What Music Do You Want To Talk About?

I’ve got a quick request – instead of embedding YouTubes, can we link to them in text? IE

This is just to make sure this thread stays distinct from the Misc Music thread.

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I got really into first wave UK punk with some small Ramones stuff from the States, but never could transition to 80s punk and onward (though weirdly I did and still do like a few Rancid Tracks). I just eventually got into other genres (Punk & Hard Rock → New romantic → New Wave → Industrial ->Electronic Industrial → any weird electronic subgenre). There was and still is a big punk rock house scene in philly of course thanks to the legacy of the Dead Milkmen. I still enjoy my old fave Clash Albums or Gen X singles on my phone.

Honestly 80s punk is probably my least favorite period of punk. I really don’t like The Misfits and their influence, but the grunge movement’s influence on punk revitalized it for me.

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I’ve always liked the poppier or goofier side of Punk. As cliche as it is, the one punk band that really stuck with me was the Dead Milkmen. I’m really sad that Dave Blood died, but I’m glad they were able to get back together. I dunno if Queen Sarah Saturday counts as punk-adjacent, but there’s also them.

I always feel weird talking about music, because my musical tastes tend to be heavily influanced by the other media I partake in, rather than being “organic” or whatever, so I feel very poserish.

I think if you write an HTML link instead of markdown or pasting the YouTube URL the forum won’t expand it.

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12 posts were split to a new topic: Can we even have a meaningful music discussion?

Alright, let’s try this. Here’s a song to look at, Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. It’s a song that has a lot of elements to it so I think it’ll be a better way to kick off the thread.

For those participating in the YouTube boycott, here’s the Spotify link

For me this song is so wrapped up in the music video. It’s really hard for me to separate it. But that’s a huge part of the appeal.

There are so many lyrics, and at such a fast pace, that the cards really help out with following along and comprehension. And yet, most importantly, the cards don’t display every word. There’s a “curiosity gap”, if you will. You read some words in advance, and just as your mind is thinking “how is the next line going to end up with that word and still make sense?”, that’s the moment he reaches that word, and it all makes sense.

I know it’s trite to talk about the genius of that music video, but it really is quite remarkable.

(It’s also made its own way into my own stage performances, as you can see part way into this video.)

The music itself is pretty simple, but that’s needed for such a lyrical tour de force. 12 bar blues can carry a lot of weight!

What’s interesting with a famous song like this is to check out cover version, and see what the other artists feel is the important or relevant elements. To be honest, I think most of them miss the mark with this track.


Boring! Saying the same words isn’t the same as actually singing them with meaning.


Well, I guess they really lean into the “rap” elements.


Would be good not to see you reading the words off the monitor at the front of the stage.


No wait, that’s alien not blues.

If we’re getting into covers, how about Harry Nilsson’s bizarre disco-esque version.


His vocal performance is rather disappointing from such a brilliant singer as Nilsson, and he totally strips out most of the instruments that make the song interesting instead of a monotone 12 bar blues. But I’ll give him this, it certainly is different.

It’s a pretty remarkable synthesis of artistic media. So many artists try to use videos in a compelling way, but invariably fall flat because they’re either relegating their music to a soundtrack (that is, the video takes center stage because it’s a simple visual retelling of the song), or they try too hard to be “quirky.”

As you say, the use of visual words creates an expectation, and it also affords the chance to apply different moods by changing the way the words are drawn.

Some extreme metal bands execute this kind of synthesis, but for most audiences it really just makes up for a deficiency - because the lyrics are often unintelligible, it’s the nearly-exclusive responsibility of the video to create the lyrical mood. The band is just instrumentation then.

Let’s try this once more, here’s a complicated song that not many of you have heard.


I love the descending banjo part, I love the accordion on the downbeat, and the lyrics saved my life when I was 15. The juxtaposition of the “message of hope” from Pat’s “friend William” (an allusion to the “friends of Bill” in AA) over the minor key of the song is truly breathtaking.

Let me get done end of year work and then I am all in on this.

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Here’s something that I love in music, Prosody, when the music does what the words mean.

It’s one of my favorite features of music, and never fails to cause me to giggle in delight when I notice it.

Simpler stuff like saying down and having the the music descend is cool. But the more weird and interesting the better!

One of my favorite ones is in The Dresden Dolls song The Jeep Song. Brian Viglion has a steady bass drum beat through out song, just like a heartbeat. In the 3rd verse Amanda Palmer sings “My broken heart still skips a beat” and just then Brian drops out one of the double bass hits. Everytime i hear that it gets me. (There’s also the outro where the lyrics says that her heart is pounding and the bass drum does just that!)

It’s small, it’s inconsequential, and yet it makes the song for me.

A small video with a few more examples.


IF you’ve got neat and crazy versions of this in songs, or even anti-prosody (harder to do well imo) I’d love to hear them!

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Do you ever have a moment when you discover a band that you’d previously never heard, or even heard of, and then you discover they are making music directly for you?


This happened to me yesterday. How come I’ve never listened to these guys before?

