Harmonic pop?
April 9, 2006 2:18 AM   Subscribe

Recently I have been listening to Magic Numbers, The Thorns, Hal and Teenage Fanclub. Should I listen to Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Big Star, Badfinger, Mamas & Papas, Raspberries, Bread or America?

I got the other band names from searching for their influences but I don't know where to start. Which albums are the best by the bands above? Will a "Best of..." do for some of them? Any other bands - new or old that you think sound similar to these bands?
posted by meech to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have a look at this thread. Lots of great suggestions.

The two classic Big Star records are available together on one CD. I love all the Badfinger records but would recommend starting with Straight Up and No Dice. For CSN you can't go wrong with their debut album. For The Raspberries, Bread and America I personally think you can get by with hits packages.
posted by gfrobe at 5:08 AM on April 9, 2006

I like some of the bands you listed and *love* Big Star. Definitely the first two (on one CD) - #1 Record and Radio City.
posted by drobot at 5:38 AM on April 9, 2006

Everybody should have some CSNY in their collection. It's required. Some of the various cominations of CSNY (like CSN or just Stephen Stills or Neil Young) are great too.

Deja Vu is a CSNY classic.

One of my all time favorite CD's is this one by just CSN.

And I've got a lot of Neil Young's solo stuff. After the Goldrush may be my favorite. I like the more acoustic stuff.
posted by bim at 6:49 AM on April 9, 2006

A very definite yes to the Y of C,S,N & Y (on the Beach & Everybody Knows this is Nowhere),Big Star and Badfinger.
posted by Dr.Pill at 7:42 AM on April 9, 2006

I generally find All Music Guide a reliable source for finding out about new artist and who they're connected to and which albums are the best place to start (the ones w/ the check boxes).

Try looking up some artist you know well, see which albums/songs they say are the ones to know. I've found I agree w/ them in this for the most part.
posted by lannanh at 8:31 AM on April 9, 2006

Big Star ..that 2 record set (radio city, #1 record) is just about the finest thing you'll ever hear. wait'll you hear "September Girls" .

Badfinger. sure, yes. they're great.

America? bleh..pure simulacrum
csny ? .. like Dr.Pill says..
maybe i should be listening to Magic Numbers, The Thorns, Hal!
posted by The_Auditor at 9:07 AM on April 9, 2006

Agree that Bread and America are not worth investigating. Better to check out Simon & Garfunkel and Paul Simon's solo work.

You should also hear the first four R.E.M. albums. And this one by the Go-Betweens.
posted by barjo at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2006

The bands you mention aren't all exactly the same genre, but I can understand the shared sensibilities. CSNY is classic folk/rock, Big Star is quintessential power pop, Teenage Fanclub infleunced a ton of indie pop bands, and Mommas and the Poppas are 60s baroque pop/chamber pop. I don't think "harmonic pop" is a term that many will recognize.

Here are bands I am confident that you will like, mostly contemporary, some from the 60s:

The Shins
The Robsebuds
Rogue Wave
Andrew Bird
The Lucksmiths
Camera Obscura
The Beach Boys
The Beatles
The Zombies
The Magnetic Fields
Elliott Smith
Olivia Tremor Control

And probably a bunch of other bands listed here if you want some more. I also enjoy these bands greatly, in addition to those you originally mentioned. Yay!
posted by ludwig_van at 10:18 AM on April 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you are going down the CSN&Y path, you should also check out Buffalo Springfield, which included S&Y prior to their hooking up with C&N.
posted by Good Brain at 11:25 AM on April 9, 2006

Yep, Big Star is essential (as a bonus, the linked article includes some additional recommendations for great guitar/power pop of the period, including the Raspberries, Badfinger, Todd Rundgren, the Flamin' Groovies, and the dB's). And since you like Teenage Fanclub, too, here's some excellent recomendations from the same site for '90s guitar pop -- from that page I especially like Matthew Sweet, The Posies, Cotton Mather (may be hard to find but well worth it) and Myracle Brah (ditto).

Additionally, I'd strongly recommend Crowded House (all four of their studio albums are great, so start with "Recurring Dream," their best-of) and XTC, particularly "Skylarking" and "Apple Venus, Vol. 1."
posted by scody at 11:45 AM on April 9, 2006

DO listen to Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Big Star, Badfinger, Mamas & Papas, Raspberries.

DO NOT listen to Bread or America.
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on April 9, 2006

Oh, and in the more chamber pop vein: The Divine Comedy is spectacular. "A Secret History," their best-of, came out about 6 or 7 years ago so they've put out several records since then, but it's also a great place to start.
posted by scody at 11:56 AM on April 9, 2006

Never a bad idea to discover Big Star. Don't start with Third/Sister Lovers; though it's their best, it's also their weirdest.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:05 PM on April 9, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good advice - CSN&Y, Big Star here we come...
posted by meech at 7:53 PM on April 9, 2006

A few hours late, but the Mamas and the Papas are totally classic. Get their first album, "If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears". It has all the classics on it: "Monday, Monday," "California Dreamin'" and some other songs that are great but unknown. Badfinger is great too..."Straight Up" is a fabulous album.
posted by apple scruff at 9:56 PM on April 9, 2006

I'm late to this. But I have to speak up. The early two America albums ("America", often called their 'war album' because it said WAR on the side, for Warner Brothers) and the next (can't recall the title) were good, especially the War album.

America was folk rock, mostly. Some departure from that occured, and later they turned quite candy-assed pop. But that war album is full of good songs, good to sing, good to listen. They are an all-time favorite of mine, but my tastes are all over, and I'm nearly 50.
posted by Goofyy at 1:49 AM on April 11, 2006

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