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Just Gone
April 17, 2013 10:19 PM   Subscribe

RIP Scott Miller of Game Theory & The Loud Family

Scott Miller of Game Theory and The Loud Family – arguably one of the great American power pop songwriters – died on April 15th. A few places to start, for anyone who hasn't heard his work:

Game Theory: Erica's Word
Game Theory: Make Any Vows
Game Theory: What the Whole World Wants
Game Theory: We Love You Carol and Allison
The Loud Family: Just Gone
The Loud Family: Kind of in Love
The Loud Family: The Tape Of Only Linda

Game Theory has made their out-of-print LPs freely available.
posted by ryanshepard (72 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
very, very sad to hear this.

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posted by tealsocks at 10:28 PM on April 17, 2013


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posted by Ralston McTodd at 10:30 PM on April 17, 2013


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posted by Theiform at 10:41 PM on April 17, 2013


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posted by mayurasana at 10:42 PM on April 17, 2013


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A few of the many Game Theory songs I loved: Room For One More, Honey. Together Now, Very Minor. Bad Year at UCLA. Like a Girl Jesus. Last Day That We're Young.
posted by lisa g at 10:49 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the post. I don't know how I managed to listen to very similar music all through the eighties and nineties without listening to Game Theory or the Loud Family. I was aware of them, just never... Shame—I would've liked them even more back then than I do now.

Miller sounds like a canny and thoughtful critic as well in this interview.

But do we know how Miller died? It's not in your linked story, and maybe isn't public knowledge?
posted by absqua at 10:49 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh wow. "Erica's World" was on some of my very well-played (and thus a bit stretched-out and warbly) high school mixtapes, and is instantly transportive, but I somehow never followed-up on the rest of Game Theory/Miller's oeuvre.

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posted by mumkin at 10:57 PM on April 17, 2013


Look Away. It haunted me.
posted by vrakatar at 11:00 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw Loud Family at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago in the early 90s after being a huge fan of Game Theory. After years of moves and marriage and moves and divorce and moves I find myself living a block up from Beat Kitchen. I see the kids unloading their trailers and wondered which of them was the next Scott Miller, even before hearing this news.

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posted by MarvinTheCat at 11:06 PM on April 17, 2013


Two of those bands that I really should have gotten into sooner, considering what I was into and that I knew people who were way, way into Game Theory/The Loud Family, but it was only a couple of years ago that I started listening. And I regret all the years I could have been listening. Wonderful music. A very sad day. My thoughts are with his family.

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posted by litlnemo at 11:11 PM on April 17, 2013


I just found out about this on Facebook and I'm crushed, crushed, crushed.

I knew about Game Theory as a precocious kid growing up with a cool indie record store, but never quite tipped over into buying all that Enigma vinyl back in the day.

But the Loud Family soundtracked my college years heavily, especially their first album and Interbabe Concern, which may be one of the finest examples of how to craft and sequence an album that interlocks as a brilliant whole.

My favorite Scott Miller moment is probably Interbabe's gorgeous closer, "Where They Walk Over Ste. Therese" (sadly not on YouTube or elsewhere), which is (appropriately) a meditation on death and memory and the stickiness of emotions and the past interfering with the present.
And if we wake up we'll start someone's day
And have someone's say
Walk their walk away

And if our leg's in a cast, we'll walk slow
Go such as we go
Use shortcuts we know

And if we dead-end at Ste. Therese lawn
We'll just walk right on
Bring beer, drink till dawn

Jumping over lines of graves
Did they know they were causing our problems?
I don't absolve them, I won't speak well
Was much more done than they need to be proud of
Now that they're out of pride and need?

And when we showed up we'd learned the routines
And walked through the scenes
Knew what hard work means

And when they reran the old shows we cheered
As if we revered
What seemed only weird

And when her dad picks the phone up, the news
Burns holes in his shoes
One wager, we lose

Did she so offend there, guilelessly willing to shine if she's supposed to?
Hard to get close to, born to pass by
I want to promise it's worth holding onto
Wrong not to want to always try

posted by mykescipark at 11:26 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much for posting this. Scott's music has meant unsayable things to me for many years, and I treasure the one wonderful show of his that I was able to see -- I'm in shock that I will never see him again.

