The music industry is a pretty vicious, tragic place to inhabit. For every fantastic breakthrough are ten more acts that fall by the wayside after a couple of singles and a badly promoted debut album. It’s like they can’t even imagine the horror of writing a sophomore album, never mind stick around and attempt it. In an effort to remember these fallen heroes I put together a short list of some bands that I really wish had stuck around for a bit longer, the suckers.
I remember falling deeply in love with this act’s debut EP, the fantastically titled Valves & Robots EP. Dropping a cassette single on Transgressive Records led to them being picked up by Columbia, followed by a couple of singles and then a debut album in summer ’07. Somehow their quaint indie charm and Drowned In Sound chic never quite permeated through enough during their relationship with Columbia, and they were met with little major airplay. It’s a shame really because as an album Control stands up remarkably well. They announced their split late last month before playing their final show at Glastonbury to a huge crowd. I’ll always remember them for the clap along breakdown in the middle of Walk With Me, delicious.
Another band out of the Transgressive stable, Larrikin were impossible not to adore. Led by the enthralling Edward Larrikin, they spun through a ramshackle few years playing energetic indie-folk to equally over excitable 16 years olds in sweaty little venues up and down the country. While Ed is now working on new project The Pan I Am, Larrikin themselves only live on soundtracking one of those weird Wrigleys adverts. Despite releasing a single about child rape (Happy As Annie), Larrikin Love enjoyed much critical and a fair dose of commercial acclaim upon releasing their debut album The Freedom Spark in late 2006. No album better soundtracks rolling around in sundrenched fields while casually shattering age old concerns about pre-martial sex.
I Was A Cub Scout
Probably the only good thing to come out of that vast swathe of countryside that debatably connects Lincoln to the rest of the country, IWACS (as they’re apparently affectionately known) were kind of like a charmingly British version of Postal Service. Harnessing some lightweight drumming and delicately put together samples all strung together with lead singer Todd Marriott’s guitar, they charmed the damp knickers off most of Lincoln before signing to Abeano, a subsidy of XL Recordings. A few months locked above their favorite pub passed before they emerged clutching I Want You To Know There Is Always Hope, their gentle homage to life and love in little villages. While Todd was arguably the driving force behind Cub Scout, it is drummer Will Bowerman who’s since gone on to greater things, finding himself accompanying La Roux as part of her live set-up. He’s had a haircut too, thank god
Fear Of Music
This lot were incredible; unfeasibly young and gloriously talented. They emerged from Manchester while they were all still at school and released one of my most treasured EP’s on some tiny little label. A fantastic seething mess of heady guitar and penetrating vocals, a worthy example of what happens if you base all of your output on early Pixies and Radiohead records. They signed to Columbia and promptly got dropped before releasing their debut album properly. You can still download it of course, the label got round to sending out promos, just not selling it. The album’s alright, their singles are alright, but my god that EP. Seriously, some of the best 20 minutes of my life have been spent listening to that record.
Of course there are plenty more acts that only manage a single album, but I think they’re the most recent and relevant. Let me know if there’s a glaring ommision or two though. In the meantime, treasure four albums that you know will never be ruined by an ill-advised move towards dance music.