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  • Elephant 6 anyone?

    What do you all think of the so-called Elephant 6 collective? That southern scene that has produce several waves of very very clever psychedelic bands?
    The first gen Elephant 6 bands were Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc. I believe Apples in Stereo is associated withthem as well.

    But the bands of particular interest to me are second wave bands from that scene: Minders, and Of Montreal.

    I don't know enough about the scene to know how closely related these bands are at all...

    ...But if you want to check two extremely interesting (if nothing else) bands who are at exactly opposite ends of that pop stylistic spectrum, well, check 'em out and discuss.

    Minders write short, efficient, unfailingly Beatlesque rock and roll tunes. Everything sounds on the spectrum from Hard Day's Night to Help. And the dude is really really good at it--really good at artful lo-fi too.

    Of Montreal just swims in psychedelic excess, as if the dude (Kevin Barnes) was born in Brian Wilson's bed. He's a bottomless well of melody and textural orchestration, and he is numbingly prolific and maybe not quite sane.

    But listen to to track one of the album The Gay Parade--the track is called "That Old Familiar Way"--and tell me the dude is not up to the McCartney/Wilson lavish chamber pop challenge. Only problem is, there aren't so many such moments of pop clarity on his records...

  • #2
    IMO, Brian Wilson is not psychedelic, early Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd was psychedelic. Brian Wilson's stuff is more like corny kitsch. I was never a Brian Wilson fan which probably explains why I don't like the High Llamas either. I'm one of those people who think the Beach Boys and the Beatles are overrated and I've never heard of the "Elephant 6" scene even though I follow non-mainstream and post-rock bands. Frankly, that "scene" looks like it's fabricated, like it's invented by some record company exec trying to cash in on a new genre.
    It's distressing to see that there are a new group of bands who idolize and copy the Beatles/Brian Wilson instead of creating something new and different.

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    • #3
      I don't know about the Elephant 6 scene being fabricated. It was a number of groups on the same label and who knew each other. I was aware of this a little over ten years ago, IIRC. I liked the stuff but was not a rabid fan. I don't ever remember them being considered psychedelic, though, as it was more of an indie band thing than psychedelia.
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      • #4
        Be Careful, a 6 of Elephant will take out most good men.

        "Everything is on the one"

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        • #5
          IMO, Brian Wilson is not psychedelic, early Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd was psychedelic. Brian Wilson's stuff is more like corny kitsch. I was never a Brian Wilson fan which probably explains why I don't like the High Llamas either. I'm one of those people who think the Beach Boys and the Beatles are overrated and I've never heard of the "Elephant 6" scene even though I follow non-mainstream and post-rock bands. Frankly, that "scene" looks like it's fabricated, like it's invented by some record company exec trying to cash in on a new genre.
          It's distressing to see that there are a new group of bands who idolize and copy the Beatles/Brian Wilson instead of creating something new and different.


          The first Elephant 6 records came out in the early 90's.

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          • #6
            I'm not too familiar with the second generation bands, but I bought a few E6 releases back in the 90s. Just recently, I found myself getting back into Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and I've been listening to it every day for the past week or so. One day it just suddenly hit me that the title track is much more beautiful and powerful than I ever thought.

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            • #7
              Frankly, that "scene" looks like it's fabricated, like it's invented by some record company exec trying to cash in on a new genre.


              There are lots of bands deserving of this kind of cynicism, but the Elephant 6 collective certainly isn't one of them. They started out in the 90's as a bunch of kids making records and releasing them on their own and achieving really modest success. I'm not sure any of them ever even put out a record on anything other than small, independent labels.

              Regarding In the Aeroplane over the Sea, that record is probably my favorite of the 90's. The production on it is just phenomenal. Yes, his voice is grating to some, but if you can get past that and look at the lyricism, orchestration, and songcraft of the entire record it is really magical.

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              • #8
                I liked the Olivia Tremor Control albums I have heard.
                "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

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