Thee Oh Sees
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
QF 4 the only one that caused me any problems, but much as I love Sufjan, Big Thief have relaxed more music I love this decade (and we’ve surely got to have at least one female voice in the semis).
Missed some rounds so imagine my delight on seeing Everything Everything are still in with a shout
I think it’s fair to say that they have been the surprise package of this contest.
Big Their surely haven’t released anything like as much music as Sufjan in the 2010s. He’s done The Age Of Adz, All Delighted People, Christmas stuff, The BQE, Carrie & Lowell, The Greatest Gift, C&L Live, Call Me By Your Name stuff, Tonya Harding, Planetarium, The Decalogue and the two Pride songs earlier this year. And Stalker leaked.
True but (even if you accept volume of music as a metric) big thief have released four complete full albums whereas Sufjan has released two albums and a lot of bits and pieces.
They’re using relatively popular music as a platform to rail against the far-right, speak about the environment, contemplate the reasons for the rise of Islamic State… I can’t argue for their importance vs someone like Kendrick, but with a main demographic of (based on gigs) young white guys, they’re doing as much as any 4-white-dudes group can to use their music as a platform for positive social change.
And they make absolute bangers.
It’s all personal opinion of course, but whilst I absolutely love Carrie and Lowell (one of the five or six best albums of the decade, no question) I never got on with Age of Adz and the rest of the stuff you list is a bit insubstantial.
His decade was the noughties, I think - Seven Swans, Illinois, Michigan, The Avalanche, Songs for Christmas.
Big Thief haven’t come close to the brilliance of Carrie and Lowell, but they have released four excellent albums in the last three years.
It’s a close one, as I said, but it’s Big Thief for me, although I admit I’m slightly influenced by not wanting the semis to be a 100% sausage fest.
I think Everything Everything benefit in a poll like the previous round from having little in the way of middle ground. People tend to love or loathe them. You only get their promoters in a poll (until they get some plaudits and then you sure do hear from their detractors…second only to the National in the ‘don’t people who don’t like them love to tell you so’ stakes).
I’d been meaning to write something about them in the last round, but didnt get around to it. Get To Heaven really resonated with me when it came out, being all about these big themes it was easy to become obsessed with like the rise of IS, right wing populism, identity etc. I think Arc is another 10, and Fever Dream probably an 8, though they don’t quite have the same cohesiveness as GTH.
I had a weakly tangential link to someone very publicly killed by IS that I had to do some work on and we had EE tickets the week after the Bataclan attack. I remember being really nervous all week at the thought of going, wondering whether it was still a good idea, seeing loads of people on Twitter trying to sell their tickets because they were suddenly ‘unable to go’ and arriving at the Apollo to see security staff everywhere. I’m not trying to turn it into some kind of terrorism porn experience, but it made for the most intense gig I’ve ever been to. There was this kind of nervous energy in the air that exploded when they came on and opened with ‘To The Blade’ which couldn’t have been any more on the nose in that moment.
They’re a trojan horse of a band where just hearing the singles on Radio 1, you could easily get the impression that they’re just an indie pop group like Bombay Bicycle Club or whatever with catchy songs and silly lyrics (though I really like that they’ve managed to achieve this crossover appeal), but there’s loads of depth if you then pursue them further.
They’re all great musicians Higgs feels very underrated as a writer to me. He’s always got something to say, writes on themes that are very relevant to now - and he does so in a thought provoking, nuanced way…but with loads of flair and humour, so you never feel lectured or bogged down by it. There’s a nice article here (Line Of Best Fit) where he talks through the inspiration for each song on GTH.
Frank would be my other main contender for the poll (so thanks for that match up ), and most of the others have albums that are among my favourites of the decade, but EE are the one that also have something on a personal level that gives the edge and makes them special.
EDIT - what ATT said far more concisely…
100% dont associate sufjan with this decade
Big Thief I’m baffled how they’re even in the conversation period. What a crap bracket
I have to confess that they completely pass my by - I wouldn’t say anything negative about them because they are almost entirely outside my frame of reference. On the odd occasions I hear anything by them I would file it under inoffensive but unexceptional. They obviously have a decent number of passionate fans though, which is interesting.
Big Thief have done amazingly well to get into the last eight as they didn’t start realising music until 2016 - all the others have been around either throughout the decade or at least since about 2012.
Despite that none of the others apart from Thee Oh Sees have released more albums in the decade and they have been remarkably consistent and excellent. I think they have as much of a right to be in the knock-out phases as some of the others that are (although of course there are artists like Beyoncé and many others that deserve it more)
Yeah, I’m in no way trying to press gang anyone into liking them, but I think the interest in polls like this (especially when the winner’s clear from the start) is in people writing why they’re passionate about what they are.
Similarly, I’d have been unlikely to have given Lana Del Ray’s latest much of a shot if it weren’t for the enthusiasm from folks like you on the end of year polls. I thought her debut was fun, but her schtick was a bit hackneyed. I wasnt fussed about hearing more of it, but I’m happy now that I belatedly did.
Perhaps BT perfectly embody a decade of short termism?
Nick Cave vs Deafheaven is my final! Incredibly tough choice, but voted DH on the grounds that they are entirely of this decade, and my love for Nick is largely based on his 80s and 90s work.
Thee Oh Sees beat Kendrick because they are just so spectacular live, plus as I said in the other thread, KL’s constant calling women bitches really jars for me and spoils his records.
The other two brackets are spoilt ballots, I’m afraid. Either don’t like them or not heard enough to form an opinion, so I’m just drawing crude genitalia instead.
I’ll probably always have the closest attachment to Nick Cave’s 80s albums, and it would certainly be weird for someone that’s been releasing music since the 70s to be the artist of this decade. On the other hand he has released three genuinely, truly p, great albums since 2010 and very few others can say that (perhaps only Kendrick).