scholars and rogues

Tournament of Rock I: The Well Wishers vs. Andrew Bird


UPDATE: We have a see-saw battle on our  hands, with The Well Wishers currently holding a slim lead. Voting closes Thursday night, so make sure you’ve registered your opinion.


Welcome to the inaugural Scholars & Rogues Tournament of Rock, Round 1. Match #1 kicks the game off with two worthy competitors.

First, from San Francisco … the melodic guitar pop of The Well Wishers.

Their opponent, Chicago-based indie fave Andrew Bird.

The rules are simple. Visit each artist’s MySpace page, listen to their music, then come back here and vote.

<a href =”” >Who do you think is the best band in this round of the Tournament of Rock?</a> <br/> <span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”> (<a href =””> online polls</a>)</span>

Results will be announced next Friday. Meanwhile, here’s the current bracket.

Thanks for playing, and may the best band rock.

23 replies »

  1. Random? No. I picked bands sort of by whim, I guess, and wouldn’t say there’s a lot of design behind how I paired them, but you couldn’t call it random, either.

    Some of the bands are on eMusic, but I’m not sure how many. Some aren’t, I know.

  2. Only reason I asked about randomness is cause it would be kinda hard to compare, say The Well Wishers and IAMX. But, eventually, that’ll happen if they get far enough. Just curious.

  3. True. I expect the apples vs. oranges matchups to be really interesting. And an IAMX vs. Gogol Bordello throwdown would be more like apples vs. tricycles.

  4. The Wishing Well’s not bad. But Andrew Aviary is a mature and original artist.

  5. Andrew Bird sounds like a pleasant Sunday morning. Interesting, engaging and artistic (i.e. the act of expressing thoughts and feelings…well)

  6. Dammit, you people keep saying that was easy, but I don’t see a walkover anywhere. So how about enlightening me by telling me which artist you think is that damned superior.

    • The Well Wishers sound like they’re playing in their garage, and while that’s an entire genre that many people enjoy, I personally can’t stand the sound (even if they’re not technically “garage band”). I enjoy varied instruments and more complex rhythms than what I heard in the five Well Wishers songs illustrated. The Well Wishers also reminded me a lot of the Beatles in a couple of songs, and that’s not actually a good thing for me.

      I’m not making a quality judgment, as I don’t know enough about either to do that. I voted on which one I liked more, and that was an easy decision.

  7. Dug.

    I thought it was easy too. Bird is far superior, but that probably stems more from taste than anything else…and i’m not a huge fan of the singer-songwriter genre. Every Well Wishers song i listened to started out like it was going to rock and then the vocals came in and turned it into pop. Polished, yes, but i like my rock to be of the bloody knuckles sort (or at least heavy on the Aquanet).

    Like this:

    or this:

  8. Hey now, this is part of what separates The Tunament from, say, the NFL. The NFL is out-and-out sports. Divisions have been set for years. The franchises get out of the mindset of “let’s try to win the whole damn thing” (hell, these bands aren’t actually competing, are they?) and get more into a “let’s position ourselves to win the division and take our chances from there”. As a result, divisions take on characteristics; genres, if you will. My beloved Bengals are in the smashmouth run and 3-4 defense AFC North, for instance. A great quarterback and two great receivers will get you about 4 wins a year. It’s probably a weather thing, mostly.

    Anyway, sure, Dr. Slammy could keep it in the genre I suppose, but that isn’t much like March Madness, is it? And it isn’t much fun. A more arcane seeding and odd clashes of style make the whole process MUCH more interesting.

    So, let’s not game the vote by expressing our comments in these posts. I found intriguing aspects about both “competitors”. I was already familiar with Andrew Bird. I have Noble Beast already.

    The Well Wishers, while previously unknown to me, also bring great things to the table. Sure, they seem almost sickly sweet in the Beatles tradition, but they also bring that subtle saccharin that The Posies do so well. If they’re missing anything at all (and that’s an “if” with a capital “I”), they haven’t presented (at least on their Myspace page) that heart-crushing moment of self-examination like the aforementioned Posies’ “Coming Right Along”.

    But then, in my eyes, Andrew Bird doesn’t deliver the knockout blow either … which is what makes this match-up intriguing to me.

  9. Oh, man, Slammy, we’re in Monsters of Rock territory with that match up.

    Fikshun, i see your point. Almost all of these artists are a complete mystery to me, which makes it fun. The polls can be easily gamed. At some point, one of these bands is going to find out about this and send all of their friends to vote.

    I’ll be less enthused with the commenting if it devolves into “this band sucks” and the like. There’s no way that any of this can be objective, so as long as the comments are speaking to the writer’s tastes i figure them to be on point.

    And at least with the Scrogues, we can rest assured that nobody’s taste is locked into a single genre.

  10. The way I see it, the artists win regardless of who really “wins” – they get new people listening to their work. And while I won’t be buying a Well Wishers album any time soon because of my tastes in music, there are plenty of other people who will, and that’s good for them. And I may see if I can track down more Andrew Bird to see if I like enough of his work to invest in it, and that’s good for him.

    It’s all good.

  11. I didn’t actually watch any of the college hoops games this year, but from what I heard, this is way closer than any of those match ups. 🙂

  12. Whoa, mule. I meant this one was easy for me. One is craggy and emo and balladish. No brainer here.

  13. Ann wrote:

    One is craggy and emo and balladish.

    That’s a good thing? Maybe, if you’re Nick Drake.