Nobody there for first 3 Foo Fighters albums? Self Titled/Colour and the Shape/There Is Nothing Left To Lose was my youth. Also backing up every GKMC/TPAB/DAMN post, and getting popcorn for the Radiohead posts (never got on with OKC personally, love The Bends…).
Such a good stretch of albums. Honestly you could probably make a case for any of their albums from Reveille on.
My own personal list would be
Deerhunter: Microcastle, Weird Era Cont., Halcyon Digest
Chad VanGaalen: Diaper Island, Shrink Dust, Light Information
and it’s probably cheating since they’ve only put out three albums so far but Lower Dens.
CAN: Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi, Future Days
Also tricot because they are a fun band: The, And, 3
The only thing that kept me from putting that tricot run in the OP is that I do not speak Japanese so I’ve never really been able to fully analyze how cohesive each album is (though that probably doesn’t matter all that much for most math rock).
That being said, the musical journey from all three of the albums has been fun. And they and Delta Sleep are pretty much my go-to’s if I need that good, good math rock real quick.
These are the three CAN albums I own (keep meaning to get the Lost Tapes CD set and some of the other stuff).
Tricot are a band I need to investigate further. I was obsessed with the fun mathy gloriousness of their early singles
Lotta extremely good choices in this thread!
I’d like to recommend Neon Indian‘s Psychic Chasims, Era Extraña and VEGA Intl. Night School . And yeah, that’s basically the dudes whole discography, but they’re all so so good. Each of those albums has a special place in my heart
CAKE - Fashion Nugget, Prolonging the Magic, Comfort Eagle
I don’t know if it’s really the best three-album run, but if you give me a chance to drop CAKE into a music thread, I am taking it.
Oh, that’s a good three-album run.
In before anyone else can add Sleep’s run of Sleep’s Holy Mountain, Dopesmoker, and The Sciences
It’s interesting that you say that, because it’s occurred to me how little I pay attention to lyrics in music most of the time, despite being someone who loves words and language.
I’ve been really into Moloko lately, so: I’m Not A Doctor, Things To Make And Do, Statues
I mentioned Wayne Shorter earlier so I’ll guess I’ll throw groupings out there: Moto Grosso Feio, Odyssey of Iska, Native Dancer OR Night Dreamer, JuJu, See No Evil
Sleater-Kinney: I’m torn because I want to include One Beat and The Woods but am uncomfortable with the language on the first track on All Hands On The Bad One, and and No Cities To Love is a little weak… Pick your poison I guess? I guess I could go with Call The Doctor/Dig Me Out/The Hot Rock
Also I mentioned This Heat and I’ve decided to stand by This Heat/Health And Efficiency/Deceit, because for Slint while Spiderland is a fucking masterpiece their first record was relatively weak.
I feel like a lot of burgeoning bands are really good for this, because I get to say “Well, they’ve only released like 3 albums and all of them are good so” so I’m tempted to throw out stuff like Iceage or even bands I’m less familiar with like Young Fathers
Oh I’m the same way, I am incapable of hearing someone sing or rap and comprehend what any of the words actually are. Most of the time I listen to an album then have a second listen while looking at the lyrics on genius or something.
It’s not to say that not understanding tricot’s lyrics makes it less enjoyable, because it makes the vocals seem much more like an instrument in some ways and I kinda dig that. But it does make me uncertain of if I (with my weird evaluations of what makes a good three album run) should consider tricot’s run as one of the best ever if I don’t even know what the albums are about (though it’s a really good run)
Edit: but part of why I made this post is because I was curious to see how other people evaluate what makes a good album? What makes a good run? Is three fantastic albums enough or should there be an arc to them? Should there be a “wait and see” approach for newer artists with strong albums? I don’t know, it’s all interesting to me!
Okay so I wanna make my case for the first three Mars Volta records. I know some people aren’t too hot on the group, but they hold a place of nostalgia for me because I bonded with a friend over them. (I heard someone describe Frances as “the most loathsome album I’ve ever sat through” but that dude was also a huge prick.) It’s no accident, either; one of the main duo (Cedric and Omar) said of the song “Cassandra Gemini” said they wanted to make something “no-one could remain careless to.”
So De-Loused in the Comatorium/Frances the Mute/Amputechture.
I’m not an “expert” in this kind of stuff and probably need to read up on some music history, but there was this feeling for me when looking at progressive rock that the genre had stagnated in a pretty pervasive way. The movement kind of stuck to its prototypes: mid-era King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and a holy heck ton of Rush. That’s not a dis of those groups, but a lot of modern prog sounds like just more of that but with djent, meanwhile dismissing a lot of other experimental progressions from that era (I’m thinking of things like Soft Machine). The name “progressive” was referring to trying to advance rock as an artform, but it felt like progressive rock stopped progressing. Instead, you have to look to art rock, post-rock, or experimental rock.
Mars Volta felt like it came from a world where progressive rock didn’t stop progressing. I didn’t listen to these records when they came out, I actually only listened to these records about a year and a half ago, but I felt the same way about it. The tone, the production, the rhythms, they all felt modern and surprising in ways that modern progressive rock had failed to succeed to do for me. It’s very… electric, I feel like? The energy in their music feels very technological but also very agile and fluid, frequently going into slow Bitches Brew style jam sessions, but also having a concision and aggression. It all feels modern, even right down to the totally ridiculous (and admittedly pretentious) lyrics that, which, instead of sticking to the classic vague existentialism, use polysyllabics and phrases like “Transient jetlag ecto mimed bison” (they also occasionally veer into Spanish which is dope). Later on, Volta ventured into different soundscapes, but these first three records, De-Loused, Frances, and Amputechture, hit this sweet spot. In form, they still had the same long-form symphonic jams we could expect, but also had an electricity that turned these songs into a new organism. They were both undeniably progressive rock, and undeniably something different.
