Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

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Brad
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Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Brad » Tue May 26, 2020 2:04 pm

Welcome to round 1.12 of Moderately Acclaimed Albums 2020!

Vote for your favorite album in each match-up.
Remember, anyone can vote as long as the voter has heard both albums.

Good-spirited comments are encouraged, but not absolutely necessary.
Deadline = June 2nd at 10am EST.

Here's a link to the bracket for the entire tournament:
http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?tid=473090

Match-ups:
1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Ekseption - Ekseption vs. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]


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acroamor
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by acroamor » Tue May 26, 2020 2:14 pm

1. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Schüttelbirne » Tue May 26, 2020 2:37 pm

1. 6 | Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. 4 | Fugazi - Repeater
2. 1 | King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. 2 | The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. 5 | Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. 7 | Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. 8 | Ekseption - Ekseption vs. 3 | Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Bang Jan
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Bang Jan » Tue May 26, 2020 3:51 pm

3 | Big Boi | Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico
4 | Fugazi | Repeater

2 | King Crimson | Larks' Tongues in Aspic
7 | The Decemberists | The Crane Wife

6 | Ben Folds Five | Ben Folds Five
8 | Jimmy Eat World | Bleed American

5 | Ekseption | Ekseption
1 | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

Favourite song of the week: King Crimson | Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two

P.S. In case there is any debate on the recording of the Rachmaninoff, this is the correct one:

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Brad
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Brad » Tue May 26, 2020 5:41 pm

Bang Jan wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 3:51 pm
P.S. In case there is any debate on the recording of the Rachmaninoff, this is the correct one:
Thanks for this Bang Jan!

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by madzong » Tue May 26, 2020 6:02 pm

1. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. TBA
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by StevieFan13 » Tue May 26, 2020 6:24 pm

1. Fugazi - Repeater
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five (that is a diabolical match-up)
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by DaveC » Tue May 26, 2020 7:08 pm

1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Ekseption - Ekseption vs. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Rob » Tue May 26, 2020 7:41 pm

The Ekseption versus Sergei Rachmaninoff match-up is rather funny (rockified classical pastiche versus real classical music). Obviously the faux-classical is not going to win to the real deal.

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Listyguy » Wed May 27, 2020 2:04 pm

1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Ekseption - Ekseption vs. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Jirin » Wed May 27, 2020 3:51 pm

Sir Luscious Left Foot 89 - Repeater 74
The Crane Wife 94 - Larks Tongues in Aspic 72
Bleed American 78 - Ben Folds Five 78 (Bleed American wins on strongest single)
Piano Concerto NO 2 86 - Ekseption 82

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Rdwdbob » Wed May 27, 2020 6:31 pm

BIG BOI - SIR LUCIOUS LEFT FOOT: THE SON OF CHICO
THE DECEMBERISTS - THE CRANE WIFE
JIMMY EAT WORLD - BLEED AMERICAN
EKSEPTION - EKSEPTION

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by spiritualized » Wed May 27, 2020 6:35 pm

1. Fugazi - Repeater
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by FrankLotion » Wed May 27, 2020 10:09 pm

1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by mileswide » Thu May 28, 2020 11:44 pm

5. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot...The Son of Chico Dusty v. 1. Fugazi - Repeater
6. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic v. 2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
8. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five v. 4. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American/Jimmy Eat World
3. Ekseption - Ekseption v. 7. The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2

Standout tracks: Shine Blockas | Merchandise | Easy Money | O, Valencia! | Jackson Cannery | A Praise Chorus | Little X Plus | II. Adagio

N.B. No change in rankings/winnings, just a removal of a stray parenthesis. P.S. I'm such a div...
Last edited by mileswide on Fri May 29, 2020 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by bonnielaurel » Fri May 29, 2020 3:43 am

Fugazi - Repeater
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Nassim » Fri May 29, 2020 8:03 am

2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

I really love both albums in the first bracket, either one going forward is fine with me !

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Rob
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Rob » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:10 pm

8. Ben Folds Five – Ben Folds Five
File this under: “bands I just don’t get the appeal of”. To me Ben Folds can’t play the piano. It sounds like he is banging on the keys without any rhyme or reason. He also can’t keep a tune with his voice, so most songs here sound to me like a clash between his voice and his hands trying to do something completely different, while the background singers refuse to chose sides and do something else. Perhaps his lyrics are clever, but with so many elements screaming for attention it is hard to focus on them. It doesn’t help that Folds has a very smug singing voice of the type that was popular in the nineties and the 2000’s, which makes the lessens the appeal even more.

7. Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
Jimmy Eat World win their matchup by doing absolutely nothing.

If you take all rock music, or at least it’s pop rock variants, and mix them together you’ll probably get Bleed American. I personally think this album is devoid of personality or anything that makes it stand out. No, not even The Middle, your average “love-yourself-teenager” song. Nothing about this album is bad, but nothing is remarkable either.

