Another 5 Underrated Albums
Another Saturday morning, another slate of musical selections. Today I thought I’d share 5 albums that I think are grossly underrated. If you’re not familiar with these bands, stop what you’re doing and give them a listen. Now.
Wire – The Ideal Copy
One of the most influential post-punk and art-punk bands formed in 1976 and still producing new music, Wire evolved from punk to post-punk to new wave to industrial-dance and created a style using guitars and effects that remains unique and compelling. When they released 1987’s The Ideal Copy on Mute Records, the single ‘Ahead’ became a college radio and club hit, and the album became one of my first CD purchases as I transitioned away from cassettes. Favorite tracks include ‘Ahead,’ ‘Madman’s Honey,’ and ‘Ambitious.’ The CD version of the album is combined with the Snakedrill EP, which includes another favorite, ‘A Serious of Snakes.’
The Alarm – Standards
I’ll be honest: I was not much of a fan of The Alarm during the 80s until the single ‘Rain in the Summertime’ was released in 1987, which got me to look at them again. Standards is a compilation album released in 1990 and includes all of their major singles, including Rain, the hugely popular in the UK ‘Sixty Eight Guns,’ and the epic song ‘The Stand’ which is now my favorite. I think of them as a mix of U2 and James.
Ministry – Twitch
Considered to be one of, if not THE first industrial rock band, Ministry was formed in 1981 by the iconic Al (Alain) Jourgensen. I remember an interview where Al shared that, unlike other bands who get a music contract and then over time sell out for the cash, he talked about selling out up front, and then evolving his music over time. It was a very quick evolution, for sure. People familiar with the metal/industrial sound of their catalog are usually surprised to hear the more pop/dance sound of their first album, ‘With Sympathy.’ Twitch is their second album, and is by far my favorite. It had a huge impact on my own personal music tastes, introducing me to the industrial genre. I had already been a fan of Front 242, but after Twitch I got into Skinny Puppy, Die Warzau, Nitzer Ebb, and similar artists.
The Durutti Column – The Return of the Durutti Column
I remember hearing the first song on this album, Sketch for a Summer, while on a road trip in summer 1987, and I wanted to hear more. I have not run into too many people familiar with this post-punk band formed in 1978 by drummer Chris Joyce and guitarist Dave Rowbotham, later adding guitarist/pianist Vini Reilly, vocalist Phil Rainford, and bassist Tony Bowers. With Vini still leading the band today, they have a very clean and unique sound, and were one of the first bands to be signed to the Factory Records label alongside Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, and OMD. Be sure to check out the song ‘Conduct’ as well. Fantastic stuff.
Love Spit Love – Trysome Eatone
The second album from this side project of Richard Butler, lead singer of The Psychedelic Furs, when the band went on hiatus in 1992. I’ve been a Furs fan since 1981, and so of course I love both of their albums..but this latter release is their best. I couldn’t find their full album on YouTube, but here is one of my favorite songs from this epic album, Little Fist.