Les Savy Fav: Classic or Dud

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Small catalog of 3 albums and an EP, each slightly better than the previous. Eccentric singer, post-punk lyrics, sometimes bittersweet, great live show. Classic or Dud?

Jeff, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm pissing in the sink sink sink, new answers.

Jeff, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i'm a fan but i'd have to disagree with the "each slightly better than the previous"-- i'd roughly rank them in the opposite order

, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

my favs

1. Rome EP

2. Cat and the Cobra

3. 3/5

4. Go Forth

I say they are complete classics. They are so fun live. They played in DC this past december. Tim Harrington's pants slowly ripped throughout the show, and he enquired of my friend to give him his jacket. He used it as a skirt for the rest of the show. That alone warrants great stage presence. The music is not too shabby either. I love the start/stop drumming and the punchy guitar work. I highly recommend Rye Coalition if you are into Les Savy Fav.

Brock K, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

My introduction to Les Savy Fav were MP3s of "Cut It Out" and "Je t'aime". I thought those tracks to be outstanding and made a mental note to get into them. I came across a used copy of 'Go Forth' and I was massively disappointed. A couple of further listens upgraded it to passable with some good songs ("Tragic Monsters", "One-to- Three", "Adopduction"). I recently got the 'EMOR' EP and it's quite excellent. In particular, "Asleepers Union" and "Hide Me From Next February" are amazing. I still don't know enough of their stuff to say classic or dud, but it's leaning towards the positive.

alex in montreal, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"IC Timer" pumps me up.

Keiko, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Is there a better band at the moment? Simple question.

Alacran, Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Very wonderful. I've been a little afraid of actually getting their records, but live they're amazing. Just complete chaos. At the show I was at, as well as climbing the walls, he started running around the floor with a table on his back, like some kind of amphetamined dining room tortoise... I don't know that I'd like 'em recorded so much, although the NYLPM review did make it sound tempting.

emil.y, Saturday, 2 February 2002 01:00 (nineteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Revive. I'm sitting on the fence here, btw.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Thursday, 22 May 2003 10:17 (eighteen years ago) link

Awesome. Nordic, they are awesome. Since we're ranking albums, here we go:
1. Rome EP
2. The Cat and the Cobra
3. Go Forth
4. 3/5
Boo-yah, mfs.

NA. (Nick A.), Thursday, 22 May 2003 11:12 (eighteen years ago) link

I have 1 + 3. Why do some people hate them so?

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Thursday, 22 May 2003 13:00 (eighteen years ago) link

The only one I have is Go Forth. As a whole album, it's a little inconsistent. But the good tracks are absolutely killer. "Reprobate's Resume" knocks me out every time. Snaky guitar lines! Frenetic rhythms! Maj-7th chords! "Ticker-tape parade"!

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 22 May 2003 13:48 (eighteen years ago) link

Dud. To me, their songs just aren't good enough to leave any lasting impression. There's nothing catchy about them whatsoever, not that that's a hallmark of a good song all the time. No songs. Or maybe two an album. That doth a classic band not make.

However, I would like to get rid of my copy of 3/5 if anyone's interested.

scott m (mcd), Thursday, 22 May 2003 13:58 (eighteen years ago) link

You can't jude a band like Savy Fav on the basis of songs and albums, dude. I'm pretty fond of the records, but they just simply aren't what that band is about. It's all about the live show, and the live show is fucking incredible and amazing. I'd barely even heard of them before I saw Tim Harrington put the mic chord between his teeth and climb a fucking street light to sing while hanging from the no parking sign. Now I don't miss a show. I honesly can't think of a more consistently great live band.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Thursday, 22 May 2003 14:09 (eighteen years ago) link

wow, someone resurrected one of my topics, i'm honored! I still say classic. Most people still believe that their first albums were their best, but the more I listen to Go Forth, the more I think it is really one of my favorite albums of all time. Still love the earlier stuff but there hasn't been a band like this for me in a while, where I'm eagerly awaiting what they will do next.

Jeff-PTTL (Jeff), Thursday, 22 May 2003 14:31 (eighteen years ago) link

That's a good point, Tom, I've never seen them live. I should have mentioned that. However, as Mike Watt says, the CD is a flyer for the gig, well then LSF's flyer is not working.

scott m (mcd), Thursday, 22 May 2003 15:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Hmmm, I actually wasn't so into the live show. I mean, it was more entertaining than most shows I've seen. But I felt there was something contrived about the manic "what-will-he-do-next?" craziness. Plus, seeing what Tim Harrington looked like ruined things a bit.

