What Are the Most Underrated Bands in History?

What happens to the songs that have too much depth to become the viral sensation of the week? Where do these geniuses go for acceptance or solace?

July 23, 2019
Categories: 

Torn from the frayed pages of Lin's Bin (director's cut)

Andy from Bolingbrook asks,

Who do you think are the most underrated bands in rock and roll history?

What becomes of the underrated? The music makers whose talent is no measure for the vagaries of pop music. What happens to the songs that have too much depth to become the viral sensation of the week? Where do these geniuses go for acceptance or solace?

The unsung singers.

The doomed singer-songwriters, the living and the dead.

The singer who can instill a rush of feeling with the simplest presentation.

The virtuoso guitarists lost to time.

The luckless musicians who played to empty rooms, struggled with the demons of depression and gave up.

We paint our pictures of the underrated with broad strokes. I’ve heard The Kinks are underrated.

They may not have achieved the same status as The Beatles or the Stones, but plenty of people believe The Kinks are among the immortals.

They have had hit singles.

They have received the abiding love of music nerds and music critics. And one of their guitar solos was responsible for convincing critic Lester Bangs that he like rock and roll after all.

Who are the most underrated bands in rock and roll history?

In the early 70’s Little Feat had a powerful presence on stage. Their music bounced to a crescent city vibe. They featured an ensemble of soloists who played together seamlessly and a lead singer named Lowell George whose breathless vocals left you trying to catch your breath.

So many underrated bands. So little time.

Two of the most underrated bands in history stick out.

One of them emerged in the late 70’s with angular songs that challenged our notion of what a pop song could be. They sang about dull jobs with dull futures.

They sang about personal data collection long before it was fashionable.

They offered prayers

Too cerebral to be punk. Too unique to be part of the wave, XTC found their destiny derailed by a lead singer who could not climb on a stage without getting sick. Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding strove to showcase their creativity in the record studio.

This underrated band greeted us in 1998 with an electronic drone that gave us no indication of the wild stylistic variety that would be the calling card of a band so underrated that when you google their name you get Selena Gomez.

Bring it On, the first album from the band Gomez won the Mercury Prize for the best album of that released by an artist from the U.K. and still they are underrated. Why? Because they are the most accessible of any quirky and original band I’ve ever heard. Because the textures and colors of their music have more panels than an antique quilt. Because they have 3 exceptional guitarists and lead singers with three distinct voices. Because Ben Ottewell’s vocals sound like he just emerged from a barroom fight. Because Gomez.

And when Ben, Thom and Ian sing together, their harmonies are sweeter than dribbled honey.

When we call a band underrated, we are talking about something we feel is important. We are saying that this is music that needs a preacher We are offering a musical invitation to change a life with the music that changes ours.

This is Lin’s Bin. (to air on 93XRT at 7:15am and 6:15pm on Monday, July 22, 2019)

The most underrated from Chicago:

Poi Dog Pondering, Robbie Fulks, Califone, Toronzo Cannon, Twin Peaks, Michael McDermott, The Ike Reilly Assasination, Eleventh Dream Day, James Elkington, Split Single, The Shoes, Material Issue, Freddy Jones Band, Umphreys McGee, and the list goes on.