Music: 5 Great bands gone too soon

MUSIC

I wrote this ages ago and kinda forgot about it, till now…

It’s a great feeling, discovering an amazing band. If they’re new I can’t wait for their next release, and if they’re established I obsessively explore their back catalogue. Conversely, the discovery that a great band have decided to breakup can be devastating.

Hard as it can be to accept that they won’t be making new music, we’ll always have their parting gift – the music that made us fall in love with them in the first place.

In no particular order, here are a few bands whose recent(ish) breakups left me pretty upset, even though in some cases I wasn’t a huge fan.

The Stills
Montreal, Canada (2000 – 2011)

The Stills 2008

My introduction to this band came in 2004 via Still in love song. The album it appeared on, Logic will break your heart, was a lovely collection of nostalgic love songs; the lyrics were a bit iffy at times but the melodies were moody and interesting. Their 2008 follow-up Oceans Will Rise was disappointing, apart from Snakecharming the masses which is easily my favourite track of theirs.

Even though I was neither a huge fan nor overly familiar with their music, they struck me as being pretty solid, and the songs of theirs that I liked, I liked very much.

Thank you for:

Snakecharming the masses
Fevered
Gender Bombs

Best album: Logic Will Break Your Heart

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Pela
New York, USA (2004–2009)


With just one full-length album and one EP, Pela didn’t release a lot of material. I first heard them when a friend included Lost to the Lonesome on a mix CD in 2007. Not their best track, but it got me to investigate further…

I dunno why but I think of them as an evening band, their songs just have a dusky quality about them. There’s a cool laid-back sound on tracks like Venom and The trouble with River Cities and a more accessible rock sound on tracks like Waiting on the stairs and the aforementioned Lost to the Lonesome, personally I prefer the slower, more brooding tracks.

Thank you for:

Venom
Drop me off
Waiting on the Stairs

Best album: Anytown Graffiti

The next best thing:  Vocalist Billy McCarthy and bassist Eric Sanderson now play in We are Augustines, and they sound very similar to Pela, which is great. I love Chapel Song.

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The Cinematics
Glasgow, Scotland (2003 – 2011)

The CinematicsI discovered these guys in 2006 via what was my favourite method for quite a while – MTV’s daily half hour show New. The first song I heard was Break and it remains one of my favourite post-punk/indie tracks, and that says something given that most of my favourite songs fall into those genres.

A Strange Education (2006) and Love and Terror (2009) were solid albums with some great tracks, and the band’s final release, the Silent Scream EP in 2010 delivered Love Rattle and Cinema which became instant personal favourites.

Thank you for:

Break
Love Rattle

Love and Terror

Best album: Love and Terror

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De Rosa
Lanarkshire, Scotland (2001 – 2009)

Unlike the bands I’ve mentioned so far, I really was a huge fan of these guys. My connection with them is also personal – late one night in 2006, I saw their video for Camera on MTV. I’d never heard of them before or since until something possessed me to look them up online in 2008. I discovered that their sound was generally more folky than the fast-paced Camera and was instantly hooked by New Lanark and The Sea Cup, the first of their free monthly-released ‘Appendices’ that I heard.

I downloaded the 4 other Appendices and checked back each month for the subsequent ones. When I heard #8, Robin Song, I was instantly in love and dead keen on making a video for it. I contacted vocalist Martin Henry via last.fm, told him my story and a short while later the video was done.

They approached me soon after and I did another video, this time for Nocturne for an Absentee, the first single off 2009’s Prevention. A few short months later they announced their breakup seemingly out of the blue. I was really upset, especially given that they’d just released an album, and a damn fine one at that.

Thank you for:

A Love Economy
In Code
Robin Song

Best album: Ironically, while I love both Mend and Prevention, I have to say their unreleased Appendices is their best work.

The next best thing: A few months ago, De Rosa announced they’d reformed and were going to start making music together again! Hooray! Martin Henry also released a solo album last year and it’s quite lovely.

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Tiger Lou
Nyköping, Sweden (2001 – 2009)

Tiger LouOn stage, Tiger Lou was a band, in the studio it was the solo project of Rasmus Kellerman (second from the left). I discovered Tiger Lou via last.fm (which eclipsed MTV as my preferred method of discovery a while back) in 2008 – The Loyal instantly became my favourite Tiger Lou track and one of my all-time favourite videos and albums.

I adore Tiger Lou, the mood, the melodies, the vocals and lyrics – the whole package. 2008’s A Partial Print was darker and less accessible than previous albums but grew on me a lot. Recently I’ve been listening to the second ever Tiger Lou release, the 2003 EP Trouble and Desire and have found a new contender for all-time favourite in When I was a kid.

I love Scandinavian music, especially when it’s tinged with darkness like Tiger Lou. Beautiful stuff I return to again and again.

Thank you for:

The Loyal
When I was a kid
Until I’m there

Best album: The Loyal

The next best thing:  Rasmus Kellerman has continued making music under his own name and collaborates with his wife Andrea (Firefox AK) every now and then. He also released an experimental/electronic album under the name Araki in 2004.

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