Ten Bands From the '00s Underground That Should Consider Reuniting
Photo by Marc Brubaker
All right, so they haven't been broken up as long as the bands in April's excellent look at '90s underground bands who should get back together. We still miss 'em. You know how it is: you get to remembering that album you loved from a few years back and think to yourself "Huh, I wonder when The So-and-So's are going to put out some new shit" and then you either remember that they broke up and there will be no more new shit, or worse, you discover the bad news after a cursory Wikipedia search. It's sad when good things go away. That'll never stop being true.
Here are some great bands we associate with the '00s -- even if they didn't get together in exactly that time frame -- who we think should put their differences aside and start making beautiful music again.
Low Vs. Diamond
They came out of nowhere, put out one of the best albums of 2008, debuted a few great new songs live on tour, but then split up before they could produce a follow-up. We read an interview once in which one of them said that their favorite thing was that moment in a song when everything comes together, and sure enough, they were amazing at manufacturing those huge cathartic crescendo moments. Their singer, Lucas Field, just put out a solo album but we're scared to listen to it for fear it won't live up to this stellar group effort. Don't worry, we'll get around to it, it'll just take a little bit of time.
The Cooper Temple Clause
These guys put out three brilliant albums and then called it quits in 2007 after only five years of releasing LPs. Their debut album See This Through & Leave was a punch to the gut of well-crafted, hard-hitting alternative-prog rock that had everybody taking notice. Their final album Make This Your Own was a little all over the place yet still fantastic, but it was their sophomore album, Kick Up the Fires & Let the Flames Break Loose, that really stuck with Rocks Off. It did so for this reason: sonically, thematically, and even lyrically, it's a lot like the missing album in between The Bends and OK Computer that Radiohead never got to record. Which isn't to say that it's derivative because it's not, it certainly has its own sound, but we'd put it about on that level. Yes, it's that good. Listen to it and see what we mean.
This wonderful band -- which you absolutely should not attempt to Google Image Search without the SafeFilter turned on -- were around and influential in Scotland during the late '90s, but the '00s saw them achieving worldwide success with a lacerating sound and an almost defiant Scottish brogue. Their final and greatest album The Last Romance was the one that got us into them, and sure enough, the day we heard it was the day we found out Arab Strap had called it quits. Found out about Cooper Temple Clause the same day, too. Man, that was a shitty day in 2007.
These guys almost went completely under Rocks Off's radar when, on a whim and via recommendation of a guy who worked at the record store, we purchased You Can't Break the Strings In Our Olympic Hearts, their second album. Listening to it on the drive home, we liked it immediately. A classic-garage-rock meets indie-rock mashup, they were all the best parts of Iggy Pop and Interpol combined, and if you don't think those sounds would work well together, we're happy to inform you that they do. We did at least get one more great -- if hard to find -- album out of these guys before they split, but we'd like more, please. It was a lot of fun introducing y'all to our friends on the way home from the bar.
Arrrgh, this one still hurts. 2007 was a year of great albums, and after releasing a trio of excellent EPs, Austin band Voxtrot finally got around to putting out a full-length, and damn, was it ever worth the wait. Their self-titled album was one of the best of the year, and spent most of the summer of 2007 in heavy rotation on Rocks Off's office headphones. Yeah, we had an office job at the time... ugh. Thank God for those headphones. We saw Voxtrot put on a killer live show in Austin and loved their 2009 digital single Trepanation Party. Listen to that huge, fuller sound. It looked like they still had their best stuff ahead of them, but then, in 2010, they abruptly called it quits. Sucked then, and sucks now. What the hell, Voxtrot?
They may have started off with pronounced emo leanings, but Rainer Maria soon grew into something very much worth paying attention to. Their music got edgier and more dissonant, and vocalist Caithlin De Marrais really embraced her ability to belt a song all the way to the back row. They ended up more Throwing Muses than Jimmy Eat World, and just when they were brushing the edge of true greatness, they broke up. You'll notice this is a recurring theme with a lot of bands on this list. Sure, there's something to be said for going out at your peak, but for Christ's sake, Tom Waits is still making amazing music and he's been doing it since 1845. Shoot for longevity, guys.
The Blood Brothers
Since they rose to prominence in the early 2000s, The Blood Brothers were quite unfairly lumped in with the post-hardcore / screamo genre which had achieved widespread popularity at the time. Make no mistake about it, though, they were an entirely original act, with more in common with powerviolence than with emo. Sharp, shrieking dual vocals and buzzsaw guitars that could and would switch tempos on a dime gave The Blood Brothers a unique, intense sound that gained much critical acclaimed but sadly never became much more than an acquired taste with the populace at large. Yeah, they were pretty much 100 percent bugfuck insane, but we liked that about 'em. We feel like maybe they should give it one more shot.
One of our favorite discoveries of the '00s, we had two chances to catch the Constantines live at South-By-Southwest and missed them both times due to calamity and misfortune. So we never got to see them live before they split up, and it RIPS US APART EVERY DAMN DAY. All of their four albums were amazing, but with 2008's Kensington Heights, they finally made their masterpiece. Every single track on it is indispensable, and their 1/3 Fugazi -- 1/3 The Clash -- 1/3 Neil Young sound had reached its most cohesive and textured point. For God's sake, even their b-sides were fantastic -- find "Easy Money" and "Blind Luck" for proof of that. Their breakup was one of those moments that truly gave us pause, making us stop to reflect on the things we'd taken for granted, putting off until another day. Sure, we could see the Constantines next year, it's not such a huge deal. And then one day, there was no next year. You helped us grow up a little, Constantines, but you hurt us. You cut us deep.
These Houston natives did not go far enough. It's as simple as that. They were one of the better live shows around town during their all-too-brief run, teased us with a couple EPs, and then in 2009 blew us away with their tuneful, energetic debut LP Play Along. They released a killer video, seemed poised on the verge of breakthrough success, had us eagerly awaiting their sophomore effort, and then... nothing. We don't know what happened, to this day. The last blog entry on their MySpace page is dated September 2, 2010, and promises "We have been writing new material and rehearsing a different and more dynamic set for our shows. Expect some different and exciting sounds the next time you see us." But we never got to experience those different and exciting sounds. Like every other story on this list, it ends in a damn shame.
Three albums? That's all you had for us, LCD Soundsystem? No. We refuse to accept that. You taught too-cool-for-the-room young hipsters that it was okay to dance, and you taught old, jaded hipsters that it was possible to be old and jaded and still have a little fun. For one brief, shining moment, we actually believed Daft Punk was coming to our house. Bring that feeling back, please. Get back together. Just consider it.
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