No matter where you live, there are some bands that you may never get to see. We all have them, those bands from far away lands who have never achieved the sort of success that means you get a chance to watch them live. These are good bands who release good albums but never got the luck they needed for certain parts of the globe; the music business is harsh to say the least. Here are three albums that never garnered the attention they deserved; whether these bands are still active or not is irrelevant, these releases still need to be heard.
By Mark Plummer
If I were to compile a list of Top 50 albums, this one would undoubtedly be working its way towards the Top 10; in fact, I’m incredibly confident that this is one of those releases that needs to be heard by anyone who can appreciate the finer aspects of music production.
Starting with The Dropout, and the guitars offer the key to this releases success; they don’t appear to be layered in abundance, but feel thin, whilst still managing to hold a strong presence; what this does is allow the whole band to flow harmoniously without tripping over one another, contributing a wonderfully balanced approach between each instrument.
Whilst this is generally a fast paced release, there are those tracks that do vary the pace: the politically infused Crash of ’29 is undoubtedly a shout to the Wall Street crash of 1929, but also feels oddly familiar in the more familiar ‘07 crash; the acoustic Whiplash, that seems to touch on the irresponsible side of sex; and the pulsating Sex On The Side Of The Road; look at these tracks against the rest of the album and this is a release that is undeniably broad in its writers lyrical capacity.
I’m more than confident to suggest that this album is arguably perfect in what it offers: versatility, technicality, soaring guitar hooks, and an abundance of lyrical material from stock markets, having a night out, to positive messages. Towards the end of this debut album, is a track that, whilst musically hard-hitting, holds a mantra for all to follow; Smile And Wave starts to bring to an end, an excellent release, starting with its positive chorus: “Each day is never the same if you surround yourself with a smile and a wave. Now go, let out only a quick sigh, release all your dark sides; get on with your day”, this serves the purpose of leaving a taste of true satisfaction and positivity.
It’s unfortunate that this album is now only available as a re-mastered copy, as it takes away all of what made it incredible. This remastered release has changed the key of each song to suit a different vocalist, and unfortunately ‘compressed the shit’ out of each track (but at the same time, enhances certain aspects on tracks like Bas Rutten). However, if it means having a copy of this masterpiece, I encourage you to buy it (it’s still a sick album). Alternatively, I wish you all the luck in the world trying to find an original copy.
Whilst they may not be operating under the name Blindspott for legal reasons, they have adopted another guise: Blacklistt; End The Silence was their second release back in 2006. Unless you’re from New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia or Japan, you’re unlikely to have heard this one.
End The Silence would see a dark exploration into the ‘difficult second album’, one backed up by gritty screaming vocals that cropped up here and there, but were never the focus, merely providing substance. It should also be recognized that tracks like Lull and Just Know would be the balance to stop this album from reaching a tipping point, providing a lightness that would add an equilibrium of hope against the darker songs.
Opener 1975 seemed to be cleverly crafted, appearing to hold back somewhat, refusing to reveal everything at once; too many albums fall apart on the later half, due to them pouring everything into the first few tracks, yet here was an album that could hold its own.
This balance was evident throughout, yes Drown and Yours Truly are incredibly strong songs, but further in and this album is still proving versatile with the likes of Cave In and Stay. Yours Truly in particular is a strong favourite that, whilst being radio friendly, was appealing in its message and, in some ways, bizarre music video. The metaphorical wonders portrayed in Stay were mesmerising: “Like the spiders caught in the broken wings of butterflies“, whilst further exhibiting a trademark sound that would not be bass heavy in the guitars, but allowed them to leave their own signature sound.
All-in-all, whilst this band achieved success in their corner of the world, the rest of us have missed out. They mix heavy vocals with a smoother approach, almost Linkin Park like, yet with more power behind them, something that Linkin Park started to lose after Meteora. Each track takes its own approach, without compromising those that came before or those that come after, a strong release to say the least.
Genre: Indie Rock/Pop Rock
Towards the end of the Drive-Thru Records era, this label was still churning out strong bands and releases, a couple of those could have undoubtedly been mentioned, but in the mean time, Socratic get the limelight.
I found these guys through the Hi My Name Is Mark… podcast, as Mark Hoppus would turn producer for this follow-up to their debut album. What Spread The Rumors achieved was a feel good release that complimented summer; with its light-hearted approach and quirky lyrics, including a memorable line about “blowing sunshine” into someones ass to combat those who seem to stand in your way; if ever there was a song about fighting fire with happiness and smiles, then May I Bum A Smoke is it.
The unassuming tones of Long Distance Calls is misleading, whilst lyrically it’s dysfunctional topic is cutting edge; they’re clearly not afraid to broker a melancholy topic with an upbeat melody, reinforced as the steel drums enter towards the end.
There’s something incredibly vintage in the way that Spread The Rumours has been written, in places it’s brimming with 60s vibes that the piano lends in abundance. It’s not that this band are stuck in time, quite the opposite, they’ve used it to craft a release that is light and easy to listen to, giving it an undeniable summer time vibe. I could quite happily have this album followed by The Beach Boys, or vice-versa.
Ultimately this album is the sort of release that is so feel-good, that it turns around any mood and seems to radiate the message “keep your chin up”.