Okay, music fans, correct us if we’re wrong, but unless you’re one of those wannabe hipsters that only buys this week’s buzz album, we’re guessing that somewhere in your collection, you’ve got an LP, a cassette, a CD, or even an 8-track that you picked up on a whim, fell in love with, and absolutely love to tell people about… and your introduction usually begins, “Look, I know you’ve probably never heard of this person/these guys, and I don’t know why it didn’t sell a million copies, but, seriously, you’ve got to hear it.”
Maybe they’re a local or regional band who never made the big time. Maybe they did make it to a major label, but the musical climate wasn’t right…or the label didn’t bother to promote the album…or, heck, maybe the band broke up five minutes after the record was released. Whatever the case, far too many great albums have ended up selling far too few copies, which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try and rescue some of these all-too-unheralded releases from obscurity. We’ve also managed to get in touch with almost all of the artists whose albums we’re praising in this piece – the lone exception had the very good excuse of having died, but we did, at least, get in touch with one of the producers of his album – and asked them to answer a quick Q&A for us. So not only will you (probably) be introduced to several new albums, but you’ll also feel like you know a little bit about the person or persons responsible for recording them.
Here’s just one example:
The Argument: Your New Favorite Band (Self-released, 2000)
Recommended If You Like: Ben Folds Five, Barenaked Ladies, Toad the Wet Sprocket
The critics can go on and on about how quirky bands don’t last long unless they’re named Barenaked Ladies, and about how songs like “Inflatable Amy” are downright laughable…and, hey, the Argument’s lead singer, Scott Simons, can even say he’s “embarrassed” by his former band’s self-released debut. But when you burn an album into your iTunes and, even seven years later, you can’t stop listening to it, there’s a higher power at work – or, then again, maybe Simons and his band mates had something special that not enough industry types recognized. (Personally, I’m going with the latter.) This West Virginia quartet toured so much in a van pursuing “the dream of being rock stars” that, eventually, their van and their will both stalled with an empty tank. While the album is out of print, its endearing combination of pop, rock, jazz, soul and every other influence under the sun showcases a solid group of musicians who could string melodic hooks and harmonies together as well as anyone. – Mike Farley
Notable Tracks – “Grudge,” “Disappear,” “The Ballad of Ernestine Jackson”
Our interview with Scott Simons of The Argument can be found here.
Check out The Best Albums You’ve Never, Ever Heard (Well, Probably Not, Anyway) in its entirety by clicking here…then feel free to come back and offer up some of your own favorite unheralded albums!