More often than not, a band’s most honest, exciting, and interesting release is completely underrated and lost. Only after loving a group for years may you discover what becomes your favorite record. Here’s a collection of a few dug-up, underrated LP’s I love to share.
The Black Keys – The Big Come Up
Before the international tours, before the rock star fame, and before expensive studio spaces with world class producers, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney were two dudes playing blues rock in a basement in Akron, Ohio. The first LP released by the duo contains lo-fi production value, blues riff after blues riff, growling vocals, and Zeppelin-esque swagger. Pairing with the sub-par recording quality, the Black Key’s songs on the record are as grungy and energetic to match.
Standout Tracks: Heavy Soul, The Breaks
Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire – Thrills
Fans of Andrew Bird recognize him for his violin-led indie-folk-rock-pop masterpieces. Bird’s virtuosity seems endless as his musical ability is vast and intelligent. It only made sense to me that the first records I could find under his name were so jazzy and freeform in nature. On 1998’s Thrills, Andrew Bird leads a dynamic jazz 6-piece with so much energy I feel I might fall out of my chair song after song. Bird’s vocals shine with character and youth, and his songwriting is fit to match. Thrills features shifting tempos, blaring instrumental jazz solos and breaks as well as melancholy americana folk ballads
Standout Tracks: Minor Stab, Glass Figurine, Some of These Days, Pathetique
Paul McCartney – Ram
This McCartney album – my all-time favorite McCartney album – is so underrated that Paul himself doesn’t hold it in particularly high regards. The album was one of Macca’s first after the disbanding of the Beatles. The production is full, organic-sounding, and effortlessly melodious. Mirroring the album cover, I picture Paul and his wife Linda holed up in a home in the “Heart of the Country”, namely Northern UK, recording track after track of this layered LP in screaming delight. “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” particularly showcases the depth that Ram reaches, with more musical motifs than can be counted rolled into a single song.
Standout Tracks: Ram On, Dear Boy, Heart of the Country