No one twisting his arm....
September 17, 2008 11:09 PM   Subscribe

What bands sound like Game Theory?

One of the only good things to come out of a past relationship was exposure to Game Theory, close to my current favorite band. I have acquired all their albums by methods both legal and illegal, and I just love their sound and their unflagging intelligence.

What other bands should I listen to? These can predate GT or be more contemporary. I'm searching for songwriting that is as simultaneously intelligent and, for lack of a better word, *quirky* as Scott Miller's.

Were I answering this question, I guess I'd suggest Big Star, The Soft Boys, early REM, and the Unicorns/Islands. I hope this gives some idea where I'm coming from.

One thing I love about Game Theory, too, is that they've *nearly* fallen by the wayside. I'd love to resurrect a band from the 70s, 80s, or 90s that I would have no way to discover without asking this question; the more obscure the better, I suppose.

I should probably also say that I already know and love the Loud Family. Otherwise, I'm all ears!

I look forward to the aural candy to come.
posted by scarylarry to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am watching this thread with great interest. Game Theory is one of the best bands of the 80s and woefully underappreciated. I have the double LP (Lolita Nation) but no turntable to play it on.

I was a freshman at CSU Sacramento in 1989 and remember seeing Scott Miller in the area - I think he played a few solo shows at then-Cafe Montreal - and he was really nice. Loud Family are great too but Game Theory are better than just about anything back then, except maybe The Pixies.
posted by luriete at 11:15 PM on September 17, 2008


Well, there are fellow travelers Aimee Mann and Anton Barbeau, though I'm sure you have considered them. Maybe you should go ask this question on loud-fans.
posted by fleacircus at 12:00 AM on September 18, 2008


The whole early 80s Winston-Salem scene: Let's Active, The dB's, Flat Duo Jets.
posted by rhizome at 12:47 AM on September 18, 2008


I'm having a tough time answering you because Scott Miller exists in a little Scott Miller-shaped box in my brain that no one else fits into. That's why I would love to see you ask Scott Miller your question. (I agree that joining loud-fans is a good idea too.) But as far as intelligent, allusive, unique songwriters and musicians go: Kate Bush, John Darnielle, Ted Leo, Barbara Manning, Bradley Skaught and Anton Barbeau (both on 125 Records, which puts out Scott's music) most immediately leap to mind.

You didn't say anything about demented brilliance but you should listen to Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 anyway. Look at the lyrics (what lyrics there are). The Trouser Press entry on them is a decent orientation even though I don't agree with all of it. Like Scott, nobody else reminds me of them but them.
posted by melissa may at 3:15 AM on September 18, 2008


Here's what people who listen to Game Theory think are similar artists based on their listening habits.
posted by softlord at 5:19 AM on September 18, 2008


The Embarrasment and Big Dipper are my two favourite 80s indie rock bands.
posted by Andy Harwood at 7:46 AM on September 18, 2008


Of course no band sounds just like Game Theory ... but for a contemporary band that seems to fill a similar pop-culture slot (in my head), try the New Pornographers. Catchy & tight pop structures mixed with quirky lyrics, male/female harmonies, and a smart/generous vibe. They're great live (especially when Neko's on board).
posted by lisa g at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2008


Also: do you know the New Zealand scene of the mid-'80s/early '90s? Try the Clean, the Bats & the Chills. Or the Elephant 6 U.S. scene of the mid- to late '90s/early '00s? Try the Apples in Stereo, Beulah & especially Neutral Milk Hotel.
posted by lisa g at 10:27 AM on September 18, 2008


Also, check out Jon Brion. I think he's done some work with Aimee Mann and several film soundtracks ... the music he did for I Heart Huckabees is fantastic and might be similar to what you're looking for. His instrumentals are great, but he really shines lyrically. I'm pretty sure he produces or writes (or both) for Fiona Apple, as well.
posted by luriete at 10:56 AM on September 18, 2008


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