Author Topic: Indecisively liking/disliking music  (Read 1046 times)

The Mollusk

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Indecisively liking/disliking music
« on: September 06, 2020, 11:16:51 PM »
There are a handful of bands I've come across over the years where I will go through waves of indecision, sometimes really enjoying their music and other times being like "what the fuck is this crap, why do I actually bother trying to like it?"

Milk Music - I will describe this band very accurately and indisputably to you in one sentence: A Dinosaur Jr tribute band getting about 6 beers down at practice and trying to write their own music. Sometimes, I think that's really good, and there's something about them which is enticing and cool and stoned and it goes down easy and it makes you do that thing where you shut your eyes and purse your lips and waggle your head along to it. You know what I mean. But other times it literally just sounds like J. Mascis pissed as a fart. Some of their music is really sloppy. You can listen here for yourself.


The Chinese Stars - Very obnoxious dance-punk band formed by the singer of the fantastic noise-rock legends Arab on Radar. Musically they are generally decent but it sort of smacks of the sort of shite you'd get from forgettable shitty bands like Head Automatica or Klaxons and the songs are really formulaic on record. The vocalist, who suited Arab on Radar's chaotic din perfectly, sounds smug and sleazy here. Sometimes I'm really into how crap it is, since the grooves are repetitious but undeniably solid, but other times they drive me up the fucking wall. This song is a pretty good example.


They Might Be Giants - The two Johns are the ones I struggle with the most, because I find myself repelled by their music far more than I'm drawn to it. Like, 75% of the time I spend thinking about them, I do not feel them at all, and think their playful geek-rock is childlike and nerdy to the point of being excruciating and genuinely just fucking shit. But then there's the other 25% of the time where I will play The Else (which is their best album) and enjoy it immensely. Sometimes if I'm really in their thrall I'll even go back to Flood or Lincoln and bop out to that as well, but I will confess that happens very rarely. The reason I started this thread was because I'm rewatching Malcolm in the Middle and I fucking hate the theme song. You all know this band, I ain't linking shit.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2020, 12:06:25 AM »
The Residents.

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2020, 12:44:47 AM »
Re: TMBG, my reaction upon hearing Flood for the first time was more or less the same as yours, aside from Birdhouse in your Soul I found it  load of gimmicky wank. But since then they've grown massively on me to the point of being a personal favourite top 15 band. I think it's cause I'm not really a lyric-y person, so the appeal to me is in all the weird chord changes and interesting melodies, they hit the same spot for me as other 'weird guitar pop' such as XTC, Cardiacs, R Stevie Moore and that sort of thing. The lyrics are very sort of novelty and 'look at me' but I find it easier to ignore because of that. Is it a lyrics or music thing for you that puts you off them?

 Personally my one right now is Future of the Left. I mean there's some tasty riffage and interesting stuff going on with their sound, particularly with all the genre experimenty stuff they did on their 3rd album, but I am beginning to find their lyrics rather try hard and annoying, even on the earlier albums I previously enjoyed. I'm not entirely convinced Falco is the lyrical genius he seems to think he is.

Chriddof

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2020, 10:03:50 AM »
Some of TMBG's lyrics are actually quite melancholy and secretly grim. That tends to be hidden by the wackier elements, though. Here's a quote from none other than Chris Morris (recently posted in the Morris forum):

Quote from: The Chris Morris Music Show, 31st August 1994
They actually get a lot of flak, They Might Be Giants, for being an annoying joke band, which really misses the point. Because they're at their best when they're writing about something which seems to be quite sad, through a rather misty kind of elliptical lyric. Which I guess is actually why their last album [Apollo 18] was panned, because it was all about palindromes and skulls and rather missed the mark, but the new one out next month is more like it. It's called John Henry and that [last track is] from it, it's called The End of the Tour.

The End Of The Tour

Puce Moment

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2020, 10:21:55 AM »
I would say that this is very much the case with a lot of hardcore/death/sludge/grind metal bands I sometimes listen to. The doomy, screamy sounds I love - but they always have a couple of songs with shit guitar solos.

Also, Belle and Sebastian. Sometimes songs come on and I really like them a lot - then they go into a kind of twee zone that would make Stephen Pastel blush and I just want to die.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2020, 10:30:57 AM »
I love Lincoln, well about half of it, but never felt the need to have anything else by them.

Mainly because they are irritating. I don't know why as I don't have that much of a problem with wackiness and Mr Me is one of my favourite songs on it.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2020, 10:33:44 AM »
I’m another who had a journey with TMBG. I loved Birdhouse and bought Flood off the back of that and We Want a Rock, but found the endless style switching, genre pastiches and super short ‘novelty songs’ pretty hard going.

