Tuesday Ten: 008: Forgotten Bands

This week I'm going to turn my attention once again to the recent past. To look at bands that for one reason or another are "forgotten", or have "dropped off the radar". Either they are now little more than a footnote in musical history, or they never got the recognition they deserved, or they used to be good and fans have since deserted them in droves. There are examples of all of these in this list – and as always, I would welcome additional suggestions…


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Here, perhaps, is a perfect example of a band fêted by the press for a short while and then ignored. Something of an ecstatic reaction met Six By Seven back in the '90s when sprawling first single European Me was released, and this continued with album The Things We Make. Musically – they were a little odd for mainstream indie tastes, perhaps, being an intense and involved listen, and at times diverging in very strange directions. Second album The Closer You Get at points is even better – the industrial-esque fury of Eat Junk Become Junk is extraordinary, Ten Places To Die is wonderfully dark (the lyrics are "suggestions", shall we say, for the title), and New Year is a glorious pop song for another universe.

After that things went rather downhill as the lineup changed, before the band disintegrated. Happily, most of the original lineup has now reformed, and going on this new live version of Something Wild from a recent gig, I might just have to try and catch them live again soon…


A strange, sex-obsessed retro-electronic band that for a short while were all the vogue in the music press. And for a time, too, they were great – particularly the album Avant Hard. Worth hearing/seeing are the Plug Me In video – although is not especially worksafe. Then again, nor is the Metal Fingers In My Body video…


It all looked so promising at the start. The menacing – and bloody loud – debut Soylent Green was for some time a thumping industrial dancefloor staple, and it was followed by a number of great songs, if not always albums. Since the "band's" heyday, though, they have slumped into self-parody, and the last couple of albums have been absolute stinkers. The fan's patience has not been helped by constant re-issuing of a bulging back catalogue (certain albums have been re-released four times or more), and, perhaps, something of a big lack in the quality control area with at least one album a year being released, resulting in something of a drop in profile.


The only song most people will remember whatsoever from this band will always be Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe, a totally unhinged alt.rock hit from the mid-90s. The video was just as chaotic, too. The album that followed it, We Care, was just as jumbled, mixing the rocking singles (Pay For Me was almost as good) with various, um, experiments in other genres. There were even contributions from Tricky. I saw them live at the end of '95 (with a little-known, at the time, support act called Placebo) at The Cockpit in Leeds, and they were really rather good…


These two were suggested by Daisy, but they are certainly bands worth reappraising. Scarfo were a band that I never paid all that much attention to, although Cosmonaut No.7 was a great single. Urusei Yatsura were lumped in with the whole Lo-Fi scene in the mid-90s, which I always thought was a little unfair. Oh, and Slain By Elf must be one of the only songs about gaming and roleplaying…


Way before nu-metal turned the idea of rap metal into something of a joke, there were some bands fusing rap and metal in some style – and indeed with something to say, too. Senser's first album Stacked Up rocked like a bastard, and all three singles from the album are worth hearing: Eject, Age of Panic and Switch. Things went downhill after Heitham – the main vocalist – left, and subsequent albums were nowhere near as good. A recent reformation brought the whole band back together, but with barely any advertising sadly they have been hardly noticed…


Talking of nu-metal…there was a whole load of bands that disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived on the scene, and others that were swept away by changes in taste. Coal Chamber were one of the latter, being something of an instant sensation with their early singles Loco and Sway, which were fantastic. Sadly, much of the rest of their debut wasn't actually any good, and the second album's lead single was a truly dreadful cover of Shock The Monkey. Singer Dez Fafara nowadays is in Devildriver, and strangely little reference to his old band…Human Waste Project, on the other hand, lasted for just one album and we probably more interesting than many of their peers. Singer Aimee Echo has seen greater success with current band theSTART, though.


I knew this band's time had gone when Oxyacetalene – an industrial dancefloor staple – cleared the dancefloor when I was DJing at Batfink last year. Back in the late 90s the band, led by the bear-like Marc Heal, were a scary proposition live and no less powerful on CD. The baton has perhaps been taken up by other bands since, but there are few personalities left in the industrial scene like this guy.


I always did wonder how far the various bands compared to Nine Inch Nails would go – and it appears that they follow in the footsteps of NIN not only musically and thematically, but also in their release schedules – six years since Sulpher's first album, and it is now three years since Rico's second, which was five years after his first.

Both acts have struggled with financing their own work, though, which has been a good reason for the delays. Rico created something of a sensation with his first album Sanctuary Medicines, and then all went quiet before he finally resurfaced proper with Violent Silences in 2004. Follow that with a handful of live performances, and quiet again since, although we are promised new material soon. Here's hoping, as this is one artist that truly deserves greater success.

Sulpher have not released anything since 2001, incredibly, and a trickle of updates on their website suggest that new material could be due soon, although the samples so far don't sound all that encouraging. Instead, here's a reminder of how great they could be – this is Unknown live.


Dark Star

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This rather short-lived band arose from the ashes of the notoriously unstable band Levitation, and continued their brand of dark, psychedelic alternative rock. Their one album, Twenty-Twenty Sound, was wonderful and never really reached the audience it deserved. Their best-known song was Graceadelica, seen here in it's live incarnation. Visually, in the live environment, this band was highly unusual, with the stage covered in fairy lights!

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