Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five

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Offline oneangrylars

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Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« on: October 06, 2012, 02:15:00 PM »
I see the Music Discovery thread. But 11 pages is too much to look through. And most people are just promoting themselves.
This should be a big thread where I would like people to post the best and most similar bands to Ben Folds Five.

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Offline Allison

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 02:25:21 PM »
Well. One of the genius things about bf5 is that there isn't anyone out there just like them. not even ben's solo work....


related acts, however...
Hotel Lights - Darren's band. Melodic and great lyrics like bf5, but not really the snarky rocky side of the five work, outside of All My assh*le Friends (which was written sometime around the breakup). I seriously think Darren is a genius. And severely underrated. If you like Magic and/or Sky High, it's all very that theme. And Amelia Bright finally gets a proper home on Firecracker People, the band's second record. Their EP goodnightgoodmorning is a real treat too. Though, be prepared, Darren's the guitarist, not the drummer.

International Orange - Robert's biggest post-breakup work. Tell Me What I Did and Prince Charming, which are Sledge songs, found a home here in the only release the band ever put out. There is some unreleased stuff floating around out there.

Snuzz - one fourth of International Orange, longtime friend of Folds and Sledge. I think he's one of NC's best kept secrets. No piano here at all though.

The Old Ceremony - fronted by Django Haskins (also a member of International Orange). A little noir-pop, but if you want straight up pop sensibilities, check out their second record Our One Mistake. Should be right up the alley of any bf5 fan. Their record from this year is a masterpiece, if I may say so.

Amanda Palmer/The Dresden Dolls - Ben was personally involved with Amanda's first solo record. Piano based band that pushes the envelope a lot. Lyrics are a bit more risque than Folds lyrics are.

Jukebox the Ghost - a three piece piano band. No bass, here, though. It's guitar. They're young (mid 20s) like bf5 was in the 90s. They write songs about heartache, and mental disorders, and the apocalypse, and death and the sort. I like to think of this band as the band bf5 would have been had they grown up listening to bf5 - which is exactly what they did. Opened for Folds in 09 off their first record. And well, I think they're a great band.
mel (1:10:14 AM): love ben folds or burn!

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Offline Playhouse

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 10:06:03 PM »
Well. One of the genius things about bf5 is that there isn't anyone out there just like them. not even ben's solo work....


related acts, however...
Hotel Lights - Darren's band. Melodic and great lyrics like bf5, but not really the snarky rocky side of the five work, outside of All My assh*le Friends (which was written sometime around the breakup). I seriously think Darren is a genius. And severely underrated. If you like Magic and/or Sky High, it's all very that theme. And Amelia Bright finally gets a proper home on Firecracker People, the band's second record. Their EP goodnightgoodmorning is a real treat too. Though, be prepared, Darren's the guitarist, not the drummer.

International Orange - Robert's biggest post-breakup work. Tell Me What I Did and Prince Charming, which are Sledge songs, found a home here in the only release the band ever put out. There is some unreleased stuff floating around out there.

Snuzz - one fourth of International Orange, longtime friend of Folds and Sledge. I think he's one of NC's best kept secrets. No piano here at all though.

The Old Ceremony - fronted by Django Haskins (also a member of International Orange). A little noir-pop, but if you want straight up pop sensibilities, check out their second record Our One Mistake. Should be right up the alley of any bf5 fan. Their record from this year is a masterpiece, if I may say so.

Amanda Palmer/The Dresden Dolls - Ben was personally involved with Amanda's first solo record. Piano based band that pushes the envelope a lot. Lyrics are a bit more risque than Folds lyrics are.

Jukebox the Ghost - a three piece piano band. No bass, here, though. It's guitar. They're young (mid 20s) like bf5 was in the 90s. They write songs about heartache, and mental disorders, and the apocalypse, and death and the sort. I like to think of this band as the band bf5 would have been had they grown up listening to bf5 - which is exactly what they did. Opened for Folds in 09 off their first record. And well, I think they're a great band.


Snuzz, of course, also played guitar on Ben's first solo tour for Rockin' the Suburbs.  (Along with Millard Powers and Jim Bogios who've both gone on to join Counting Crows playing bass and drums, respectively.)

I think my fave of the International Orange stuff is "Afraid of Love," though "The Worst In You" and their version of "Prince Charming" are pretty good too.

And pretty much everything Darren's done with Hotel Lights has been terrific.  I'd recommend "Norina" and "Chemical Clouds" as great samples off of Firecracker People; "A.M. Slow Golden Hit," "Small Town Shit," "Anatole," and "Stumblin' Home Winter Blues" -- which BFF covered on Ben's retrospective album -- on Hotel Lights; and "Dave Sharkey To the Dance Floor" or "All My assh*le Friends" on Girl Graffiti.

Just for s&g, here's a last.fm search for artists similar to BFF (really just the offshoots and cohorts): http://www.last.fm/music/Ben+Folds/+similar
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Offline Allison

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 10:09:01 PM »
Have you heard IO's Collector of Broken Things? Or Captured?
mel (1:10:14 AM): love ben folds or burn!

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Offline Playhouse

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 10:22:47 PM »
Couldn't recall if I had but taking a listen now.
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Offline Terp02

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2012, 05:32:46 AM »
Don't forget The Semantics, which Ben helped form, but was never a part of. Their album Powerbill is one of the most hidden gems in music.

Also, Owsley, who was part of The Semantics (along with Millard Powers and Zak Starkey). His first album is amazing.

