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favourite bands

Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:05 pm
by Liesbeth
in full music nerd mode, I would like to pose the following question: how do you identify that a band qualifies as 'one of your favourite bands'?

I'm asking because yesterday I went to see my first Posies full band gig in seven years, and it made me realise how important live gigs are for my rating of how much I like a band. Along the years The Posies had sort of slipped to the background of my fave bands, and seeing them live again just really hit me like it did when I saw them in 96 and 98.

In fact, I would say that until I've seen a band or artist do a good live gig, I wouldn't really qualify them as one of my favourites - although some artists are pretty high on my 'they will most likely make the list if I ever get to see them live' list. And vice versa, if I like a band live a lot, it can make them jump into my faves instantly, even if I know very little of their records at that point.

Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:17 pm
by Yarn
Consistency, I guess. A band can release a great record, but I don't consider them to be "one of my favs" unless they can do it again. Also, you're right about seeing live gigs and having that make a pretty strong impact. However, usually the awe of seeing a strong live performace usually wears off mentally if the record isn't truly top-notch. Ultimately, It's really a combination of all that, recorded quality, live performances (for some), and consistent great music, with emphasis on the first and last- because some of my favorite bands or artists (say, The Beatles, or Elliott Smith) I never was able to see live.

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 6:59 am
by LoveSickJerk
I think Yarn is right: consistency of product is important. Hot Hot Heat was getting some heavy props because of the EP and then the LP, but I saw them live right before Elevator, and I didn't enjoy the show at all. Down they went.

But that's how they lose steam. Some of my favorites have that distinction because of how it meets my wavelength. Example: Radiohead is awesome, and great, and you can listen to them over and over and over, and I do, but they're not a "favorite". Harvey Danger, Ben Folds, The Long Winters and The Decemberists are favorites because I can relate to them so well. The heavy personal impact is what distinguishes my favorite bands from others.

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:56 am
by chelsea
one thing that can make or break a band for me is the lead singer's voice. if it doesn't please my ears in any sense, then i'm very likely to never listen again, even if the songs are catchy.

ah yes, catchy songs, those are important too. really important. that's why i love ozma and the beatles and the long winters and the decemberists and belle and sebastian and nada surf and death cab and ted leo so much.

and then there are the lyrics. i like it when i can understand them and sing along when i choose to.

and like everyone else said: consistency.

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:21 am
by Unremarkable
chelsea wrote:one thing that can make or break a band for me is the lead singer's voice. if it doesn't please my ears in any sense, then i'm very likely to never listen again, even if the songs are catchy.


Same here. This is why I can never listen to the Thermals.

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 4:28 pm
by dchris
LoveSickJerk wrote:The heavy personal impact is what distinguishes my favorite bands from others.

As usual, LSJ puts to words the half-ass ideas in my head. There's just something about the way my favorite bands hit me, personally, that has nothing to do with anything that's visibly (or aurally, I suppose) apparent.

My favorites have never been the "best" bands or the "coolest" bands or the most "original" bands. My two biggies (Harvey Danger and Swayze) are so different that I can't even find a common thread, aside from something as generic as "intelligent lyrics" or "interesting vocalist" or something. Really, I think they're just bands that match my sensibilities on some level that I can't articulate.

For what it's worth, Liesbeth, live shows for both of those bands are something of an obsession for me. I don't know if that's chicken-or-egg, though.

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:14 pm
by Fi
My fave band is Sloan and has been for about 4 years. I have not seen them live, but that's their fault for being on the other side of the world and not touring here. Placebo blew my mind live, on three tours over as many years, and even though they're not my ideal music, they're one of my favourite live bands.

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:37 pm
by chelsea
Unremarkable wrote:
chelsea wrote:one thing that can make or break a band for me is the lead singer's voice. if it doesn't please my ears in any sense, then i'm very likely to never listen again, even if the songs are catchy.


Same here. This is why I can never listen to the Thermals.


yep, it's all subjective. i *heart* the thermals.

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:18 am
by LikeAFox
For me it will always be sexy drummers. D-Plan 4-evaRRR!!~!!1!