So to rephrase the opening line: Jimmy Eat World win by not being Ben Folds Five. Congratulations, I guess.

6. Big Boi – Sir Lucius Left Foot… The Son of Chico Dusty
Because I never really got into The Love Below I have always ignored Big Boi’s first true solo album, despite liking Outkast overall. A mistake so it seems, because this very appealing pop rap. The great heights of Outkast’s classics are never reached, but there is a lot to enjoy here, mostly because Big Boi keeps things moving fast and because he has a great light touch. The only downside is that the album lags in the middle. The stretch from the opener until General Patton is great, as is the end stretch from Fo Yo Sorrows until the finale, but in between it feels more like filler and flow slows down considerably. Perhaps not one of the true great albums of hip-hop but certainly worth a listen.

5. The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2
With a release date of 1946 this is still not the album with earliest release date that ever appeared in Moderately Acclaimed, as 1940’s Dust Bowl Ballads by Woody Guthrie precedes it, but it is probably the oldest recording, as this was recorded in 1929. There is a layer of fuzzy dust here that you usually hear on recordings of such an old age (does such fuzz have a name?). Sometimes it can work against an old record when I hear it with modern ears, but here it gives something extra. By now there a numerous classical albums out there that through higher fidelity in every bettering technology can better capture the many nuances of such pieces. This version of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 cannot even dare to dream to match such a thing, but through the fuzz it adds another layers of sound that gives it something warm and dare I say comfortable. It certainly isn’t what the composer intended, but it does make this particular recording stand out.

Besides this I don’t feel really qualified to say anything about this particular version as I’m not familiar enough with Rachmaninoff to know how it stacks up against other recordings of the same piece. I can only say I do like it a lot.

4. King Crimson – Larks’ Tongues in Aspic
With a true classical release and a pastiche classical album in the mix this week, it is also interesting to have King Crimson here, perhaps a band that comes close to the attitude of classical music, without ever pretending to be part of it. This band has a reputation for complex music, broad interests and experiments, while also keeping a sound that through all it’s many variations remains massive.

I don’t know the band as well as I should like, having only heard their two most famous albums before: In the Court of the Crimson King and Red. Both are very different, but have strong, mysterious atmosphere. This is mostly lacking in Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. I feel that this is the band trying out new sounds, away from the former album, towards Red. It doesn’t feel as complete or immersive to me as these two records (with the exception of Exiles, my favorite track here), but the sound remains huge and impressive. The opening title track (or part 1 of the title track if you will), is the best example of how I feel about the album as a whole. It starts with building tension and then it explodes beautifully in a hard rock sound. Alas, this is followed by some string work that feels a bit random to me, but eventually this part gets itself together and builds again to a satisfying finale that echoes the beginning of the song. It’s beautiful and impressive, but perhaps a bit dry at times.

3. Ekseption – Ekseption
Here I stand before you on trial. I have added this desecration of our sacred classical music to this edition of Moderately Acclaimed. Bach, Beethoven and others have their work turned into light prog rock. This goes beyond any form of acceptability, let alone good taste and it was Brad who in his wisdom (or was it an even more wise randomizer?) decided to pit Ekseption immediately in the first round against an actual classical recording by Rachmaninoff, to make sure it won’t advance. A strategy that obviously worked, as it should.

Alas, now that I stand trial, I feel I have to put up some words in defense of Ekseption, as not only did I present this blatant rape of the holy to you, I even vote for it in the match-up. Of course, I can say that I simply prefer Ekseption at the moment because the longer familiarity has ingrained it more in my being, but such excuses are weak. Yet, since death penalty is certain (and deserved) and I have no longer anything to lose let me put up a feeble defense of Ekseption. Please lower your pitchforks for now; you have reason enough to raise them again when I’m through.

Ekseption found their niche when they decided to cover classical pieces. They were not the first or last prog rock group to do so and whether they were the best can be argued over (of course, real connoisseurs know that “good rock cover of classical music” is a contradiction in terms). Yet in their home country of The Netherlands they had quite a bit of success with them at the time (did you know that if you Googled pictures of “the unwashed masses” you only get pictures of Dutch people; just to be sure), especially through Air and The 5th, both of which appear on this album.

What is the selection they made here? Well, as said they went with Air by Bach and The fifth Symphony by Beethoven, crassly stylized as The 5th (by now we can all be sure that this band would piss over Beethoven’s grave if they got the chance). Then there are some standards in the shady business of prog rock classical coverage: Sabre Dance by Khachaturian and of course Dance Macabre by Saint-Saëns. Ritual Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla is one of those songs that also seems obvious, but doesn’t seem to have been done as much. In contrast, Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue seems less likely, but here it is. Then there are also some selections that aren’t classical: Dharma for One is by fellow prog outfit Jethro Tull, Canvas is by rock instrumentalists The Shadows, This Here is a Jazz piece and finally there is also the arrogant dick move of putting an original composition between all this, in the form of Little x plus.

