Thursday, May 19, 2011
At the Drive-In and final album greatness
At the Drive in's final album hasn't left regular rotation in my house since it came out way back in 2000. I really regret that I didn't get to see them live but they imploded not long after I first became aware of them. I have had the good fortune to see The Mars Volta and they did melt my face but if ATDI was anything like reports and you tube clips indicate they were a force of nature live. They really had something with their sound back in the day. Losing Jim Ward really stripped away that hard core, punk edge that I really loved.
It doesn't sound like they will ever be reuniting and even if they did twelve plus years on down the road it just wouldn't be the same. Not that I wouldn't travel a ridiculous distance to see them. Hey, I never thought I'd get to see The Pixies live but I won't hold my breath.
This album makes me think of other exceptional final efforts from some of the bands I love.
Whiskeytown - Pneumonia is another album that I constantly listen to. This was released in 2001 a couple of years after it was recorded. I actually found this album because Ryan's debut solo album Heartbreaker managed to get released before Pneumonia.
The Pixies - Trompe le Monde was released in 1991 and I still listen to it. Damn I'm getting old. Everything awesome about the band is on this disc. It may not be quite as good as Debaser but it has three of my all time favorite Pixies songs on it.
Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne was released in 1993. The argument could be made that the breakup of the band was a good thing since it gave us both Son Volt and Wilco but Uncle Tupelo was a pretty amazing band even though on this disc it's easy to hear which song is a Tweedy composition and which one was a Farrar. How great would they have been if they could have written together? This is an album of gem after gem. I might go out on a limb and call it the pinnacle of the alt country genre.
I'm sure I've forgotten some other great final albums but sadly the rule for most bands is to fade away after a couple of crappy albums. It must be nice to go out on top. That having been said would I prefer that R.E.M. had gone out on top and be deprived of the handful of great songs sprinkled across their last few albums, I'm not sure.