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Underrated Albums
26 March 2019
2.29pm
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Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Rishikesh
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I haven't heard that one fully, no; just "Magic Hollow" and a couple of other individual tracks off various BB compilations. But I definitely want to hear it now! 

They were a fairly underrated (or at least underknown) band overall. Sal Valentino's voice was lovely. 

Thanks for those Misunderstood links, RN! Wild stuff for 1965-66.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

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26 March 2019
4.31pm
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QuarryMan
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Nico's Chelsea Girl is a very underrated album in my opinion. The songwriting (which boasts pieces by Lou Reed, John Cale and Jackson Browne as well as Nico's first writing efforts) is very ahead of its time, particularly on the sublime These Days which is a gorgeous, melancholic track. I love the lo-fi quality of the guitar and the deadpan vocals against the very sweet string arrangements and melodies. I like her later works too, like Desertshore and the Marble Index, but Chelsea Girl is my favourite. 

¡No pasarán!

 

1 April 2019
9.39am
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Ron Nasty
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Albums Not Enough People Have Heard (Of) #11 – An Occasional Series

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Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session (Latent Recordings/RCA, 1988)

The second album by Canadian alt-country pioneers was a revelation. The first album by this family-based group - Michael Timmons (songwriter/guitar), his brother Peter (drums), sister Margo (vocals), and Alan Anton (bass) - Whites Off Earth Now! had been a Canadian-only release. Here in England they were barely a rumour, but the rumours began. John Peel started playing a remarkably laid-back take on the Velvet's Sweet Jane. Not the Loaded version, but the earlier 1969 live version.

These were the days before when the release of something meant it was instantly available worldwide. There were rumours of this album, their version of Sweet Jane creating ripples, and then their rewrite of Blue Moon Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)...

Ah, Margo!!! The cheekbones! The hair! The voice! And then the heartbreaking original Misguided Angel, a song about domestic violence...

The album was largely recorded live in a single day, 27 November 1987, at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. I don't mean live as in performing for an audience, but live as in the band playing around a single calrec ambisonic microphone...

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...with Margo 30 feet away on another Soundfield mic, her vocal coming through the monitor on the right in the band picture...

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The album sleeve proudly boasted that it had not been mixed, edited or overdubbed. Misguided Angel is kind of a Twist And Shout , recorded in single take at the very end of the session.

The opening acappella Mining for Gold was the only song not recorded on the day, instead caught while the Toronto Symphony Orchestra were on a lunch break at Trinity a few days later.

I can drown in this album. It is a remarkably brave recording, and was rightly praised, but still rather a cult album and band.

Twenty years later they re-recorded the album in the same setting and way, but with additional guest stars.

What a devastating collection of originals, covers, traditional songs, soul and spirit...

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"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

1 April 2019
10.17am
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QuarryMan
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Great post, @Ron Nasty . I'll try and check it out. 

I'll do a similar thing for one of my favourite albums from last year, Wide Awake by Parquet Courts. I think @Von Bontee might like this one. It's sort of art-punk and post-punk, with amazing lyrics tackling a lot of social issues in a very eloquent and nuanced way. 

Here's the first track, Total Football. The bass playing on this one is absolutely stunning. 

I couldn't find the studio versions of the other tracks I wanted to demonstrate on YouTube, so here's the live versions. The first is 'Before The Water Gets Too High', which is a pretty chilling song about climate change, the second is "Freebird II", and the other is my personal favourite, which has my favourite lyrics on the whole album.

We’ve come to replace your clock’s old stubborn hands
We are the answer to why they never had a chance
It was not so long ago that the world was mostly slow
The age of iron, steam and speed
Turned a stroll to a stampede

But we’ve come to increase time in between ticks
And there is romance in the slow dances
'Cause they’re fertile in hush, futile in haste
These are your nerves, this is how they taste

Well I can’t count how many times I’ve been outdone by nihilism
Joined the march that splits an open heart into a schism
I cower at the thought of other people’s expectations
And yet still hand over mine to them

Travel where you are, tourism is sin
These are the ruins we left behind, you can’t take pictures of them
If what they say is true, then you become what you chew
If it decays spit it out, affectation is a drought

Nothing reminds the mind of power like the cheap odor of plastic
Leaking fumes we crave, consume, the rush it feels fantastic
But like power turns to mold, like a junkie going cold
I need the fix of a little tenderness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....n5NTBJjmr4

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¡No pasarán!

