Friday, September 19, 2008

Bands that never let you down

This was alluded to in the "Worst Albums" thread.

Are there any bands/artists that you like that which you can always rely on to release albums you like or have never left you feeling disappointed by what you have bought?

I can only think of one;

King Crimson - I like everything they do, yes, I have favourites but I don't own anything by them that I actively dislike.

17 comments:

DarceysDad said...

So far, Carole, neither Elbow nor Sigur Ros have put out an album that made me go 'meh'.

I'm on shakier ground with Drive-By Truckers, because A Blessing And A Curse was ... not quite bad enough to say patchy, but certainly not to their usual standard.

. . .

Actually, that's it for immediate thoughts; I'll have to think about it this evening.

Chris said...

Pavement, I think. Whilst not every track is a good 'un, I can still play all the albums quite happily. Stephen Malkmus is a unique talent, IMO.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

I guess you have to own every album by a band to really be able to judge them - that one early album missing from your collection might just turn out to be truly awful.

I've got *almost* all of Porcupine Tree's albums, and have yet to hear a dud - although I know a lot of people who have been turned off by their more recent metal-orientated stuff.

treefrogdemon said...

The Gourds...I have all their albums and love them all. They have a download site where they sell concert recordings...there are dozens, and I'd buy them too if I could afford them.

Shoey said...

Finds for Elbow & Sigur Ros

The Smiths, although Morissey on his own has plenty of clankers, Magazine, Low, The "real" Bunnymen, Yello, Gang of Four, Tindersticks (Can Our Love wasn't as great as the others, but not terrible), Mark Stewart, Nina Nastasia, The Doors, Mountain Goats, Joy Division (3 if you count Still), Wire (close call) Gallon Drunk, Lambchop (another close call) Tackhead, Gary Clail, The Birthday Party, Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Mogwai, The Sundays, The Skids, Little Axe, Ballboy, Sinead (or was that covers album bad? Don't think so), Broken Family Band (If early mini-album waived), The Black Keys.

Will trawl for more later. Self-imposing a 3 album minimum.

shoey said...

That was donds, but Steve Jobs took issue with my spelling.

Shoey said...

Trawl of shoePhone reveals: Edwyn Collins, Explosions in the Sky, 23 Skidoo, Wolfgang Press, Thee More Shallows.

Abahachi said...

Well, as I said when this first came up, Kate Bush and Kraftwerk definitely, and I think I'm with Shoey on Portishead as well.

bethnoir said...

Mm, I'll agree with the Birthday Party and Tindersticks and add PJ Harvey and The Fields of the Nephilim (as long as we don't include albums the record company released without their blessing).

This is a tough one, as artists I like with long careers have generally produced at least one stinker, especially if live albums and included. Would be lying to myself if I suggested the Cure, Bowie or Siouxsie....tricky.

ToffeeBoy said...

Sorry to be so dull and predictable but I'd have to say Jonathan Richman and Prefab Sprout - neither have ever let me down and that's well over 30 years' worth of material from Jojo...

May1366 said...

Hard to leave out the likes of Curtis Mayfield or Stevie Wonder but each suffers from longevity and for having been so magnificent, prolific, consistent and ahead of the zeitgeist during the only period for a soul musician when conditions were conducive to being an album artist, with creative control and commercial stability. Outside of that roughly ten year period prior to disco, more compromises equals some lowlights.

I suppose the names I'd pick out have artistic voices so distinctive, restless and (to my ears) appealing, that they're worth hearing in any setting and they never just go through the motions. I have to allow, especially with jazz, for non-essential live albums, odd couple collaborations and other releases essentially put out by accountants, but I can vouch for every album I've heard or own by (as main artists):
Gil Scott-Heron
Roland Kirk
David Murray (including, Chris7572 and others, a 1996 album of Grateful Dead covers by his jazz octet)
I'd like to add Billie Holiday because I've never heard her do an injustice to any song, but it's pushing it to bring her into an albums discussion.

ejaydee said...

Cymande.

CaroleBristol said...

Yeah, the Cocteau Twins are a good call, I have five of theirs and I like them all.

I suspect I'd like the others but I don't feel the need to own any more.

I like all my Siouxsie albums too (I have pretty much everything she's done), so I could say that she's never let me down, but that is because I have deliberately never bought the first two albums, which I don't much like, so by my own rules I'd be cheating.

Joy Division, well yes, I suppose so, but I don't think that there is much to dislike because they didn't exist long enough to turn out a stinker. Having said that, I an not overly enamoured of their early, post Warsaw punky stuff.

I's like to say that Little Feat have never let me down too, but I'd have to qualify that by saying "Little Feat while Lowell George was still alive".

Abahachi said...

I agree with may1366 (or can we call you Percy?) that the overwhelming productivity of any jazz artist with a substantial career tends to put them at a disadvantage compared with rock artists who are being judged on just, say, four or eight albums. There are good economic reasons for this, but I suspect it means that we - or I - will be less disappointed if a new album isn't completely brilliant but is satisfying.

It also means that, for those of us without infinite resources, it's very difficult to say that any artist never made a duff record but only that we haven't come across it yet. In that spirit I'd nominate Charles Mingus, none of whose records has yet disappointed me (even if The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is challenging and not for everyday listening) - while being very aware that I haven't got round to listening to any of his late stuff, e.g. the album with electric guitars when his health was starting to fail.

nilpferd said...

The only musician I can think of with a large, blemish-free, own-name output, both live and studio, would be pianist Bill Evans.

bethnoir said...

Okay, I'll agree Carole, Siouxsie could count. I only didn't like the Rapture or Superstition very much, the opposite end of their career to you let me down slightly. Still as I haven't listened to the latter for ten years, perhaps I should give it another go.

Japanther said...

Mogwai - every one a peach, just bought the new album, which is on the turntable as I type this, sounds up to the usual high standard so far.