5 best underrated or unknown bands and why?

My list: 1 Residents (for their attitude in commercial world) 2 Plastic people of the universe (jailed many times for playing Fug's,Velvet U. and difficult music) 3 Palinckx (avantgard followers of Zappa) 4 Idiot Flesh (very unique and theatrical music) 5 Uz jsme doma (playing beautifull energetic and complex music)
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Pousette Dart Band ----- I don't know why they they din't ever catch on .......
gomez~ haven't caught on, YET
Asylum Street Spankers--they are fabulous!
I agree with Dogeatpuppy. Gomez is a great band and as a bonus, the recordings are far superior to other rock bands.
My favorite disk is Bring it On.

A great mix of moody electric guitar, piano and a few other instruments that is classified as country but that surprises most people, as their sound is more like Cowboy Junkies with a male vocal but more involving as far as I am concerned.

I have played their CD called: Is A Woman for 3 friends and 2 of them bought the next day and enjoy it.
Yes PhilJolet i would have to agree with you on Lambchop. I picked it up last week (Is a Woman)and wondered why none of the audio magazine guys have raved about it yet. Super Good. I'll have to check out their older stuff now.

JO JO ZEP & the FALCONS. Great band from Australia. Lead singer plays sax and is a real good singer. Some of their songs have a reggae lilt and I like to cook in the back yard while their stuff cooks on my turntable. I don't know if they are still together.
I have a few of their other CDs, I forget the names but they were recommended by All Music Guide as their best and they do not have the flavor of Is A Woman. They are distinctly more alternative sounding (which is usually fine with me) and I find myself not listening to them as much as Is A Woman.

Another good group is called: Ida.

Their CD called Will You Find Me? is a very nice mix of vocals harmonizing with acoustic guitar and organs and an eclectic mix of wind instruments. This album is very tastful and again, like Lambchop, I prefer this to the others that All Music Guide rates as their better albums.
Tim Mahoney, a Midwest regional band based out of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN). He has a website. They do covers and original music.

Exit, a Midwest regional band based out of Waukesha, WI. They too have a Website (www.exitmusic.com). Covers and original music.
Don't know 5 but have 10.

1. Can
2. Residents
3. Cul De Sac
4. Nina Hagen Band
5. Curlew
6. Lounge Lizards
7. Material
8. Praxis
9. Pere Ubu
mhirtandir. maybe one of the best american rock synphonic band
Again we fall into problems with definitions and depends how knowledgable you are about music.
Lambchop are widely known and touted in the press all the time,turning up constantly in the end of year lists.
They probably make a good to decent living out of music too.
Gomez there was a big buzz about in the UK on their debut release.
Can are one of the most touted avant-garde bands of all time and had a hit single!
The Residents too are in a similar bracket.
Gene - Artistic guitar rock. All great albums. You should start with the first one.
Underground bands are only underground to those that stay within the mainstream of commercial music. Those that like to stray off the beaten path are more likely to be familiar with "out of the ordinary" bands that really are "underground" to the mass majority of music listeners. Then again, being both "music lovers" and "audiophiles", i would hope that those frequenting this site might be slightly more familiar with a wide variety of music and lesser known bands / musical projects. After all, we buy the gear to listen to music, so we obviously should be actively seeking out new and different music to listen to, right ???

Having said that, the first "band" that popped into my head was Foetus", as in a child in the womb. This "band" is really Jim Thirwell playing all of the instruments and changes its' name on a regular basis. He has released albums under the band names of "Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel", "Philip & his Foetus Vibrations", "Foetus Uber Frisco", "Foetus Art Terrorism", etc... As the name implies, Thirwell is into tortured, abrasive, industrial grade art and his music reflects those twisted ideas. While those that are into such things may already be familiar with him, others may recognize the name of his girlfriend ( don't know if they are still together since the last time that i talked to them ), who was better known as Lydia Lunch.