 

1 April 2019
11.17am
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vonbontee
Inside an Apple Orchard in a Letterbox
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My bud and myself used to play that Cowboy Junkies album on our radio program in college when it was new.

And Wikipedia sez it reached as high as #47 in Billboard and was awarded platinum album status in the USA, which is a shock.

GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

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9 April 2019
6.13pm
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QuarryMan
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I feel compelled to resuscitate this thread in order to heap praises on one of the most underrated bands of all time, the Japanese band Fishmans. In particular I'm talking about their final album, a live album called 98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare . This was their final live performance ever, released before the bassist left and the singer, Shinji Sato, passed away from heart problems.

I consider it to be the best live album I've ever heard, right up there with Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense, Coltrane's Concert in Japan and Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same. It's just one of those live performances where it's so transcendently amazing and uplifting you just get lost in the sound.

It is a rare final album (see also: Abbey Road , Talk Talk's Laughing Stock, Bowie's Blackstar) in that it is basically the culmination of the artist's entire career. The sounds explored across all seven of the band's previous studio albums (dream pop, dub, reggae, rock, post-rock, progressive pop, ambient) are present here, and if you listen to it as the culmination of what they'd done before it's enough to move you to tears.

For the guitar enthusiasts on the forum, this album contains some of the most mindblowingly great playing I've ever heard. It's rarely all that complex, but the tones and textures creating by the guitars on here are just unbelievable. They range from funky and tight to spacey and reverb-y. It also contains an extended version of their album Long Season in its entirety, spanning to 41 minutes long, which is just incomparable. 

Also, on the website Rate Your Music this has an average score of 4.36/5, which is higher than all the album's in RYM's top 10, which have the advantage of having far more ratings and so are correspondingly higher. The reason for this is that in the last couple of years the band has acquired a small but passionate fanbase online, even though the band has been broken up for twenty years and has mostly languished in obscurity till this point.

So yeah, go out and listen to this thing. It really is one of the greatest things I've ever heard. 

Fishmans-98.12.28.jpgImage Enlarger

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10 April 2019
11.09am
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PurplishRain
The Cold Waters of Lake Minnetoka
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One of Prince's most controversial but most interesting album

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"Dinner with Delores Must be some kind of sin
Like a Brontosaurus  She was packin' it in" -Prince

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12 April 2019
1.25pm
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vonbontee
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Never heard of the Fishmans until now, so I thank you for the typically impassioned and informed writeup! I gave a listen to "Long Season" last night and it's remarkable: beautiful and spellbinding and groovy in all that word implies. Music to melt in your ears as you do the dishes (proven by SCIENCE), and that's a compliment.

(Someone's uploaded the entirety of 98-12-28 to vimeo, yay!) apple01

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GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

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12 April 2019
1.57pm
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QuarryMan
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vonbontee said
Never heard of the Fishmans until now, so I thank you for the typically impassioned and informed writeup! I gave a listen to "Long Season" last night and it's remarkable: beautiful and spellbinding and groovy in all that word implies. Music to melt in your ears as you do the dishes (proven by SCIENCE), and that's a compliment.

(Someone's uploaded the entirety of 98-12-28 to vimeo, yay!) apple01

  

So glad to hear you liked it heartThey're still pretty obscure, even if their fanbase is growing, but I've heard there's a documentary on them in the works which should be really interesting. 

¡No pasarán!

