Friday, January 23, 2009

their clone was better...

This is a brief post in homage to a simple idea - that often, bands that got away aping other bands' sounds often are as interesting to listen to as the original bands itself.

The idea itself is based off a blog post I found randomly (do read it) last year when trying to find stuff about a band I had heard on WZBC called Silkworm. Now it must be admitted that after listening to both discs of the sadly out-of-print career retrospective Even a Blind Chicken Finds a Kernel of Corn Now and Then that the comparisons are superficial at best. At least in the Slanted and Enchanted days, both bands doled out guitar noise from the Lee Ranaldo and J Mascis school, but Silkworm's best early moments owed more to the atmospheric slowcore of Galaxie 500 than the frantic ranting of The Fall.

There were also the good-ol'-boys of Archers of Loaf during that time period as well. But where the Silkworm I've heard so far failed to sound like Pavement, the Archers of Loaf essentially come down as a more hardcore-derived Pavement.

However, where Pavement are still remembered and beloved as a cultural institution, many of these era "soundalike" acts were washed away by the tides of history. Bad metaphor aside, its truth is remarkably evident: unless I'm looking online, I can't find Silkworm and Archers of Loaf records to save my life. Finding Archers of Loaf debut Icky Mettle was a fluke from lots of used-record-bin searching, and we won't get into finding anything by Silkworm. But the end result is this: much of these Pavement clones are as interesting as the original artist, and really need to be dug back up from the crates.

10 comments:

kat said...

hey aaron! I started a blog yesterday. So feel free to visit it if you can.

http://kat-kaleidescope.blogspot.com/

Aaron Leclair said...

Cool. I'm currently reading; I'll leave a more detailed comment on your blog.

kat said...

awesome. I'm listening to Archers of Loaf right now. You can buy the cd's from their label site.

Are you coming to Charlotte for spring break? We could hang out then maybe?

kat said...

Also, I would like to interpret a Pavement song. What is a good song to start out with that you have possibly tried to analyze before? It would be pretty interesting to compare what we have both devised..

Aaron Leclair said...

Hey. I come down on March 7 and leave March 14. I have no idea how that fits in your schedule.

I currently have the new M.Ward disc - i have to write a review of it for the radio station. I ended up clearing up a bunch of crap about housing for next year, though, so I did not listen to it. Shame.

As for pavement songs, we could try "Conduit for Sale!" or "Fame Throwa" off Slanted & Enchanted or perhaps "Range Life" off Crooked Rain. Remember that it is Pavement, after all, and there will mot be as many layers of meaning as you want there to be.

kat said...

I can agree with that. It's been said that Malkmus employs a stream-of-consciousness style of writing his music. So, we'd be better off interpreting a composition done by someone during an acid trip.

kat said...
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kat said...

March 7th....my break is on the first week of march and ends on the 8th. We could probably chill together on the 7th perhaps or maybe even the 8th.

I would like to interpret "Cut Your Hair", as I have been listening to that one more for a while now. I feel I already have an idea of what the themes are..What do you think?

Aaron Leclair said...

Katherine:

I have seen a line-by-line analysis of "Cut Your Hair" somewhere. Like much of "Crooked Rain", I think it's about being disillusioned with the post-grunge scene and all the major labels converging down on Seattle and the like and making alt-rock a wasteland. I'd be so up for looking at that, especially from a historical perspective.

I'm up for either day. If you opt for the 8th, be warned that you will be with a couple of my other NC friends; either day, be aware that my girlfriend from CMU's coming down for break and it'll be the three of us.

Did you ever read "Our band Could Be your Life" by Michael Azerrad? It's a historical documentation of essentially that idea, except it does so by chronicling the Eighties. I really recommend it to you - you'd get a huge dose of music history, even if you hate the bands.

Sorry for an exceptionally long post. I'm noticing that your responses keep getting more and more insightful, and you've probably surpassed me long ago in insightfulness.

kat said...

I love reading about what you have to say, as I learn so much. Honestly, I am humbled to be talking to such a music guru and I feel sort of unworthy of your presence on cyberspace!

I am open to meeting any of your friends and girlfriend! Hopefully I won't be put in too many awkward situations though.

I have already created a draft of the "Cut Your Hair" interpretation, but I'm thinking about scrapping that and opting to find a different song. However, in regards to history, I included possible references to the end of the glam rock era and the beginning of these corporate label induced post-grunge bands that were all a dime a dozen. I have interpreted most of the song, I am just having trouble with a couple lines.

I will definitely check out the book, as to be reviewing and interpreting these songs, it would be beneficial to have some background information to get the answers I need...

Kind of random, but I met this girl here from Philly who is a fan of Pavement. I found it kind of interesting, considering I haven't met another person who has listened to, much less heard of them (Go hicktown, USA!).