There was clearly something about them, though - John Linnell, essentially - that keep me coming back and they’ve gradually become one of my absolute favourite bands.

It’s often the way though; artist I initially hate/have a profoundly negative reaction to, go on to become one of my favourites.

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2020, 10:48:18 AM »
Also, Belle and Sebastian. Sometimes songs come on and I really like them a lot - then they go into a kind of twee zone that would make Stephen Pastel blush and I just want to die.

Good call, I'm totally with you on that.

Some of TMBG's lyrics are actually quite melancholy and secretly grim. That tends to be hidden by the wackier elements, though. Here's a quote from none other than Chris Morris (recently posted in the Morris forum):

The End Of The Tour

Oh yeah, even without having properly analysed their lyrics I can still appreciate that there's a emotional depth about them which is belied by the general kookiness of their presentation, but in a way that's sort of why I dislike them. There's something too knowing about their music that grates on me, it's almost ... smug? I don't know if that's their intention, and I seem to recall them being nice chaps when they spoke to Marc Maron on WTF, but there's an air of geekier-than-thou about their sound which leaves a bad taste.

Funnily enough, they get compared to Ween a lot, which is something that Ween hates. This quote from Gener, although coming off as a little insecure, is still a sentiment that I broadly identify with:

"Nothing pisses me off more than when we get compared to They Might Be Giants. They’re like smart, anal college humour. Our humour is straight-up scumbag."

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2020, 05:15:53 PM »
I'm biased as TMBG are my favourite band, but I think John Linnell is one of the greatest living songwriters and ultimately the quality of his songs gets through to people that don't like the band on paper. Totally understand why people would be put off by the nasally vocals and surreal lyrics though and Flansburgh's songs are a lot patchier.

I think a lot of their best songs can be very moving anyway. The End of the Tour is a great shout but also Narrow Your Eyes, They'll Need a Crane, I've Got a Match, Hopeless Bleak Despair etc.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2020, 06:40:22 PM »
I have to be in a very specific mood to listen to breakcore otherwise it makes me quite angry, at its worst it just comes across as a competition to see who can program the most spastic drums possible

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2020, 09:50:30 PM »
I still find good breakcore quite addictive when in the mood but generally it's pretty annoying! God knows why I bought so much of it.

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2020, 10:38:51 PM »
The only breakcore I ever listen to on the rare occasions I'm in the mood for it is the stuff made by nonces Venetian Snares, and even then it's usually very selective because over half of his discography is rubbish. Doll Doll Doll and Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding are among my favourite electronic albums, although the latter isn't really breakcore at all.

Sometimes I will flirt with the idea of listening to Venetian Snares and I'll open Spotify and have a quick reminder of some of his song titles and make a face like this:



and then just listen to something else.

Clownbaby

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2020, 10:40:53 PM »
A while ago I was listening to Slick Rick fairly regularly and enjoying his whole thing and then one day I just thought oh shut the fuck up will you and put him off because his voice suddenly sounded so boringly arch, haven't bothered listening to Slick Rick since, don't really know what caused that. I think you can go off an artist like food and either sicken your ears or listen when you don't fancy it, like forcing down your mam's cakes she made because they're just there, except in this metaphor the cakes are Slick Rick, Death Grips and Primus

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2020, 10:56:11 PM »
Kinda empathise with you on Death Grips. They are such an uncompromising and intense listening experience that I very rarely find myself in the mood for them. A lot of the time just thinking about listening to them makes me immediately turn tail, I won't even bother giving it a second thought. When I am in the mood, though, it's so exhilarating I feel like bursting through the wall into the neighbour's house and choke slamming myself through their coffee table.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2020, 10:24:18 AM »
U2 - if all their tracks were instrumentals or they had a different vocalist I think they would be in my top ten. Same with The Police, New Order and Echo and The Bunnymen.

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2020, 10:33:37 AM »
U2 - if all their tracks were instrumentals or they had a different vocalist I think they would be in my top ten. Same with The Police, New Order and Echo and The Bunnymen.

This is exactly how I feel about The Cure.

Clownbaby

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2020, 01:00:20 PM »
U2 - if all their tracks were instrumentals or they had a different vocalist I think they would be in my top ten. Same with The Police, New Order and Echo and The Bunnymen.

