The Most Important Bands Of The Era: Number Twenty


What do you get when you get four different people, with four different choices of music together to discuss who is the most important band of this era? One hell of an experiment. Having Said That’s Alan and Lauren, joined again with Appetite for Distraction’s James, and special guest Kristen, come together to talk about what bands today are not only important, but will be remembered when their time passes. Nothing is set in stone as we take our lists of twenty bands and bring them down to a universal twenty. Who will make the cut? Join us and find out!


Alan: For me, the number twenty spot was probably the hardest one for me to fill. But at the end of the day, I chose the band that not only has a devoted fan base, but has devoted haters as well. I’m talking of course of Vampire Weekend. They came out with a bang with “A-Punk” and made a case for a resurgence of New York based alternative rock music that we haven’t been pushed into since The Strokes first album way back in 2001. Ever since then, they have been the subject to millions of “are they good or not” debates with both their self-titled release and 2010 album Contra. That debate has since been reignited with their latest effort Modern Vampires of the City, and whether you love the album or hate the album, I think it’s time that we all finally acknowledge what they have brought to the table musically in this rather short amount of time.

James: I, as usual, had an easy time generating my list and a nearly impossible time ranking it. In the end, it comes down to arbitrary decisions. So, for my #20, I decided to go with Passion Pit. They are one of the first bands to make it semi-big from word-of-mouth/blog/podcast hype. They have continued to make interesting music and have paved the way for other bands to make it based on people hearing about them on Twitter or or whatever.

Lauren: When Alan asked me to help with this list, I should have laughed in his face. Yet here I am, and I apologize to all of you out there with vast amount of knowledge on the subject. Feel free to laugh. So here we go… My last place pick is Frightened Rabbit, who I doubt will make it on anyone elses lists, but made my cut because of what they represent in entertainment. In the past decade or so, starting with The OC for me, music became far more important in television. The music should practically be credited as cameos or supporting cast members because these days they can make and break scenes. There wouldn’t be as many memorable moments from Chuck for me without Frightened Rabbit, which leaves me eternally grateful.

Kristen: Please don’t hate me or banish me from the group or think I have terrible taste in music. For the number 20 spot my choice is Nickelback. If this list is truly going to be the most important bands of the era, we have to include the bands we love to hate. Nickelback is THE ultimate example. We have witnessed countless twitter disses, memes, and youtube clips which all revolve around our hatred for Nickelback. This band has forever altered the way we think about music.

James: Well, I agree that all of these are important bands. Kristen definitely has a point about Nickleback being hated on more than almost any other band. I would say that they are in a position of ridicule similar to where Creed was a decade ago.

Lauren was absolutely right to bring up Frightened Rabbit who are, with one or two others, leading the rise in popularity of Scottish-sounding Scottish bands.

Alan brought up Vampire Weekend and I would agree that they have definitely brought a certain type of rock to the fore. If I could find a way to do it without sounding like a total jerk, I would say that they have found a way to make the music-form of a Williamsburg hipster.

These are all great starts to our list. I’m not sure how to even start to eliminate one of these.

Alan: Wow. I never thought of Nickelback as someone that we would have to discuss. I agree with James; they are pretty much the most hated band out there. There is a good reason for that though – as their music tends to be relatively the same throughout the almost twenty years they have been together. Also, because their memes are really funny.

For Frightened Rabbits, I think they will be big – they just aren’t right now. I’d like to hear what they do next now that their debut is out. I feel like they are too young right now to be on the list, in my opinion.

That leaves Passion Pit. They are definitely one of the most hyped and talked about bands in the past couple of years, and that happens when you put out some solid material. They’re two full lengths in, picking up some spots in major shows like Coachella and Bonnaroo. I guess the only question for Passion Pit is their memorability – there are so many other bands coming up right now that have that sound Passion Pit has helped make popular, like Foster the People and Phoenix. Maybe it’s just me, but i don’t know where Pit is going to go from Gossamer.

James: Just a quick correction, really. The Frightened Rabbit album that just came out is their 4th LP. Their debut was called Sing the Greys and it came out in 2006. But if you ask me, the best FRabbits album so far is their second: The Midnight Organ Fight from 2008. I don’t think that they’re too young a band. Perhaps just not big enough yet.

I think that I am going to move for Vampire Weekend to be higher on the list. I’ll concede Passion Pit and say that, between Nickleback and Frightened Rabbit, hmm……I’ll say keep Nickleback at 20 and remove Frightened Rabbit along with Passion Pit.

Alan: Boy there’s egg on my face about Frightened Rabbit. That’s what I get for not researching them fully.

I agree with James on placement, though I bet we are going to name a million other bands that might be more important than Nickelback/Frightened Rabbit. Lauren? Kristen? Any thoughts on the matter?

Kristen: I agree that Vampire Weekend should be a little higher on the list. I think they are a really important link between the hipster/indie music scene and the popular/mainstream scene…whether it’s a good or bad link is debatable, but it’s still an important one. Passion Pit makes a similar connection but I think their sound is starting to become a prime example of generic indie pop. I agree that it’s sometimes really hard to discern Passion Pit’s sound from those other bands like Phoenix and Foster the People. Passion Pit has sort of lost its luster. I can take or leave Frightened Rabbit. I mean I love listening to them, but they don’t leave that big an impression on me. I agree they aren’t that big yet, but one day they will be. I just don’t see them being big in the near future as they only had a so-so review on Pitchfork. Pitchfork doesn’t have the ultimate say on what’s good and what’s not (even though they think they do), but I think it definitely helps shape readers’ opinions on how to judge music. Lastly, I’m still sticking with Nickleback as number 20…because they’re Nickleback. However, if people decide Frightened Rabbit is a better choice I’d be fine with that.

Lauren: Before Leonardo DiCaprio walks into the room and gives me a look of disappointment (movies, are my thing, not music!), I will concur with what was said above about Vampire Weekend deserving better, as well as Nickleback. They can have a spot on the list. Also, I will hand Alan a washcloth to wipe the egg off of his face since he is still spelling Frightened Rabbit’s name wrong. Best of all, Kristen’s shake up of the game has given me my number 19 pick. Get ready.

Alan: Well I guess we should call it then. Nickelback is taking the twentieth spot, and Vampire Weekend lives to see a higher spot. Everyone cool?

James: Absolutely.

The Number Twenty Spot is Nickelback. Vampire Weekend Lives Another Day.

So there you have it! You shocked that Nickelback was picked? Who is your twentieth favorite band? Make a list, check it twice, and join in on the conversation below! We continue next week with number nineteen, where Lauren lays down her epic pick….

Follow Us On Twitter!
Alan @AlanETaylor_
Lauren @BewareOfTrees
James @james80d
Kristen @prossnerk

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