Nick's Picks: Round 4Posted 07/22/2009 08:47AM by Nicholas Fritz as Nick's Picks
Welcome to the fourth round of Nick’s Picks.
Every few weeks I’ll be choosing a music-related topic and compiling a top-ten list for that category. Since I haven’t heard every song by every band ever, this is not a “best of” list so please keep that in mind while reading it. These articles are meant to be fun and incite discussion, so feel free to add your own lists in the comments section, as well as any other topics you’d like to see covered in the feature.
Copycats will be discussed this time around, and I have picked my ten favorite bands that sound like other bands. Before reading any further, I just want to preface this article by saying that I’m not trying to slight any of these bands, but merely pointing out a more established band that their music strongly resembles. It’s completely possible that many of these instances are coincidences, and I’m not trying imply that the ten bands below are ripping off other bands. The word “copycat” generally has a negative connotation but it sounds better than “bands that sound like other bands” or other more drawn out descriptions.
10.) The Photo Atlas
Copying: At the Drive-In
From the music to the vocals, The Photo Atlas borrows heavily from At the Drive-In, particularly on their debut full length. The band has started to come into their own sound now though with their most recent EP, which is an above-average release, but I still prefer their old sound even if it’s not as original.
Copying: Nine Inch Nails
I have mixed feelings about this band. Their electronic instrumentation is awesome and the vocals are decent, but the lyrics are really cheesy and the songs in the middle of the album aren’t nearly as well-crafted as the ones in the beginning or the end. Looking past all that though, it’s great to see another band besides Nine Inch Nails that can successfully mix electronica and rock without sounding nu-metal or too obscure.
8.) The Minor Times
The Minor Times can best be described as “Botch but heavier,” since they continuously pummel the listener with brutal off-time riffs, while Botch took a more experimental approach. Because of the band’s overbearing style, I find it hard to make it through a whole album but they still have some awesome songs like “The Pugilist at Work” and “I Fuck for Money.”
Copying: Misery Signals
Rosesdead was a sweet band, and I really enjoyed their full length. Their approach to metalcore though definitely had some blatant influences – Misery Signals being the major one that comes to mind. The band uses fast, choppy breakdowns just like Misery Signals while incorporating beautiful melodic parts just like Misery Signals, accompanied by strong, harsh vocals just like Misery Signals.
6.) Silversun Pickups
Copying: The Smashing Pumpkins
Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins and Brian Aubert from Silversun Pickups sound like they could have been separated at birth since their vocals are eerily similar; they both pull off depressing lows and more aggressive high notes in almost the exact same way, which is odd because their vocal styles are unusual. Musically, the two bands do differ in some areas but they both play a similar style of alternative rock, although The Smashing Pumpkins have some more hard-hitting songs.
5.) It Prevails
Copying: Shai Hulud
Although not as technically proficient as Shai Hulud, It Prevails still does a great job of creating melodic hardcore songs with interesting melodies and structures that aren’t groundbreaking, but enjoyable nonetheless. It Prevails is also more straightforward than Shai Hulud, with a greater focus on melody but people in general seem to agree that the two bands have much in common.
4.) Lower Definition
When I initially heard Lower Definition’s EP “Moths,” I immediately thought Glassjaw! It wasn’t so much the music but Matt Geiss’s vocals that conjured up that comparison, as he is clearly heavily influenced by Daryl Palumbo. Palumbo is widely regarded to be an extraordinary singer so it’s remarkable that Geiss is able to pull off a similar style so well; both his screaming and singing are excellent and the driving force behind Lower Definition’s music.
3.) La Dispute
I love La Dispute and even picked them for my number one album of 2008; however, it’s hard to deny that Jordan Dryer has taken a few lessons from Aaron Weiss on how to write poetic lyrics and deliver them with a heartfelt yelling/screaming style; even the music is similar to mewithoutYou’s earlier work. This in one of the few cases, however, that you could make an argument that the copycat is actually better than the original, as I find myself returning more to La Dispute than mewithoutYou lately.
2.) A Life Once Lost
Copying: Lamb of God
It’s no secret that A Life Once Lost’s second full length, A Great Artist, borrowed heavily from the rhythmic riffs of Meshuggah and I personally couldn’t get into that album. However, Hunter blew me away when I first heard it, even though I knew that once again A Life Once Lost was wearing their influences on their sleeves, Lamb of God being the object of their affection this time around. Oddly enough, I was never a big fan of Lamb of God but I listened to Hunter religiously for months.
1.) Jude the Obscure
Copying: Every Time I Die
If you listen to ETID’s older material, particularly Burial Plot Bidding War, the similarities between these two bands are undeniable. Since both of them released their debuts around roughly the same time period, it’s very possible it’s just a coincidence but worth pointing out anyway. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed this album, primarily because of the maniacal, distorted vocals and creative breakdowns.