I feel this way about Daughters. Would have loved their most recent album if they had a different singer

I keep wanting to listen to them and then very quickly end up getting ear fatigue because I don't enjoy the tone of the singing at all any time hes yeloing. Instrumentally, loved it

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2020, 01:14:42 PM »
I don't have a problem with his voice, but i know where you're coming from. They're incredible live i have to say.

I think i like Hell Songs and the s/t Daughters more than the last one. Same guy singing though ;-)

I still can't decide if i'm into Sonic Youth or not. I think part of it is they have so many erratic albums, i've never liked one all the way through.

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2020, 01:31:32 PM »
I still can't decide if i'm into Sonic Youth or not. I think part of it is they have so many erratic albums, i've never liked one all the way through.

I remember Thurston saying that Sonic Youth probably should have split up after Dirty and then reformed 20-years later. I can see his point - bands that implode after a handful of albums (or less) or experience a major death have this trapped in amber quality with little chance of disappointing. 

Edit: Ahh, having read that back it seems like I was saying he thought their albums were shit. No, he was talking about the financial success of the band, and how ironically they would have made more money if they split in 1992 instead of churning out albums with decreasing popularity.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2020, 04:42:19 PM »
U2 - if all their tracks were instrumentals or they had a different vocalist I think they would be in my top ten. Same with The Police, New Order and Echo and The Bunnymen.

I feel this was about Phil Minton

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2020, 06:17:59 PM »
I think i like Hell Songs and the s/t Daughters more than the last one. Same guy singing though ;-)

The vocals on their first album are very different, but then so is the rest of the music too. I really love their artistic trajectory, where it’s come from and where it is now.

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2020, 08:51:05 PM »
They Might Be Giants - The two Johns are the ones I struggle with the most, because I find myself repelled by their music far more than I'm drawn to it. Like, 75% of the time I spend thinking about them, I do not feel them at all, and think their playful geek-rock is childlike and nerdy to the point of being excruciating and genuinely just fucking shit. But then there's the other 25% of the time where I will play The Else (which is their best album) and enjoy it immensely. Sometimes if I'm really in their thrall I'll even go back to Flood or Lincoln and bop out to that as well, but I will confess that happens very rarely. The reason I started this thread was because I'm rewatching Malcolm in the Middle and I fucking hate the theme song. You all know this band, I ain't linking shit.

I tried multiple times to get into them and couldn't manage it, despite liking Birdhouse In Your Soul a lot. But if you ever end up with kids, you'll start really appreciating their existence. They are, as far as I can tell, the only decent band to have successfully broken that market, and their music makes stuff like Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse a little more bearable. I think this one's genuinely a club banger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoavHX75s_E

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2020, 08:57:44 PM »
Yeah, I would take that sort of thing playing to my potential future children over the more incessant and repetitious horrors that I've noticed kids have playing in the background on repeat in their homes. I've only really heard it in passing but the Peppa Pig theme song is eye-wateringly excruciating.

Chriddof

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2020, 03:39:31 AM »
I have a semi-dislike of Death Grips, not entirely because of their music but because their fans (who seem to be mostly fairly young) will then listen to anything remotely noisy / experimental and then say "Wow, this sounds just like Death Grips!", even if it's some industrial person from the 80s. It's especially aggravating when it's said about the tracks you make (if you record noise stuff yourself), when you're actually inspired by the stuff that inspired them.

That's not really their fault of course, but also the "artistic" "pranks" they did were kind of dumb - there was that whole business where they refused to turn up to gigs and claimed it was either "performance art", or an unexpected cancellation due to the tragic (and apparently genuine) death of a fan... but then it turned out they just couldn't be arsed playing some gigs, and had arranged them anyway for a quick buck. Also they said a lot of guff about the No Love Deep Web cover (the erect penis of one of the band, with the album title written on it in sharpie or something), saying to Spin Magazine:

Quote
“It was difficult to do, honestly, in general, it was very difficult. It’s difficult even telling people that’s the source of it; it feels sacrificial in a sense. That idea existed long before, by the way. This is going to sound funny to other people, but we saw it as tribal, as spiritual, as primal. Also, it comes from a place of being a band that is perceived as…such an aggressive, male-based, by some, misogynistic-seeming band. If you can get past this and still enjoy the music…. It’s a display of embracing homosexuality, not that either of us are homosexual. Am I making sense? People are still going to think that it’s macho, but that’s not the source of where it comes from."

I'd have more respect for them if they'd just said "We thought it'd be funny". (They might have been taking the piss in that interview, mind.)

Some of their music is interesting, but it doesn't quite grab me - maybe because the stuff I've stated turns me off a bit, I'm not giving them a fair shake. I don't know. Of course the fact they're beloved by the internet's shittest and most annoying music reviewer doesn't help.

