Curious Career Similarities

Been meaning to do this thread for a while, so be nice :slight_smile:

Which artists have strange similarities between the progressions and sounds of their careers? Obviously each artist has their own individual trajectory but it’s interesting that certain bands seem to have similar progressions, maybe because they pursue a similar sound or set of principles.

  1. Black Flag / Dillinger Escape Plan/

Both ferocious angry bands with a weird symmetry.

  • Hugely aggressive/abrasive sound (Hardcore Punk for Black Flag, Mathcore for DEP)
  • Brilliant noisy debut which defines this sound perfectly (Damaged/Calculating Infinity)
  • Both had great vocalists who had been fans of the band before joining (Rollins/Puciato)
  • Lots of strife and unfortunate incidents which led to a follow-up being postponed. This follow-up shifts the sound and hugely divides the audience (My War/Miss Machine)

There are a few more similarities I could mention between the two but that’s a good start.

  1. Fugazi/Unwound(paraphrasing my post in the Fugazi HGATR thread)

Both uncompromising, locked-in post-hardcore units of course, pursuing their own sound and ideals outside of the mainstream. Also quite a few weird similarities between the sonic progression of their albums. For example:

3rd album- noisy and uncompromising (In on the Kill Taker / The Future of What)

4th album- more groove-based and melodic (Red Medicine/ Repetition)

5th album: An occasionally inspired studio-based album with lots of experimentation (End Hits / Challenge for a Civilized Society)

Finishing with an amazing final album, both packed with melodies and softer playing but still uncompromising (The Argument / Leaves Turn Inside You).

Which other similarities between artists’ careers have you noticed?


Great thread idea.

This one is probably going to make people angry, but The Smashing Pumpkins and Modest Mouse (I was actually about to make this post in the MM HGATR).

  • Through 2000, both had a run of unbelievably incredible albums packed with raw, explosive emotion that can never be duplicated by anyone
  • During that time period they each release a B-Sides album that’s better than all / most regular albums by other bands
  • Billy and Isaac both take a quick detour into amazing, underrated side projects that in retrospect hint a bit at what’s going to come next
  • The bands each come back with a divisive new style, with Billy and Isaac each suddenly having a new voice that’s pushed way up in the mix
  • The bands continue to put out great albums, but they always live in the shadows of the bands’ untouchable original runs
  • Both bands promised an immediate followup to their mid-decade album but abandoned it
  • The latest album by both bands replaces guitars with unexpected sounds


  • Both bands added 200 new people to the lineup
  • Both bands have a drummer who excel at atmospheric playing who temporarily left due to personal issues
  • Both bands unexpectedly added members from or related to famous 80s bands. Pumpkins added Tommy Lee and Jack Bates (Peter Hook’s son), Modest Mouse added Johnny Marr.

Big difference of course is that Modest Mouse exploded commercially with the new material, whereas with the Pumpkins the opposite happened.


I guess the key difference is that Modest Mouse put out good music.

(Do feel slightly bad for making the obvious joke)


I figured it would happen.

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Interesting parallels. Hadn’t thought of those before.

Also interesting is that for me, both artists’ high point are concept albums (The Lonesome Crowded West and Mellon Collie), and both Brock and Corgan seem to thrive on sprawling, large album canvasses.

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I believe the modest mouse guy is also very into conspiracy theories also

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I’m surprised I hadn’t really made such a comparison before seeing as MM and SP were both teenage obsessions of mine (though they are musically veeeery different bands)

Isaac Brock, Modest Mouse
Homer Simpson, proud nuclear safety technician


I think the massive success of Float On hides it to a degree. (And of course the general anti-Corgan sentiment.)

This only really holds up for like two albums and is absolutely the result of a very stoned late night, but The Smashing Pumpkins and Kanye West.

You could argue that each of their third albums found them at a career peak (though Kanye maybe surpassed that later?), making their most accessible stadium-ready music. And look at the vague similarity of their covers! Then their follow-ups were both pretty drastic shifts to more ‘electronic’ music dealing with death and loss.

It all falls apart before and after that, though. And they’re both egomaniacs from Chicago too, so there’s that.

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Don’t feel qualified to comment on the examples so far but this is a great idea for a thread.

Looking forward to all the replies and to learning a few new things.

There are probably loads of examples when bands/artists have similarly painted themselves into a corner.

The National and Interpol.

  • Total shit.
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Smashing Pumpkins never had Johnny Marr join, though.

True. Also that at the time, those records (808s and Adore) were both fairly divisive on release, but are now looked upon a little more favourably.