The track I immediately had to play upon learning of his death was Motion of Ariel, but I think his most beautiful song is Where They Go Back to School But Get Depressed. There's such power and emotion in his voice -- it does not seem either powerful or emotive at first glance, but it's all in the slight quaver, somehow both ironic and anxious.

His field of reference was broad -- pro wrestlers, shampoo, a documentary about a department store, T.S. Eliot, a sticker seen in a phone booth, Kim Novak, an obscure Tolkien place name -- but he used it with an incredible lightness. His songs never came off as novelties, but as experiments, massive canvases painted over with tiny figures and busy colors. There were dark songs and witty ones, but they all shared an essential quality of this extreme texture and variety married to thought and control. I realize this isn't a great introduction to Miller -- it never works to start with someone else's superlatives -- but he was simply that good, and I can't mourn him without trying to articulate how good he was.

(I feel like I have to join absqua in asking if we know how he died. My first thought when I heard of his death was suicide -- he was relatively young, it was sudden, and he had written more and less explicit songs about depression and suicide -- but his death is much more painful for me if this is true, and I don't want to believe it without being certain. I have not seen it confirmed anywhere, and I've read a fair amount of the sadly sparse coverage of his passing.)
posted by thesmallmachine at 11:50 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Did he as a solo artist, record Freedom is a Stranger, I Made A Mess of this Town, Appalachian Refugee, etc? Because if so, Freedom is a Stranger is one of the sweetest and most erotic depictions of small town sexuality i have ever heard.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:58 PM on April 17, 2013


Music is math, and math requires a certain kind of brain, but it's also poetry, and poets are nothing like mathematicians, but somehow Scott Miller fused these two incredibly brilliant and transformative modes of communication and understanding into, without question, the greatest body of pop songwriting of his era.

Okay, so maybe you don't know Scott Miller's music. Well, y'know how people reacted to Alex Chilton's death? Now imagine the reaction if there had been half a dozen Big Star Third's.

And then go download the Game Theory albums linked above, and track down the Loud Family records after that. Unless I miss my guess, the fantastic melodies and fascinating lyrics and that exquisite "miserable whine" (his phrase) of Scott's will get under your skin and stay there for a long long time to come.

Goodbye, friend. Gonna miss knowing you're out there being the person and the artist you were.
posted by Scram at 11:58 PM on April 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now that I've had a while to compose my thoughts...

I first found out about Scott's music from a Magnetic Fields mailing list I was on in 2000 or so. Someone posted demanding to know who that awful opening band was, "the Loud Family or some wretched name." One of the replies mentioned that Stephin Merritt thought very highly of Scott's songwriting, and I figured that if Merritt admired them and they were distinctive enough to annoy some indie kid, they were probably worth checking into.

I wrote an e-mail to Scott around then, something angsty, a "young adult hurt feeling-a-thon", as he would put it. He responded right away.

I remember reading an interview with Scott where he discussed whether "Slit My Wrists" from Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things was irresponsible because it might encourage suicide. He said that he hoped that a kid listening to it would just note that the guy who wrote it didn't kill himself, so...

In all his interviews and in his "Ask Scott" column, he always sounded unpretentious, grounded, kind and cheerful. I never, ever would have seen this coming. He had two daughters, if I recall. This is heartbreaking news.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 1:06 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


PinkMoose: Ah no, that was the other Scott Miller.

As to the one we're mourning, yes, I can't find any article listing suicide as cause of death, or any listed cause of death at all. Elucidation?
posted by dr. zoom at 1:08 AM on April 18, 2013


Such sad news...I started to listen to Motion of Ariel and then just found it too depressing. So the Loud Family Ipod marathon gets saved for tomorrow.

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posted by Wylla at 1:08 AM on April 18, 2013


1989, I'm graduating from college. We all have a chance to name a collection of albums after ourselves. My metal-head music director friend selected Celtic Frost. My mellow general manager selected Pink Floyd. I selected Game Theory. Every Game Theory album that was at the station was labeled with "Joey Michaels memorial."

I move out to Hawaii and buy Game Theory's Tinkers to Evers to Chance at Tower Records. One of my first music purchases out here. I have most of the songs, but not the early ones. Even if I had all of them, I'd have bought it because it was Game Theory.

I own Lolita Nation on every single medium it was released on - CD, vinyl, and cassette. It taught me about growing up in a way that no other album had. I still discover new things every time I listen to it.

