Author Topic: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands  (Read 5383 times)

EverythingChanges

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Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« on: Feb 04, 2014, 03:56 PM »
I really like the jamming portion of Jacket's live shows, and thus I have been craving a good live album in the jamming world.  I have never really listened to legitimate jam bands before, mainly because I feel like their music sounds very cheesy sometimes.  Part of the cheese factor comes from goofy lyrics, part of it comes from the jams.  With that being said, what is a good jam band that minimizes the cheese factor?  I've been looking into Tea Leaf Green, Umphrey's, and Phish.  From what I have listened to, Tea Leaf Green sounds more on par with what I am searching for, but I am not quite sure.  Hopefully one of you could shed some light into my predicament. 

I am avoiding The Dead, because I'd like to start with a band that I have a chance at seeing live.

Thanks for any input!
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EverythingChanges

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #1 on: Feb 04, 2014, 04:23 PM »
Maybe I'm looking at jam bands, when I should be looking at bands who jam occasionally.  Jacket hits that itch, but nothing else quite can.
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walterfredo

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #2 on: Feb 04, 2014, 04:41 PM »
as someone who's been seeing phish for almost 20 years now...I'll say go see them live and you'll be blown away.  They're on a different level than most other bands that fall into the 'jam-band' category.  I also absolutely love me some widespread panic.  Definitely not for everyone, and people either really love or really hate JBs voice (ala someone like Tom Waits).  I love the southern sound and they have great energy live.  Highly recommend.

I'm not too big on Teal Leaf Green Or Umphreys.  UM are a group of talented musicians that can really play, but it's just not my style.  I think their voices are awful and they tend to be very heavy on the prog-rock sound and spend half of their shows going up and down the scales at insane speeds.  Very talented, just not my thing.  And Tea Leaf Green just bores me to tears. 

EverythingChanges

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #3 on: Feb 04, 2014, 05:06 PM »
Where should I start with Phish, if that's what I decide to go with?
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wolof7

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #4 on: Feb 04, 2014, 09:28 PM »
I'm with Walterfredo, WSP is still one of my favorite bands many yrs after I dropped off the jam scene. The good thing about WSP is that I believe their studio albums actually hold up while others in that scene make dreadfully cheestasic albums. They definitely have the Southern rock thing going.

Here is a show from Red Rocks after they inherited Jimmy Herring who does not equal their original guitarist Mickey Houser but prob the best get they could have hoped for. 2nd set is very cover friendly.

Widespread Panic - 2011/6/26 Red Rocks (complete show)

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EverythingChanges

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #5 on: Feb 04, 2014, 11:01 PM »
Thanks for the info!

I'll take a loot at Widespread Panic.  I want to like Phish, but their jams seem "noodley".

I am searching for a band that plays a lot of songs that are "blue", "purple", or "pink" in color if that makes any sense.  I keep looking towards jam bands or post rock bands as the answer, but I always come up empty handed.  Post rock comes close to the sound I am looking for, but it lacks the vocals that I am searching for.  Jam bands come close as well, but their lyrics seem silly, or their jams seem too "noodly".  I like waves of guitar, or interesting keyboard pieces.  I am trying to stray from the southern rock sound, as it is more gold, orange, and red in color.

Hope I'm making sense!

Maybe the answer is My Morning Jacket's new album, but I sure would love a fix before then.
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YimYodd

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #6 on: Feb 05, 2014, 12:22 AM »
EC,

  :thumbsup: to above WSP posts ,  great LIVE vibe.
Saw them May3 in Nville after  being on the rail for Jim's Cannery show the nite before.
Gonna see them in March @ the Ryman. :beer:

Few of my favs- Coconut, maybe cheesy but funky & fun.
                      - Thin Air ( smells like Mississippi), ...funky - as much So. Cali as So. rock
                      - Me & the Devil :evil: , R Johnson cover.

Lots to choose from over many years.

You need to go to Hendrix for all colors. :grin:
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walterfredo

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #7 on: Feb 05, 2014, 12:45 PM »
Where should I start with Phish, if that's what I decide to go with?

honestly I think seeing them live is where you start.  Their studio albums have never impressed me.  If you want to hear some stuff though get some live stuff.  Any of the official live releases, but I think Slip Stitch and Pass (live tracks from a 1997 European tour) is a great place to start.  Would also highly recommend the 1997 NYE run, which as been released officially as well, look for 12-29-97 and 12-30-97. 

