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Thread: Bent Knee - best band from the US in a long while?

  1. #451
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Live EP from the tour just went up on Spotify!!! Not on Bandcamp yet.

    https://open.spotify.com/album/6o9eJ...TTa2oF0dfsId9A
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    The Live EP (Bent Knee on Audiotree Live) is now on Bandcamp, as well as your streaming platform of choice!

    I think it was released in November by mistake, since it disappeared pretty quickly. This is worth checking out even if Frosting isn't quite to your taste, since those tracks come into their own in a live setting IMO. The live version of Not This Time may be my favorite thing they've ever done!

    Check it out here:

    https://audiotree.bandcamp.com/album...audiotree-live

  3. #453
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I think I'm the only one on PE who feels this way, but I think Frosting was my favorite album of 2021! It definitely helped to see the band live, and also to listen to this live EP after seeing them. I wish it was live video footage!
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  4. #454
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I think I'm the only one on PE who feels this way, but I think Frosting was my favorite album of 2021! It definitely helped to see the band live, and also to listen to this live EP after seeing them. I wish it was live video footage!
    While it probably wouldn't be my favorite from 2021, I definitely liked it. I think they were going for a hyperpop sound with this one.
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  5. #455
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    I think they were going for a hyperpop sound with this one.
    Their records have gotten more and more heavily PRODUCED by Vince. And in that process everything - vocals, instrumental parts, the entire structure of the songs - has become no more than grist for the ProTools mill. Maybe I'm dating myself, but I really don't like that; what really ticked me off were those super-Autotuned vocals. WHY? A six-piece band of superb players, with excellent songs, ideas. and musical contributions, gets squashed down into something that sounds like today's typical pop two-piece: a top-drawer vocalist, and a mega-producer with a hundred ProTools plug-ins and a thousand samples on his hard drive. You know, like Adele and whoever she's currently working with, or Billie Eilish and her brother. No other musicians, and none needed. Bent Knee are better, and can do better.

    The whole thing sounds more like some sort of Vince Welch demo reel for Big Time production gigs - for a job with Madonna or whoever - than the work of a band.

  6. #456
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Their records have gotten more and more heavily PRODUCED by Vince. And in that process everything - vocals, instrumental parts, the entire structure of the songs - has become no more than grist for the ProTools mill. Maybe I'm dating myself, but I really don't like that. A six-piece band of superb players, with excellent songs, ideas. and musical contributions, gets squashed down into something that sounds like today's typical pop two-piece: a top-drawer vocalist, and a mega-producer with a hundred ProTools plug-ins and a thousand samples on his hard drive. You know, like Adele and whoever she's currently working with, or Billie Eilish and her brother. No other musicians, and none needed. What really ticked me off were those super-Autotuned vocals.
    Can't say I agree with you. Musicians working with modern technology has never been a "problem", or a reason to get ticked off. If you don't like it, that's fine.

    Adele and Billie Eilish are good, talented artists. No need to slag them. What they're doing is just an extension of what artists like Todd Rundgren were doing back in the day, being a one-man-band in the studio. The tools have just evolved a lot since then. The times, they are a-changing.

    I'm sorry if you don't like it. But I don't see it any differently from other people who used the studio as another instrument and played around with it.

    There's also a lot of modern pop music that's actually really good.
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  7. #457
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Their records have gotten more and more heavily PRODUCED by Vince. And in that process everything - vocals, instrumental parts, the entire structure of the songs - has become no more than grist for the ProTools mill. Maybe I'm dating myself, but I really don't like that; what really ticked me off were those super-Autotuned vocals. WHY? A six-piece band of superb players, with excellent songs, ideas. and musical contributions, gets squashed down into something that sounds like today's typical pop two-piece: a top-drawer vocalist, and a mega-producer with a hundred ProTools plug-ins and a thousand samples on his hard drive. You know, like Adele and whoever she's currently working with, or Billie Eilish and her brother. No other musicians, and none needed. Bent Knee are better, and can do better.

    The whole thing sounds more like some sort of Vince Welch demo reel for Big Time production gigs - for a job with Madonna or whoever - than the work of a band.
    If you saw them perform just the first song from the album live, you might feel differently. However it was created in the studio, IMO they made it work perfectly for them and it used the abilities of the whole band. If I hadn't seen them do some of the songs live, I might feel similarly, however I did like the album already before I saw them live on this latest tour.
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  8. #458
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    The whole thing sounds more like some sort of Vince Welch demo reel for Big Time production gigs - for a job with Madonna or whoever - than the work of a band.
    Not a fan of Madonna, I take it?