I put on this video yesterday evening, and as it’s Tiny Desk I’m never sure what I’m going to see. It started crazy, like the huge ending to a rock set, but totally weird psychedelic jazz… what the fuck?

Three minutes later, Juliane looks over at me and asks “Are you crying?” And I was! This music is so deep in my wheelhouse! And it’s genius! All three are amazing musicians!

How do you even make a 20 minute set like this? What the fuck is evening going on? How can music be this good?

As a musician, I like to think that I’m pretty good at making interesting music, but how can you even comprehend what is happening in their minds to make this?

It feels like discovering a new genre of music called “Luke is going to love every second of this”. The actual genre? This could only be from the UK, where jazz saxophone over drum and bass rhythms isn’t even weird. Huge dollops of psychedelic noodling…

But then a few minutes later I want to be dancing to the techno rhythms…

And then it ROCKS SO HARD. How does this even work? Then a few minutes later Juliane said “He’s rapping with the saxophone” which is true, because then the beat was this weird grime/hiphop/ragga thing I don’t even understand but love it?

Anyway… yesterday will certainly go down in my history of discovering a new favourite band and new favourite album.


I tend to appreciate this most often when I notice it in lyrical delivery specifically. Instrumentation matching words is one thing, but I am really drawn to those moments of lyrical poetry where the delivery of the words do what the words are talking about.

In Nick Cave’s “Darker with the Day,” from No More Shall We Part, there’s a line I’ve always loved that does this:

“and in my best shoes I started falling forward down the street”

The “started falling forward” brilliantly evokes the action it describes. I think it comes from having three trochaic words in a row, and the alliteration of “falling forward” helps keep that momentum. Three falling beats as we talk about falling forward - fucking brilliant, IMO.

There’s even a term for this! Handel’s Messiah has probably the most prolific example of this in “Ev’ry valley” and its used as an example in the article.

I’m late here, but wtf. Rise against was founded 19 years after Bad Religion. While I love both, and they have thematic similarity in overtly left leaning political songs, I don’t think they are very similar. For one, Rise against has far more songs about love and relationships. This is also the first time I ever read the term “nu punk” and I am unsure what exactly it is supposed to designate.

I’d also like to recommend the YouTube channels Trash Theory and The Punk Rock MBA who are doing great work on the history and impact of punk as a musical genre.

Anyway, I am a big fan of punk rock, but I usually describe myself of being more of a fan of punk rock with some additional additive. Like Ska Punk, Celtic Punk, or hell, Blue Grass Punk. I think this is a strength and in part a weakness of punk rock. It is highly maleable and different artist can bring individual stuff, perspectives, instrumentation etc. to the genre. However, that also makes the genre somewhat fuzzy. Is any uptempo rock music “punk”, or how do you distinguish between what is punk and what not? Or is the declaration that soemthing is “not punk” antithetical to the ethos of punk itself?

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I am not super in the know for the punk scene. Google’s interpretation of nu-punk are punk bands that incorporate themes and sounds from the emo and hardcore genres. My interpretation of the label “nu-punk” is punk post-classic punk bands (of which I now realize Bad Religion technically counts) and, for lack of a better works, “mainstream”. That is, punk that is openly leftist and critical of the status quo but not aggressively anarchic or at least calling for praxis above “destroy the system”.

I would distinguish punk music based on it’s themes over any specific sound. While lots of metal/rock music is pretty counterculture, punk is more direct in its critique of existing culture with minimal metaphors to disguise it’s intent. I think it is definitely a muddied definition as, similar to the label of “cool”, someone self identifying as “punk” is equally backed up by credence given both by the in and out groups. Thrashing on a guitar and singing about Satan was “punk” for the 50s as much as criticizing the military industrial complex was “punk” for the 70s. There’s certainly a recognizable “punk” aesthetic that is pretty Ameri/Euro centric (bright colored hair, piercings, tattoos, leather clothing) even though punk both embodies that specific style as much as it incorporates whatever style is too extreme or uncouth for today’s pearl clutchers (like say, the Ganguro trend in 90s Japan or Hood/Ghetto fashion today (is that even trendy anymore? Christ I’m old)).

I think of it as a Venn Diagram. Honestly there are very fuzzy edges in terms of song content, song composition, and lets say branding (band behavior, outfits, press quotes, etc.). Protest bands and songs existed long before punk, its only in the hereafter of first wave punk (70-something to early 80-something) that we associate the protest song + hard rock/incompetent music playing as punk. Rock fashion has always had a bit of counterculture to it but I wouldn’t go back and then reclassify it as Punk.

Interestingly, “punk” initially was a synonym for “homeless hippie.” However, the first time it was used to describe a type of music was in Lester Bangs’ review of Raw Power in 1970 (I think that’s the year).

Anyway, arguing over the definition of genres is stupid because genres are only helpful in associating similar bands. I’d say Rise Against and Bad Religion are similar enough sonically (regardless of lyrics and time) that you can put them together in a genre, tho what that would be called would be left up to someone with more knowledge of contemporary punk than I.