Polska Muzyka (Polish Music)
About ten years ago I became hooked on Polish music, and I find that has helped to recognize a lot of the words and phrases. So I wanted to start by listing some of my favorite Polish music artists.
I like listening to http://www.polskastacja.pl/ They have a lot of different channels to choose from. I like the "Tylko Polskie Przeboje" channel which plays exclusively Polish songs from the 80s and 90s, which is my favorite era of Polish music.
Some of my favorites:
Kasia Kowalska, Edyta Bartosiewicz, Hey, Goya, Dżem, Republika, Lady Pank, Wilki, Myslovitz, Monika Brodka, Ania Dąbrowska, Brathanki, Kult (Kazik)
...and of course, Czesław Niemen
I recommend Brodka. Her voice is very interesting in album Granda and she proves there that Polish language is beautiful! :)
Edyta Bartosiewicz is also a good one, yet her songs are more peaceful and melancholic. On the other hand, fans of rock would certainly like Myslovitz.
Just to check something interesting: Peggy Brown by Myslovitz. You will get some British folk vibe out of it, and the text itself is a traslation of a poem by an Irish poet, Turlough O'Carolan. If you are interested in some heavier Slavic folk renditions, try Żywiołak (meaning, Elemental) and their song "Oko Dybuka" (The eye of the dybbuk). Of course, it is difficult to recommend anything just like that :) Another interesting choice is Big Day, a britpoppish band made popular in the 90s with their less britpoppish songs (Przestrzeń, Mój znak etc. ). The lady way the lady sings seems very clear to me. Elektryczne gitary and Czerwone gitary (songs from 50 years ago I believe) might supply a nice set of songs for some listening practice, as the focus is on the voice, not on the instruments. Elektryczne gitary may not be particularly exciting music-wise, but they have interesting cabaret-like lyrics. Czerwone Gitary are like Polish Beatles ;) You might also want to check Lady Pank's songs from the 80s - people would say they could be very popular abroad, but they needed to learn English... but they didn't want to. Their newer songs are mediocre imho. If you prefer blues, Dżem (Jam) was pretty influential at the time, and even has its own blues music festival these days (featuring other interesting, but not always well-known bands, like e.g. Riders - you might want to check their "Wiara" (faith) ). Of course, I could mention Polish bands, which are already popular abroad, like the metal band Vader or progressive Riverside (Porcupine Tree-like), but you want to practise listening of Polish, right? ;)
And if you prefer something more serious, try listening to something by a famous Polish singer-songwriter Jacek Kaczmarski. He wrote mainly historical and social-political songs (the latter especially connected with the martial law time) accompanied by a classical guitar played in a rather unusual way. The best-known of his works are arguably "Mury" (The Walls): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YGS9vhmFS0 and "Obława" (The Chase): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UIzl4_SFp4
If you like Kaczmarski, you'll like this
"Szukamy stajenki" ("We are looking for the stable") https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR9Z8Dk6Wszo4Yakoo_oq8YGoKquxCp5s
I'd like to mention Dawid Podsiadło - he sings both in Polish and in English, some of his songs have versions in both of these languages like "Nieznajomy"/"Little Stranger" or "Trójkąty i kwadraty"/"S and T", so it's almost like a translation for you (but watch out, the lyrics are not always the same in both languages). :)
I don't know if it's the case with this artist, but do double check when there's an English and a <other language> version of a song - sometimes they're the same or very similar in meaning, but it's not always easy to translate a song into a different language, keep the same meaning, and make it fit the original tune, so sometimes the two versions might be the same or similar, but other times they might be wildly different in meaning.
I don't know if that's the case with Dawid Podsiadło, it's more just a general caution!
True, the lyrics are not always the same in both languages (same when it comes to Dawid's songs), but they're nice to listen to anyway just to get the general context and enjoy some good music. :)
Funny, now that you mentioned it, I started to translate the lyrics in my mind and "S and T" is pretty far from "Trójkąty i kwadraty". But "Little Stranger" is a lot like "Nieznajomy", so that depends. But I like that guy anyway. :)
One of my favorite Polish songs is 'Winna' by Chylinska (sorry, no Polish keyboard). And Future Folk is a fun band to listen to (although they are probably not the best group to try and learn Polish from because they speak/sing in a distinctly different dialect than what we learn on here...)
Some great recommendations here. I started delving into Youtube/Discogs today... highlights so far:
Klaus Mitffoch (s/t) – amazing post-punk record https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9eKQe88yRI
Lech Janerka: Historia Podwodna – the guy from Klaus Mitffoch, not quite as purely post-punk, also fantastic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEwNsygKfJ0
Świetliki: Ogród Koncentracyjny – Polish spoken word poetry with eclectic musical backing. Seems great for language-learning because the vocals are mixed loud. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJkgfPDPM3A