Just read that Scott Miller, singer/songwriter and leader of the bands Game Theory and The Loud Family, passed away last week.
That’s too bad. I was a fan. His main strength was as a clever, talented songwriter, in particular a fabulous lyricist influenced by Elvis Costello (An artist I’d read Miller acknowledge in interviews and in his book MUSIC WHAT HAPPENED?).
With Game Theory, Miller pursued a catchy jangle pop style. To me, they were like America's answer to the Go Betweens. The 1987 double album LOLITA NATION is often cited as his masterpiece but the album before it BIG SHOT CHRONICLES and the album after it TWO STEPS FROM THE MIDDLE AGES are also excellent.
With The Loud Family, his music had more of a heavier guitar sound and more of a sense of experimentation. Their first album PLANTS AND BIRDS AND ROCKS AND THINGS was widely acclaimed and I also always really liked their later album ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE which has a great kick to it. Many of the songs there remind me of the Canadian band the Pursuit of Happiness.
Neither band had widespread success and the problem was how Miller was marketed at the beginning. Game Theory was lumped in with moody mumbling alternative folk like REM but in fact they had nothing in common with them and were closer to power pop or British style New Wave (keyboards were often pronounced on both Game Theory and Loud Family records).
Commercial success often eludes the talented artist for any number of reasons most of all due to the commercial tastes of the masses or what they perceive as commercial. That’s their loss.