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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March Indie Madness

PART 1, Posted by Scott

It's March Madness time. This time of year, I'm obsessed with tournament brackets. Not just the NCAA brackets, but any kind of brackets. You could put the names of 64 foods into a bracket, and I'd be determined to fill it out. I can't help myself.

So I was excited when I saw that the folks over at We Listen For You have created an indie rock March Madness bracket, with 64 bands competing for the prize. You can participate in their tourney, if you're so inclined, by emailing them your selections for each round. There's an unnecessarily complicated scoring system involved, but it's a cool idea nonetheless. The bracket is viewable here.

For me, I'd rather just fill the bracket out with my own personal choices. In round 1, I had two major upsets: #16 Liars took out #1 Magnetic Fields, and #15 The Hold Steady barely edged out #2 Daft Punk.

Completing the first three rounds results in the following Elite 8 matchups:
Radiohead (1) vs. New Pornographers (6)
The National (9) vs. The Hold Steady (15)
Bright Eyes (5) vs. Wilco (2)
White Stripes (1) vs. Cat Power (7)

My final four consists of Radiohead, The Hold Steady, Bright Eyes, and Cat Power, with Radiohead beating Bright Eyes to win the title.

Meanwhile, Architecture in Helsinki, Tokyo Police Club, and Gogol Bordello are sitting on the outside, wondering why they didn't get tourney invites. Perhaps someone should create an Indie NIT for those who were left out.

PART 2, Posted by Deena
Modern Rock Madness--Literally

Ah yes, I'd nearly forgotten about this tradition carried out by YRock since back in their Y100 days--the 5-day, 64-band Modern Rock Madness competition. And although everyone loves a good showdown, I can never quite seem to wrap my head around some of the details.

First off, sometimes several bands with members that overlap will be considered as one group:
Ben Folds/Five
The White Stripes/Raconteurs
The Smiths/Morrissey
Mike Doughty/Soul Coughing
Bob Mould/Husker Du/Sugar
Blur/Gorillaz/The Good, The Bad, and The Queen

Most of these combinations, in my opinion, aren't valid and I would vote in a completely different way if the groups were split up. My exceptions would probably be Ben Folds/Five and Mike Doughty/Soul Coughing, only because I equally enjoy the group and solo work in both instances. Now, pairing The White Stripes with The Raconteurs? It's no wonder they were beaten out by Tegan & Sara.

I suppose the competitors are pitted against each other randomly, but sometimes the pairing--and the results--are mind-boggling. Jimmy Eat World defeats The Smiths? Elvis Costello succumbs to Ben Folds? Every year I am disappointed in the lack of staying power demonstrated by the artists who make up the backbone of modern rock.

After poking around on the YRock message board, I've discovered that since its inception in 1997, Weezer has triumped over the most MRM competitions, with Green Day a close second. Other past winners include Bush (1997 must have been a bad year for music) and the Beastie Boys. Recent winners were 311 (2006) and Nine Inch Nails (2007). So basically, a handful of bands that got popular in the 90s dominate the competition year after year, which probably attests to their listening base of late 20-somethings feeling nostalgic.

The results and a PDF of the grid is available HERE for anyone who wants to follow along with the madness. My results with their grid would be as follows:

Elite 8:
The White Stripes (not counting the Raconteurs) vs. Beastie Boys
David Bowie vs. R.E.M.
The Ramones vs. The Clash
Garbage vs. Beck

Final Four:
The White Stripes vs. The Clash
David Bowie vs. Beck (I may be a Garbage fan but I give credit where credit is due)

The Showdown:
David Bowie vs. The Clash

The Win:
Bowie takes it in a 65-35 split. Ah yes, Bowie, the world is in your grasp...


Scott said...

My only problem with the XPN bracket is that there are no seeds. That's the whole point of March Madness, the seeds, and the upsets!

If I filled that one out, I'd have Radiohead, Mike Doughty/Soul Coughing, Green Day and Weezer in the Final 4, with Weezer beating Radiohead.

Deena said...

Yeah, I'm still a little sketchy on the whole seed thing. I'm going to lose the real March Madness pool at work terribly, I fear.

Can you believe Cake upset Green Day in the first round? WHAT?! I am speechless.