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 22 May 2003 15:28 (eighteen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
Has anyone gotten the 7" compilation CD that just came out?

phil-two (phil-two), Thursday, 22 April 2004 14:54 (seventeen years ago) link

Yep, and it's terrific. Everything done with the newer line-up is sharp. I like it better than any of the group's records to date. Run, don't walk.

njg, Thursday, 22 April 2004 15:18 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...
classic without doubt.

check out 'in these woods', 'we've got boxes' or 'adopduction if you don't believe me.

plus that live show is mega.

Charlie Howard (the sphinx), Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:05 (fourteen years ago) link

it's all about "inches"

a.b. (alanbanana), Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:14 (fourteen years ago) link

oh yes, 'inches' is really solid.

Charlie Howard (the sphinx), Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:16 (fourteen years ago) link

These guys are sick. Can't wait until they tour again.

call all destroyer (Sean Braudis), Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:19 (fourteen years ago) link

I retract my last post on this thread. LSF's performance at Pitchfork Festival in 2005 (we're now calling it Pitchfork Fest, right? It's confusing to say "Intonation") totally won me over.

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:22 (fourteen years ago) link

hahah i still find your "seeing what tim harrington looked like" remark pretty funny though.

Charlie Howard (the sphinx), Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:26 (fourteen years ago) link

I think the ROME ep is still my favorite, but their last 7", which I don't think has been on anything (I found it on Souls333k labeled as 'Australian tour 7"') is excellent too. Really dynamic and pretty. (The songs are called 'Hit by Bus' and 'Hit by Car' btw).

Tiki Theater Xymposium (Bent Over at the Arclight), Thursday, 8 February 2007 18:01 (fourteen years ago) link

they recorded that 7 inch at popfrenzy studios in sydney, i believe.

it is awesome, i agree. it's got a calm, somewhat haunting vibe that's unlike anything i've heard from them.

Charlie Howard (the sphinx), Thursday, 8 February 2007 18:08 (fourteen years ago) link

saw 'em open for the ex and the ex blew them off the stage. for the most part, the tunes are a little dull and onstage wackiness didn't really make up for that. rome ep is pretty good, tho.

Alan N (Alan N), Thursday, 8 February 2007 18:11 (fourteen years ago) link

certainly not dud

Yoshinorimike (Yoshinorimike), Thursday, 8 February 2007 23:34 (fourteen years ago) link

The Rome EP and another one from that era are the only good stuff

Charmmy Kitty's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (ex machina), Thursday, 8 February 2007 23:35 (fourteen years ago) link

saw them here at nyu last semester. he used an nyu podium and screamed into it while doing a fake lecture on egyptology. it was classic. that said, i don't care much for their recorded output besides the rome written upsidedown ep.

jonathan - stl (jonathan - stl), Friday, 9 February 2007 00:12 (fourteen years ago) link

speaking of recorded output, Inches and Rome seem to be the consensus "classics".

That Hit by Car and Hit by Train are so good while deviating from the typical LSF formula of guitar skronk/reverb, stiff rhythms and pun-ny sloganeering seems to indicate genuine talent and quality beneath the particular trappings.

Yoshinorimike (Yoshinorimike), Friday, 9 February 2007 00:29 (fourteen years ago) link

That 7" australian tour thing went for a fortune on ebay. But rococo records repressed it up and sold it. I even got a nice personal handwritten letter for the label. Really nice touch.
The songs are ace too.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Pfunkboy (Kerr), Friday, 9 February 2007 00:33 (fourteen years ago) link

my first exposure to them ever was when they opened for the dismemberment plan in boston (one of the plan's last-ever shows), and even though the plan fucking kicked ass LSF definitely gave them a run for their money. had no idea who they were, and tim harrington crawled along the edge of the balcony and humped the uptight security guard and stole his t-shirt, and it was GREAT.

Emily Bjurnhjam (Emily Bjurnhjam), Friday, 9 February 2007 00:36 (fourteen years ago) link

seven months pass...

new album thoughts? they done gone got tunes!

CharlieNo4, Monday, 17 September 2007 13:57 (fourteen years ago) link

Are they touring this in the UK? Haven't heard it yet mind...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Monday, 17 September 2007 14:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Just checked. Looks like one date only.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Monday, 17 September 2007 14:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Dud. I hate to smack down a well-touted guitar band but they don't have the songs and the great Thunderbirds Are Now get reduced to them unfairly. Only "Sweat Descends" leaves an impression for me.

kiss out the jams, Monday, 17 September 2007 16:45 (fourteen years ago) link

Ugh. Thunderbirds Are Now are such boring bullshit, having seen them on the stage with Savvy Fav.