 

17 April 2019
12.46pm
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PurplishRain
The Cold Waters of Lake Minnetoka
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I feel like every album I've been showcasing here have been almost exclusively Prince albums. So to break it up a bit. I think that Psychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators is underrated. Although it has seen it's influence more noted. I still feel that it's not as critically acclaimed as it should be

"Dinner with Delores Must be some kind of sin
Like a Brontosaurus  She was packin' it in" -Prince

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17 April 2019
1.48pm
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Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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I think that album gets plenty of love from those who are aware of it? Even if that number is only in the tens of thousands, or however many. 

"You're Gonna Miss Me" is so so great.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

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17 April 2019
3.58pm
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QuarryMan
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13th Floor Elevators were a really cool band with an awesome name.  

As for another underrated album, I'm going to showcase a hip-hop album this time, Digable Planet's Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space).

In the early 90s there were a whole bunch of hip-hop acts who made a much gentler, quirkier form of music than the aggressive gangsta rap that was popular at the time. They basically fused laid back, groovy beats laden with samples from classic jazz recordings with witty, playful and more thoughtful lyricism that instead of being loaded with slurs and threats was more focused on issues that you don't often hear covered in hip-hop music. For example, on A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory (probably the most enduring and acclaimed album of this style), there are songs that tackle date rape and the unfair treatment of artists by the music industry.

Digable Planets are probably the most perfect and talented example of this style, yet for some reason they seem to be mostly forgotten in comparison to A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul other than their two hits (Rebirth of Slick and Where I'm From). In the liner notes for this album, one of the members talks about how they were definitely a band for hipsters by hipsters - they called each other "cats" and name dropped jazz artists from half a century prior, like Max Roach and Mingus. On this album, the beats are mostly made up of jazz samples, but on the follow up, the equally amazing Blowout Comb, they actually used live jazz instrumentation in the studio. The music is really vibrant, upbeat and groovy - I've never been to New York City, but it's exactly what I imagine the streets of that place feel like. The lyrics are just excellent, and they tackle some pretty tough issues, including abortion:

"The fascists are some heavy dudes
They don't really give a damn about life
They just don't want a woman to control her body
Or have the right to choose"

Like, damn. That's about as political they get on here, though - most of the lyrics are a fun and witty description of being young and hip in an exciting city. 

If you are a hip-hop fan, then you will likely love this as to me it brings together every quality about the genre that I like. If you're not a hip-hop fan, then maybe give this a try, particularly if your gripes with the genre are its aggressiveness and often misogynistic attitudes, since this is completely different to what you might find on an NWA album. 

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2 May 2019
12.19pm
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PurplishRain
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I think Prince's Crystal Ball is underrated. It's mostly a 3 disc album full of songs unreleased at the time (Kinda like his own version of the Anthologies in a way) I find my self jamming to songs like Ripopgodazippa and Cloreen Bacon Skin. It also has a 4th disc called The Truth which is mostly acoustic. You get a hint of a more emotional Prince. Especially on the song "Comeback." Which was written for his son that only lived to be 1 week. . .

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"Dinner with Delores Must be some kind of sin
Like a Brontosaurus  She was packin' it in" -Prince

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8 April 2020
5.25pm
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QuarryMan
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Here's an underrated album - it's by Korean band (artist?) Mid Air Thief and is called Crumbling, and it came out in 2018. It's a pretty awesome mixture of folk and psychedelia. 

¡No pasarán!

 

8 April 2020
5.39pm
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Jules
In your wildest dreams
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Great thread to revive. I know some underrated albums but just right now I'm feeling this one needs the top pic:

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My favourite GSH album. The collaboration and inspiration GSH and Brian Jackson had is astonishing. It feels meticulously crafter yet there's some kind of live vibe that is beautiful. And in my opinion one of the best albums of the 70s and it doesn't get nearly enough praise. To be fair, the 70s were packed with loads of quality music, but this album is still in the top 10 for me. H2Ogate Blues is still badass as hell and very entertaining. Also some of his greatest performances: The Bottle, Your Daddy Loves You, Peace Go with You Brother. And the rest are, if not as good, just as fitting. Can't praise this album enough.

