Music Is Changing. Shut up, it is.

Not only are newer artists emerging, whose fan base are Bebo/Myspace/Facebook/MyspaceBook/FaceSpaceBookMy termites, nibbling at up-and comers until everyone in the world notices them (see Lily Allen or any new act from London.)

Quite the reverse is true as well. Older, inactive artists are suddenly as prominent as today’s folk. Why? Because of teh interwebz, that’s why. Idiot.

For quite a while now, recording artists are supposed to pump out loads and loads of studio albums, a bunch of live recordings, then a greatest hits, a best of, a cover album and make lots of cash for “the man” – whoever that is. It’s probably a conspiracy.

But not all artists are this way. Somewhere, concealed from collective memory by the very obscurity that makes them such glorious discoveries, are the One Album Wonders (OAW – see what I’m doing, I’m shortening it.)

Now, I need to clarify a few things – a one album wonder is NOT like a One Hit wonder – where for the most part the artist’s disappreance can be put down to being utter cack, with one song that was OK, and the rest was just trash. A One Abum Wonder’s material will consist of brilliant songs, no sleeper tracks, no filler. A Diamond in the rough, unconnected by surrounding material.

I only recently came to realise the existence of these albums. Here’s what I found.

1 – Indio – Big Harvest

Big Harvest

In 2007 Eddie Vedder released his album for the Sean Penn movie “Into The Wild” – the track released for Radio was “Hard Sun” – and I started off by not actually liking it that much – Vedder’s singing is uneven, the song seemed a bit odd, I just wasn’t sure. Probably also a conspiracy. Damn them. You know…them. (I have no idea.)

Then, somehow, I discovered that it wasn’t his song to begin with. The man who originally wrote it was called Gordon Peterson, under the Guise of “Indio”. The album has a host of musicians playing the music, varying from track to track. Amongst others on backing vocals is Joni Mitchell.

Indio made one album. Then, as if he hadn’t even been real in the first place, he vanished.

Gone. No reason (some fans whisper that irritation with the music industry was the reason but who really knows?)

Any Amazon site lists the album as exhorbitantly expensive, due to its being out of print. Every review pines for Peterson’s spectre to return.

I found a fansite that covered this man. Fascinatingly, after a few months of being online, the site became noticed so much that Gordon Peterson emerged from the wilderness that is everyday life and wrote to the site – enclosing a new song he’d recorded.

Now THAT’s an artist. not only shrugging off a recording career as if it’s a utility bill, but releasing your only song in almost 20 years through a tiny singular fan site. What a man.

The album is out of print, so I borrowed it from an unnamed source – after around 20 listens to the exclusion of all else, I have to say this thing is now in my top 5. Earnest, rhythmically diverse, soulfull, just amazing all round. If the 80’s had been less like karma Chamelion and more like Indio, we might not be in the mess we are now.

I urge you to track down this music. Kill for it. It’ll change you.

Meanwhile the fan site mentioned above is offline due to high traffic at present. Something that makes me smile just a little.

2 – Jeff Buckley – Grace

Buckley, son of Folk Singer Tim Buckley, made this album, then was wiped out whilst trying to swim. Whoops. Conspiracy? You betcha. Proof? I’ll get back to you. Probably a controlled demolition.

This album, perhaps overkilled precisely because it was his only album released before Buckley drowned  – read “Was Definitely Killed by the New World Order”, boasts some pretty rivetting songs. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of those songs that was better covered than in the original form. (Other “better than the original songs” include Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door and Wing’s “Live and Let Die” – both recorded BETTER by Guns N Roses. Sorry.)

The best song on the album is Lover You Should Have Come Over – boasting the startling line “She’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever” – the hairs don’t just stand up on my neck, the fall out, walk off and cry in the corner whilst cutting themselves.


3. – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols

Okay, so these guys aren’t exactly unheard of, same goes for Jeffy Buckers. I threw it in as trivia. Happy?

Yess siree, the Pistols only made one studio album, and the rest is history. In fact, here’s what the history would look like on Facebook’s sily little plotter

Here are loads more one album projects. Let’s hope the internet continues to push forward the agendas of the indie dudes with pure soul. It may yet retroactively reshape the history of music.

As Pink Floyd once put it so powerfully – “Is There Anybody Out there?”

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