack White has an intense and very melodic sound to his guitar playing. His technical ability is extremely impressive, and his melodies are always well done. I'm hesitant to include him here because I worry he would overpower the rest of the band, but his qualifications are just too good to pass up. Todd Fancey gets an honorable mention, but I can't include him because he simply isn't as consistent as Jack.
Drums: Danny Carey (Tool)
Honorable Mention: Brian Rosenworcel (Guster)
I know Tool isn't a band most of you probably care for. And honestly, I really don't either. But I have to recognize that Danny Carey is simply the best drummer. I love everything about his drumming. His parts are always fascinating, ever-changing, and complex. And his style is very different. I don't know that I've ever heard him play a drum fill; he just holds the song to an ever-changing rhythm so that his drumming never needs to break structure. He also is the master of time signature changes; Schism changes time signature 47 times. Guster's drummer should also get an honorable mention here for his awesome hand drumming.
Piano: Ben Folds (Solo, Ben Folds Five)
Violin: Andrew Bird (Solo, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire)
It would probably be a little overwhelming to have every member of our imaginary band playing during every song; but Ben Folds on piano and Andrew Bird on violin would definitely be awesome every once in awhile where warranted. There's not much else to be said for these two because they simply dominate the competition in their respective instruments.
So in conclusion, I hope we've all learned a valuable lesson today. A lesson about music, and how awesome it would be if these people played it together.