Monday, December 29, 2014

One Album Wonders (Or, Whatever Happened To The Propellerheads?)

About five years ago, in one of my iTunes running diaries, I touched upon a British big beat techno band called The Propellerheads and lamented that they had never released a follow-up to their 1998 debut, Decksandrumsandrockandroll. Unfortunately, the band has still not come out with a proper follow-up.

Unlike some other bands, there isn’t a really good indication online for what the issue is. Since 1998, they’ve released one new song according to Wikipedia – “Ten Years (Johnston’s Strut Part One),” which was a single track for a compilation in 2003, and is so obscure it’s not even on YouTube. The band’s debut peaked at No. 6 in the UK, and went gold, so it’s odd that there was no second album. They’re one of the ultimate “you’ve heard them, even if you’ve never heard OF them,” thanks to their appearances on The Matrix soundtrack and other spy stuff. “History Repeating” with Shirley Bassey was their one U.S. radio hit.

This got me thinking about some other One Album Wonders (in contrast to One Hit Wonders) floating about in my iTunes collection. From that same blog post, there is New Radicals. Their front man, Gregg Alexander, was strongly anti-corporate and odd, and the band self-destructed as a result. They have one album, the wonderfully-named Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, and they’re best known for the earworm “You Get What You Give.”

The Postal Service was a side project of the guys from Death Cab for Cutie and other stuff. Unlike the first two bands mentioned, they actually did claim for years to be working on a second album to follow up Give Up. However, it never materialized between 2007 and 2012. The band then got back together for some shows in 2013, and disbanded again. How frustrating! (Also, this is somehow the first time I’ve written about The Postal Service, even though they were basically my soundtrack for sophomore to senior years of college. I was probably just burnt out on them for a couple years after…)

There is also the case of the Weezer side project Homie, which didn’t even get to one-album status. They had a single song, “American Girls,” that was awesome and on a movie soundtrack. (Meet The Deedles, a horrible Disney movie that attempted to hijack surf culture and starred Paul Walker.) “American Girls” is peak-Rivers Cuomo, and Homie also featured members of Cake and Soul Coughing. Apparently, there are live performance bootlegs out there, but I haven’t listened to them… yet. (One other “incredible soundtrack song” from the 1990s is “JAR” by Green Day, which was initially only available on the soundtrack for the otherwise forgettable Angus, but has since made its way on to some other Green Day releases.)

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