Battle of the Bands Tournament: Round 1 – Indie Rock & Post-Punk Region (Part 2)

Battle of the Bands Tournament, Music

Pregame: As stated in Part 1, this region has a lot of bands that became my favorites during my adult years. I believe there will be at least one upset in this region.

The Match: #5-Sleater Kinney (5) VS #12-Blonde Redhead (3)
Sleater-Kinney sample song: “Jumpers” (live)
Blonde Redhead sample song: “Hated Because of Great Qualities”
The Winner: Sleater-Kinney

Postgame: Like the band Unwound (in Part 1), Blonde Redhead started out in the 90s as a more abrasive punk-influenced New York band (heavily influenced by Manhattan neighbors Sonic Youth, also in Part 1). Then they matured into a more diverse, yet less defined musical makeup, creating a sound and indentity all their own. They dropped the standard guitar/drums/bass set up to include different instrumentation. Each album since 2000’s Melody of Certain Damged Lemons has seen them take a departure from the previous. Albums Misery is a Butterfly and 23 are a faves as well. Great songs include: “A Cure”, “Loved Despite of Great Faults”, “Equus”, “Elephant Woman”, “23” and “S.W.”. Their cross-country opposition in this tourney is Sleater-Kinney from Washington, who wins by a few points. More on them later.


The Match: #6-Sunny Day Real Estate (4) VS #11-Versus (3)
Sunny Day Real Estate sample song: “Killed By An Angel”
Versus sample song: “Raining”
The Winner: Sunny Day Real Estate

Postgame: A close matchup, but Versus loses this one to yet another Pacific Northwest band in Sunny Day Real Estate. Like many indie rock bands, both of these bands are currently defunct (or, like Sleater-Kinney & Fugazi: on “indefinite hiatus”). Versus had great songs like: “I Love the WB”, “Fredrick’s of Hollywood”, “Said Too Much”, “Mermaid Legs” and “Underground”. Their swansong album, Hurrah, was pretty much perfect. Two Cents Plus Tax and the Afterglow EP were also really good. Versus go down gracefully in their defeat.

The Match: #7-Built To Spill (4) VS #10-Jawbox (3)
Built To Spill sample song: “Carry the Zero”
Jawbox sample song: “Savory”
The Winner: Jawbox

Postgame: And we have our first upset in the tournament, a #10 seed over a #7 seed. Built To Spill, despite having more album-wins, falls short on a great songs count by a few points. Naturally, BTS goes down fighting with two perfect albums in Perfect from Now On and Keep It Like a Secret. And while There’s Nothing Wrong with Love and Ancient Melodies of the Future aren’t too shabby either, they’re not enough to stand up to the sucker punch Jawbox delivers. Still going today, their better songs are in past like “Broken Chairs”, “Stop the Show”, “Center of the Universe”, “You Were Right”, and “I Would Hurt a Fly”.

The Match: #8-The Mercury Program (4) VS #9-Pretty Girls Make Graves (4)
The Mercury Program sample song: “Sultans of El Sur”
Pretty Girls Make Graves sample song: “All Medicated Geniuses”
The Winner: Pretty Girls Make Graves

Postgame: And so we have our second upset of the tourney, on the same day no less. The Mercury Program was one of the major influences on my last band Motosota, which like them was a predominantly instrumental post-rock outfit. They have 3 great LPs in From the Vapor of Gasoline, A Data Learn the Language, and Chez Viking, and 1 great EP All the Suits Began to Fall Off, that yield the songs “The Secret to Quiet”, “Egypt”, “Marianas”, and “The Sea Is In Here”. A split EP with Maserati also yielded three good songs. Although almost evenly matched with them, they fall to Pretty Girls Make Graves, a sentimental favorite and major influence on a solo project of mine.
And so Round 1 of the Indie Rock & Post-Punk Rock Region is complete, with two upsets. Seeds 1-6 plus 9 & 10 moving on to next week’s Second Round.
Next up: The First Round of the Hard Rock & Metal Region tomorrow. I predict a couple more low seed over high seed upsets…

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