It’s been years since I’ve listened to the Mars Volta, but I just started listening to Deloused again and I think I see what you’re getting at (Eriatarka and Cicatriz Esp fucking rule by the way).
I’ve been think a lot about the stagnation of prog. Progressive metal is pretty much a lost cause in many ways, and the prog rock bands trotting out feel so without life. I’d argue there are a few other 00’s era artists that have been good at this too (Mew with pop sensibility, The Dearhunter with emo sensibility and really strong multi album coheision) and a few artists that execute on the old sound so well I’m still impressed (Beardfish, Moon Safari). But so much still sounds very derivative of Rush, Yes, and King Crimson without really examining other bands of that era.
This stagnation is kinda why, weirdly enough, I started getting into hip hop. It feels that’s where so much of the creative energy is in terms of searching for new sounds. I mean, you won’t generally hear someone rapping over a 7/8 rhythm or anything, but listening to an album like Atrocity Exhibition or TPAB is a more challenging listen to sonically, lyrically, even structurally than someone doing their best Hemispheres impression.
God, now I just want a prog/art rock thread.
Edit: HOW THE HELL DOES SOMEONE LISTEN TO THE OPENING TO FRANCES AND NOT BE IN LOVE?
Death Grips - ExMilitary, The Money Store, No Love Deep Web
Holy trifecta for me. EM and TMS are both in my top ten of all time, and NLDW was a really cool departure from those two albums towards what Death Grips is currently, which is somehow a lot more experimental than their early stuff.
I feel like a lot of the innovation you used to find in prog. metal is found in the post metal scene nowadays. Bands like Inter Arma and The Ocean definitely draw on progressive elements but they don’t come of as sterile in the way that a lot of prog metal tends to do. It seemed like at some point prog. metal got destilled down to it’s core concepts and just ended up being relentlessly technical and rigid in it’s expression, and a lot of what the post metal scene is getting right these days is the way they borrow from what prog has kinda lost.
I was about to post these exact same hold steady records!
Was thinking about this the other day, and I think it’s accurate:
Bomb the Music Industry!: Get Warmer, Scrambles, Vacation
I think these are the three BTMI albums where Jeff really started to stretch himself creatively (although Goodbye, Cool World had some of those same instincts, he kind of shrank back from them so there were only a couple tracks that fit thematically together). The albums have a level of experimentation with the sound of the band that is really great, and while a lot of people might have bounced off Vacation initially, it’s an album that grows on you the more you listen to it.
Plus I happen to think BTMI was one of the best punk bands knocking around Long Island, and Jeff Rosenstock is legit one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met.
So regarding prog: there’s an interesting history (that I wasn’t really aware of until literally today) of the term “progressive” and how it’s been applied to other genres. Wikipedia copy-paste:
As an art theory, the progressive approach falls between formalism and eclecticism. “Formalism” refers to a preoccupation with established external compositional systems, structural unity, and the autonomy of individual art works. Like formalism, “eclecticism” connotates a predilection toward style synthesis or integration. However, contrary to formalist tendencies, eclecticism foregrounds discontinuities between historical and contemporary styles and electronic media, sometimes referring simultaneously to vastly different musical genres, idioms, and cultural codes.
Like, again, there’s nothing wrong with that classic approach, like, god knows I love Floyd, and I’m listening to Tarkus as a type this, but it’s just really weird to see literally every band sound like either Dream Theater or Hawkwind?
It’s interesting that you bring up hip-hop though because the reason I’ve had so much trouble getting into hip-hop has to do with the predominance of language in its composition. I really, really need to put more time into trying to get into it. I have to like, sit down and focus on lyrics to really absorb them, and since rap is essentially a rhythmic stream of words, my brain just doesn’t take away the best part of the genre, and it didn’t help that the rap I’d been exposed to on the radio had extremely vacuous lyrics. also trap beats give me headaches
But, me being a pretentious goon, the hip-hop I have gotten into has been the experimental and weird stuff. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve listened to by Death Grips, but I really like clipping. and dälek (because hey guess what I’m pretentious and I like noise music and I am no longer am embarrassed about it fuck you), which, in it’s own weird sense, is a kind of progressive hip-hop? Like, I know you could also point to like, the Roots or something else, too. If we view progressive rock as a melding of these versions of “formalism” and “eclecticism”, this music does this. dälek and clipping. (and other noise-hop artists!) are both undeniably hip-hop in form and structure, but also draw from experimental noise music to create these unbelievably unique sonic experiences. Like, the song Distorted Prose starts with just MC dälek rapping before were introduced to a subtle bassline and then blaring drones, and clipping. frequently has static squeals baked into their hooks. That’s a kind of synthesis you rarely see in any music
I could also be full of shit, I know nothing about hip-hop
Also, I’d love to see progressive rock, and honestly just more genres in general, utilize rap in their music. There was a recent Toe album that featured rap, for example. There’s no reason for it not to show up; rap is just a method of expression. A sick verse should be able to fit in just as well as a sick guitar solo!
one sec im gonna respond to about “3-album one cohesion” its one of those days where I write more on the forum than i do in my homework
EDIT: also idk if you’re referring to the song or the album but either way, ya!
Might be splitting hairs, but I think Adults! came out in between Scrambles and Vacation, I think there’s a debate of whether or not it’s an EP. I’d totally sub it in and take off Get Warmer (although I love that album as well).