Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock: Asobi Seksu vs. Paul Steel – finals

UPDATE: Paul Steel has maintained a consistent (and at times massive) lead, but in the last 24 hours Asobi Seksu fans have gotten into the game. Polls close Friday at midnight – let your voice be heard.

In last week’s second semifinal, Asobi Seksu pulled away to defeat Rose Hill Drive by a 75%-25% margin. The outcome was very much in doubt until the last day of voting, and we congratulate RHD on a great showing.

And now, The Finals.

New York City’s Asobi Seksu are in the vanguard of a vibrant contemporary shoegazer movement, and their most recent disc (this year’s outstanding Hush) makes clear that they’re not interested in simply reproducing the droning guitars that have defined the genre since My Bloody Valentine. They defeated The Dreaming, Black Mountain and Rose Hill Drive to reach the finals.

Listen: MySpace / Last.FM / Lala / eMusic

Their opponent ran an equally intimidating gauntlet en route to the championship round, dispatching Adele, Gogol Bordello and IAMX, one of the pre-tournament favorites. Paul Steel, who at 20 years old is one of the brightest young stars of the Power Pop Underground genre, continues to draw rave reviews for his infectious brand of tuneful guitar pop.

Listen: MySpace / Last.FM

If you would, click on the Listen links and then use this poll to vote for who you think deserves to be crowned champion of the inaugural Tournament of Rock.

<br /> <a href=”” mce_href=””>Who do you believe should be the champion of the Tournament of Rock?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”>(<a href=”” mce_href=””>survey</a>)</span><br />

The current ToR bracket looks like this:

15 replies »

  1. Went with the shoe gazers again.

    Not sure what that means. Is it like navel gazing? Or like when Catholic school boys stared at girls’ patent-leather shoes in hopes of seeing their panties reflected in them? (Showing my age.)

    • I don’t think it has anything to do with the world sucking, so you can keep your revisionism to yourself.

      However, the term DID arise as a result of the on-stage demeanor of many early shoegaze bands, who seemed to stare at their feet a lot while playing. This genre has been around since the late 80s and has as its genesis bands like My Bloody Valentine, Jesus & Mary Chain and Cocteau Twins. The lines get a little blurred, actually, because shoegazer overlaps considerably with a similar genre known as dreampop. Lush bounces back and forth, as did Space Team Electra (a huge favorite with some around S&R – in fact, STE is where I met Mike Sheehan; so you might argue that without shoegaze there would be no Scholars and Rogues).

      More here…

  2. I am ashamed to say that I had not heard of any of the bands in this competition. The last time I went to a concert was in 1998. I took my 10-year-old daughter to a Hanson concert. The less said about that ordeal, the better. I have to get current, but now I know where to start..

  3. I’m late to this particular party, but in my opinion Gogol Bordello was robbed.

  4. I don’t remember Myshel staring at her feet and I doubt she thinks the world sucks. Therefore, ergo, ipso facto, STE is dreampop, not shoegaze. 🙂

  5. Assuming it’s good-natured ribbing between Ubertramp and Dr. S. Meanwhile, shoe-gazing is nothing compared to musicians who turn their back on their audience, as Miles Davis was known to do on occasion.

  6. The way “shoegazer” music and bands are described, it sounds to this 50+ rocker,
    that 70s Prgressive bands could fit that description. Bands like Gentle Giant and Yes, to say nothing of
    such experimental bands as Henry Cow and Hatfield and The North.

    I just went to a live concert of a great “shoegazer” band—MEW, from Denmark.
    They are a wonderful, talented band. In fact, they kind of remind me of Yes and Genesis,
    at least somewhat.

    So to me, Shoegazer sort of equals “Progressive, or experimental, and w/good musicianship.

    • I don’t know MEW, but in general Shoegazer tends to be pretty much the opposite of prog in most ways. Progressive relies on technical musicianship and a significant degree of audial fidelity, whereas Shoegazer bands trade in noise. Prog bands try to get as much of the noise as possible out of the way of the signal, while Shoegazers bury the signal within the noise.

      Compare Yes to the godfathers of Shoegazer, My Bloody Valentine, for a quick and illustrative comparison.

      • Okay, fascinating. I hit MySpace to check out MEW (I can’t stand not knowing what people are talking about when it comes to music, so thanks for mentioning them). If you’re intent on classifying, I think you’d definitely file them as a Prog/Art Rock band. That ’70s Prog scene is clearly their primary influence. That said, there’s no doubt they’ve been listening to the Shoegazers. It’s especially evident in the guitars on the first song I found, “New Terrain.” That sort of screeching effect you hear is VERY My Bloody Valentine. Not so much on “Introducing Palace Players,” and “Beach” almost reminds me of Death Cab for Cutie – who are great, but not Shoegazer. Sort of indie pop, on that at least. On the whole they insist on the structures and fidelity of Prog, but have also imported some Shoegazer in ways I’ve never heard anyone attempt before.

        Interesting, to say the least. I need to listen some more.