This is pre-Internet, and working college radio out here, I never see any Game Theory albums. I have no idea that they've broken up and that Miller has formed The Loud Family until, one day, on the phone with the new program director at my old college station he mentions to me "Hey, you're the Game Theory guy, right? How do you like The Loud Family?"

I go right out and buy every Loud Family album that exists. I join the loud-fans mailing list. I discover that Plants & Birds & Rocks & Things is like a second White Album in Miller's catalog. So is Interbabe Concern (that makes, with Lolita Nation three White Albums). Days for Days blows me away. The thing I'm most thrilled to learn is that there is a small but very vocal group of people who feel just the way about Scott Miller's work as I do. I'm not crazy, or if I am there are a number of people who share my psychosis.

In his Tempest inspired "Motion of Ariel" (which, like Shakespeare's play, had an air of finality about it, as if Miller was breaking his staff and drowning his books), Miller sings "I don't know what the radio wants when the radio taunts." Many of his songs feature lyrics that rueful reflect on the fact that the greater public didn't want to buy what Miller was saying. Maybe he was ahead of the times, or behind the times, or just too smart for his own good, or his label wasn't able to figure out how to promote him. Maybe it was his self-described "miserable whine" of a singing voice (which is really quite lovely) or his "natural (sic) hair." Whatever reason, its a damn shame that he didn't have more success - and, in fact, all of his life's heartbreaks - but he turned that lack of commercial success into his muse.

We all thought that Attractive Nuisance would be Miller's final album. The joke on the loud-fans list is it sold as many copies as their were list members. It was like Christmas when he released What If It Works? with Anton Barbeau. The rumors that he was going to put out a new album - and now the confirmation that it woud have been a new Game Theory album - were tantalizing.

Scott Miller (who we on the Loud-Fans list referred to as "Our Scott" to distinguish him from the other excellent singer/songwriter, Scott Miller) deserved more recognition. He still deserves more recognition. I've always felt like I personally failed him by not turning more people on to his music. I've had this recurring daydream for year, where I become a powerful movie or TV executive, and use Miller's songs in all of my shows and movies. People would finally be able to hear his songs and recognize that he was a musical and lyrical genius. Maybe he and I would have lunch when I brought him his first royalty check and he'd explain what some of the more cryptic lyrics on Lolita Nation mean.

Thank you, Scott, Our Scott, for making me think, making me cry, making me laugh making me groove, and helping me through some of the darkest times in my life. I've loved your music and will continue to love it for the rest of my life. I hope the depth of your small cadre of fans' love for your work made up for the lack of breadth of exposure it received.

The first song I fell in love with was "24". You might also enjoy "Room For One More, Honey, which is the song I most wish I'd written. And, do your self a favor, download Lolita Nation.

Also seconding what absqua asked - I've not seen any information that suggests he killed himself, but maybe I'm too distraught to be reading anything correctly.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:25 AM on April 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm very sorry to hear this, I found out this morning on facebook and I was left speechless. His music will stay in our hearts forever!
posted by rocco19 at 3:23 AM on April 18, 2013


I keep thinking about his young daughters.

Game Theory was one of my ex-boyfriend's favorite bands. J also wrestled with demons and I think their music made him feel less alone. Digging out The Big Shot Chronicles always meant that spring was starting, but this year it has extra poignance.

Damn.

.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:35 AM on April 18, 2013


But do we know how Miller died? It's not in your linked story, and maybe isn't public knowledge?

May be premature, but several FB friends acquainted w/him have said as much, and Miller was open about being deeply depressed at different points. If it turns out not to be the case, I'll ask for an edit.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:54 AM on April 18, 2013


Back in 2000, when I lived in Oakland for a year, I would go up to Amoeba in Berkeley and spend about $20 a month in the dollar CD bin, figuring that if I found two good CDs it would be worth the $20. I grew up listening to jazz and blues and was completely ignorant about more modern music - not just ignorant, but intimidated. I'd dated a music snob for most of my college years and was almost afraid to pick out something and like it only to be told that it was crap. There were other issues with him and it took years to repair that damage.

During one of those trips to Amoeba, when I was at the register, the guy checking me out noticed the Loud Family CD I had and was surprised that it was in the dollar bin (it was missing part of the CD case) and told me that I'd lucked into something good. It was the first time that someone said something positive about my taste in music and even though I'd just chosen the CD based on the cover, it was, in my mind, the moment when I freed myself from worrying so much about what people thought about the music I listened to.

