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Author Topic: Arcade Fire Wins Grammy, prompting Americans to wonder who they are anyway  (Read 33437 times)

Johnny C

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those bands have fucking managers dude is my point though, like they do all that stuff and have someone with a calendar somewhere that says "john c the carillon 2:00 pm, sunday" and that calendar does not negate the awesome stuff they have done that is also totally antithetical to like corporatized ethos. unless you're going to argue that having a festival where shotgun jimmie is a headliner is corporatized.

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it makes you an adult aware of how much work you can feasibly handle.

Ah, the benign implication being that absolute control is infantile.

what are you talking about dude what are you talking about

look, i think i was like really clear i don't deny that other bands can do it. i'm categorically saying that is not the only way you can be "independent" and that it is completely arbitrary to draw any lines beyond "major label." and i'm saying that telling anyone out there looking to become a touring and recording artist that hiring a press guy officially makes you no longer independent is to basically do what a lot of other fairly insidious cultural forces in the 21st century are already conspiring to do which is to slowly and implicitly make the performance and recording of independent music that is viable in a long-term sense the province of the rich, a leisure-time thing for people who can afford to spend the time booking shows and stuff. you are constantly suggesting bands should have day jobs and do music as a hobby, dude and while it may be feasible to do that and still have like enough success as a band to stay afloat, i think it's an unreasonable thing to force on someone if they want to wear the "independent" mantle.

i'm saying that if you're looking for independent ethics it's way more unethical to tell a kid that he's sold out if he's at the point where he's able to afford a hand in booking a cross-country tour than it is to hire that guy to book. not everyone's some kind of creepy weird middleman out to grease his own palms. these people have jobs and they do them really well and they frequently assist bands who are going to likely avoid major labels for the duration of their career because there's a huge difference between a major and ken from killbeat. there's no one true path to being independent. that's a hard-line position that's unrealistic not because it's impossible but unrealistic because it is unyielding to the situations of various people.
« Last Edit: 15 Feb 2011, 16:49 by Johnny C »
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scarred

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it's just not accurate to call a band indie because they no longer resemble the bands who are actually doing the absolute control thing.

I probably shouldn't jump into this discussion, but there's been such a deluge of people and critics calling shit "indie" or "indie rock" that it's gotten to the point that indie itself has become, in a lot of minds and representations of indie culture, a style of music rather than a way of conducting business.
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I am pretty sure independent is not a thing you either are or are not. Like with just about everything, there are different degrees and I think it is fair to say Arcade Fire are leaps and bounds more "indie" than anything else that has recently been in the American mainstream spotlight.
« Last Edit: 15 Feb 2011, 17:31 by imagist42 »
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Johnny C

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Then don't wear it. It's completely optional. The fact that people desire to be considered an independent band but don't want to do the stuff which being an independent band entails is bizarre. So don't do it, find another way to do it. Don't torture yourself if it's impossible to you, just do what you like. My problem is all the bands who want the prestige and I honestly think the sales of being considered an independent band but don't actually want to do the actual work.

i dunno dude, that whole argument really strikes me as like a kind of macho "this is our way" sort of thing. i think it's infeasible for a lot of bands, bands who otherwise operate with fairly strict adherence to an ethos that says they're making stuff they like because they like it rather than because it's a thing that will Move Units. and like i think it's also again not even so much unfair as frankly wrong to suggest that all the bands i've listed who enlist someone to do press or booking or whatever want to be called indie but "don't want to do the work." maybe they do, and that work entails moving around the country and playing music and putting together records and rehearsing and working to be able to afford those tours, and working to run a record label, and working to run a venue, and etcetera, etcetera.

i mean these estates do stuff on the cheap and the quick & dirty and aim largely for DIY stuff but that's just because that's kind of the way we want to run things, not because it makes us more indie. and i don't look down on a band fortunate enough to be able to hire a booking agent or press guy so that they can spend hours in their day instead actually being able to make art. and i don't think that those bands are less independent than us. they're more stable, maybe. or they're more viable. or more successful. good for them. they're not less indie because of it. they've worked hard, and so have we. i'm morally very wary of negating that by saying "well you're no longer independent." what are they no longer independent from? their own time?
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Johnny C

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"successful"
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Melodic

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the arcade fire
hehe
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imagist42

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I am pretty sure independent is not a thing you either are or are not.

