One and Done & Opinions on Thundercat

One and Done

Some artists deliver a fantastic debut album, yet never make another LP again. Jim and Greg select some of their favorite one and done bands and explore what makes these one-album wonders so great. Plus, a review of the new record from multi-genre bassist Thundercat.

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Jim and Greg are getting ready for the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, but there is already controversy brewing at the festival before they even arrive. SXSW has come under fire for language in its performance agreement with international artists that says the festival will notify U.S. immigrations authorities if the bands play unofficial shows. The language has been in the contract for years, but in the wake of the Trump administration’s travel ban, some artists have threatened to boycott the festival. SXSW responded with a statement saying that it publicly opposes the executive orders and will remove the language for next year’s festival.

One and Done

This week, Jim and Greg wanted to acknowledge some artists who made one great debut record, only to never record another studio album. They pick some of their favorite one and done artists, from well-known artists like Lauryn Hill, to buried treasures like The Monks.

Greg

  • Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
  • The La’s, The La’s
  • Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • Jeff Buckley, Grace

Jim

  • The Monks, Black Monk Time
  • The Pulsars, Pulsars
  • Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth
  • Wild Flag, Wild Flag

Drunk Thundercat

Drunk

Stephen Bruner, better know as Thundercat, is an in-demand session bassist. A resume containing artists from Kendrick Lamar to Suicidal Tendencies is testament to that. Thundercat is also a songwriter in his own right and has just released his third album, Drunk. Weighing in at 23 tracks, Greg says it is a challenging listen. With references to j azz fusion, Earth, Wind and Fire, and cameos from Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald he admits the album is bewildering, especially as Thundercat vacillates from introspective songs about mortality and police brutality, to shopping for anime in Tokyo. But, Greg says it is an audio-veritae of Thundercat’s life, that shows virtuosity and personality. That said, Greg stops short of saying Buy It and instead gives it a Try It and he eagerly awaits what is next from Thundercat. Jim, had a much more visceral reaction to this record saying he despises it and claiming it left him with a skin rash (Editor’s Note: we didn’t verify this). He says the album is full of pointless busyness as Thundercat tries to cram too many ideas into his music. It goes without saying, Jim gives it a Trash It.

Jim

Thundercat left a bad taste in Jim’s mouth but it did get him thinking about other artists that could be considered alternative hip hop. And the band that came to his mind was one that has never been discussed on Sound Opinions: Arrested Development. The socially conscious hip hop collective garnered huge critical and commercial success with its first album 3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days In The Life Of… but never captured that same praise again despite a long recording career. Jim says the message and the melody of the 1992 track Tennessee secures its slot in the Desert Island Jukebox.

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