Last week's list of bands who should have called it quits after their first album got us thinking about the opposite--bands who hung it up too soon. These are usually sad stories--tragedy strikes, or personality clashes wreak havoc, or money runs out. It's rare that a band garners major attention with only one release, but a few groups manage to capture the hearts of enough fans and critics to ensure their legacy outlasts their brief lifespan. So here are six bands we wish had released more than one full-length.
The Postal Service: Though you still hear "Such Great Heights" every time you go to the mall, Give Up came out all the way back in 2003. While Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello have remained coy about the possibility of future collaborations, it doesn't look good. Gibbard told Rolling Stone in 2008 the Postal Service's second album, dubbed the "indie Chinese Democracy," will never make it to the shelves. Y'all better learn to love Owl City.
Honorable mention, soothing electronica: the Avalanches, Since I Left You.
The Unicorns: OK, technically they released two albums, but the first was self-released and limited to 500 copies. The wacky pop jams about ghosts, hospitals, and dance parties on Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? left us wanting more, more, more. Unfortunately the dynamic duo of "Nick 'Neil' Diamonds" and "Alden Ginger" (real names: Nick Thorburn and Alden Penner) couldn't keep it together, and the band's constant touring took its toll. Thorburn and drummer Jamie Thompson went on to form Islands, but the level of whimsy was never the same.
Honorable mention, zany pop: the Moldy Peaches, The Moldy Peaches.
Black Tambourine: This female-fronted twee group rocked harder than most bands under that polka-dot umbrella. Their only full-length releases came in the form of posthumous compilation albums, but their fuzzy, wall-of-guitar sound went on to influence bands like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and the Vivian Girls.
Honorable mention, women of twee: Tiger Trap, Tiger Trap and Strawberry Story, Clamming for It.
Arthur & Yu: These Seattle folksters' Hardly Art-released debut In Camera was a college-radio hit in 2007. Since then it's been radio silence. Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott, if you're around, drop us a line and let us know what's going on!
Honorable mention, local division: Shoplifting, Body Stories.
The Exploding Hearts: Beloved Portland pop-punkers whose first album, Guitar Romantic, was tragically fated to be their last when three members of the band died after their van overturned on I-5 on the way back from a gig.
Honorable mention, tragic circumstances: Jeff Buckley, Grace.
The La's: Their self-titled album is still oh-so-listenable, sounding as fresh today as it did upon its release in 1990. Plus it has the great single "There She Goes," which is just indescribably better than the horrid version by Sixpence None the Richer you hear played on soft-rock stations and in tampon commercials. Not sure why they broke up, but since their "past members" section on Wiki contains 24 names, I'm guessing it was a personnel issue?
Honorable mention, no idea why they haven't released more: Cody Chestnutt, The Headphone Masterpiece.
Did I miss anyone? And don't say the Sex Pistols. (OK, you can, but only if you really, really want to.)