Frankly, though, live LSV are fucking classicer than classic, but I've never found any of their albums all that compelling. I've seen 'em a handful of times now, and I almost always walk out with their latest, only to be baleful on the ride home. They seem to go into the studio with the expressed mission of smoothing all of the weirdness out.

I eat cannibals, Monday, 17 September 2007 18:53 (fourteen years ago) link

how is the new album? i don't count on pfrk.

Zeno, Tuesday, 18 September 2007 16:17 (fourteen years ago) link

I bet you don't you Pitchfork-hating hipster, you.

Reatards Unite, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 00:11 (fourteen years ago) link


Emily Bjurnhjam, Wednesday, 19 September 2007 00:28 (fourteen years ago) link

i like the new album a lot....mostly everything les savy fav has put out is pretty good

gman, Saturday, 22 September 2007 00:29 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...

i am not digging the new record as much as i hoped i would
les savy fav are capable of really exciting music. this sounds a little by the numbers for my liking. harrington seems to be overdoing the vocals a bit too. his shouting style works really well when the musical backdrop is more angular and hard-hitting than this, but the music on this one is strangely subdued, at times perhaps threatening to take off, but mostly just circling around.

'patty lee' and 'kiss kiss is getting old' are great tracks, however

Charlie Howard, Monday, 10 December 2007 10:07 (fourteen years ago) link

I like it.

Herman G. Neuname, Monday, 10 December 2007 10:59 (fourteen years ago) link

really? which tracks?

Charlie Howard, Monday, 10 December 2007 11:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Raging in the Plague Age really stood out

Herman G. Neuname, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 00:01 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...

I really like Let's Stay Friends, having never heard LSF before.

Scik Mouthy, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 10:27 (thirteen years ago) link

you're in for a treat when you explore further

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 13 March 2008 16:23 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

"let's stay friends" is so good, really think it's their best album (i'm not counting "inches" as an album)

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 13 March 2009 15:56 (twelve years ago) link

I don't think I ever noticed until now that Let's Stay Friends = LSF = Les Savy Fav.

Bianca Jagger (jaymc), Friday, 13 March 2009 16:06 (twelve years ago) link

three months pass...

inches tpk

you know what, fuck you (Lamp), Sunday, 5 July 2009 01:32 (twelve years ago) link

six months pass...

i'm seeing them on a friday. is this good?

you have to forgive me (surm), Tuesday, 26 January 2010 17:44 (eleven years ago) link


"Is this good", he asks.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Tuesday, 26 January 2010 17:48 (eleven years ago) link

they are a very very good live band unless you are turned off by wacky singer antics

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 26 January 2010 17:53 (eleven years ago) link

yes surm it is very good.

call all destroyer, Tuesday, 26 January 2010 17:55 (eleven years ago) link


you have to forgive me (surm), Tuesday, 26 January 2010 18:00 (eleven years ago) link

two months pass...

haven't thought about this band since what feels like forever. somehow go forth and the ROME ep turned up on my stereo tonight and holy smokes it is a good ass rock record. please don't make me think about the lyrics, i just want to ignore them and focus on the guitar and drums basically. feels as good as i remember 2002 feeling, yeah!

iiiijjjj, Saturday, 27 March 2010 04:44 (eleven years ago) link

...but les savy fav's lyrics are great.

like a musical album. made by a band. (fucking in the streets), Saturday, 27 March 2010 16:06 (eleven years ago) link

two months pass...

new album in September!!!!


so jazzed

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 17 June 2010 16:06 (eleven years ago) link

yeah saw that, very good news

it's hard out here for a special snowflake (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 17 June 2010 16:06 (eleven years ago) link

four weeks pass...

Just spun the new album, "Root For Ruin," several times. It probably deserves its own thread but I am too timid to be the one to start one. The album is excellent, though. It's much more stripped-down than "Let's Be Friends"—no dance-punk riffs, duets, flashy production tricks, etc—but very much a continuation of that album's songwriting. It seems to be easily earnest Les Savy Fav album yet; at its core it's a really sweet relationship album. Really, really excited to spend more time with this one.

