Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five Really Good Bands With Only One Release Ever

Semi-sequel to the last list. I meant to write this sooner. Oops.

Every band on this list has just a single official release to their name. Maybe they recorded some demos to prep for a second release, but for whatever reason it got dropped and never came to be. Perhaps those demos are now officially (or unofficially) available, but the fact remains that I picked these bands based on only having one EP or Single with their name on it. I also cheat the rules super hard for one entry.

05. Ergquist.
Ergquist is what happens when Mikey Erg (The Ergs!/Psyched to Die/House Boat/Star Fucking Hipsters/The Slow Death/The Dopamines/etc) joins forces with Marisa Bergquist (The Besties). It's in the vein of the cutesy indie pop punk that Dirtnap and Woah-Oh bands will sometimes produce. Keyboards, a very clean electric guitar, and incredibly catchy hooks dominate this four song EP, inaccurately titled 42,069 Seconds with... ERGQUIST (the run time is just under 700 seconds). Given that Mikey Erg is only involved with a million other bands, I'm not sure if or when Ergquist will ever record a follow up to this fantastic EP.

Fun Fact: Song Against Ian Raymond, might be familiar to Pink Couch fans, but also features lyrics that are direct quotes from High Fidelity. If this doesn't sound like a pop punk audiophile's wet dream, I'm not sure what does.

04. Daredevils
Remember in the 90's when Brett Gurewitz left Bad Religion to manage Epitaph Records? I don't because I was only 6 at the time, but I've read plenty about it to know the basic details. During his time away from Bad Religion, he teamed up with Gore Verbinski (yes, the very same guy who directed Pirates of the Caribbean) and Josh Freese (the only person to play drums with more bands than Mikey Erg) and recorded a two-song single titled Hate You. The general structure of the songs follows the same flow as Gurewitz's melodic writing style in Bad Religion, particularly Infected and Stranger Than Fiction, although the lead guitar on the title track is slightly more psychedelic. He's no Greg Graffin, but Gurewitz definitely has a strong enough voice to have carried this band further if he had wished to, but he disbanded the group soon after to focus on Epitaph full time. However, with this single we get some of the best Bad Religion songs from the 90's that never happened.

Fun Fact: Hate You is allegedly written about Jay Bentley, Bad Religion's bassist, who reportedly made claims that Gurewitz left the band for money. If there was any bad blood between them, it's gone now as evidenced by Mr. Brett's return to Bad Religion in 2001.

03. Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution
Back in 2001, ska kids found a savior to help revive their scene. Tomas Kalnoky, the man behind Catch-22's debut, Keasbey Nights, was making music again. His new project, Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution, was a 15+ person collective that played ska, but also played acoustic instruments. This was a band to get excited about and the EP was evidence that Keasbey Nights wasn't just a fluke and that the man was actually really good at writing ska music. And people did get excited. But then the band took a backseat to Streetlight Manifesto, which was a-okay because Streetlight Manifesto is also really good. Except then BOTAR also took a backseat to Tomas' perfectionism and Streetlight's constant touring with Reel Big Fish. The project has also recently taken a backseat to a solo acoustic album that Tomas Kalnoky put out. They say that they're recording new material (BOTAR is supposed to get two discs in the 99 Songs of Revoluion project), but it's been a little over 10 years at this point and still nothing. I'm hoping that by 2016 I will be able to take this band off this list.

Fun Fact: The original versions of Here's to Life and They Provide the Paint for the Picture-Perfect Masterpiece That You Will Paint on the Insides of Your Eyelids are present on the tracklist, as is the first re-recording of Dear Sergio. All three songs have since been re-recorded by Streetlight Manifesto at one point or another.

02. Keith Morris-era Black Flag
I fully expect insults to be hurled at me for this one, but hear me out: Black Flag was around for a decade but their first two singers only lasted one release each (Dez got two: the Six Pack EP and the Louie Louie single). So while the band continued to release material well after Keith Morris left the band, the fact remains that the line up featuring Morris on vocals only has one official release to their name, hence its inclusion. Nervous Breakdown is quite possibly the greatest hardcore EP ever: it's full of heavy riffs, roughly mixed tracks, pissed off lyrics, and it only runs for 5 minutes. It might lack the darkness of Damaged, but Nervous Breakdown makes up for what it lacks by encapsulating the bridge between punk and hardcore.

Fun Fact: Demos from the Nervous Breakdown recording sessions were included on the Everything Went Black compilation. It's one of the only places you can hear Keith Morris singing songs from Damaged.

01. Isocracy
If Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown marks the best of the beginnings of 80's hardcore, then Isocracy's Bedtime for Democracy is the highlight of the Gilman scene in Berkeley, CA that can't be overlooked. Originally considering the name Operation Ivy (later taken by another influential Berkeley punk band), Isocracy combined furious speed with catchy melodies and a sense of humor into their sole EP. The band had a few tracks released on various compilations, but Bedtime for Isocracy (an obvious nod to the Dead Kennedys' Bedtime for Democracy, and if that's not clear enough the cover art also features a face of Jello Biafra in bed with the band members of Isocracy) remains to be the only official release from the group.

Fun Fact: Following the demise of Isocracy, drummer John Kiffmeyer (aka Al Sobronte) joined the band Sweet Children, which later adopted the name Green Day. The other members of Isocracy went on to form the equally great, but vastly underrated, Samiam.

I'm sure there are a million bands that I overlooked while compiling these five, so if you think there are any glaring omissions, let me know! I am extremely aware that I lean toward the worlds of alternative and punk rock. Or do you just want to fight me about including Black Flag? Just leave your name, phone number, and please specify if we'll be meeting by the slide or the monkey bars in the comments.

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