This is the most common argument, can't believe it took us that long to get here. The arbitrary abstract distraction argument.

I mean, like, what really is music anyhow? Can anyone really own sound, maaan? Is The Arcade Fire that I hear the same band as the one you hear? I'll bet this is how dogs see.

No, the bands on independent labels are independent and the ones on major labels aren't.

I didn't say anything about relativistic perception. I'm talking about relativistic identity, which is pretty clearly a factor. I mean, how do you distinguish an independent label from a major one? Sure we know all the major players now, but some of these more successful independent labels are encroaching on "major" status and how can you possibly narrow that definition to a point where you say "this is the line"? Especially as the industry digitizes and being backed by a major label doesn't even necessarily grant you more overall exposure than an independent label that is damn good at working the Internet.
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i dunno dude, that whole argument really strikes me as like a kind of macho "this is our way" sort of thing.
Macho posturing? In my punk-derived music scene?
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imagist42

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Wait, isn't that showing that they're selling progressively worse in the country where they actually are with a major label? That's an interesting phenomenon.

Also, I'm not saying Arcade Fire is the pinnacle of independent music, just that (as you conceded earlier) they do take a much more independent approach than their current competition. And there are "major" aspects to some bands that are far more independent than Arcade Fire. Like, I don't see anyone looking at the band and calling them label's boy sell-outs in the same way as Lady Gaga. Just being on a major label does not totally exclude people from having a (even slightly) less than mainstream approach to their own music.
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KvP

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It shows that as a proportion of population, the Arcade Fire fanbase is much larger in the UK than the US, doubly so prior to Neon Bible.

Anyway, as Johnny/Tommy say I think we're operating under a fair bit of equivocation when we use the word "independent" like that.
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imagist42

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Re: Equivocation: Yeah, probably. I don't see the difference between major and indie stemming as much from a strict monetary definition as from a different approach to the product, i.e. producing something the way you feel it should be, public reception be damned vs. producing something to sell. While both of these variables go hand in hand (creating something that will sell inevitably means you'll have more money to work with) the latter is more the approach from which I entered the discussion. Despite being backed by a major label, I still feel like Arcade Fire are far more genuine with themselves, their music and their fans than just about anything else on a major label.
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imagist42

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Lady Gaga may not have been the best example (in fact for the mainstream her songs actually tend to be unconventional, if horribly bland, boring and sometimes downright offensive for my tastes), but Katy Perry's name just didn't come to mind. I'm actually really bad at pop culture. Most of the people I know make fun of me for it. I should get different people.

Anyway, I don't think bands have to suffer crippling self-doubt and be totally conscious of everything they do that's top-notch to be genuine. What I mean is, I think they are doing what they're doing because they actually believe it's awesome, not just because money is awesome and this thing makes us money. I think they make a few concessions for the money, but they're not, say, Nickelback. Of course, that's pretty much impossible to definitively judge even if you are the band and not just some outside nobody like me.
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Johnny C

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i just remembered another band that up until very recently did everything by themselves for the two years in which they were increasingly popular, and they did so without the interference or greased palms of a press guy or a manager while avoiding corporate interference! too bad they sold out over xmas
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Lummer

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Who won best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal anyways!?
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Johnny C

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jethro tull
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Deservedly so.
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Fuck yeah, Jethro Tull.
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Dear Americans,
Arcade Fire are friggin' huge over here and are actually quite good.
Sincerely
The UK.

P.S. This thread is now about Jethro Tull. Fuck yeah.
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I do not understand the tweets that are all like "how can a band I don't know win album of the year?"

I mean, I don't really like Arcade Fire that much (I've never given them a proper chance) but I know that loads of people really like them. I guess this may be a UK versus US thing?

</repeating what has already been said>
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Lupercal

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The Brit Awards weren't anything to shout about really. Arcade Fire did well but obviously are known better over here - I still can't quite believe Tinie Tempah got away with 2 awards...but then again the entire list is singularly unimpressive. Its best to just ignore awards ceremonies anyway.