Clownbaby

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2020, 08:28:22 AM »
I have a semi-dislike of Death Grips, not entirely because of their music but because their fans (who seem to be mostly fairly young) will then listen to anything remotely noisy / experimental and then say "Wow, this sounds just like Death Grips!", even if it's some industrial person from the 80s. It's especially aggravating when it's said about the tracks you make (if you record noise stuff yourself), when you're actually inspired by the stuff that inspired them.

That's not really their fault of course, but also the "artistic" "pranks" they did were kind of dumb - there was that whole business where they refused to turn up to gigs and claimed it was either "performance art", or an unexpected cancellation due to the tragic (and apparently genuine) death of a fan... but then it turned out they just couldn't be arsed playing some gigs, and had arranged them anyway for a quick buck. Also they said a lot of guff about the No Love Deep Web cover (the erect penis of one of the band, with the album title written on it in sharpie or something), saying to Spin Magazine:

I'd have more respect for them if they'd just said "We thought it'd be funny". (They might have been taking the piss in that interview, mind.)

Some of their music is interesting, but it doesn't quite grab me - maybe because the stuff I've stated turns me off a bit, I'm not giving them a fair shake. I don't know. Of course the fact they're beloved by the internet's shittest and most annoying music reviewer doesn't help.

Honestly I agree with this. The gig no-show thing is just twatty behaviour whichever way you look at it and yet so many people were calling it punk as fuck and a ''statement''. It's not clever just because the band said it is. Also, if they were being serious in that quote... Christ. It always seems to me like they have a sense of the absurd and I'd hate to find out there's actually an overwrought, ponderous meaning behind every creative choice they've made. It actually kind of takes away some of the impact for me when nothing seems to be just for fun. Anyway, the imposing cock on the album cover, the camera being kind of beneath it and the ugly green tiles above just kind of communicated a seedy public toilet encounter to me, which just felt like it fit well with the often lascivious and threatening tone of their music. Why couldn't it just be that?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 08:38:58 AM by Clownbaby »

The Mollusk

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Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2020, 08:48:36 AM »
Given the nature of their general public/online persona, it sounds like that statement is tongue in cheek posturing. They can be quite funny and interesting with how they present themselves, but a lot of the time it seems like a misfire. Once you’ve built a frothing cult following it’s all too easy to act pretentious and pass it off as satire and for the fans to lap it up. Personally though I think it’s just boring.

I agree that their fans are fucking annoying cunts as well, I’ve seen them play twice and their flaming hot performances were marred greatly by the crowd both inside and outside of the venue. A very large portion of their fan base belongs to a generation of kids who obsessively follow online music groups, which started on 4chan’s /mu/ board and eventually bled out to the swathes of niche music meme pages on Instagram and Facebook. Death Grips are put on a pedestal in the same way that bands like Kero Kero Bonito or Deafheaven are: the fans think that clinging on to a handful of niche artists makes their taste far more superior than other people’s, using it as a free token to the realm of ultimate patrician music knowledge, despite never taking the time to actually discover where those bands drew their influences or sometimes even who their peers are.

A good example: I saw a post on a music meme page once that remarked something about In The Aeroplane Over The Sea being vastly inferior to Dusk at Cubist Castle. Both albums have no text on the cover and the post didn’t mention them by name, and I was astonished that in the hundreds of comments, absolutely everyone was saying “what’s that other album, who is that?” MATE!

Re: Indecisively liking/disliking music
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2020, 11:24:14 AM »
The only breakcore I ever listen to on the rare occasions I'm in the mood for it is the stuff made by nonces Venetian Snares, and even then it's usually very selective because over half of his discography is rubbish. Doll Doll Doll and Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding are among my favourite electronic albums, although the latter isn't really breakcore at all.

Sometimes I will flirt with the idea of listening to Venetian Snares and I'll open Spotify and have a quick reminder of some of his song titles and make a face like this:



and then just listen to something else.

Feel the same way about this genre, aside from a few artists who did something interesting with the sound as least some of the time, or used it as a jumping off point (such as on some of Venetian Snares' output, I really enjoy Rossz Csillag Alatt Született). Most of it is try hard nonsense that all sounds the same and is in love with edge lord song titles and sounding annoying for the sake of it.

I spent a lot of my teens listening to Metal, but nowadays rarely have the inclination to listen to it, particularly can't get into any of current scene. But every now and then I get the feel for it again and listen to Death for a couple of hours. 

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