Readers’ Choice: 10 More Great Bands Who Only Made One Album


Here at Flavorpill, we do generally like it when our readers get involved via our comments section. Occasionally, for whatever reason, one of our posts strikes a particular chord with readers — and so it was with our recent retrospective on bands who only made one album (not including live albums, best-ofs, etc). We got a slew of comments proposing further additions to our list — there were so many great suggestions, in fact, that we decided to compile a follow-up post collating the best of them. The results are after the jump. Thanks, readers!

The Unicorns — Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? (2003)

Suggested by Kevin F, Austen, Sly, louis, eric, Lion Leonie

We actually thought of this record when compiling our list, but figured that pretty much everyone had forgotten The Unicorns. How wrong we were — Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? was the single most requested addition to our list, and even though you could argue The Unicorns technically made two albums (they put out a record on their own label in early 2003, which was limited to 500 copies and contains several of the songs that ended up on Who Will Cut Our Hair… ), we agree that they’re a worthy addition to this conversation. If you’re after some classic, timeless indie pop, then look no further.

Temple of the Dog — Temple of the Dog (1991)

Suggested by zorroclinton and Duffster

Temple of the Dog comprised Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell along with the remnants of Mother Love Bone, who’d just been shorn of their lead singer with the untimely death of Andrew Wood. The group originally formed to realize Cornell’s idea of a tribute to Wood, with Cornell joined by guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament. The line-up was completed by the addition of guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Matt Cameron, and when a new guy in town by the name of Eddie Vedder joined to add backing vocals, the result was an album by Cornell and all of what would become Pearl Jam. Temple of the Dog was largely ignored on release — once grunge went global, however…

The United States of America — The United States of America (1968)

Suggested by A.

We’ll admit it — as lovers of both whacked-out psychedelia and early electronic music, we’re kicking ourselves for forgetting this one for our original list. This record was startlingly ahead of its time, deploying early tape delay effects and proto-electronic sounds generated by USA founder Joe Byrd’s home-built oscillators, along with everything from a choir and orchestral string arrangements to tribal drums and flutes. Even in 2011, it makes for pretty wigged-out listening — God only knows how far out it must have sounded if you got the brown acid.

The Modern Lovers — The Modern Lovers (1971)

Suggested by Fudgy and magpie

It’s hard to know where to draw the line with the various incarnation of the Modern Lovers, mainly because the original band broke up after the sessions for this album, with Jonathan Richman subsequently forming a new band that he called Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers. That new group released their self-titled debut within nine months of the belated release of this album, which was also self-titled. Confused yet? But anyway, this does stand as the only album by the original Modern Lovers, and thus qualifies for a place on this list. We think.

Young Marble Giants — Colossal Youth (1980)

Suggested by Sean and Jeremy Shatan

Another one that we’re going to be up-front and admit that we forgot — and boy, are we glad that people reminded us. Young Marble Giants’ one and only LP was a classic of minimalism and understatedness, and its influence is just as powerful in 2011 as it was on its release three decades ago (The XX, for instance, owe more than a little to Young Marble Giants). Kurt Cobain cited this as one of his five all-time favorite albums, incidentally.

The Postal Service — Give Up (2003)

Suggested by cwz, Kevin F and P

Several readers lambasted us for “forgetting” this, which isn’t entirely true. It’s more that (whisper it quietly) we’re just not such big fans of this record — although, in fairness, “Such Great Heights” is a great song. Anyway, personal opinions aside, there’s no doubt that it’s a much-loved piece of work, and it’s the only album that Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello have released — so here it is.

The Loved Ones — Magic Box (1967)

Suggested by Leila

They’re largely unknown outside their native Australia, but Magic Box is an early rock’n’roll classic down under — it was an important landmark for the nascent local rock ‘n’ roll scene, and also contains some bona fide classic songs. The record was very well-received on its release, but the band’s career was hamstrung by music industry ineptitude. By all accounts, their record company did a dismal job of promoting Magic Box, tour promoters swindled them, and they ended up losing money on what should have been a hugely lucrative debut, drifting apart soon after. You’ve probably heard at least one of their songs, though — INXS covered “The Loved One” on their mega-successful 1987 album Kick.

Toy Matinee — Toy Matinee (1990)

Suggested by Russ and Gary

One of the forgotten bands of the early 1990s, and a fine addition to our list. Toy Matinee’s debut was tightly written and radio-friendly pop par excellence, but inexplicably, it was largely ignored at the time — and, to add insult to injury, it was eventually overshadowed by the success of songwriter Kevin Gilbert’s girlfriend Sheryl Crow’s debut album, which Gilbert co-wrote. The two split acrimoniously soon after its release, and sadly, Gilbert died in 1996, forever removing any chance of a second Toy Matinee record.

Blind Faith — Blind Faith (1969)

Suggested by Laura, Gus and Fudgy

Eric Clapton’s penchant for jumping from group to group left the world with several classic one-album-only bands, as our readers were, um, only too eager to remind us first time around. Blind Faith brought Clapton together with Steve Winwood and bassist Ric Grech, with his Cream compadre Ginger Baker on drums. Their sole studio album (complete with pedophile-pleasing cover art) was released in 1969, after which he decamped for Derek & the Dominos.

Derek & the Dominos — Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

Suggested by Kevin, Fudgy and voicedude

Yes, yes, OK, we get the point.