Last week State compiled a list of 50 musical ‘Hidden Treasures’ from it’s contributors, including myself (you can read it here). Afterwards I got to thinking about what other obscure or underrated material lurked in the dark corners of my music collection.
Now I don’t mean obscure for the sake of it. I mean the kind of record you were just lucky to pick up, get passed by a mate or something you just happened across online, which was overlooked or now all but forgotten. So, in no particular order, here’s a quick run through of 10 Hidden Treasures from the BarryGruff vaults, some of which may be familiar to you while others probably won’t.
Sluts of Trust – ‘That’s Right…That Cat’s Right’
This one from Glaswegian two-piece Sluts of Trust is taken their one and only album, We Are All Sluts of Trust, released back in 2004. ‘That’s Right…That Cat’s Right’ captures everything that’s great about them and the album, few, if any, match their raucous energy and sleazy somewhat perverse sound. It’s a great shame they more or less disappeared off the face of the planet after this, such a waste.
Duncan Lloyd – ‘Suzee’
Solo side-projects are one of the greatest sources of hidden gems, how many have slipped out with anyone barely noticing, as artists exorcise their creative demons? Step forward, Duncan Lloyd. Best known as the guitarist in Maximo Park, he released his solo LP Seeing Double back in 2008 which was as far cry from the high energy bowler hat hijinx of the day job. ‘Suzee’ is easily the catchiest and melodic cut from the album, capturing the rough, raw and no frills approach. And, yes, in case you’re wondering, no one really paid any attention to this.
Zero Boys – ‘Livin’ In The 80s’
Zero Boys are one of punk’s many underrated unsung heroes. Their 1982 LP, Vicious Circle is littered with loud, fast and raw punk rock anthems. ‘Livin’ In The 80s’ is just one of many snarling renditions but you’ll get the idea. 30 years later and Zero Boys still sound dangerous.
John Power – ‘Jumping Bean’
More noted for his time with The La’s and Cast, Power did however forge a credible, if overlooked solo career between the years of latter splitting and subsequently reforming. It was with Willow She Weeps, his second solo album, which saw him come into his own. Turning away from his pop/indie past in favour of powerful country blues. If one song shows this metamorphosis it’s ‘Jumping Bean’.
Ben Human – ‘Take Me To Las Vegas’
Ben Human is an illusive character, with mystery surrounding his real identity but rumour has it, he is in fact Ben Addison from the bands Corduroy & Boys Wonder. Regardless of who he is or isn’t, he has two albums of easy going and fun, sample filled electronica under his belt; Go Human Not Ape (2002) and Out Of Towner (2005). Taken from the latter, ‘Take Me To Las Vegas’ shows he’s quite exceptional when it comes to uplifting jazzy electronica.
Grantura – ‘Waves’
So far as can be reckoned Grantura released one album, In Dreams and Other Stories, in 2008 before disappearing into the sunset. Their album and brand of Americana is filled with cheerful melodies and intricate musicianship; it could easily soundtrack a sun soaked summer. ‘Waves’ is one of the high points from the LP with it’s vocal harmonies to melt even the iciest heart. Grantura are actually from London, although you’d never know on listening to them.
The Things – ‘Hold Me Down’
The Things will be a familiar name to anyone knocking about Dublin in the mid 00’s, others however, may not have been that lucky. A mix of rock ‘n’ roll and punk rock, they were fast, loud, and all with a dash of chaotic fury. ‘Hold Me Down’ is taken from their one and only LP, Some Kind of Kick, for shortly afterward the release they sadly parted company. Another great Irish rock ‘n’ roll band consigned to the annals of history.
Filthy Dukes – ‘Nonsense In The Dark’
Filthy Dukes might be a familiar name to some, due to their numerous remixes over the past few years but their debut album Nonsense In The Dark deserves some respect in it’s own right. The title track from the record saw them enlist vocal help from Orlando Weeks, of ‘The Maccabees’, to create a captivating piece of indie-influenced electronica that’s utterly chilled from start to finish, a real classic.
Lo-Fidelity Allstars – ‘Battle Flag (Feat. Pigeonhead)’
Released in 1998 through big beat specialists Skint Records, How To Operate With A Blown Mind from the late ’90s was one of those dance records ‘okay’ for scruffy young indiekids to listen to. While the album is still a decent listen after all those years, ‘Battle Flag (Feat. Pigeonhead)’ remains a fine cut.
Ian Pooley – ‘Bay of Plenty’
Pooley maybe a more recognizable name than others, a twenty year music career will do that. Anyway ‘Bay of Plenty’ is taken from the German producers excellent album Since Then (2000), which could be loosely defined as house music but it, like the album, has an unmistakable feel good samba vibe going on.