Best British Male Solo Artist -    Plan B
Best British Female Solo Artist - Laura Marling
Best British Group - Take That
Best British Album -  Mumford and Sons - "Sigh No More"
Best British Single - Tinie Tempah - "Pass Out"
British Breakthrough Act - Tinie Tempah
Best International Male Solo Artist - Cee Lo Green
Best International Female Solo Artist - Rihanna
Best International Group - Arcade Fire
Best International Album - Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs"
International Breakthrough Act - Justin Bieber
Critic's Choice - Jessie J
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look out! Ninjas!

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I was shown that Jessie J video and I made it about three seconds into the first verse and then I couldn't stand it so I shit it off. Seriously, it may be the worst song in the world.
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Best British Female Solo Artist - Laura Marling

I'm not overly familiar with the British female solo artist scene so I'm not qualified to say whether she's the "best" or not but Laura Marling is legitimately really good and her most recent album was fantastic.
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So, what I'm being lead to understand here is that bands on major labels can be independent.

Really?

Is this really the point being argued here!?
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I guess this is what a D&D player would call "multiclassing".

Goddamnit Jens I love you.
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Scandinavian manhugs all around!
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Johnny C

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I guess this is what a D&D player would call "multiclassing".

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KharBevNor

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Plus they don't actually do the live shows or touring, which I think is fairly integral.

Wait, what?

So only bands that play live are independent? Can you support/justify/explain this?
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Scandanavian War Machine

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yeah, some of the most independent bands i can think of don't play shows. that might even be part of what makes them so independent, but that's kind of a whole other thing that i'm not sure we need to talk about or not.

first thing that comes to mind is Jason The Swamp (and by extension, his record label Rack & Ruin, which is a great label, btw)because he's just some dude layering himself playing various instruments and singing over the top of each other, which doesn't always work in a live setting.
I don't know for a fact that he doesn't play shows, but I don't think he does.

and he's the indiest thing i listen to, not to mention one of the best


tommy, i think you are pretty smart (definitely smarter than me) but it really seems like you are living in the past here with some weirdly rigid ideas that are no longer really relevant 100% of the time. i definitely agree with alot of what you say, but i think you might just be flat-out wrong about the big picture here, despite many of your arguments being correct, or at least sensible.
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Lupercal

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I understand if a band does records, tours a bit then retires from touring...but to not tour at all seems weird. Thats what its about isn't it? From an artistic point of view you want to connect with those people who went out and purchased your album. There's only so many "thank you" blog posts you can do before fans won't care anymore. I find it hard to believe people don't think touring is an integral part of a band being...well, a band. Seeing some bands live are pretty intense experiences, so to even accept a dismantling of that connection with the music seems strange to me. Whether its the right thing for an indie band to do or not is pretty irrelevant. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but if I get into a new band and enjoy and album, the next thing I'm thinking is "shit this is good, when will I be able to see it live?".

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Scandanavian War Machine

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I don't think touring is essential to anything, except playing shows.

Like I said, Jason The Swamp is one of my favorite musical acts in existence right now (top 5 easy, maybe top 3) and I don't think he plays shows.

We're living in a modern/futuristic world here and playing a show is no longer 1/3 of the of ways to get heard. So it's not necessary for everyone. Especially if you don't care about money, like Rack & Ruin records.

The way I see it is you make music that you like, and that you hope other people will like, and you figure out how to get that music to them. Used to be you had to drive to their town to play, or get on the radio, or word of mouth. Now we have the internet.

I'm not saying this is a common or popular model or anything, but it's definitely a possible way of doing things.


and i mean we're all bringing our own biases into this anyway so maybe it's a pointless discussion. personally i don't really care about going to shows, so I'm more than satisfied just listening to music at my leisure. obviously this affects my position on it
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Thats what its about isn't it?

It's about creating music. Everything else is ancillary. I hate to use the term 'rockist' but that's kinda the vibe I'm getting here. Like, music should be made heroically through manual effort and this effort should be proved on the stage. People just putting together tunes in their bedroom are somehow not real, they lack a certain essential quality. They should play live even if they have to recruit like five extra musicians, buy extra gear etc. or even if it's just someone sitting with a laptop pressing 'play'? Like, most of my music, there is no performative element at all, I never designed the stuff to be played live, so why would I do it?
 