    But seriously, if this kind of music isn't your thing, that's fine. I think you're being pretty dismissive and maybe a bit prejudiced against modern recording tech and production methods. Just IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I think I'm the only one on PE who feels this way, but I think Frosting was my favorite album of 2021! It definitely helped to see the band live, and also to listen to this live EP after seeing them.
    You're not the only one . Although I was initially put off by some of the production choices (i.e. autotune), Frosting grabbed me way more than I expected, and definitely much more then YKWTM. I'm not 100% sure if it's my album of 2021, but it's close if not. Like you, I also saw them on tour, and that may have predisposed me to like some of these songs more. I will say that experiencing Invest in Breakfast for the first time live was a major WTF moment, although it's grown into a favorite now.

    Do I wish there was less autotune, and more Ben and Gavin in the mix? Sure. That said, these are awesome songs, and some of the more "modern" production elements have grown on me as well, especially the wacky Invest in Breakfast and the way Jessica sings the "scale" with Autotune in Casper. I've also been able to introduce more people to BK with this record than any other they've released, which is a big win.

    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I wish it was live video footage!
    You're in luck, actually. The session is on YouTube as well!



    There are also individual videos for each song in a YouTube playlist, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C2M...ETOc-nAeoYochX

  10. #460
    Superb band! Love 'Land Animal' and 'Say So'. I admit that I am struggling to connect with 'Frosting'.

  11. #461
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Nice show. Love them live.
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  12. #462
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDC View Post
    You're in luck, actually. The session is on YouTube as well!

    Thanks so much, I didn't know there was video!!!

    I guess saying Frosting is my favorite album is an overstatement. I never participate in the whole list making things anyway, because I can never decide. But Frosting definitely got more plays than anything else for a good period of time. My real favorite is more likely the Motorpsycho release from 2021.
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  13. #463
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDC View Post
    You're not the only one . Although I was initially put off by some of the production choices (i.e. autotune), Frosting grabbed me way more than I expected, and definitely much more then YKWTM.

    I must admit that I'm both fascinated and perplexed by the fact that there is so little love, if any around these parts, for You Know What They Mean. It was my album of the year and I love it. I thought it was the work of a maturing band, skillfully combining all of their influences, talents and resources on to a very consistent, solid, adventurous and deep record. Frosting is still leaving me almost completely cold, but I'm sure I'll go back and give it another go.

    Neil

  14. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilk View Post
    I must admit that I'm both fascinated and perplexed by the fact that there is so little love, if any around these parts, for You Know What They Mean. It was my album of the year and I love it. I thought it was the work of a maturing band, skillfully combining all of their influences, talents and resources on to a very consistent, solid, adventurous and deep record. Frosting is still leaving me almost completely cold, but I'm sure I'll go back and give it another go.
    There was - and is - a lot of love for YKWTM from me, and my review was testament to that (it was also in my top 10 of that year). I still listen to it and marvel at my favourite moments. I don't know if it quite enters the league of the three albums that preceded it, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who says it does; I think it's great. I'm never going to like Frosting. I want to, but I don't... and I really tried.
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  15. #465
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    There was - and is - a lot of love for YKWTM from me, and my review was testament to that (it was also in my top 10 of that year). I still listen to it and marvel at my favourite moments. I don't know if it quite enters the league of the three albums that preceded it, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who says it does; I think it's great. I'm never going to like Frosting. I want to, but I don't... and I really tried.
    Lorne, have you watched the Audiotree video posted above?
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  16. #466
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Lorne, have you watched the Audiotree video posted above?
    I did indeed.
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk and former scribe at Classic Rock Society. Only vaguely aware of anything other than music.

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  17. #467
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I did indeed.
    Ok, just making sure. I think the new songs work really well.
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  18. #468
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    There was - and is - a lot of love for YKWTM from me, and my review was testament to that (it was also in my top 10 of that year). I still listen to it and marvel at my favourite moments. I don't know if it quite enters the league of the three albums that preceded it, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who says it does; I think it's great. I'm never going to like Frosting. I want to, but I don't... and I really tried.
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Lorne, have you watched the Audiotree video posted above?
    Pretty much exactly where I am too, I watched the Audiotree video as well as hasn't changed my opinion.
    Ian

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    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Their records have gotten more and more heavily PRODUCED by Vince. And in that process everything - vocals, instrumental parts, the entire structure of the songs - has become no more than grist for the ProTools mill. Maybe I'm dating myself, but I really don't like that; what really ticked me off were those super-Autotuned vocals. WHY? A six-piece band of superb players, with excellent songs, ideas. and musical contributions, gets squashed down into something that sounds like today's typical pop two-piece: a top-drawer vocalist, and a mega-producer with a hundred ProTools plug-ins and a thousand samples on his hard drive. You know, like Adele and whoever she's currently working with, or Billie Eilish and her brother. No other musicians, and none needed. Bent Knee are better, and can do better.

