most underrated bands

felt like we needed the other side of the coin.

with all the mentions of wilco on the “most overrated” post, i’d have to add another former uncle tupelo member to this one; jay farrar.

wilco is good, but farrar and son volt are absolutely amazing. “trace” and “straightaways” are classics, just heartbreakingly beautiful rock. not the overblown, overwrought, maudlin-ass crap that’s popular these days, but the kind of music rock was SUPPOSED to be. i think the country leanings kind of turn people off, but if you take time to really absorb the music, you’ll understand.

the afghan whigs (sadly now defunct) are/were also tragically underrated. they were always the critical darlings, but never got much radio play. it’s weird, too, because they seemed pretty accessible to me. greg dulli is a master of shaping guilt into art. at their best, the whigs made you feel dirty, depraved, but strangely proud of it. get “black love” and “gentlemen.” hell, get all their shit, you won’t be disappointed. as a side note, these guys did the best covers. i usually hate covers, especially as lead-off singles. it’s just a lazy practice. but the whigs changed the music so much, and injected so much sleaziness into the songs, they were basically unrecognizable. check out their cover of tlc’s “creep.”

Hear are some bands I think get a bum rap from most folks:

The Strokes
The Vines
The White Stripes
The Hives
The Neptunes/NERD
And by extensions, Justin Timberlake’s new album.

H.P. Lovcraft


‘Cream’, definetly. Clapton was at his best in this era.

Marry Me Jane
Possum Dixon
Mighty Joe Plum

And, to some extent, Guster.

CCR and Devo

Siouxsie & The Banshees
The Cardigans


The Bolshoi.

(Not the ballet.)

Pete Yorn - He’s only had one album, “musicforthemorningafter,” but its an incredible masterpiece.

Freedy Johnston - he creates some of the most complex characters in his songs.

D Generation

PJ Harvey

King’s X

<b>Soundtrack Of Our lives</b>, although they seem to be catching on a bit.

<b>Monster</b>, The Clasish and brilliant…

<b>Ten Years After</b>, you try and sit still when they go at it.

VNV Nation - just can’t live without 'em.

Wow. In the 70s, Cream would have been called one of the most overrated. After they broke up there were a large number of second-rate live albums and repackagings, and their reputation fell like a rock. That may be why they seem to be underrated today.

Though I would say that, listening to Disraeli Gears, it’s obvious that Jack Bruce’s contribution is sorely overlooked.

For groups of the era, I’d say, Traffic is vastly underrated. Never had a US hit (“Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” gets airplay nowadays, but it wasn’t a hit because of its length), but put out one fine album after another.

I’d also add:

Flash and the Pan
The Siegel-Schwall Band
Lyle Lovett

I think its a pity that the Tragically Hip never made it really big in the world other than Canada. While not the best band evah, they are pretty damn good.

I think Big Sugar has a really good cross section of sound and underated too.

Don’t know how to define underrated exactly, but as for bands that didn’t get the commercial success they deserved or live today in semi-obscurity, I think the following may fit the bill, though they are rated fairly highly in the critical world:

Big Star
The Zombies
The Soft Boys
The Magnetic Fields
Thin White Rope

On the other hand, I could see the argument that these bands were never underrated. Maybe “under-heard” would be a better way to caregorize these guys.

PJ Harvey
Boards of Canada (although if Carmen Electra suddenly name-dropped them, or Brooke Burke for that matter, I would be forced to disembowel myself)
Thievery Corporation
The Sundays

I agree with The Hip and Big Sugar. I would like to addd The Philosopher Kings to that list…

Non Canadian artists, I would have to say Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” was one of the greatest albums put out ever. It’s a shame he died…

Big Sugar yes but after being in Winnipeg for all my life I am sick of the Hip. Great band but around here every hoser treats them like they wrote the national anthem. Fully Completely yes, everything else…hmmm 50-50

Bands and artists in Canada that other people really should know about and perhaps look up…

The Tragically Hip, Wide Mouth Mason, Colin James (with or without the Little Big Band), and Jeff Healy… who IMHO is the one of the greatest blues guitarists ever.


Ry Cooder - Another phenomenal guitar player. Take a listen to “Get Rythym”.

Lyle Lovett - R&B, Country, Blues, Rock … and a lyrical genius to boot.