Author Topic: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It  (Read 13113 times)

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #90 on: July 28, 2019, 09:23:53 PM »
I guess the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums were quite samey. A lot of work went into them though, obvs.

Then they released a 2cd epic act of self-indulgence when their contemporaries were making punk sound overproduced.

grassbath

  • Crocker was too green to see it
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #91 on: July 28, 2019, 09:43:39 PM »
As a songwriter, Waits is diverse as they come. It's just that his albums since 2000-ish have been an exercise in box-ticking. Here's the noisy guitars one. Here's the vaudeville circus act. Here's the creepy spoken word one. Here's the sparse piano ballad. Here's the demented polka. Here's the one with a toilet bowl being banged with a pipe.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #92 on: July 29, 2019, 10:06:03 AM »
I prefer Sonic Boom to Spiritualized but that's probably just me. I  didn't know about that book. I'll certainly look it up. Ta.

Interesting - I never bothered to investigate Sonic Boom, but at the time that's probably because he didn't have the NME and Select falling over themselves to proclaim his greatness like they did with Ladies and Gentlemen. If I was going to get (let's say) 3 Sonic Boom releases, what would you suggest? (same question goes to jobotic)

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #93 on: July 29, 2019, 10:20:34 AM »
I'm not having this re: Mogwai

The more recent stuff is considerably different, and you can pick out a fairly large shift after Barry's stuff starts to appear post-CODY.

You can say what you want about quality, but ultimately that's subjective, and I think they've done some of their best stuff post Mr Beast (which I think is massively overrated anyway).

Check out random tracks from Les Revs, Rave Tapes, Atomic, or Every Country's Sun and tell me what record they would sit neatly on from their earlier days.

E.g.

Deesh - https://youtu.be/8SU2zSZy1vA
Portugal - https://youtu.be/lvJy1LAnw_k
Don't believe the Fife - https://youtu.be/ztIc_wXsIP0
Bitterness centrifuge - https://youtu.be/_HNUTYSVvTI

And that's just indicative tracks from the last 5 years or so of output. You can group certain albums into eras, but to suggest that there's little variation in their output is just flat out incorrect.

Thanks for replying! I can't remember how any of those 4 tracks go so I'll take a listen tonight. They've done heaps of stuff since my arbitrary end-2006 cutoff and as far as I can tell they’re as popular as ever, so more power to them – it just hasn’t floated my boat in the same way. If I relistened to one of the later albums and suddenly found myself loving it, obviously I’d be delighted.
Out of interest drummers, what’s your favourite post-Beast Mogwai album?

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #94 on: July 29, 2019, 10:23:58 AM »
I do like the Beasties but I nearly ruined them for a friend who was a massive fan by pointing out how often one of them will sing a line with the other two joining in on the last word (or few words). It's one of those can't-be-unnoticed things.


That's pretty much all old-school hip hop though. See also Run DMC

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #95 on: July 29, 2019, 10:25:08 AM »
Ooh, I'd probably go for his first. Spectrum. And then Soul Kiss. Recorded under the name Spectrum. And then maybe an EAR (Experimental Audio Research) one. Maybe the one he did with Kevin Shields. Beyond The Pale.

I must say though, these are all from the early to mid 90s and I've hardly listened to any of this stuff for years. I played a bit of Spacemen 3 on youtube a few months ago and I heard a (decent) Spiritualized song on the radio last night. It may even be just a case of picking a side and I went for Pete over Jason because I saw Spiritualized live when they were at their biggest and found them a bit boring. And that's even though they were standing up on stage which is more than Spacemen 3 did the couple of times I saw them live. Maybe Jobotic is more of an expert than me.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 10:47:56 AM by Jockice »

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #96 on: July 29, 2019, 10:26:47 AM »
Interesting - I never bothered to investigate Sonic Boom, but at the time that's probably because he didn't have the NME and Select falling over themselves to proclaim his greatness like they did with Ladies and Gentlemen. If I was going to get (let's say) 3 Sonic Boom releases, what would you suggest? (same question goes to jobotic)

Sorry to butt in but there was a recent reissue of Highs, Lows And Heavenly Blows and it's such a gorgeous record. Nearly a year on, I've still not felt able to file it away on the shelves. Having said that, this song from it (one of my favourites) is a perfect example of the thread title.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZY1UkRGAI8

I saw Sonic play locally about 3 years ago and it was so good. He looked really well (he was tanned and laughed), particularly compared to the zombie-like figure I saw playing with Yo La Tengo about 20 years ago. Think I read he lives in Portugal now.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #97 on: July 29, 2019, 10:31:06 AM »
To shift to the reverse of this what about artists who would have been better of sticking to a narrower sound?