Evan R, Friday, 16 July 2010 20:20 (eleven years ago) link

Ha, fun to see this revived -- last month I actually got to meet Harrison at Bard University on my trip out east, as he's in the same MFA program a cousin of mine is in. Very friendly guy, he was doing some good work!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 16 July 2010 21:27 (eleven years ago) link

this is really good!!!

then an image appeared: a pizza pie (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:13 (eleven years ago) link

the end chorus to "lips n' stuff" is wow

then an image appeared: a pizza pie (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:13 (eleven years ago) link

the kids will kill you any way they can
their teeth are bleached but their tits are tan

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:35 (eleven years ago) link

lots of indie rock lifer stuff in here but not as corny springsteen as hold steady's

then an image appeared: a pizza pie (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

i really kind of hated 'let's stay friends' and am therefore quite apprehensive about this new one. evan's observations upthread, and the similarities he notes between the songwriting approach on each album tends to exacerbate my concerns. after giving it a fair old chance i just found LSF really flat, and the songs i preferred were in fact the duets, largely being due to to the input of the guest musicians. i still really love the band and will give the new album a good listen in the hope that i find something to connect with.

charlie h, Thursday, 29 July 2010 14:20 (eleven years ago) link

I think you're going to be really pleasantly surprised by this one, Charlie. Even if the songwriting is more Let's Stay Friends, the approach is more 3/5—very direct. Harrington has just replaced the flights of fantasy with more human concerns.

Evan R, Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:51 (eleven years ago) link

like...maybe this is their best album? (honestly)

then an image appeared: a pizza pie (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 29 July 2010 16:04 (eleven years ago) link

wow, excited

call all destroyer, Thursday, 29 July 2010 16:05 (eleven years ago) link

one month passes...

i really disagree w/the pitchfork review of this

You know, Caps... Jimmy Hats, Gloves, McRibs, Slee (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 9 September 2010 15:12 (eleven years ago) link

in what way?

strongohulkingtonsghost, Thursday, 9 September 2010 15:23 (eleven years ago) link

they knock sleepless in silverlake and let's get out of here for killing the momentum but i like those songs....and they don't like "calm down" which i really like, the chords are kinda propulsive to me...overall i just really like the album, the songs, the pacing, etc....

like i understand it's les savy fav being les savy fav, but i think the songs are good and frankly they are a band i kinda expect to sound a certain way....

alexander i c u under the archway of hydromatics (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 9 September 2010 15:45 (eleven years ago) link

Surprised by how tepid most of the reviews have been of this one. Maybe I'm blinded by being a fan, but I don't think this is just more of the same; I think it advances the band's songwriting in some really satisfying ways.

Evan R, Thursday, 9 September 2010 16:09 (eleven years ago) link

After listening to it for a few weeks, I'm not into it as much as their other albums. The production's a little thin and the whole thing just feels kind of insubstantial? I definitely prefer the poppier/slower/spacier songs like Sleepless in Silverlake and Let's Get Out of Here. Some of the punkier songs, like Excess Energies, don't really work for me. Really prefer the first half of the album to the second. Overall, it's a good album but a relative disappointment after Let's Stay Friends (which I love).

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 9 September 2010 16:16 (eleven years ago) link

also can't believe ILM has gone this long without commenting on the Silver Jews quote in "Appetites"

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 9 September 2010 16:18 (eleven years ago) link

ha I put the album on after posting the above and listened to the whole thing and it sounds pretty dang good now ... maybe it's growing on me

congratulations (n/a), Thursday, 9 September 2010 16:52 (eleven years ago) link

three months pass...

in hindsight "root for ruin" was a disappointment. not a big disappointment, since I feel like most LSF albums are flawed - the live experience is so much better that most of the recorded output pales in comparison. but it was disappointing following "let's stay friends" which imo is their best album so far (ie the EP and the singles collection don't count). anyways "root for ruin" isn't bad - it's kind of fun while you're listening to it - but I never feel compelled to listen to it.

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 13 December 2010 22:48 (eleven years ago) link


one pretty obvious guy in the obvious (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 13 December 2010 22:54 (eleven years ago) link

Thirded, sadly. I still really enjoy this record and think it was way underrated, but it really does suffer badly when compared to Let's Stay Friends, which was definitely the more interesting album.

Evan R, Monday, 13 December 2010 23:17 (eleven years ago) link

Maybe it's just the version I downloaded, but this sucker is LOUD. Always have to be on guard when a song comes up on shuffle.

Zsa Zsa Gay Bar (jaymc), Monday, 13 December 2010 23:23 (eleven years ago) link

seven months pass...

Really enjoying this record right now. It's a bit understated but it's got some great hooks, and I just love the propulsive bass.

Marty Innerlogic, Sunday, 31 July 2011 13:00 (ten years ago) link

four years pass...

their amazing performance of "Patty Lee" on Conan appears to have completely disappeared from the internet

Immediate Follower (NA), Tuesday, 7 June 2016 16:38 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

Pumped for seeing these guys at Primavera (assuming that goes ahead)

seven months pass...

early 90s had the underappreciated GBV, early 00s had the underappreciated LSF

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 08:06 (one week ago) link

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