For Panic, I agree that their studio albums are generally great, I'd recommend 'Til the Medicine Takes, Don't Tell The Band, Bombs and Butterflies or Aint Life Grand.  For some official live releases check out Live in the Classic City, Another Joyous Occasion, or Light Fuse Get Away (the latter I would recommend the most).

EverythingChanges

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #8 on: Feb 05, 2014, 08:18 PM »
My campus had a snow day today, so I have spent a good portion of it searching for new music to scratch this itch of mine.  Widespread Panic sounds more appealing than Phish, but it isn't quite what I'm looking for.  I have also stumbled upon Yo La Tengo, but they are a little too quiet for what I want right now.  I am listening to Umphrey's Mcgee Live at the Murat on Spotify right now, and it is closer to what I want.  It might take a few listens before I know for sure though.  It just doesn't seem quite right.  I want something with the groove of Phone Went West live or something.  Oh Jacket what have you done to me!
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iLikeBeer

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #9 on: Feb 06, 2014, 10:23 AM »
How about Tedeschi Trucks Band.  I never tire of hearing Derek Trucks whaling on his huitar...  :beer:

BigHerm

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #10 on: Feb 06, 2014, 12:21 PM »
EC,

  :thumbsup: to above WSP posts ,  great LIVE vibe.
Saw them May3 in Nville after  being on the rail for Jim's Cannery show the nite before.
Gonna see them in March @ the Ryman. :beer:

Few of my favs- Coconut, maybe cheesy but funky & fun.
                      - Thin Air ( smells like Mississippi), ...funky - as much So. Cali as So. rock
                      - Me & the Devil :evil: , R Johnson cover.

Lots to choose from over many years.

You need to go to Hendrix for all colors. :grin:
:beer:

ManNamedTruth

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #11 on: Feb 06, 2014, 12:58 PM »
How about Tedeschi Trucks Band.  I never tire of hearing Derek Trucks whaling on his huitar...  :beer:

This. Probably my second favorite live band right now after MMJ.
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MOWJO8185

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #12 on: Feb 07, 2014, 01:57 PM »
To the OP, it sounds like you have very similar tastes to me, which means you will probably always have a love/hate relationship with true jam bands. The type of band you like the most isn't jam bands, but more progressive rock, distorted guitars, etc., but those bands don't have a plethora of live material available, so you don't really get the "jamming" aspect of those types of bands, with MMJ being a key exception.

Phish is a band that I have grown to like, but like you, there are sometimes that I find them either cheesy, or that their jams just sort of drift into noodling. I think songs that have heavy, layered guitar parts, and maintain more of a traditional song structure would include Free, Fast Enough for You, Character Zero, and Prince Caspian, which, based on that criteria, would probably make Billy Breathes your best starting point from a studio standpoint, or any live show that contains those songs if you want longer jams. But expect to think some is mind-blowing and some rather annoying.

I would say Umphrey's Mcgee is more along your lines musically, they are more likely to feature "waves of guitar", but their voices/lyrics are typically pretty painful, and it doesn't feel as much like songs as compositions.  The first album I ever listened to was Mantis, and I thought it was a good starting point for me, but when I listen to their live albums, I found myself split between my jaw dropped in awe and getting kind of bored.

I think MMJ fills a unique place in the industry in that they jam in a more progressive style, and yet really pride themselves as songwriters. I think a lot of the others you find will either have lyrics/voices that you have trouble connecting with, or else will be in more of the Southern Rock/Americana vibe that you are hoping to avoid.

Bands I've liked (although they aren't jammy and don't have a ton of live recordings available) include Portugal.the man, White Denim, Blitzen Trapper, and Dr. Dog.  I would also recommend Spotifying Wilco's live album Kicking Television, some of the songs there might fit what you are looking for. Handshake Drugs is my favorite song and I think that live version might be a taste of what you are into.

EverythingChanges

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #13 on: Feb 07, 2014, 03:01 PM »
To the OP, it sounds like you have very similar tastes to me, which means you will probably always have a love/hate relationship with true jam bands. The type of band you like the most isn't jam bands, but more progressive rock, distorted guitars, etc., but those bands don't have a plethora of live material available, so you don't really get the "jamming" aspect of those types of bands, with MMJ being a key exception.