Air come to mind, if they'd just recycled the early singles and Moon Safari endlessly I suspect they would be loved more.

DJ Shadow has fallen over pretty much every time he has strayed too far from sampladelic hip hop

Norton Canes

  • The leper heart will see you for what you are
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #98 on: July 29, 2019, 10:35:34 AM »
Sad to say about one of my all-time favourite bands, but autechre - their first five albums were truly beautiful but the majority of the tracks on the last few might as well have been churned out by some AI algorithm. The standard of programming is still as intricate and immaculate as ever but any inspiration or imagination is sorely lacking.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #99 on: July 29, 2019, 10:41:43 AM »
As a songwriter, Waits is diverse as they come. It's just that his albums since 2000-ish have been an exercise in box-ticking. Here's the noisy guitars one. Here's the vaudeville circus act. Here's the creepy spoken word one. Here's the sparse piano ballad. Here's the demented polka. Here's the one with a toilet bowl being banged with a pipe.

Oddly I was thinking about Waits for this thread, as I've had this nagging feeling he's been treading water creatively since Bone Machine. That's not to say everything since then has been bad, I love Mule Variations, Alice and Real Gone, but you can definitely hear repetition creeping in. Just compare "Dirt In The Ground" with "Another Man's Vine" from Blood Money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm3LEmFFj2g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyf4mp-5lyk

I didn't bother with his last album as it sounded like he'd been replaced by a parody version of himself.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #100 on: July 29, 2019, 10:59:38 AM »
Sorry to butt in but there was a recent reissue of Highs, Lows And Heavenly Blows and it's such a gorgeous record. Nearly a year on, I've still not felt able to file it away on the shelves. Having said that, this song from it (one of my favourites) is a perfect example of the thread title.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZY1UkRGAI8

I saw Sonic play locally about 3 years ago and it was so good. He looked really well (he was tanned and laughed), particularly compared to the zombie-like figure I saw playing with Yo La Tengo about 20 years ago. Think I read he lives in Portugal now.

I presume the Mark Webber mentioned in that link is the guy from Pulp. I know he was seriously into this sort of stuff but wasn't aware of him recording with any of them. Maybe it's the racing driver.

(PS, I don't know Mark very well  - unlike my other showbiz mates of course - but the first time I met him was when he turned up at the offices of the paper I worked for wanting publicity for a psychedelic night he was running. During the interview he mentioned drugs about half a dozen times. I totally ignored it. Not interested. Then at the end he said: 'I don't want you mentioning drugs in the article. I know what you journalists are like!''

Oh yeah, and before that we both had birthday pictures on the paper's children's page in 1976. We're about four spaces from each other.)

« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 11:12:16 AM by Jockice »

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #101 on: July 29, 2019, 11:36:09 AM »
I didn't hear everything he recorded but everything I did hear by Elliott Smith sounded practically the same to me. Was I missing something there or was it just hard luck that I happened to hear similar-sounding stuff?

His first 3 albums (Roman Candle, Elliott Smith, Either/Or) are acoustic lo-fi but there's definitley a progression from the simplicity of those recordings once he gets a bigger budget and his songwriting becomes more mature and confident (His first album was essentially a collection of 4 track demos he recorded in his basement). His later albums (XO, Figure 8) sound more expansive and Beatlesly, have more 'band' songs, piano ballads, psychedelia, incorporating strings etc. Though he does keep his haunting double track vocal throughout most of it, cos why wouldn't you it sounds great.

Compare Needle In The Hay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKAH7ZyZD68 and Roman Candle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZrcTh2-uvQ


to Junk Bond Trader: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAXXJEj3AwY and Baby Britain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCszOwRLQMA

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #102 on: July 29, 2019, 11:54:19 AM »
I do like the Beasties but I nearly ruined them for a friend who was a massive fan by pointing out how often one of them will sing a line with the other two joining in on the last word (or few words). It's one of those can't-be-unnoticed things.

