The Most Important Bands Of The Era: Number Seventeen

17Three down, seventeen to go, as Having Said That… and Appetite For Distraction continue to countdown and discuss who are the most important bands of this era. How high will The Decemberists go? Well let’s continue to find out…

Lauren: I guess I will go first because my #17 most important band made it on the list at #18, so be sure to read the previous entries in the series to see how Vampire Weekend earned it’s spot on the list. What do you guys have for this spot?

Alan: I’m a little hesitant to throw up my number seventeen pick, simply because the argument for KOL could very well apply for this band. However, I feel like their liveliness and exuberance, mixed in with their youth will make them a really important band for years to come. I’m talking about Cage the Elephant. Although most know them for that one song in the beginning of Borderlands, I know them for being incredibly consistent in their two releases they put out thus far. With another album on the way soon (fingers crossed), they will start being recognized for their unbridled talent and charisma.

Kristen: My pick is Grizzly Bear. They have performed on basically all of the major late night talk shows, they have opened for radiohead, toured with The xx, Feist, and TV on the Radio. They have played all of the major festivals. They were featured on Dark Was the Night. They scored the soundtrack to Blue Valentine (which, by the way, is an incredible movie). They are doing wonders for indie music culture and people are definitely noticing. Jay-Z even attended a show and commented on the band:

I’m not saying we should put this on the list JUST because Jay-Z likes them and thinks they’re important…but I think it sort of shows their level of impact on people with varying musical tastes and backgrounds.

James: Damn, you guys. Great choices for #17. This is going to be a tough one. Mine was Foo Fighters. They had their huge heydey in the late 90’s, but their last two albums have been fantastic and versatile and great. The phrase “return to form” is so cliche, but so apt in this case. It’s tempting to say that it’s Dave Grohl’s omnipresence in every single musical event in recent years that is causing me to nominate them, but let’s just pretend that I’m only doing it because of the band’s actual output. OH! And their last two albums were both nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year!

Alan: Firstly, I’d like to say that this is probably the hardest part of the list since number twenty. Secondly, I have to say that I’m not a Foo Fighters fan. HOWEVER, I have the band a lot higher on my list, not just because of what they’ve done as a band, but what Dave Grohl has done for music thus far. I don’t know if you two have seen Sound City yet, but having the members of Foo Fighters play along side legends and record it with the most legendary sound board of all time is something in amongst itself. I say Foo deserves a spot on this list, but not this low.

Thirdly, Blue Valentine should have the sub-title of THE MOST DEPRESSING MOVIE EVER somewhere on their box. As for Grizzly Bear, I know why everyone loves them and why they are as big on the festival circuit. But for me, they just have never connected in the way I wanted them to. I’m not saying that they are bad, just not my cup of tea – much like The Decemberists.

James: I would be fine putting FF higher. I would say GB should be higher too. I hadn’t heard about the Hova shout out. Their song on Dark Was the Night is fantastic and I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that “Two Weeks” is pop gold. I’ve not connected with a LOT of their stuff, but I definitely think they’ll continue to make best-of-the-year lists and headline festivals for years to come. Also, I have heard Blue Valentine is VERY depressing, but sometimes those kinds of movies are the best!

So, of the bands on the table right now, Alan, you ONLY like your choice? ;-)

Alan: You’re right on two accounts – one being that “Two Weeks” is fantastic, and the other that I’m basically backing Cage the Elephant 100% here. I truly understand why Grizzly Bear is popular, but their music just never clicked with me. CTE is bringing up a new generation of garage/blues rock that I feel like will only get better when they grow older.

James: How Cage the Elephant isn’t blowing up all over the place is baffling to me. I had to wrench myself away from their most recent album, Thank You Happy Birthday because I was in danger of listening to it too much. They’ve had several huge songs on the Alternative charts and I think that I would be fine placing them here. But I think Grizzly Bear should be at least #16 if it’s not going to be here. The number of hip hop mashups I’ve heard using the instrumental of “Two Weeks” is WAY more than 2 (It’s three: Hood Internet, Cecil Otter, and this mashup of GB and Lil Wayne songs called “Veckaflyest”)

Alan: It’s actually four if you count Childish Gambino’s usage of it on one of his early mixtapes.

James: So, basically everyone thinks it should be higher. Lauren? You should probably weigh in on how much you love Grizzly Bear, too.

Kristen: I would like to tell a story that has altered my Cage the Elephant love. I went to a festival on a school night expecting to be blown away by Cage the Elephant, but as the show continued the lead singer just got drunker and drunker and started like rolling around floor and it was really rather disturbing. BUT, I do like their albums and think they have a really amazing sound. I don’t know what that had to do with the debate, but I really just wanted to share that. Do you guys think CTE will be one of those bands people will remember years from now?

Even though I am not Foo Fighter’s number 1 fan, they absolutely deserve to be on this list. David Grohl is pretty awesome and their playing with Paul McCartney at the Hurricane Sandy Benefit concert was spectacular and definitely something to be remembered.

I still believe Grizzly Bear deserves to be at this spot or higher.

James: I think so. I think that their third album is going to be HUGE.

Kristen: Ok. I honestly didn’t know..I really don’t know CTE all that well.

Alan: I recommend you check out CTE Live at the Vic in Chicago.

James: I think the best thing about this thing that we’re doing with the list is trying to turn people on to bands that they haven’t explored before. On Thank You Happy Birthday, CtE basically do a run-down of all the 90’s alternative sounds from the Pixies through….well, it’s a lot of the Pixies.

Kristen: I’ll definitely check that out. I think I’ve maybe underestimated CtE’s importance due to that one time I saw them live. But my vote is still for Grizzly Bear.

James: It just goes to show how important EVERY SHOW is. You can’t phone it in. I want to upvote both FF and GB. Is that allowed?

Alan: I don’t see why not – but we have to make sure that we keep track of where they are. The Decemberists are still waiting to claim a spot on the list.

Lauren: What the what!? Is it too late for me to throw in a #17? Eh heh heh…

James: Yep. Far too late……go ahead :)

Kristen: I think this is the first time we have all been on at the same time…

Lauren: Um… you guys are all pretty and I am just going to leave you to it. I will say Foo Fighters would be my pick, but can see them going higher as you’ve all agreed on. Cage the Elephant is known to me for exactly why Alan said (though technically I think I heard that song in a TV show long before that), so that’s not really reason enough to be on the list. And I love Grizzly Bears, except when they eat people. I’m starting to think I represent that group of people who will be turned on to giving more bands another chance, as James mentioned… And I thought I was too old for homework.

James: So……..What did we decide?

Alan: Well, I think we all agreed on Foo moving up in the list. And majority says that Grizzly Bear needs to be on the list too. Question is, are we moving Grizzly Bear up with Foo or are we keeping them here and bouncing CTE?

Kristen: And are The Decemberists worthy of being above any of them???

James: My list would go (in descending order): Foo, Decemberists, Grizz, Cage (moving both GB and FF up, leaving CtE here.)

Kristen: And are all of these worthy of knocking out the other bands we have on our lists?

James: That’s what we’ll have to figure out. Is everyone cool with CtE at #17?

Alan: I’m all for CTE taking this spot. And Grizzly Bear can join Foo on the “List Of Higher Rankings” list. Any more objections and/or questions?

Kristen: I think I can agree with this.

James: Should we reconsider One Direction?

Alan: Absolutely not.
Kristen: No.

James: Ok then.

Alan: Then it is settled [gavel hit].

Lauren: blegh.

The Number Seventeen Spot goes to Cage the Elephant. Foo Fighters and Grizzly Bear continue looking for a higher spot alongside The Decemberists.

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