The Waggle Dance: Shamefully Overlooked Bands

For this week’s post, I planned on doing a concert review. However, since the band that I wanted to review this week isn’t playing until NEXT week (d’oh!), this is my opportunity to abuse you with my taste in music.

Be forewarned: listening to these bands will not make you cool. I’d be shocked if anyone you know is into them. They don’t have new albums out, and they’re not coming to a venue near you. Half of them don’t even exist anymore. They are, however, damn good bands. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!

1) The End. Probably the greatest “shoulda coulda woulda” story of late-60s British psychedelia. Any track on their album, Introspection, will go toe-to-toe with summer-of-love-era-Beatles, Pink Floyd, or Zombies. The album has since been hailed as a “lost psychedelic masterpiece.”

Why you’ve never heard of them : Well, you see, Introspection was produced by a man named Bill Wyman, who played the bass for a band called The Rolling Stones. Following the album’s completion, the Stones had a rather nasty breakup with their manager, Alan Klein. This delayed the album’s release for a couple of years, by which point The End’s music had already gone out of style.

How I heard of them : Shades of Orange was, for some reason, included on a Stones bootleg that I got in a trade.

Notable Tracks : Shades of Orange, Loving Sacred Loving

2) Thee Heavenly Music Association. This band typifies everything that’s good about shoegaze music – ethereal vocals, drug-inspired lyrics, and distortion so thick that your spoon stands up in it. Their music has an appeal that cuts across emotions; whether I’m pissed off, depressed, or relaxed, somehow it always seems to hit the spot.

Why you’ve never heard of them : Probably because, despite a recent resurgence, shoegaze as a genre just isn’t terribly popular. Also, the extra ‘e’ in their name makes them look pretentious as all-get-out.

How I heard of them : Pandora, baby!

Notable Tracks : Alain, Trip Seat

3) The Bees (who must call themselves A Band of Bees here in the US because of copyright laws. Not that it matters, anyway, since they’ll never come to the states). Although they draw much of their inspiration from sixties soul and psychedelic, if you listen closely, you can also hear Afrobeat and Dub elements. Still, if they were simply rehashing their influences, I wouldn’t be writing about them and wasting your time. No, The Bees add their own creative spark, making music that’s weird and cool and new, while harkening back to the geniuses of yesteryear.

Why you’ve never heard of them : Hard to say. May have something to do with the fact that in SIX YEARS OF PLAYING, they haven’t once, not ONCE come to the states. Do you hear me, Paul and Aaron? You are one of my favorite bands, and you won’t even come to the states once! Come on and throw me a bone already, okay?
How I heard of them : A website that I used to work for recieved a promo copy of one of their albums.
Notable Tracks : Chicken Payback, Who Cares What the Question Is?, This is the Land

4) Howling Bells. This alt-rock band from Down Under is often referred to as “goth,” although I’ll be damned if I know what Australian goths are like. All I know is that Howling Bells is an amazing band that sounds nothing at all like Bauhaus. Imagine early Radiohead, only with a powerful female vocalist whose stylings lean toward country and blues. Their self-titled album is habit-forming, and the video for Setting Sun is positively mesmerizing.

Why you’ve never heard of them : Because you’re not Australian.
How I heard of them : Chalk another one up for Pandora!

Notable Tracks : Setting Sun, Velvet Girl, Low Happening

Have any suggestions of good bands that I’VE never heard of? Put them in the comments!

Original post, 5/1/08 @ 13:00

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