The second band that came to mind is a band known as Skyclad. Their records ( 10+ ) are VERY hard to find in the USA but can be ordered directly. After "The Flying Dutchman" turned me onto who was in this band after a post i made over at AA, i was lucky enough to stumble across a used copy of "Irrational Anthems". I have since been able to dig up several of their discs and enjoy them all. This band is a highly opinionated bunch that plays a rather unique blend of highly Celtic influenced music with their own version of "metal" ( for lack of a better term ) thrown on top of that. One of the things that sets them apart from most "metal" bands is the fact that they have a member that is female AND she plays the violin on a regular basis. They also have lyrics that are mostly story based that actually try to get a point across. The original singer / songwriter ( Martin Walkier, previously of "Sabbat" ) has recently left the band, but the band is supposedly pressing onwards.

Another band that offers a "twist" to the hard rock / metal theme is Nightwish. While i only have one disc from them, which is entitled "Wishmaster", it is good enough to make mention of here for several reasons. First of all, the band can all play VERY well and have an excellent sense of timing and structure and play what i would term "progressive metal". While this in itself sets them apart from the majority of "metal" bands out there, the major difference is in the fact that they use a female vocalist that has a beautiful voice and sings in a near "Operatic" style and the songs are presented as stories. The recording is very "sharp" sounding and may come across as a little too "digital" at some points if you've got a bright or analytical sounding system, but it does offer a great amount of impact on some tunes.

There's three for ya : ) Sean
Do you have any of older publications about Can or at least do you know how to get them? I'm not realy interested in Spoon records information rather than leaning towards collecting not only records but other notes and posters of my favourite band of all times. English is prefered but German is OK as well.
Sorry I don't, I like Can a lot based on what I've heard but I haven't really done on any great research on them.
I would imagine Ebay in Germany or somewhere on the web would have the original stuff you are looking for....
I may check out some things later when I get time.
David Sylvian has a new CD out by the way..only available mailorder-I'm awaiting mine-it comes from the States...
Hey, I can do a shameless plug for a friend of mine who's making some excellent music, right? If you're into amazing, often sublime lyrics with a very talented, folkey guitar back, this is the best stuff going, in my experience. Danny Schmidt Also a huge fan of an Argentine fellow by the name of Daniel Melingo. A celebrated tangoista who is known for stripping the veneer of respectability off and "putting the whorehouse back in the tango." First effort is Tangos Bajos -- well know in Argentina, but I've yet to find it here in the States. If Tom Waits were Argentine, into the tango, a little more sodden and a whole lot darker, he'd sound just like this. Finally, although it's definitely a little more widely known, check out the Orishas album, A lo Cubano (and that you can find on Amazon). Cuban rap blended with very traditional Cuban jazz, even with some of the folks from Buena Vista Social Club on a few tracks. Likely one of the most successful fusions I've heard, a really different and exciting sound, and a very solid and deep album to boot. I know lots of folks around these parts are quick to turn their noses up at anything that smacks of rap, but this is one that might begin to broaden horizons--a lot of good stuff going on.
Flim Flam Man...Mpls' best post-punk band...new Cd "Try to sell this"...
Sean and Ben Cambell thank you for your inputs,I like your choice for Foetus and his other projects like Steroid Maximus.I have few more like Death in June,Curent 93,Spk from Australia,Art Zoyd and Magma from France.For me I incline to like Artists who don't care how many records will sell,who don't go with trends and are not played on radio,those are my heroes not Top 10 artists!!!(I am not saying they don't deserve it).So now you guys undertand what I meant?Thanks
Eddie From Ohio -- (great vocals, lyrics, instrumentals and stage presence)

Tower of Power -- (best funk horn band on the planet)

Liquid Soul -- (great mix of jazz, R7B, hip-hop and funk)

Michael Tomlinson -- (best folk artist I have ever hear with an incredibly smooth, distinctive and expressive voice)

Mae Moore -- Michael Tomlinson' female equivalent
Hey Mike,
Gotta agree w/ the Uz Jsme Doma pick. The 1st couple of times I caught them live I thought I was gonna forget how to breathe...totally astounding stuff. The 3rd time (Ears tour) was a dud. I heard the same assessment from a couple of other Doma freaks who went to different shows. I really hope they can rebound.
Here are a few other interesting and mathematically twisted bands that can hog up and hold hostage lots of valuable cranial contents:

Miriodor, depraved, often sombre, rock influenced instrumental carnival music. These guys are playing at the Nearfest pre show on 6/27,(if your're there, introduce yourself ,I'll be the tall ugly bald guy in the 2nd row).

