Game Theory

~ Group


Game Theory was a 1980s power pop band, founded by singer/songwriter Scott Miller, combining melodic jangle pop with dense experimental production and hyperliterate lyrics. MTV described their sound as "still visceral and vital" in 2013, with records "full of sweetly psychedelic-tinged, appealingly idiosyncratic gems" that continued "influencing a new generation of indie artists." Between 1982 and 1990, Game Theory released five studio albums and two EPs, which had long been out of print until 2014, when Omnivore Recordings began a series of remastered reissues of the entire Game Theory catalog.

Miller was the group's leader and sole constant member, presiding over frequently changing line-ups. During its early years in Davis, California, Game Theory was often associated with the Paisley Underground movement, but remained based in northern California, moving to the Bay Area in 1985, while similarly aligned local bands moved to Los Angeles.

The group became known for its fusion of catchy musical hooks with musical complexity, as well as for Miller's lyrics that often featured self-described "young-adult-hurt-feeling-athons," along with literary references (e.g., Real Nighttime's allusions to James Joyce), and pop culture references ranging from Peanuts ("The Red Baron") to Star Trek quotes ("One More for St. Michael").

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Year Title RatingReleases
1982 Blaze of Glory 5 3
1985 Real Nighttime 5 5
1986 The Big Shot Chronicles 5 2
1987 Lolita Nation 5 1
1988 Two Steps From the Middle Ages 5 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1984 Dead Center 5 2
1990 Tinker to Evers to Chance 5 1
1993 Distortion of Glory 5 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1986 24 / Waltz the Halls Always 1
1986 Erica's Word / Couldn't I Just Tell You 5 1


Year Title RatingReleases
1983 Pointed Accounts of People You Know 5 2
1984 Distortion 5 2

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