What demons possessed them to think they could make an album that sounded like it should have a Beethoven, a Gershwin and a Shadows? Certainly such things were not made to be put together? And here is my defense: this album works because Ekseption didn’t make faithful versions, but brought them all back to the same style. Every single song here now sounds like some sort of Mariachi rock track and all of them feel natural in that style. A lot maybe lost in the process, but what remains is an album that frankly fulfills that primal need to “rock out”. So The 5th is a swirling dance with a taco flavor and so is Rhapsody in Blue. It’s perhaps cheesy, but it also is full of energy and seems really alive. The only exception is Air, which retains a tranquil mood, but does so very well and it works as a sort of intermezzo in the album that can also stand alone.

Sure, Spontaneous Combustion did a better rock version of Sabre Dance and Dance Macabre is curiously disappointing, despite being the most obvious pick here. Overall, though this keeps the spirits up and works as an appealing curiosity of a time that had certain trends that will never become fashionable again. I never thought it would make much of a dent on this game, but it seemed a fun thing to share.

Alright, I’m ready for that electric chair now.

2. Fugazi – Repeater
The word off-kilter must have been invented so we can describe the music of Fugazi. On paper this is typical punk: political or nonsensical lyrics, bad vocals that work because of sheer will-power and instrumentals that border on the ridiculous. Obviously I love it. But what sets Fugazi apart is that it all sounds even more loose than other punk. So it’s not only off-kilter, but I can also use terms like “angular” and “ramshackle” without being able to say what I exactly mean by them. It’s glorious though: it’s a band that seems to come apart at the seams, but keeps it together just to stick it to the man. Few acts even in punk capture this good that feeling of being marginalized and barely yet surely keeping things together. In particular the title track has always seemed one of the most pure expressions of the genre to me, for whatever that means.

1. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The art of storytelling through song has long been a favorite of mine. Recent years have seen some of the best practitioners of this art move away towards other methods of writing. So Laura Marling and Nick Cave have exchanged narrative for more reflective poetry, while Bob Dylan has become all about wordplay. Nothing wrong with that, but it was certainly time to find some artists I didn’t yet know that could fill in the gap. The Decemberists seem to have the storytelling vein even more so than previously mentioned artists. It’s all about setting scene and character and engaging you through story. This does not mean music plays a minor part here. They remind me a bit of Fairport Convention in the years of Richard Thompson, where equally old-fashioned tales were embellished by precisely controlled musical accompaniment that added sonic textures like you’d expect in a movie. The Crane Wife expands upon such an approach to music even more, becoming almost a prog rock outfit, that exchanges bells and whistles for more thought-through tales.

I had these guys on my radar for a while, but this is the first time hearing a complete album by them and it turns out, they are completely to my taste.


1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Ekseption - Ekseption vs. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

Brad
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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Brad » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:24 pm

My picks:
1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3.Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Ekseption - Ekseption vs. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

22-1/2 hours left to vote!

Thanks!

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by LunarPiper » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:19 pm

1. Fugazi - Repeater
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by DaveC » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:31 pm

Rob wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:10 pm

I had these guys on my radar for a while, but this is the first time hearing a complete album by them and it turns out, they are completely to my taste.

Now that you have blown away all the competition for the Mea Culpa Award, your prize will be to hear Picaresque for the first time. You will find it a prize worth having.

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Myself » Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:42 pm

1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Safetycat » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:08 am

3. Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty > 5. Repeater
2. Larks' Tongues in Aspic < 1. The Crane Wife
8. Ben Folds Five < 6. Bleed American
7. Ekseption < 4. Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

Glad to see love for Crane Wife, it's criminally under-rated (by those whose lists are on AM, at least)

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Kingoftonga » Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:30 pm

Winners in red:

1. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico vs. Fugazi - Repeater
2. King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic vs. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five vs. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
4. Ekseption - Ekseption vs. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff]

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Re: Moderately Acclaimed Albums 11 - Round 1.12

Post by Brad » Tue Jun 02, 2020 2:17 pm

20 total voters this week:
acroamor
Bang Jan
bonnielaurel
Brad
DaveC
FrankLotion
Jirin
Kingoftonga
Listyguy
LunarPiper
madzong
mileswide
Myself
Nassim
Rdwdbob
Rob
Safetycat
Schüttelbirne
spiritualized
StevieFan13

Winners:
1. Fugazi - Repeater over Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico 12-7
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife over King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic 13-7
3. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American over Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five 14-5
4. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 [The Philadelphia Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski / Sergei Rachmaninoff] over Ekseption - Ekseption 14-3

Round 1.13 up next!

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