Lucas Niggli's Zoom, Trombone/Guitar/Drums trio, completely makes moot any line between improvisation and composition. The spiraling trombone flatulations, smearing guitar swells and amazingly inventive drumming all print in the head like the most carefully rehearsed and composed compositions.

Massacre (w/ Fred Frith) All 3 of their discs are HUGE! Every guy in the band is a #&*%!! musical genius who is constantly crunching tonal and percussive possibilities. When they put out a record there's a helluva' lot of cool previously unavailable angular poop to soak up. Sometimes you may get your head blown off and have to screw it back on before you can learn how to listen, but it's a small price to pay.

Loch Ness, Mexican instrumental guitar/bass/drums trio, you might end up w/ something like this if you stuck King Crimson (Red era) in a room and made them listen to early Black Sabbath non stop for a week and then got them to record a spaghetti western soundtrack. Has a great primitve underground feel alot like High Fidelity Orch. (also from Mexico)

Fermata, Start w/ the 1st two (available on one disc) This band was on fire! it's really obvious that new discoveries were popping up for them all the time. It's not a stretch to say this band was the Chech equivalent of the Mahavishnu Orch. (Inner Mounting Flame or Birds of Fire days). You'll hear guitar, bass and keyboard sounds from Fermata that aren't on any Mahavishnu records, so if you dig the best Mahavishnu stuff and you haven't heard this, you're really in for a treat.

X-Legged Sally, Slow Up disc is a good one to start with. Sound like a bunch of Zappa-fied Dolphy headed Bartok-ers. The Zappa element is pretty much from the Grand Wazoo/WakaJawaka period. Real groovy bass clarinet work and meticulously precise choppy passages are especially prevalent on Slow Up and Land of the Giant Dwarfs.

Okay, that was six, sorry.

Here are 5 more excellent brain fryers that ya' shouldn't ought to overlook:
Blast (Sringy Rugs is my fave)
Trettioariga Kriget (1st)
A Noise Fragment (live ep)
Thanks duanegoosen,I know Fermata from long time ago,I used to own one record from them back home in Czech but I was not in jazzrock at that time I was just stupid little teenager.I am definately gonna check out your ideas they seem very promising.Do you like Ruins from Japan?Mike
I love Ruins, they can be a tough listen at first (It sometimes seems like they're throwing away way too many good ideas per second). A few months after becoming acclimated, I got lucky and they came to the west coast. I had very high expectations before the show. They whomped the tar out of my most optomistic hopes of what they could pull off. Ruins are pretty much on a level by themselves as a live unit. Glad you mentioned Ruins, they definitely belong in yer' thread.
Ironically, before I even read the responses, both Can and the Residents immediately came to mind. I'd have to add Olivia Tremor Control (Athens/Elephant 6), the Features (www.thefeatures.com), and countless others.

As far as Lambchop goes, if you like Is A Woman, you'll love Nixon. Its considered their best record. And unfortunately, most of the members of Lambchop still have to work jobs on the side when they are not on tour. They are friends of mine and if you'd like to know more about them, you can email me.
Backtoanalog-yes but the only reason some of the members of Lambchop have to work jobs on the side is because there's so many of them!
There must be about 15 in that live band!
they're and excellent eclectic mix of homegrown fun with great musicianship, instrument choice with some controlled soulful sloppines thrown in. their first, "dem's good beeble," has some serious gems hidden in the rough. i'd also have to champion:

calexico-the black light and spoke.....mulitinstrumental mexicalispacesurf and

ben arnold's '95 release: almost speechless...pop, but on the beam!

last entry neutral milk hotel-the aeroplane over the sea... twistedtroubador

enjoy to music! bud
oops-the first paragrph is supposed to describe THE GOURDS!
Have to agree with Garebear about the Pousette Dart Band. Fantastic and underappreciated group.