Surely hard to miss, Intergalactic was effectively taking the piss out this.

icehaven

  • Please don't hi five people in Tamworth
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2019, 12:00:17 PM »
Surely hard to miss, Intergalactic was effectively taking the piss out this.

Well my friend had missed it (this was before Intergalactic was released though.)

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #104 on: July 29, 2019, 12:31:01 PM »
I presume the Mark Webber mentioned in that link is the guy from Pulp.

There is no mention of Mark Webber, is there?

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #105 on: July 29, 2019, 12:42:43 PM »
There is no mention of Mark Webber, is there?

It was coming up on the bottom of the screen, as part of a rolling list of names (none of the others whom I recognised). It's not anymore though. How very strange. Maybe I'm imaging things. It must be the folic acid I took this morning.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #106 on: July 29, 2019, 12:45:54 PM »
His first 3 albums (Roman Candle, Elliott Smith, Either/Or) are acoustic lo-fi but there's definitley a progression from the simplicity of those recordings once he gets a bigger budget and his songwriting becomes more mature and confident (His first album was essentially a collection of 4 track demos he recorded in his basement). His later albums (XO, Figure 8) sound more expansive and Beatlesly, have more 'band' songs, piano ballads, psychedelia, incorporating strings etc. Though he does keep his haunting double track vocal throughout most of it, cos why wouldn't you it sounds great.

Compare Needle In The Hay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKAH7ZyZD68 and Roman Candle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZrcTh2-uvQ


to Junk Bond Trader: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAXXJEj3AwY and Baby Britain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCszOwRLQMA

Ta. It was a long time ago that I heard his stuff but I'll take a listen to your links later.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #107 on: July 29, 2019, 02:22:48 PM »
Ozric Tentacles. As great as they are, each album is more or less the same as the previous.

thecuriousorange

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Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #108 on: July 29, 2019, 02:52:44 PM »
To the person who said The Fall.

I understand the vocal warbling may seem similar from album to album, if it's not really your thing. Completely fine. But the fact that said warbling is backed by a revolving parade of ever-changing musicians playing vastly different types of music is surely what defined them.

NoSleep

  • feat. Keith Jarrett and his singing parrot
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Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #109 on: July 29, 2019, 03:42:32 PM »
To the person who said The Fall.

I understand the vocal warbling may seem similar from album to album, if it's not really your thing. Completely fine. But the fact that said warbling is backed by a revolving parade of ever-changing musicians playing vastly different types of music is surely what defined them.

Who said it wasn't my thing? I count myself as a fan but it still sounds like they were trying to make the same album over and over. That's just how some bands operate. And the time I'm think of is mainly before the walkout of most of the band; their "classic" period (1979 through to 1989, max).

kalowski

  • the Zone of Zero Funkativity
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #110 on: July 29, 2019, 03:44:56 PM »
Oddly I was thinking about Waits for this thread, as I've had this nagging feeling he's been treading water creatively since Bone Machine. That's not to say everything since then has been bad, I love Mule Variations, Alice and Real Gone, but you can definitely hear repetition creeping in. Just compare "Dirt In The Ground" with "Another Man's Vine" from Blood Money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm3LEmFFj2g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyf4mp-5lyk

Although I agree with you about the repetition, I don't hear it with these two songs. Melodically very different as they are underpinned by very different chord structures.
The repetition with Waits comes from his folk-blue palate, meaning he writes many songs in minor blues keys (eg Em, Am, B7). He's one of the few artists (cf Dylan) who can get away with similar songs because his lyrics are so good.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #111 on: July 29, 2019, 04:26:21 PM »
Thanks for replying! I can't remember how any of those 4 tracks go so I'll take a listen tonight. They've done heaps of stuff since my arbitrary end-2006 cutoff and as far as I can tell they’re as popular as ever, so more power to them – it just hasn’t floated my boat in the same way. If I relistened to one of the later albums and suddenly found myself loving it, obviously I’d be delighted.
Out of interest drummers, what’s your favourite post-Beast Mogwai album?