    The whole thing sounds more like some sort of Vince Welch demo reel for Big Time production gigs - for a job with Madonna or whoever - than the work of a band.
    I agree completely with you. This direction is not for me.
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  20. #470
    It’s interesting to me the seeming (bent) knee-jerk reaction to Frosting. Is it the auto tune? The more electronic production? What’s wrong with it exactly?

    Is it an age thing maybe?
    Last edited by aith01; 01-21-2022 at 08:11 AM.
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  21. #471
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    It’s interesting to me the seeming (bent) knee-jerk reaction to Frosting. Is it the auto tune? The more electronic production? What’s wrong with it exactly?
    I'm not greatest fanboy of Bent Knee, though I really enjoy some of their earlier work, Courtney herself, and when the band goes shows some chops.

    I should also state that I probably listen to more indie, dream pop, art rock, electronic, trip hop, experimental pop, etc. than probably 90% of the regular posters here. I also very much enjoy The Future Bites. I say these things to add context, and that I'm not dismissed as a Magma loving snob.

    Back to Bent Knee, yes, number one reason are the songs drenched in auto tune, but obviously done for effect and not to correct pitch. But I don't care for that effect, in the same way others don't care for squonking saxophones in jazz. Whether it's your favorite artist or not is not relevant in this case. What makes this an extra letdown is that Courtney's raw voice is the main draw for me in any context, so that is ruined.

    But beyond that, the compositions are not engaging for the most part. And that has been an issue since before Frosting with me personally. They are great performers and have natural talent, but the songwriting keeps sinking. Even somewhat more interesting experiments like "The Upward Spiral" and "OMG" feel empty. The elements are there, and while I respect any group that experiments with their sound, they aren't able to execute them IMO in a way where the sum becomes greater than the parts.

    For me, Frosting locks the door and throws away the key on a group I was already progressively losing interest in.
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  22. #472
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call it knee jerk, I've listened to it at least 6 times. I like loads of bands with lots of electronics so it's not that. Part of why I love Bent Knee is the dynamism across the instruments, the fact that I can hear everyone contribution, and Courtney's stellar vocals. I guess I find a lot of that sacrificed for the production design. The band should do what moves them and I applaud them for moving forward in a direction that is important to them. But it's not for me.
    Ian

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  23. #473
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    It’s interesting to me the seeming (bent) knee-jerk reaction to Frosting. Is it the auto tune? The more electronic production? What’s wrong with it exactly?

    Is it an age thing maybe?
    I like many electronic album even in the domain of pop music but in the context of Bent Knee this new direction just does not work. For me, may I add before someone feels insulted again. Earlier Bent Knee albums had much more personality and soul to them unlike Frosting that just feels "modern" in forced way.
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  24. #474
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    It’s interesting to me the seeming (bent) knee-jerk reaction to Frosting. Is it the auto tune? The more electronic production? What’s wrong with it exactly?

    Is it an age thing maybe?
    If it was an age thing, I wouldn't like vast swaths of classical, jazz, and various pop and rock that came well before my time. I've already given my own reasons in this very thread and I hardly think it's a knee-jerk reaction, particularly when I've given it so many chances. It's made all the worse by the fact that I truly love so much of what they've done prior. There's plenty of pop and electronic music in my collection. I thought Duran Duran's record last year was terrific, for but one modern example. But they opted to make the songs the focus, and kept the other elements tastefully blended, without swamping the entire batch in 'sound design' and making a mess of it in the process.

    I know you're often baffled when people don't like things, but Frosting is a complete and utter dud without a redeeming moment... IMO, since you asked, and any other disclaimers necessary. Those who like it are free to enjoy it to their heart's content.
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  25. #475
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    It’s interesting to me the seeming (bent) knee-jerk reaction to Frosting. Is it the auto tune? The more electronic production? What’s wrong with it exactly?

    Is it an age thing maybe?
    I can only echo what others have said above. I find it interesting that some people don't get when someone doesn't like something, and then goes looking for answers other than the ones we are giving. I just don't think it's a very strong record. If it was an ageism thing, I wouldn't listen to large chunks of the music that I listen to, as it is. It just seems to me like a lot of the strengths of the band (vocals, guitar, live drums) are buried on this release. To them, they may be embracing a new way of working, necessitated by Covid, or they just want to change it up, and that's great. It doesn't mean that if I don't like it, it's because of some flaw in me, being unable to grasp that genre.

    Neil

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