One that has not been mentioned, and that I'm listening to now, is Martin Stephenson. "Boat to Bolivia" is one of the greatest neurotic folk/rock albums of all time.
Cpdunn99, did Chris Barry play Martin Stephen (and the Dainties, I believe) for you? Just wondering as I remember that record from a long time ago and will have to find it again as it is a good listen for sure.

I recommend: The Bad Plus, (I may have spelled Plus wrong) but this is one jamming jazz trio with piano, bass and drums that is very dynamic with lots of talent and a little alternative. This group is hard to describe but if it sounds like maybe your cup of tea you should give it a listen as my description is not doing it justice I promise.

BTW the Bad Plus may not meet with Ben Campbell's criteria of an obscure group, but I am not very familiar with the critics and/or publics opinion, just my own (and they seemed obscure to me), and feel these groups are worth a mention.
phil, yes he did! And I went right to eBay and bought a couple of LPs!
Philjoilet you got me with Bad Plus........
Here are my favorite record companies, I'm sure you can find
many unknown bands within their sites:
http://www.projekt.com/ (my favorites: Mira, Lycia)
http://www.cleorecs.com/ (Hevanly Voices; Switchblade Symphony; Tributes to the Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Pink Floyd.
http://www.jenniferhope.com/ (beautiful voice from some above compilation cds)
Michael Hashim, while not new or really "unknown", I feel should be heard and appreciated by more people. He's a tenor, alto jazz sax player and has a few discs out. I especially enjoy "A Blue Streak" which has some pretty good B-3 organ played by Mike LeDonne. Hashim is fine player and at times on alto reminds me of Joe Farrell at Farrell's best. Cheers, Lee
How 'bout Cul De Sac?
I heard them the first time with Damo Suzuki(of Can) and was impressed of them not less than known to me Damo Suzuki.
I immediately ordered their albums and am always full of joy listening.
The Alex Harvey Band... nuff said.
I am also not sure If Ben will put if the cuffs on me, but be on the lookout for Dallas' own, Polyphonic Spree. Their Christmas party was one of the best shows I've seen, and their popularity is rising quickly.
Can't think of 5 at the moment, but one stands in my mind -

XTC. While it can be argued that they may not be the most gifted musicians, their body of work as a whole will stand up to any in the history of popular music on the basis of lyricism and wonderful arrangements. For those that truly take the time to sit, listen and read the lyrics, the rewards will be many. This band's songwriting is nothing short of astonishing.

I have the cuffs ready Ohlala and I think you just about deserve them,perhaps too new to be underrated and they are getting quite a bit of press,of course you are not alone both Alex Harvey and XTC were/are widely acclaimed and both had hit singles!
Jings I used to moan about the voting system here and now I'm pulling peoples threads apart.....I must say though several threads are being misunderstood to an extent verging on the farcical-not this one in particular...
Brian Lee & the Jump Street Five

Bryan Lee completely lost his eyesight by the age of eight. His avid interest in early rock and blues was fostered through the ‘50s by late night listening sessions via the Nashville-based radio station WLAC AM, where he first encountered the sounds of Elmore James, Albert King and Albert Collins. By his late teens, Bryan was playing rhythm guitar in a regional band called The Glaciers that covered Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry material. Through the ’60s, Bryan’s interest turned to Chicago blues and he soon found himself immersed on that scene, opening for some of his boyhood heroes.

In January of 1982, in the midst of a particularly cold Wisconsin winter, Lee headed south to New Orleans, eventually landing a steady gig at the Old Absinthe House in the heart of the French Quarter. For the next 14 years, Lee and his Jump Street Five played five nights a week at that popular bar, developing a huge following and a solid reputation.

Check out his work at www.justin-time.com.
Well, Mr. Campbell, I understand where you're coming from, but while XTC may have gotten some critical acclaim, they are not widely accepted, acknowledged, or even recognized by most. Still underrated IMHO, as the thread title asks - not only unkown.

These really are just opinions in a thread that's for fun. No big deal.
Stan Ridgway--One of the finest songwriters of the day.
I'll second Stan the man. And one of the best storytellers...

Very musical, very artistic, listen and you will know