This is tricky in some ways. I first saw them in 1998 supporting the Manics, but didn't see them live again until 2014. I kept pace with releases until Happy Songs, but never saw them in this period for various reasons. From about 2007- 2011 my life was a big fat dose of shit, and so I didn't see many gigs or find much new music, but with the advent of Spotify I got back into music in a big (and different) way - discovering all sorts of great acts that would otherwise be off my radar, and caught up with some artists I'd lost contact with. Around this time, some of the things that haunted me at the end of the noughties started to change and so I have an emotional resonance with some of the bands I listened to a lot over that period as my life started to improve.

You have already shat on this one, but The Hawk Is Howling is possibly my fave record by Mogwai  I completely accept criticisms of it - that it sags in the middle; that it's Mr Beast pt II in that it starts with an atmospheric piece, and follows with a metallic banger; mid-paced plodding and so on. There are a fair few tracks on it that are up with the best of anything they've done though - the first two and last 4 track particularly. Jim Morrison is, without doubt, my favourite piece of music ever. I've been fortunate enough to see it at nearly every show I've been to in the past few years, and there have been a few times where it's made me come close to full on blubbing. On first hearing it blew me away with the constant ebb and flow of tension culminating with that release around the 4 minute mark, and it works even more potently live with a minute long build up feeling like a slow crushing of the chest. It's taken on personal emotional resonance again through me having a partner, who I was in deep with, toy and play games with me over a weekend when I saw them twice, and the song was mesmerising - feeling very much like the joy and anxiety this woman was causing me made perfect in musical form. It's a song that makes my skin tingle almost every time I hear it.

Now that soppy bollocks is out of the way -

Zidane from 2006 is another phenomenal record. The tracks that come in two parts in particular are great.
Hardcore (2011) is a particularly coherent record and there are hints of motorik beat/Krautrock influences all over it. The writing is much more 'linear' for want of a better word. Highly rated among Mogwai fans, but it is perhaps my least favourite in that there isn't anything on there that really blows me away. This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhL8OMursQM and this are favourites https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYpimokjfYw from that period.
Les Revenants (2013) is the one that really got me back into them. Absolutely great. Used to listen to select tracks to get me through the day in some mundane hellish job.
Rave Tapes (2014) - weaker with a few great moments. Sounds very different to that which has gone before with electronics much more at the fore. Possibly tied with Hardcore at the bottom of my list, but this is another one of my favourite pieces of music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2elJtgY6h8 No soppy sixth-former-esque eulogising over this one I'm afraid.
Atomic (2016) is another coherent soundtrack. Heavy on the modular synth and consistently good without necessarily being mind-blowing
Every Country's Sun (2017) took me a while to get into, but has proven to be their best album 'proper' for a while. I saw them a lot on this tour cycle (six times I think - might make it 7 in Glasgow next month) and that might have helped cement it as a good 'un in my mind since I've seen 80% of it performed. It is a good one though Old Poisons is a bit Batcat/Glasgow Megasnake, but a lot of the rest sounds like their more recent output perfected. The Fife one I posted earlier is probably the best of the bunch.
Kin (2018) is alright.

TL;DR: Listen to Les Revs and Every Country's Sun. Hardcore and Rave Tapes might appeal if you are attuned to their individual aesthetics. Their soundtrack work has also remained consistently good, but might be a bit 'musical wallpaper' at times.

By all means allow me to be your tour guide (further) through the stuff you've missed.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #112 on: July 29, 2019, 05:58:55 PM »
Morrissey churns out the same formulaic crap he was doing in the 90s, but with weaker songs.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #113 on: July 29, 2019, 09:31:43 PM »
The track Temptation is one that proved Tom Waits' unusual voice could be quite varied, twisting into a strained, high-pitched falsetto.

Which is funny, because "Temptation" is pretty much literally the exact same song as "Swordfishtrombones" (love 'em both, that said...)

DukeDeMondo

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Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #114 on: July 30, 2019, 04:02:43 AM »
Chelsea Wolfe. I mean, I love her, I think she's fantastic, and it's true that each album has its own sound and feel, but as far as her songwriting goes, there's not always a huge amount separating this song here from that song there. It's not always easy to tell where one album has stopped and another started. Far as that goes.

