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Most under-rated bands of all time


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We all know the bands that everyone likes... they get mentioned again and again and again.... and again on this site. But who do you think are some of the most under-rated bands of all time, the hidden gems... whether they be local or 'world famous'.

Aside from many African bands, I would have to say the Waterboys would be one band that I feel is under-rated. They have many albums with some great music, and you rarely hear of them.

Who else???

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There are so many to choose from:

Television - from the seminal 70's CBGB NYC scene. If punk had a jam band, Televison was it. Get this masterpiece and talk to me later:


Nick Drake - not a band, but an underrated folk genius.

Shuggie Otis - Funk, soul, blues guitarist singer. He could do it all at a real young age. Get this album, I urge you all:


The MC5 - Kick Out The Jams Motherfuckers... I dare you:


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Not sure how valid this is, as I never really got into the Springfield. But I was watching a doc this weekend on Neil Young, and they were saying had Buffalo Springfield stayed together longer, we'd be talking about them the same way people talk about The Rolling Stones, The Who, etc... Apparently at the time, for a very short time, the Buffalo Springfield was the hottest thing going.

Also what's the deal with "Mashmakhan"? I'd never heard of them until I saw festival express, but they seem to have been pretty hot.

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The Beta Band (Never got their due and now they are gone)

Big Star (On every rock critic list [that matters] of best underrated bands)

J.J. Cale (A lot of great artists have covered Cale's songs. Why? Because they are great songs)

Calexico (Joey Burns and John Convertino play with every underrated artist, like Vic Chesnutt, Lisa Germano and Howie Gelb of Giant Sand)

The Flying Burrito Brothers (Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman at their best)

Guster (Of new bands out there right now, Guster are writing the best melodies. They are a cross between the Beach Boys and Talking Heads)

The Jayhawks (Altnerative country rock pioneers. They were the light to the darkness of Uncle Tupelo)

King Crimson (Two words, Robert Fripp)

Poco (Had members from Buffalo Springfield and two bassists in Poco were stolen by the Eagles)

Uncle Tupelo (Spawned into Wilco and Son Volt, enough said)

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Hey CyberHippie, I watched the same thing. Biography had a great line-up of rock stars on Saturday, Neil Young, Pete Townsend, both Page and Plant..... that's all I saw (what? It was cold out!)

You know what I found most facinating of all the rock legends? Neil Young used to have seizures when the strobe lights were first introduced at shows. Steve Stills would look over and see Neil's eyes roll back and run to grab the guitar (a$$hole).

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Have to agree with 'Esteban' on Television (and now I know it's Jaimoe taboot...) they were way ahead of their time. Marquee Moon has been re-mastered and re-released...look for the cardboard sleeve. Sounds great, awesome liner notes.

Beta Band is underrated but they seemed more related to 'Can' and other Floyd-ian psychedelia so it's not like they were pioneering anything really. 'Can' had their blip of recognition in the late 90's, but it is an interesting catalog, other earlier krautrock like 'Faust' is worth checking out too.

Zappa is still underrated. Yeah we can dig the solos and quirky lyrics/voices and scattish noodley-oodley scales and time changes, but man the scope of what this guy did is huge. To keep it topical to 'bands' I'd say the 74-76 band was smokin' and if you don't have Roxy and Elsewhere you should. And read the Real Frank Zappa Book while yer at it.

And what about the Rheostatics? Yeah alot of us know about them but why didn't Whale Music/Melville blast them out of Southern Ontario like they should have? Even Night of the Shooting Stars is a near perfect rock album. They are even a reasonably good looking band still...odd.

And with the big hubbub over Flaming Lips, I really wish people would go back and check out Mercury Rev.

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im with tungsten on the rheos and zappa... great zappa era, too, though i prefer '66-'68... zoot alures from '75 is another great disc.. the torture never stops. aint that the truth!

and kaidy, im with ya on built to spill... nothing beats a car with cello... they should be bigger, too.

i always thought thrush hermit was a hugely under-rated band.. i still think Joel Plaskett is an under-rated song writer. i think he's one of the best we have in canada.

hmm.. i was thinking of modest mouse, but this is kind of weird, because, until the new album came out, i'd have said they were largely under-rated, but the new album i think is rather over-rated... and im definitely not with the masses on that one. kinda puts me in a pickle with this one..

the red krayola are an under-rated noise orchestra as far as im concerned. as weird under-rated geniuses, i'd pull mayo thompson, david grubbs and steven prina out of the red krayola mix.

jim o'rourke.

g. love and special sauce... c'mon, give the dude some love! there's no way he should have ever been OPENING for jack johnson... i dont care...

... and obviously, the slip.

there's more but im done trying to think of them for now.

edit: ahhhh, i meant to say The Catherine Wheel, too! good call, roller!

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What about Tower of Power? I dont' ever catch any TOP references around here and i know these guys are hip to the players. rocco prestia revolutionized the sixteenth note run.

definitely a band that makes me wish i knew tight musicians that could play FUNK.(not just funky)

ooh the people be bumpin

(at bump city)

the joint be jumpin

(at bump city)

the mamas be humpin

(at bump city)

while the band be pumpin

the band be pumpin

the beat be somethin...

sure they have their share of sappy songs, but ladies love love songs. funk music can turn to mush sometimes too. awesome arranging, blow you over horns, and grin inducing drive.

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I forgot The Beta Band: Often brilliant. R.I.P.

Captain Beefheart needs some love also. An avant-garde blues genius, but clearly not for everyone.

The late great Lenny Breau is still an underground legend of the jazz guitar. No one can touch him.

Give it up for jazz innovators Sonny Sharock and James Blood Ulmer ( guitar ) and Eric Dolphy ( alto sax, bass clarinet, flute ).

Ireland punkers Stiff Little Fingers and Hamilton's Simply Saucer are and were underrated respectively.

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