As for bands and artists that don't play live, many black metal bands (including some pretty big ones ie Burzum, Xasthur), many electronic artists of various genres, lots of one-person projects in general. Some people start touring after years or only tour very sparsely. Jandek and Coil come to mind; both projects existed for decades before there were any live shows. Did those artists suddenly become more real because they played live? Conversely, people like Scott Walker, Kate Bush and Rudimentary Peni haven't played live for years. Are they now less real?

Like seriously there is no way live performance should be integral to being a band or a musician any more than being on a record label or releasing music as albums, ie not at all.
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JD

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though they are obviously big in Canada too.
Well they did come form Montreal
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Lupercal

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Thats what its about isn't it?

It's about creating music. Everything else is ancillary. I hate to use the term 'rockist' but that's kinda the vibe I'm getting here. Like, music should be made heroically through manual effort and this effort should be proved on the stage. People just putting together tunes in their bedroom are somehow not real, they lack a certain essential quality. They should play live even if they have to recruit like five extra musicians, buy extra gear etc. or even if it's just someone sitting with a laptop pressing 'play'? Like, most of my music, there is no performative element at all, I never designed the stuff to be played live, so why would I do it?
 
As for bands and artists that don't play live, many black metal bands (including some pretty big ones ie Burzum, Xasthur), many electronic artists of various genres, lots of one-person projects in general. Some people start touring after years or only tour very sparsely. Jandek and Coil come to mind; both projects existed for decades before there were any live shows. Did those artists suddenly become more real because they played live? Conversely, people like Scott Walker, Kate Bush and Rudimentary Peni haven't played live for years. Are they now less real?

Like seriously there is no way live performance should be integral to being a band or a musician any more than being on a record label or releasing music as albums, ie not at all.

Not at all, I wasn't trying to suggest that those who make music in their basement are somehow less valid as an artist. Like I said, for me the music totally speaks for itself - I don't really care how it comes to me, music is the enjoyable creative aspect of it all. I was simply stating that, as traditionalist as it may seem, touring is an important part of the music. Yes, you can reach thousands of people through LPs, but from a band point of view touring gives that ability of getting your fans together, people celebrating  your music in person, with a physical presence, so that they don't just become another number on a chart saying how many records you've sold.

I might be wrong, but isn't it said nowadays that touring brings in money for the artist while records just generate money for the record company?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying every band that has ever put out an album NEEDS to tour. If it is totally unnecessary for a band to do it then I wouldn't say "become bankrupt so that I can see you". But I guess I'm talking in more of an actual band format, where the songs that they write can be performed. For example, bands like Rush have a shit-load of sequencers and arrangements that they manage to pull off in a live show. Other bands make it so that the studio albums are polished while the live renditions carry a more raw and primitive quality.

One person projects is obviously a different category altogether, but I refuse to be labelled as some antecedent, ignorant person who quesitons the reality of a band based on their live performance. They are not "less real" if they don't tour, but for me, personally, it is something I would normally expect. We are in a totally different era now and yes, touring is not the only way to get noticed. But I think it is essential to get a proper band-fan connection established. Many people here would say that they were blown away, surprised, etc by bands that they've seen live, a totally unexpected 3 hours of their life that they don't forget in a hurry. An album only gives you so much of that experience. This experience is not really quantifiable and me trying to justify it seems pretty redundant but for me, in my opinion, touring is a vital part of a band's progression.

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Placeholder for future obligatory Rush joke
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Lupercal

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Placeholder for future obligatory Rush joke

Hey man, Geddy Lee is like, cool.

Okay he's not but Rush certainly proved all those wrong who considered Dungeons and Dragons, Mathematics, and Rock music to be unmixable.
« Last Edit: 17 Feb 2011, 19:03 by Lupercal »
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I'm pretty sure you just encapsulated the reasons Rush are the archetypal example of why prog is fucking terrible.

also Geddy Lee's vocals are some of the most painful sounds ever forced upon human ears
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Duck Tales