Other "underrated" (some of them I've previously mentioned) would be:

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For anyone who enjoys film scores. To me as good as The Good the Bad and the Ugly, just one of those cinematic gems that doesn't get talked about too much and it is sad. Morricone is a genius walking the planet. Maybe I love it because the film is one of my favourites. But I also think the film is one of my favourites for the music, so I don't know, just give it a try in your spear time. It is super corny and melancholic and repetitive but in the right mood it can bring you to tears. It is one of those albums that repeats the same melody but always differently, each one more beautiful than the one before.

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Waaaaaaay ahead of its time. Pseudo-conceptual in 1957, sharp melodies and the title track is weirdly unsettling and interesting. Voice-over with Jazz? on a Mingus record? Now that is stylish. And the opening track is superb.

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Just another great Zappa record. It angers me to see stuff as flat as Freak Out! and We're Only in It for the Money above this gem. For Zappa fans, it's a classic, but as far as everyone else goes, I never hear people talking about it. And tho it has few tracks, every track is astonishingly good. All killer - no filler.

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I've already said stuff about this album. Maybe it's because I discovered it recently but I'm really loving the hell out of it. It could've been a classic, with the proper marketing. Beatlesque but still independent, experimental and ground-breaking even for 1968.

And this one is not overrated per se as it has had a considerable amount of praise (top 20 Rolling Stone albums of the decade) but I personally feel a lot of people over-hate it to compensate (and in my opinion one of the best albums of the past decade still):

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It has two or three tracks near the back end that are not that good but the first 8 tracks and the last 3 are uniquely psychedelic, mind-bending, stimulating. Soul-rap at its finest. As obnoxious as Chance's voice appears to a lot of people, to me it's only more than charming and characteristic. I know no record that sounds even remotely like it. No album gives me the same feeling (except Coloring Book, that I adore as well, but it seems to be more beloved).

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8 April 2020
5.39pm
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sir walter raleigh
In our yellow (IN OUR YELLOW) submarine (SUBMARINE AHA!)
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Nickelback - All The Right Reasons

This album got an unbelievable amount of hate its not so bad. I'm not a major fan of the band or anything but the negative criticisms are a hive mentality in my opinion and people just absolutely trashed this album for no reason.

Mipso - Dark Holler Pop

They are an up and coming folk band. This was their second release but their first major album and it is packed with really great songwriting. No filler at all.

Steely Dan - Everything Must Go

Their final album. Stunning collection of tunes.

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

8 April 2020
5.48pm
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Vera Chuck and Dave
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Black Devil Disco Club - Black Devil Disco Club

Basically, evil Giorgio Moroder.

Super Roots 7 - Boredoms

Most people cite Vision Creation Newsun or Super æ as their best, when it's this.

Congratulations - MGMT

Was hoping this would make it onto more Best of 2010s lists, but turns out no.

Aureate Gloom - of Montreal

Kevin's 4th best album (after Hissing Fauna, Skeletal Lamping, and Cherry Peel), and yet it has a <3.00 rating on RYM.

Multi-Love - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Dunno what to say about this one other than just to listen to it.

Thank Your Lucky Stars - Beach House

No one seems to talk about this one! My favourite, after Teen Dream.

8 April 2020
6.04pm
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QuarryMan
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Good to see some recognition of Chance on the forum, don't think he's been mentioned before. 

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¡No pasarán!

 

8 April 2020
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Vera Chuck and Dave
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Clerefor Sede said
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I've already said stuff about this album. Maybe it's because I discovered it recently but I'm really loving the hell out of it. It could've been a classic, with the proper marketing. Beatlesque but still independent, experimental and ground-breaking even for 1968.

  

Love this album. The drums on "Prelude" >>>

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8 April 2020
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Jules
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QuarryMan said
Good to see some recognition of Chance on the forum, don't think he's been mentioned before. 

OMG YES

I swear I can't express how much I love Acid Rap and Coloring Book. And since The Big Day's been outpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gifpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gifpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gifpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gifpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gifpaul-mccartney-facepalm_gif, I love those mixtapes even more.

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