Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock: Antony and the Johnsons vs. Rose Hill Drive

UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning Rose Hill Drive is leading Antony & the Johnsons 61-39% – a healthy, but far from insurmountable lead. You have until Thursday midnight to log your vote.


For the second time in three weeks we have a runaway, as Asobi Seksu pounds The Dreaming 92%-8%. Wow. In both cases the band on the wrong end of the beatdown has been a darkpop act, and the tournament organizers think they’re beginning to smell a genre bias among the voters. Oh well, the readers like what the readers like, and we’re glad they keep coming back.

This week, the penultimate match-up of the first round – and the point where it begins to get very interesting. Our first competitor, hailing from New York City, please welcome the plaintive avant-pop of Antony & the Johnsons.

MySpace / Last.FM / Lala / eMusic

Their opponents, from nearby Boulder, Colorado (nearby to me, anyway), the roots-inflected rock of Rose Hill Drive.

MySpace / Last.FM / Lala

If you’d be so kind, please click the links to sample the sounds of these two fine and worthy bands. Then come back here and use the poll below to let us know which you like better. After that, feel free to go back to listening. And maybe tell your friends about our bitchin’ contest.

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

Current, updated bracket:

12 replies »

  1. Rose Hill Drive is obviously inspired by QOTSA, and (unfortunately) Wolf Mother. I dug their tunes a lot more, but again I’m a sucker for guitar. I thought the singing and structure of the tunes were good. There were some good hooks as well. Anthony and the Johnsons was actually unlistenable at times. It was weird, I’d get hooked into the tunes with the creepy piano, and strings, then he started singing, and that’s when the vibrato/goat singing came in. There’s only one singer who can do that and sound good, and her name is Stevie Nicks. Another easy one for me; Rose Hill Drive.

  2. I really tried to like A&tJ because RHD really doesn’t sound all that unique. They’re good straight up rock, but nothing really jumps out at me. But I have to agree with Darrell. Antony’s voice rattles my teeth. To me, he sounds like a cross between Aaron Neville and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz.

  3. D: Yeah, I got the QothSA thing right away, although I don’t take Wolfmama seriously enough to worry about it.

    D and Mike: Antony is someone I expected to be a polarizing entry here. His voice is … unconventional … but the depth of the emotion in his lyrics is something that makes him one of the most truly unique performers in the world today. Still, this contest ain’t about me convincing people of anything. I can imagine him winning this whole tournament and I can also imagine him being a first-round upset victim.

    If he does lose here, that just means that another band I think very highly of moves on.

  4. I am not really sure what to say about Antony & the Johnsons except it made me uncomfortable. I found the band unique, depressing, and different, like many other unique, depressing, and different artists out there. I felt like I was listening to the music of a love child spawned from a one night stand between Roy Orbison and P.J. Harvey. I wouldn’t play this music after a hard day when I was unclear how I felt about my future. Much like one of my favorites, Jay Farrar, this artist would keep you from jumping off the ledge.

    With that being said, I like Rose Hill Drive. The guitar work is good and they can certainly keep you awake during a road trip. I have been given a hard time by the Dr. about being a Jam Band Hippie but what can I say. I like guitar, I like a lot of sound coming from a small band, and I enjoy the comfort of Rock’n’Roll. Rose Hill Drive wins in my book.

    • Jon: I imagine a lot of people would react like you have. A&tJ ain’t everybody’s cup of tea and RHD is more accessible. This is one of those matchups you throw out there to learn about your readership… 🙂

  5. Voted for Antony & the Johnsons. Not my thing, but their talent is obvious.

  6. Gotta agree with the goat thing. Music was depressing, though obviously from a talent. KNOCKIN ON HEAVEN’S DOOR was a drag. RHD was not unique, but I have to agree again – I’m a sucker for three piece, guitar driven bands. Picked RHD. Didn’t love either of them really.

  7. I found RHD eminently listenable in a classic rock way, but didn’t hear anything new there. Anthony, however, was disturbingly beautiful. Not my standard fare and probably not something I’d buy (I listen to music to cover background noise at work most of the time, and I need it to have some beat to help keep me awake), but definitely my preference of the two.