That, and I am a sucker for good melodies and harmonies. If you can do that, then you have wooed me, however temporarily.

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:37 am
by Liesbeth
that reminds me: there's nothing more disappointing then hearing great harmonies on an album or single, which cannot be matched live. On the other hand, there's little that excites me more than truly great harmonies live. Which brings me back to The Posies, who are king and master of just that. And seem to pull it off without any effort. God, I love bands that can make things seem effortless.

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:21 pm
by Yarn
Fi wrote:My fave band is Sloan and has been for about 4 years. I have not seen them live, but that's their fault for being on the other side of the world and not touring here. Placebo blew my mind live, on three tours over as many years, and even though they're not my ideal music, they're one of my favourite live bands.


Insteresting. I saw Sloan three years ago open up for The Strokes, and was so turned off by it, that I never bothered to check out an album. But I don't think this was neccesarily because of how well they played, but because I just didn't like what I was hearing.

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 6:16 am
by Burning Bride #7
The ability to not be able to find more than a couple of songs you don't like when you looking through an entire band's catalog of music.

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:19 pm
by Yarn
Burning Bride #7 wrote:The ability to not be able to find more than a couple of songs you don't like when you looking through an entire band's catalog of music.


It's funny, I've realized that I'm not very into like half the music of some of my favorite bands. Take Okkervil River for example, I'm a big Okkervil fan, but I only usually really like about half the songs on the records- the other's are fine, but I'm just not very into them. However, the songs that I do like, I love and they are so unique, and so important to me that I have no trouble at all considering the band to be one of my top favorites, and one I cherish and respect tremendously.

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:07 pm
by zach
Yarn wrote:I'm a big Okkervil fan, but I only usually really like about half the songs on the records- the other's are fine, but I'm just not very into them.


Really? It might just be my bias, but I think this is a sign that you haven't listened to them enough. In my eyes, each song adds a chapter to the story of Okkervil River's masterpiece albums. "Westfall" wouldn't be as powerful if it weren't sandwiched between "My Bad Days" and "Happy Hearts" on DFILWEYM. Those two songs on their own aren't ESPECIALLY inspiring, but like the chapters of a good novel, they add a great degree of complexity, imagery, and dynamism. I can't help but love them all. While it wasn't true initially, with more listens I became entranced.

Sorry if this leads the conversation astray. I just had to jump on the opportunity to talk about another one of my favorite bands.

Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:14 am
by Yarn
No no, I understand and agree, don't get me wrong. When I listen to Okkervil records, I almost always listen to them all the way through- much like when I listen to Sufjan Stevens. But anyway, as an individual track, I don't love it. And I'll admit that. And take me word for it, I've listened to them many times. The lyrics are very important, and do tie things together, which is why I listen, but they aren't songs I "love, and would neccesarily want to listen to all the time- which is all I'm saying.

Also- I can't help but smile everytime I hear Daniel Johnston on "happy Hearts".

Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 12:26 pm
by zach
Yarn wrote:Also- I can't help but smile everytime I hear Daniel Johnston on "happy Hearts".


Agreed.

Oh man, that album is amazing.

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:10 am
by LoveSickJerk
I just got into Okkervil River, with Black Sheep Boy, and I love that album. I really want to get deeper into the catalog! Any suggestions on where to go next?

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:55 am
by zach
Yeah yeah. All of them?

Be aware that Black Sheep Boy is different than all previous records, but it's safe to say you'll like the rest, too!

But definitely try 'Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See' (it's the one we were just talking about. 'Down The River Of Golden Dreams' is the only other full-length (it was released between Don't Fall in Love and Black Sheep Boy.) It might be hard to get a copy of 'Stars Too Small To Use,' an EP from 1999, but see if you can.

Try DFILWEYS first. Oh, it's amazing.

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:17 pm
by Yarn
Yeah, I can't wait fo this, by the way: http://www.jagjaguwar.com/catalog/jag89.htm

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:58 pm
by zach
Yarn wrote:Yeah, I can't wait fo this, by the way: http://www.jagjaguwar.com/catalog/jag89.htm


I'm with you on that one.