In a testament to the abilities of crowdsourced problem-solving, there is almost no overlap between the math-pop and math pop tags on last.fm. I’ve covered the former subset in a previous post, so today I’m going to take a look at the latter.
In a testament to the laziness of this author, not only am I going to continue blurring the lines between what “counts” and what does not count for this genre, I am not even going to stick to paragraph form for this one. I’ve been reading a lot lately, and I believe I have forgotten how to write. Enjoy a loose outline of pluses and minuses for some bands I’ve been listening to recently.
Tiny Moving Parts
+ Great execution of the loud-quiet dichotomy, even though their songs are pretty short
+ Impressive instrumental work for a three person band where the vocalist is also the guitarist
+ Very exciting song-writing with entertaining live performances (will link a couple below)
– Vocals may be a little angsty for some — I don’t mind them too much
– Lyrics go well over the line between “reminiscing” and “I MISS MY FRIENDS”
Recommended album: This Couch Is Long & Full Of Friendship
This Town Needs Guns
+ Highly technical playing. Lots of twinkly stuff and tapping on the guitar; engaging drumwork. Bass hasn’t stood out so much to me
+ Very sweet melodies without being syrupy
+ Textured songs with a lot going on without being chaotic (a common feature with math rock as it approaches emo, but these guys do it well)
– Occasionally their songs run a bit too long for what they are
Recommended album: Animals
- If I Sit Still, Maybe I’ll Get Out Of Here (album/live)
- Adventure, Stamina & Anger (album/live)
- Japanese Ultraviolence in D Minor (album)
- Pig (album/live)
+ Refreshingly unorthodox vocals – very high pitch, loads of harmonizing
+ Melodic in a notably satisfying way. I can’t express how it is different from the previous two bands, but there’s something very calming and intrinsically “right” with the song-writing here
+ Diverse variety of tracks across a given album
– Really do not like the electronic direction they took on their second album, Romance
– They broke up
Recommended album: Our First American Friends
- Stacey’s Left Arm (album)
- He Awoke On A Beach In Abergavenny (album)
- Elle Barge (album) – for some reason I can only find it on Spotify
- Cows To The East, Cities To The West (album)
And now for a total hodgepodge of artists that I haven’t had a chance to fully listen to, but enjoy nonetheless.
So Much Light
Damien Verrett is a talented singer, song-writer, and finger-style guitarist that you’ll notice has a lot in common with Yvette Young from my other math pop post. I believe they know each other. I’m going to link his live acoustic performances, because I prefer them to his proper track releases.
The Speed of Sound in Seawater
This is Damien Verrett’s band. I actually listened to their entire discography and enjoyed it, but after listening to Tubelord, I found them “not as good.” Tubelord makes more dynamic tracks, while The Speed of Sound in Seawater is more poppy. I do recommend First Contact, though.
Last but not least, a few individual tracks (math pop or otherwise) I bumped into while listening to math pop radio.
- Minus the Bear – Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse
- Johnny Foreigner – With Who, Who and What I’ve Got
- Weatherbox – Trippin’ The Life Fantastic
I used to be heavily in the camp that believes that “happy music sucks”. When I used to listen primarily to post-rock, or even before that, primarily to nu-metal, I would not have been able to stand the music in this post. The question now is “can there be a limit to the kinds of music one can learn to like”? Math pop, and indeed almost every genre ever covered by this blog, is still a mainly melodic, Western, “popular music” genre. I wonder if it will be so straightforward to develop a taste for modern or post-modern “art” music.