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In Australia they're distributed/advertised by one of our largest indie labels, Spunk. Only a handful of uni students and adults know who they are.
Sorry it's from a page ago but Spunk is in no way a largely distributed/advertised indie label. They're distributed/advertised through EMI.
Plenty of people know about them and the only reason they didn't chart higher was because EMI didn't produce enough copies in the first run so stores sold out and couldn't get it back in stock for a month. It's still hard to get stock because EMI can't get the right case and barcode stocked. It's all on EMI. They're big on pitchfork and UK magazines aimed at dads so they have a large chunk of the market covered.
It's stupid trying to compare indies in Australia because the labels have made deals with labels who made deals with labels . Correct me if i'm wrong but Domino is an indie in the UK? In Australia they're through Sony. The majors take more of the indies than you know. You're not that indie....sorry


Anyway..Rush..A bunch of dunces








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If you like people masturbating on stage, I guess so
« Last Edit: 18 Feb 2011, 07:10 by JimmyJazz »
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Yeah it's not like every genre has shitty examples
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NotAFanOfFenders

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Indie-kids shitting on prog?

Really?
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Lupercal

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Might as well throw it out there that I actually like Rush. But if am to adhere to the current trend of stating my opinions as facts, then I will say Rush are a good band, but Prog itself is, as a genre, testy (and therefore not for everyone).

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JimmyJazz

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Hey I actually do like some prog! I just find a lot of it to be dreck and most of the prog aesthetic doesn't really align with how I feel about music. Rush in particular irk me a lot, but I don't actually hate them as people or prog fans in general. The bands and the fans clearly love the music and think about it critically, and the great thing about music is the enormous diversity of the art form and of people's opinions of it.

p.s. In the Court of the Crimson King is an awesome record
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NotAFanOfFenders

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I guess I don't understand how 'honesty' and simplicity, being 'independent' or not has anything to do with the music that's actually being put out. Song-complexity, musical wanking and all that shit has nothing to do with why I like prog, or tech-death or anything else. Some (yes, some) Hipsters/indiekids seem to worry a lot about this shit, without actually caring that much about the actual musical output.

I just don't get how some people see prog as this collection of egocentric bastards, playing 'inaccessible' music. Do some people have some kind of distaste for 'weird' time signatures and non-pentatonic/minor scales?
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JimmyJazz

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Of course not! Prog isn't the only genre to integrate "weird" time signatures and non-pentatonic/minor scales in its music, and it's not like I hate prog necessarily because of its complexities. I just personally find a lot of prog boring and  often quite humorous but I have no problem with other people liking it. It's just taste! If everyone liked the same thing, music would be dull and nothing would progress. I added that I liked that King Crimson album at the end of my last post to illustrate that I am familiar with the genre and enjoy some of it as well.
« Last Edit: 18 Feb 2011, 20:41 by JimmyJazz »
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NotAFanOfFenders

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Oh, I wasn't really implying that you were one of the people unnecessarily hating on the entire genre. Digging 'In the Court...' gives you massive cool points in my book.
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KharBevNor

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Especially when you can make music that doesn't suck as well!

Although the version of the track without Rick Wakeman is much better.

Is this now a prog thread? In keeping with the prog-rock/folk thing already established, I have been listening to this track compulsively over the last few weeks. Listen to it and if you think it is bad you have to shoot yourself, or at least admit that music isn't for you.

Comus - Drip Drip
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[22:26] Dovey: like, maybe, 4 or 5 times that i know of?
[22:26] Dovey: and at least one of those was a blatant ploy at getting sigquoted

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Johnny C

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if you think it is bad you have to shoot yourself

funny, this is usually my advice for fans of prog
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KharBevNor

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Man normally we disagree, but yeah, totally.

If you think prog is bad, shoot yourself.
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
[22:26] Dovey: like, maybe, 4 or 5 times that i know of?
[22:26] Dovey: and at least one of those was a blatant ploy at getting sigquoted

http://panzerdivisio

KharBevNor

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But only with like a Nerf gun or something, you silly doofus!

 :-D

It's all fun and gaaaames.


EDIT: JC did you enjoy that Comus track? It ain't got any black dudes from the deep south so fucked up on cough syrup they can't speak straight or any Canadian art school graduates playing home-made guitars but I am trying my desperate best.
« Last Edit: 20 Feb 2011, 06:36 by KharBevNor »
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[22:25] Dovey: i don't get sigquoted much
[22:26] Dovey: like, maybe, 4 or 5 times that i know of?
[22:26] Dovey: and at least one of those was a blatant ploy at getting sigquoted

http://panzerdivisio
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