Phish is a band that I have grown to like, but like you, there are sometimes that I find them either cheesy, or that their jams just sort of drift into noodling. I think songs that have heavy, layered guitar parts, and maintain more of a traditional song structure would include Free, Fast Enough for You, Character Zero, and Prince Caspian, which, based on that criteria, would probably make Billy Breathes your best starting point from a studio standpoint, or any live show that contains those songs if you want longer jams. But expect to think some is mind-blowing and some rather annoying.

I would say Umphrey's Mcgee is more along your lines musically, they are more likely to feature "waves of guitar", but their voices/lyrics are typically pretty painful, and it doesn't feel as much like songs as compositions.  The first album I ever listened to was Mantis, and I thought it was a good starting point for me, but when I listen to their live albums, I found myself split between my jaw dropped in awe and getting kind of bored.

I think MMJ fills a unique place in the industry in that they jam in a more progressive style, and yet really pride themselves as songwriters. I think a lot of the others you find will either have lyrics/voices that you have trouble connecting with, or else will be in more of the Southern Rock/Americana vibe that you are hoping to avoid.

Bands I've liked (although they aren't jammy and don't have a ton of live recordings available) include Portugal.the man, White Denim, Blitzen Trapper, and Dr. Dog.  I would also recommend Spotifying Wilco's live album Kicking Television, some of the songs there might fit what you are looking for. Handshake Drugs is my favorite song and I think that live version might be a taste of what you are into.

I think you get it! The bands you named at the end are bands that I listen to on a weekly basis.  Wilco is my second favorite band next to jacket, and kicking television is the closest thing to Okonokos another band has put out IMO. 

I've been on spotify listening to all of the suggestions on this thread. Although some of them are too southern rockish for what I want right now.

I'll check out those songs from phish you've discussed. I've been listening to umphreys live work, and I agree. Some of it is awesome, and some of it is awful.
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Jaimoe

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #14 on: Feb 07, 2014, 11:54 PM »
Maybe I'm looking at jam bands, when I should be looking at bands who jam occasionally.  Jacket hits that itch, but nothing else quite can.

Adhere to your own advice. I loved jam bands through the late 80s all the way to the early 2000s.  Not anymore. Phish aren't relevant, WSP are great players, but their songs are numbingly boring and don't get me started with second-tier bands such as moe., Umphrey's, and Galactic. Hey, the Dead and Allmans (up to the late 90s) will always rule because they could write great songs and play, but they are done. Time to move on. The jam scene is on life support, but this is a good thing since rock, folk etc. has never been stronger than it is now thanks to great bands that write great music and can jam when inspired to do so.

he.who.forgets

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #15 on: Feb 08, 2014, 09:14 AM »
How about Tedeschi Trucks Band.  I never tire of hearing Derek Trucks whaling on his huitar...  :beer:

This. Probably my second favorite live band right now after MMJ.
I'll throw my hat in on this recommendation

KnowTilNow

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #16 on: Feb 08, 2014, 10:27 PM »
have you listened to jonathan Wilson?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9FmoYZBIwc

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #17 on: Feb 09, 2014, 01:19 PM »
I second WSMFP!  That is my favorite in the jam scene.  You should checkout their wood album, it is all acoustic and has some good covers in there. I also dig String Cheese, too.   :drum:

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #18 on: Feb 09, 2014, 04:19 PM »
Where should I start with Phish, if that's what I decide to go with?

Get their album "A LIVE ONE"

But really, you'll never truly understand them until you're on a head full of L and witnessing it firsthand.

Nothing compares to a Phish show. Nothing.

Shug

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Re: Trying to Make Sense of Jam Bands
« Reply #19 on: Feb 10, 2014, 10:36 AM »
Try Built To Spill.  NOT a jam band, but an indie rock band that sometimes jams with a psychedelic sensibility.  They are probably more purple and blue than red and orange, I think!  :rolleyes:    Lots of guitars.  Matthew and Amy Jones can certainly recommend some specific stuff better than I can, but they do have a good live album from 2000 and they still tour a lot. 

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/1013-live/

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