But as Allison said, no one else sounds like BF5. My band, Zanzibar Scuf, tried our damnedest, but we couldn't write like Ben, so we just became our own thing. I mean, every piano rock band that says "WE'RE LIKE BEN FOLDS FIVE!" sounds nothing like them, except there is a piano involved. And the reason is that no one writes like Ben (or at least like he used to), and no one has Robert Sledge as their bass player. His bass playing is unique and, as you can hear in TSOTLOTM, makes the band sound like they do.
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Offline Allison

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 10:38:47 AM »
But as Allison said, no one else sounds like BF5. My band, Zanzibar Scuf, tried our damnedest, but we couldn't write like Ben, so we just became our own thing. I mean, every piano rock band that says "WE'RE LIKE BEN FOLDS FIVE!" sounds nothing like them, except there is a piano involved. And the reason is that no one writes like Ben (or at least like he used to), and no one has Robert Sledge as their bass player. His bass playing is unique and, as you can hear in TSOTLOTM, makes the band sound like they do.

Sledge is a huge piece of the puzzle. honestly, the three men of ben folds five are all playing so differently than they would in a "regular" rock band. which makes the band so special. so unique. and why we all end up loving them. but it is also why bf5 is what they are, ben couldn't even recapture this band's abilities with sam, jared, lindsay, ryan..... some of it is the sheer musicianship of darren and robert. and some of it is their vocal qualities. i mean, seriously, sledge's voice? like he said in indy - born to be a rock tenor. ben's called darren the viola and robert the violin, and i'd say that's pretty fair. those harmonies are so important to making bf5, bf5.


.... wow i totally gave up on capital letters.
mel (1:10:14 AM): love ben folds or burn!

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Offline DAVID

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 07:10:03 PM »
There are probably more that I can't really think of, but if Jukebox does it for you, Lady Danville is another band to look at. And if Amanda Palmer does, then you may want to look at Kate Miller-Heidke and/or Lily Allen. These are obviously tertiary recommendations, but as everyone has said, there really isn't anyone like BF5.
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Offline Kidney05

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 08:51:09 PM »
If you want to look the other way, and go before ben, a good place might be randy newman.  I know he gets alot of flack for his unique voice, but to me, he's truly the missing link between what elton john did, and ben.  Randy has a sense of humor in so much of his music, just like ben, and yet others are more heartfelt.  He's got a more of a new orleans vibe, but I can't help but hear certain connections between him and ben.
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Offline LucasG

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 09:55:49 PM »
If you are looking for the "spirit" of Ben Folds Five, especially in the 90s, I would suggest Silver Jews, Built to Spill, Cake, Eels, Elliott Smith, Phish, and Wilco. None of them really sound like the five, but they have the same vibe.
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Offline DAVID

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2012, 07:20:06 PM »
If you want to look the other way, and go before ben, a good place might be randy newman.  I know he gets alot of flack for his unique voice, but to me, he's truly the missing link between what elton john did, and ben.  Randy has a sense of humor in so much of his music, just like ben, and yet others are more heartfelt.  He's got a more of a new orleans vibe, but I can't help but hear certain connections between him and ben.

Shit yeah, I forgot all about Randy Newman. Ben's also mentioned Neil Sedaka enough that I figure he would at least warrant a listen.
"Wait, he said 'good things come to those who wait,' but you didn't wait too long" "Keep listening" Kristen, on me and "Bruised"

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Offline Kidney05

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2012, 08:20:21 PM »
If you want to look the other way, and go before ben, a good place might be randy newman.  I know he gets alot of flack for his unique voice, but to me, he's truly the missing link between what elton john did, and ben.  Randy has a sense of humor in so much of his music, just like ben, and yet others are more heartfelt.  He's got a more of a new orleans vibe, but I can't help but hear certain connections between him and ben.

Shit yeah, I forgot all about Randy Newman. Ben's also mentioned Neil Sedaka enough that I figure he would at least warrant a listen.

it took me years to like randy, but now I really appreciate him.  I can bet you you'll be put off by his voice at first, but once you get adjusted he's got so many fantastic tracks.  I recommend his "songbook vol 1" as a good "piano only greatest hits" record.
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Offline zinefiend

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 02:56:15 PM »
If you're a fan of 90s style alt-pop, try Fleming and John's The Way We Are.  Ben does backing vocals on one of the songs and co-wrote another.  It's one of my favorite albums.  There's a theory that "Brainwashed" off Way to Normal is about them, but as far as I know, nobody's got solid proof.  

If you're just wanting some straight up piano-based rock/alt bands, here are some to check out: Fluid Ounces, The Hush Sound, Parachute Musical, Something Corporate, and the album Catalogue of Generous Men by Modern Skirts.  Also highly highly recommend anything by the Argument from Morgantown, WV.  They were a really awesome key-based power pop band that actually met at a BF5 show.  Scott Simon, the lead singer, has a new band called Teammate that isn't so piano-y but is still pretty rad.  

Oh, and not quite so keyboardy but if you're looking for good solid proto-Ben pop music, check out Jellyfish.  And if you dig that, look into some of the baroque pop bands of the 60s like the Zombies and the Left Banke.

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Offline zinefiend

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 03:42:34 PM »
Heck, so I broke down and made a playlist of the stuff I suggested and the stuff previous posters suggested that I was familiar with and was on Spotify, plus some others I thought of.  I approached it by thinking "what were the bands I liked once I discovered there was more to life than the Ramones?"  The first two bands I dug that weren't punk were Ben Folds Five and the Zombies, and all the other bands kind of fell like dominoes.  

Folks in the States can check it out here: http://open.spotify.com/user/bqueenbandit/playlist/0N90eKBmtiF4tOPun65I0m

It's now a collaborative playlist so add stuff as you see fit. 

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Offline Playhouse

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Re: Similar Bands to Ben Folds Five
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 09:18:56 AM »
Great playlist, zinefiend!
A one-hit wonder with no hits...

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