Stranded In Stereo: "Sob" : Bands Who Broke Up To Soon

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Sob" : Bands Who Broke Up To Soon

We can all come up with them: the bands who folded in before they were lucky enough to capitalize on success, and instead have to live on in infamy, capturing an audience and having them be remembered for only a dozen, or maybe at times, two or three songs that filled up the wax of a 10" record. Bands always come and go, but these are the bands who broke up to soon, leaving us only with those one or two perfect releases, and the long standing "What If..."

Dany says:

Mother Vulpine: These guys formed in early ’06, and they were easy to miss because by the end of ’07, they had called it quits. While it may have been the right thing for them, England lost what could have a potentially great band. Combining the buzzsaw guitars of Drive Like Jehu with the yelping earnestness of Les Savy Fav or Q & Not U, this quartet deserved much more than the little bit of attention that they got. Their one single and handful of compilation of tracks are flawless bits of post-math madness. One member has moved on to the equally as promising Pulled Apart By Horses.

Ultrasound: In the late ‘90s, these guys were press darlings, riding a wave of hype on the brilliant singles “Best Wishes” and “Stay Young.” Early on, their mix of prog and glam could not be matched, but after a layoff of nearly a year, the much-anticipated debut album, Everything Picture, crumbled beneath its own expectations and ambition. Although this triple LP had a few great songs, most of it lacked focus and was middling. By the end of ’99, the band had split.

JJ72: Seven years might be stretching the whole “broke up too soon” thing a bit, but these guys only released two albums (with another one ready to go) before they called it a day in ’06 due to record label struggles. At the turn of the millennium, their eponymous debut made them both critical and commercial darlings, and although the follow-up (I to the Sky) sold less, it documented a dynamic band that avoided the sophomore slump.

Bald Rapunzel: This might be a DC thing, the whole breaking up after an album thing, because it happens a lot in the Capital. The mid to late ‘90s saw yet another renaissance in the music scene around the District, as bands like Q & Not U, The Dismemberment Plan and The Make-Up were starting to hit their stride. This DC/Maryland group combined the aesthetic of DC with the sound of the Pacific Northwest to create a winning formula and while their debut, Diazepam, was spotty, the highlights were indicative of a band that had much more in them.

Larrikin Love: A few years ago, what was loosely dubbed the Thamesbeat scene (which is now acknowledged as never having existed) began to sprout up around London, with the biggest purveyors being The Holloways, Good Shoes, Mystery Jets, Jamie T and Larrikin Love. These guys released their first two singles on indies Young & Lost Club and Transgressive before dropping their full-length debut in late ’06 on the latter label. Despite the promise of the disc and its impending release in Europe, the band split in May of ’07. Band leader Edward Larrikin is now focused on his side project, Pan I Am, which is also rooted in gypsy and Irish folk stylings.

Rusty thinks:

Chavez: Back in the 90s, before he had that Superwolf project with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, or was a member of Zwan, Matt Sweeney got his start in this Brooklyn based math rock quartet. The band recorded only two albums and an EP for Matador, and then they ceased to be. When the band got back together to play their first shows in the fall of 2006 to coincide with Matador reissuing their entire catalog in the Better Days Will Haunt You set, it was reveal that the band didn’t ever break up per se, they just got “busy.” Well then, I say, make a third album already.

The Golden Republic: From the beloved lands of Kansas City came a band lead by cousins Ben Grimes and Ryan Shank who wore their glam rock fandom on their blazers. Their catchy hooks and love for T-Rex got the band once known as The People a deal with Astralwerks. They toured with Nada Surf, opened up for and played the supporting role for Sondre Lerche at one point, released their self-titled debut, and couldn’t get it together to record a sophomore effort. Songs that would’ve made the second album ended up in other places, though: “Buildings & Mountains” was released as the first single by The Republic Tigers, the new band fronted by TGR guitarist Kenn Jankowski, and their last known recording is on a Kansas City comp somewhere.

The Unicorns: A lot of people would probably just say they still live on since Nick Thornburn fronts the similarly tinged Islands, but there’s something missing. I think that Islands is a more serious version of The Unicorns, who released an EP (Unicorns Are People, Too) and only one album, 2003’s near perfect Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? I guess the title was a bit of a premonition as the band would break up not even two years later, leaving behind a (what I think is) concept record about wanting to live life (“I Don’t Wanna Die,”) getting famous (“Let’s Get Known,”) and accepting fates (“Ready To Die.”) Oh, and “Les Os” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

1 comment: said...

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