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #115 on: July 30, 2019, 04:45:44 AM »
Boards of Canada, i dont have a problem that they sound samey though. Tomorrows Harvest from 2013, sounded barely any different from their first material from Hi Scores in 1995 or 1996.

 they did delve into more live sounding acoustic stuff on the Campfire Head phase but only a little, some of their material changes tone they flucctuate between Seefee/Enol and Autchere, some of it is darker some is more mellow but the sound always stays within a familiar boundary where you can always tell its them.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #116 on: July 30, 2019, 08:13:50 AM »
There is no mention of Mark Webber, is there?

I've just worked this out. I've called up a couple of songs on you this morning (I Love The Nightlife by Alicia Bridges and Far Far Away by Slade if you must know) and on the second the advert appeared on the bottom of the screen. It's for something called the World Business Forum and it has 'Mark Webber. Performance' on it. I doubt if it is the one from Pulp, but you never know.

How bizarre.

mojo filters

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Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #117 on: July 30, 2019, 08:39:26 AM »
Sorry to butt in but there was a recent reissue of Highs, Lows And Heavenly Blows and it's such a gorgeous record. Nearly a year on, I've still not felt able to file it away on the shelves. Having said that, this song from it (one of my favourites) is a perfect example of the thread title.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZY1UkRGAI8

I saw Sonic play locally about 3 years ago and it was so good. He looked really well (he was tanned and laughed), particularly compared to the zombie-like figure I saw playing with Yo La Tengo about 20 years ago. Think I read he lives in Portugal now.

Highs, Lows and Heavenly Blows is a great album. However assuming we regard it as part of the Spectrum canon, I think I'd recommend his last album Indian Giver (recorded with Jim Dickinson, Randall Nieman etc) along with the debut and Soul Kiss - if limited to three records.

Pete and Sam do live in Portugal, have done for a few years. Sadly he hasn't recorded anything for release since the War Sucks EP in 2009, which according to Pete was not properly finished as they ran out of studio time before putting vox on one of the tracks. I suspect we may never see another record put out under one of Pete's solo projects.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #118 on: July 30, 2019, 09:05:41 AM »
To the person who said The Fall.

I understand the vocal warbling may seem similar from album to album, if it's not really your thing. Completely fine. But the fact that said warbling is backed by a revolving parade of ever-changing musicians playing vastly different types of music is surely what defined them.


It's another voice thing there. But unlike Dylan and the Beasties (whose voices ruin whatever they do for me) or Tom Waits (who I don't really have strong opinions on either way) I like Mark E's voice. And I love The Fall. But I can sort of understand people hating them just because of his 'singing.'

Re: Samey Artists Who Gets Away With It
« Reply #119 on: July 30, 2019, 09:32:20 AM »
 
You have already shat on this one, but The Hawk Is Howling is possibly my fave record by Mogwai

Ha! Well, now I feel like a twat :) I do like The Sun Smells Too Loud, and I remember both Scotland’s Shame and I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School sounding great when I saw them on the THIH tour, but the rest left me pretty cold at the time. Definitely due a revisit!

 
Jim Morrison is, without doubt, my favourite piece of music ever. I've been fortunate enough to see it at nearly every show I've been to in the past few years, and there have been a few times where it's made me come close to full on blubbing […] It's a song that makes my skin tingle almost every time I hear it.

I have a similar relationship with Mogwai Fear Satan and Helicon 1, which would be my two favourite Mogwai tracks ever. I’ve been lucky enough to see both (particularly MFS) performed countless times - okay, I’d guess 10 at least – and it’s always been a pretty transcendental experience. I just don’t get the same shivers from the Jim Morrison track, but I loved reading your description and found it very relatable!

By all means allow me to be your tour guide (further) through the stuff you've missed.

Thanks! I put together the following playlist based on the tracks you mentioned / linked to, which adds up to just over an hour:

Deesh
Portugal
Don’t Believe The Fife
Bitterness Centrifuge
Too Raging To Cheers
No Medicine For Regret
I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
Music For A Forgotten Future (The Singing Ringing Tree)

Had a listen on my way into work today – I think Don’t Believe The Fife would be my favourite on a first listen (though I prefer the buildup rather than the climax), followed by No Medicine For Regret. The Singing Mountain track reminds me how much I miss the epic 10+minute tracks, which were more of a feature up until My Father My King. Anyway I’ll give the playlist a few more spins, and also dig into Les Revenants and Every Country’s Sun. Cheers!