OK, in honor of the New Year I thought instead of listing my top ten shows this year (I may break down and do it later though) I’d list some bands that (to me) are criminally underrated. So here are my top ten bands/artists that you should support now (even though most are either dead or inactive, but hey, their grandkids need to eat, right?)
Bands you should be listening to, right now!!!!
10. The Six and Violence
One of the great joys of the NYC hardcore scene in the late eighties/early nineties was this six man punk band that played songs about golf (pro) and guidos (con). They had two lead singers and two drummers, one of who only played cymbals and the other who played with only drums, including a mounted bass drum. The Six and Violence sadly predated much worse bands like 311 who seem to lack a sense of humor. Plus, would 311 get Jethro Tull front man Ian Anderson to play flute on two tracks? I think not.
9. Serge Gainsbourg
OK, every hipster in Williamsburg worth his skinny jeans knows the bard of sixties Franco-pop, but were they paying attention to his REALLY bizarre later years when he went reggae? Long before a lot of “crossover” records, Serge knew he would need some help, enlisting the killer rhythm section of Sly and Robbie to work with him, and infuriating the French public with a reggae version of the Marseille. Serge proved that toward the end of his life, a third, or fourth act was still possible.
John Mikl Thor, a former “Mr. Canada” was a muscle bound comic book type hero (he did produce his own comic books) who was also a great late period glam and later metal performer. OK, his songs sound ridiculous, and they often were, (“When Gods Collide,” “Anger (is my middle name)”) but they were also catchy as well and goofy fun. Thor also used his muscular body as part of the stage show, bending a steel beam in his teeth and blowing up a hot water bottle on stage! He was relegated to c-level horror films for years, until coming back with a killer record (reminiscent of early Sweet) Thor Against the World in 2006. To best experience Thor, pick up the video collection, An-thor-ology.
7. Bruce Haack
Almost forgotten, even amongst electronic music aficionados, Haack was a more dance-oriented version of Terry Riley’s or Lamonte Young’s trance work mixed with some Krautrock. He was also one of the early users of the vocoder (he built his own which he called “Farad” before Wendy Carlos) as well, but we’ll forgive him for anticipating autotune. A marginal fixture even in electronic music circles, he ended up his unlikely career with a minor disco hit, with “Party Machine” on Def Jam!
6. The Monks
What would be more natural for a bunch of US soldiers stationed in Germany during he early sixties then to dress as monks (complete with tonsures) and play dramatically raw garage rock protesting the war in Vietnam before it had really even started? Well, the Monks, who billed themselves as the “anti-Beatles”, were a perplexing mixture. Their work was largely forgotten until a recent re-release and book on them. One of the unsung heroes of proto-punk and as raw as the Stooges, albeit with less finesse.
— Brian Cogan