This probably sounds kind of silly and small, but it was important to me. So, thanks Loud Family; and thanks Scott Miller. I liked your music and it did something important for me.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:15 AM on April 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


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posted by parki at 4:33 AM on April 18, 2013


I generally hesitate to make categorical statements on purely subjective matters, but "The Waist and the Knees" is the best rock song.

I've probably said this before, but Game Theory and The Loud Family were in my opinion the best kept secrets in music. They were so good, and yet so obscure, even among people who are really into music. Hell, even among people really into power pop specifically.

Sometimes I imagine that there's another history somewhere where Lolita Nation and "Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things" were as big as they should have been, and had the influence on downstream bands that they should have had. The music over there must be a lot more interesting.

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posted by Ipsifendus at 4:45 AM on April 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's...just..stunning...

I saw Game Theory a few times in the early 80's in Davis; some great memories there.

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Man, what an awful week
posted by foonly at 4:49 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


A new, working link for the free LPs.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:21 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't top any of the other awesome reminiscences here but I will second that "Erica's Word" was one of the songs that made senior year at college bearable -- back in the day when there were still radio stations on the dial that played actual local indie music.

Depression can be an unshakable demon.
posted by blucevalo at 5:25 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuuuuuuck.

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posted by equalpants at 5:50 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I loved The Loud Family. A friend of mine got me into them in University. There was a time in my life when I could have recognized any track from "Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things" after two bars or less, I listened to it so much.

Right now I'm listening to "Slit My Wrists", remembering when I was depressed and how much it helped to listen to someone who had felt what I felt and was articulating it perfectly but was still here. And I'm tearing up because now he's gone. I really want to stay home from work today and just spend the day listening to all my old CDs now.

Goodbye and thank you Scott, for whatever it's worth.

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posted by Grimgrin at 5:52 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aw shit. Real Nighttime hit me like a powerpop punch to the head, like someone had taken the standard indie pop of the time and shoved it sideways down a stairwell, arms flailing, only to land in a big pile of pillows at the bottom. His lyrics were wonderful, too - beautifully strange and heartfelt and that voice...so achingly earnest. The Mitch Easter production on that first record might sound dated, but it's hard to describe the joyous effect the chorus to "Waltz the Halls Always" had on me in 1985:

Waltz the halls always
need what you need
There's more out there than we both know
It's what it should be even though
it's not what it seems


I hope he's resting in peace.
posted by mediareport at 6:05 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Loved "Erica's Word" back in the 120 Minutes era - will have to jump full-on into some GT shortly.

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posted by porn in the woods at 6:28 AM on April 18, 2013


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posted by pernoctalian at 6:30 AM on April 18, 2013


I am completely destroyed by this news, wanted to post an interview I did with him a year and a half ago about his book at the time.

I can't even say anything more. This is all too painful.
posted by mzamar1 at 6:34 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, wow. Good morning terrible news.

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posted by notyou at 6:37 AM on April 18, 2013


Amazing songwriter (his breadth was compared to Pynchon's), a studio genius (for the interstitials alone), and he played small clubs like they were arenas.

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posted by whuppy at 6:39 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


My early years in college radio included a lot of Game Theory... they were just one of the local bands, and played the area pretty often. I remember them from around '88 or so. They were good, but didn't always stand out live, at least at the time. They got significantly better though..! In retrospect, I feel pretty fortunate as to just how good many of the local bands were.

I kind of dread telling a few of my friends this news, as they were close, and played gigs together.
posted by markkraft at 6:47 AM on April 18, 2013


That's a great interview, mzamar1.
posted by notyou at 6:48 AM on April 18, 2013


[Post edited by OP request to reflect the fact that the cause of death has not been stated. ]
posted by taz at 6:52 AM on April 18, 2013


On occasion we'd road trip south to Sacramento for shows, usually going to see whoever my friend Conrad said we should see; he was the alt radio expert of Redding and Chico. His dad owned a record shop, and Conrad special ordered everything cool. It was hard to discover music in those days.

