In the course of music history, some bands get that extra push by pop culture and become uber-iconic, while others, though just as deserving, go largely unnoticed except by those who choose to dig even deeper. For every Elvis Presley, there is a seedier Carl Perkins off to the side. David Bowie gets the glory for being the ultimate glam-rocker, while only a niche group bows to Marc Bolan and T.Rex. The Sex Pistols may get all the punk cred, but the Dead Boys were just as lethal, and don't get us started on how Texas groover Doug Sahm still doesn't get his due. Some of these bands you may already know, because you feverishly read Rocks Off every hour and that makes you generally cool as shit. You should all see the looks on He Said's face whenever he meets someone who doesn't know who the MC5 was. We were once told that it was like watching someone get punched in the nuts, but in the brain. Most of these artists' output is available online, so you have no excuse to not partake in the magic. Or come by the office sometime and He Said will make you a mixtape.Klaus Nomi
Klaus Nomi is the man who gave David Bowie his second creepy theatrical wind, while turning avant-garde music on its pretty little trust-funded head. Check out the documentaryThe Nomi Song
on YouTube sometime to fully immerse yourself in his oddly beautiful world.The MC5
People always talk about the Stooges and Velvet Underground as proto-punk, but the MC5 encapsulated everything that would come after them. Vitriol, wild hair, and black leather never looked so inviting. They could have burned Detroit if they wanted to. We defy you to sit still during any spinning of "Kick Out the Jams," motherfucker.Sparks
The brothers Mael have been crafting odd pop ditties for the past five decades and over 23 albums, through glam-rock, New Wave and cheesy late-'80s synth-rock. Check out their key track "Angst In My Pants" for a taste of what they have been spitting.Witchfinder General
Keep your Iron Maiden, He Said will gladly hold on to Witchfinder General. The band took the best parts of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and slapped on some powdered wigs and tights. Their two seminal albums are a wet dream of metal riffage from start to finish.Silver Apples
When your younger hipster cousin or friend starts wailing away about how awesome Dan Deacon or Animal Collective are, just lead them to the Silver Apples. Melding Krautrock skronk, proto-sampling and electro minimalism, the band puts most modern Pitchfork bands to shame. Their first self-titled album is recommended listening, especially for "Program."Big Star
Without Alex Chilton and Big Star, we would have no Replacements. Their twin opuses,#1 Record
, are landmark power-pop classics that you should own, if not worship.Budgie
Any self-respecting Wolfmother fan owes a great debt to Budgie. Heavily influential, the British band can count bands like Metallica and most modern stoner metallers as offspring. This studio footage is a revelation to anyone looking for something not as doom-steeped as Sabbath.Hawkwind
Yes, we know who is singing on this Hawkwind song. That is in fact a pre-Motorhead Lemmy Kilmister, back in tamer times. This space-metal group took the idea of a live show to more lysergic heights, and at one point was known to dose crowds with acid and lock the doors of the venue from the outside. Be sure to check out the live documentSpace Ritual
, as well as studio effortDoremi Fasol Latido
. He Said can pretty chalk up about half the tattoos on his right arm to his tattoo artist's copious ingestion of Hawkwind's music.Patto
He Said first got wind of this band from last year'sObserve & Report
soundtrack. The band was only active for three years, but put out three expert slabs of jazz-rock while on Vertigo Records, which also housed early Black Sabbath and Gentle Giant releases.
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Led by Tomata Du Plenty, the Los Angeles-based Screamers are one of the great lost punk bands who were crazy beloved but never put out a proper album. All we have is a few videos on YouTube and some dodgy demos to remember them by. Without them, we probably wouldn't have had many spazz and noise bands in the early '80s.