Game Theory was one of his top favorites (along with the Downsiders, from Chico), and on one of those trips to Sacramento we wound up at a TSOL show, with Game Theory opening. Music, beer, girls, run from the big city punks. What an evening.
posted by notyou at 7:02 AM on April 18, 2013


I've had this recurring daydream for year, where I become a powerful movie or TV executive, and use Miller's songs in all of my shows and movies. People would finally be able to hear his songs and recognize that he was a musical and lyrical genius. Maybe he and I would have lunch when I brought him his first royalty check and he'd explain what some of the more cryptic lyrics on Lolita Nation mean.

I know this makes me a petty bastard, but I've always been pissed at Aimee Mann for never following through on her promise to record an album of Scott's songs.
posted by mykescipark at 7:09 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aimee and Scott did a fantastic version of Inverness together.
posted by whuppy at 7:14 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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I was changed as a teenager by Real Nighttime, and rejuvenated in my twenties by Plants & Birds & Rocks & Things. I was really looking forward to the new record he was supposed to be making this summer. Requiescat in pace, Scott.
posted by obloquy at 7:31 AM on April 18, 2013


I want to apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended by the original wording of the post - based on what I was hearing at the time I made it, it was accurate, but I should have waited for more official confirmation before posting anything.

My only goal here was to highlight Scott's work - which I think has been stupidly, criminally overlooked - and to provide a forum for MeFites to whom it means something. I'm genuinely sorry.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:51 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


shit

One of the great under appreciated artists in music. And one of the few whose pop music improved as he matured and got more cerebral.

I've never found anybody who could fuse a sunny Southern California musical vibe with emotional complexity and literary sophistication like him: seamlessly and naturally, so if you just wanted to rock out to pop songs, you could; if you wanted lyrics to chew on too, you had 'em. In a just world he would have been a household name.
posted by ardgedee at 7:53 AM on April 18, 2013


Apparently, I'm not all cried out this week.

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posted by Kinbote at 8:04 AM on April 18, 2013


We fireballed the mighty Dropbox. I'd say that's a pretty nice tribute to Scott.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 8:29 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


One More for St. Michael (live, 1988)

And Andy in Ten Years.
posted by grounded at 9:58 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The AV Club weighs in with a pretty good obituary.
posted by Ipsifendus at 10:40 AM on April 18, 2013


I thought this post by comics artist John Allison put things very well.
posted by thesmallmachine at 10:50 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


And will you take us 'cause it's still green land
And it still works as planned
Because the glory is at hand
Right at hand . . .



.
posted by petebest at 11:01 AM on April 18, 2013


The Guardian: Scott Miller may not be a household name, but his death lessens pop

Scott was a genius, a great guy, and if I write any more I'm going to start crying at work.
posted by doubtfulpalace at 11:02 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mitch Easter shows up in the comments for the Guardian tribute!
posted by whuppy at 11:37 AM on April 18, 2013


I had the privilege of sleeping on Scott Miller's apartment floor long, long ago. I don't know how my friend Janet managed it, but she hooked up with Donnette Thayer, Game Theory bandmate and Scott's partner--presumably via the label (we both worked at our college radio station, KSLC). We stayed two or three nights on their living room floor during a weeklong spring break roadtrip to San Francisco. To be honest, I don't remember much about Scott from those few days. He kept mostly to himself and did not seem keen on houseguests. I do remember a stage-whispered "how long are they going to be here?" Still, I listened to a lot of Game Theory during those years, and his music will always stir up a lot of fond memories.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:01 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


What a terrible, terrible loss.

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As I have two family members with the same name as the wonderful musician, I did a triple-take this morning when I saw the news.
posted by cooker girl at 12:12 PM on April 18, 2013


Wow. Somehow they passed under my radar despite being right up my alley, this is fantastic stuff. Real shame to learn about them this way.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:36 PM on April 18, 2013



Mitch Easter shows up in the comments for the Guardian tribute!

As does jsegel, who sounds like Jonathan Segel of Camper Van Beethoven fame.
posted by foonly at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another great paean - Two Steps To Beauty
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:44 PM on April 18, 2013


A couple other favorite Miller tracks:

"Aerodeliria" by The Loud Family
"Crypto-Sicko" by The Loud Family
"Sister Sleep" by The Loud Family (a suite)
"Total Mass Destruction" by The Loud Family with Anton Barbeau
"Don't Respond, She Can Tell" by The Loud Family (featuring best use of marble as a musical instrument ever)
"Like A Girl Jesus" by Game Theory
"Metal and Glass Exact" by Game Theory (live)
"Don't Entertain Me Twice" by Game Theory
"The Waist and The Knees" by Game Theory
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:44 PM on April 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by epilnivek at 3:23 PM on April 18, 2013


Scott Miler was not only one of my favorite songwriters and musical artists, but he was also an incredible champion for the craft of pop music and one of the most enthusiastic music fans I've ever come across. If you want to read a love letter from an obsessed music fan to his favorite records you should check out Scott's book "MUSIC: What Happened?". Scott goes through fifty plus years of his favorite songs, year by year with the number of songs for each year decided by what would fit on a mix tape. He combines personal stories, notes as a fellow songwriter and musician, facts pulled from his encyclopediac music knowledge, and the passion of a die-hard music fan that wants to share his love of great music.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:56 PM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Slack-a-gogo: "you should check out Scott's book "MUSIC: What Happened?"."

I've been reading through the excerpts posted there and listening along on Spotify. Lovely way to spend an evening. His music writing is a joy.
posted by absqua at 8:27 PM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Karmadillo at 10:04 PM on April 18, 2013


Don't know if anyone's still reading this, but my obituary of Scott just went up on Popshifter.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:56 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Still fresh to Game Theory after only just learning about them with this post, but damn, Big Shot Chronicles sounds like it was written and recorded yesterday. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a direct line of influence from tracks like "Make Any Vows" to Superchunk, The New Pornographers, Ted Leo... Really, really loving this band.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:39 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


jason_steakums, Scott gave an interview where he said he felt like he could show up to work with the New Pornographers. Also, Carl Newman has acknowledged that Lolita Nation was a big influence on his own work.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:48 PM on April 19, 2013


Scott Miller pretty much defined and informed my taste in music for most of the last 30 years.

I bought "Bigshot Chronicles" when it was released, played it a couple of times, and set it aside. A few months later, I was reading one of the "Desert Island Discs" lists that used to be printed in Tower Records' monthly magazine, and found a list included a half dozen albums I really liked--and "Bigshot". That night, I gave it another try. And "Book of Millionaires" absolutely blew me away. Rapture.

I saw them every time they came to Washington, DC, and caught a couple of their performances when I visited San Francisco. When the Loudfans listserv got started, I was an early joiner. A huge amount of the music I listened to came from recommendations I got from that list.

But Scott Miller was the gold standard. "Lolita Nation" is easily my favorite 80s album, and "Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things" is second only to Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" as the best of the 90s.

This one hurts. Too soon, too soon.
posted by bcarter3 at 6:30 PM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nice article, pxe2000.
I spent all of yesterday listening to the records. Some favorite songs I hadn't thought of in a while included The Loud Family's "Some Grand Visions of Motive and Irony" and Game Theory's "Regenisraen." So beautiful.
posted by obloquy at 6:42 PM on April 19, 2013


I hear just a little dash of XTC in some of his songwriting that really hits me in a good spot. Looks like he loved that band from his mentions in Music: What Happened? (couldn't resist getting it, so cheap on Kindle!) so that's probably an actual influence and not just me hearing things. Love it.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:44 PM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few select musician reactions on Twitter:

Ted Leo
Aimee Mann
A.C. Newman
Michael Penn

I can't find The Loud Family's tune "Not Expecting Both Contempo and Classique" online, so I'll just quote the chorus that's been going through my head all day:
I'm not expecting that I'll end up with you just because I need you.
I shouldn't count on having air around me just because I breath.
I've thought about it for awhile now and I'm ok
With things not being ok
Here's a home movie of Miller and Bradly Skaught of The Bye Bye Blackbirds playing a bunch of covers during a private gathering.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:31 AM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


A remembrance, followed by a 1999 Scram magazine column by Scott, which contains the germ for his book of music criticism.
posted by Scram at 4:49 PM on April 21, 2013


I have been reading "Music: What Happened" in little pieces for a while - it's very interesting and entertaining, and a good source for bands to explore during years when I checked out of the new music scene. His music, I mostly know from the Loud Family....I'm very sad that he died so young
posted by thelonius at 7:10 AM on April 22, 2013


An educational fund has been established for the benefit of Scott's daughters.
posted by Scram at 10:16 AM on April 22, 2013


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