Ask any fan of music and they will undoubtedly tell you that music is all about quality over quantity. It’s a solid statement that’s hard to argue with, who out there would truly prefer 15 terrible albums over 1 amazing album?
Sure there are musicians out there who deliver quality again and again, but the fact of the matter is, not everyone can be King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
Of course though, there are those outliers in the musical world; the famous bands who live by the motto of ‘one and done’. One album was enough for these musicians before they either called it quits, or just took an extremely long well-deserved break before prepping another album.
We’ve looked into some of these artists before, but we’ve decided to revisit some of the artists we neglected then and take a look at 10 more legendary artists who have only released one lone record.
Box Car Racer
Back in 2001, Blink-182 were set to tour Europe in support of their album Take Off Your Pants And Jacket before the 9/11 terror attacks occurred. With the dates postponed, and with guitarist Tom DeLonge keen to explore ‘darker’ territory than he could with Blink-182, he formed Box Car Racer. Recruiting Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and future Angels & Airwaves member David Kennedy, the group recorded an album and played a handful of shows around the US.
By 2003 though, the project had run its course and the trio broke up. DeLonge and Barker returned to record Blink-182’s eponymous album, which proved to be the group’s last before a lengthy hiatus. Sadly, these days DeLonge is no longer with Blink-182, but is instead following his one true love of investigating conspiracy theories and aliens. Blink-182 was probably a safer career choice, Tom.
Mike Patton is the very definition of a musical chameleon. Having made his name performing with Faith No More, he decided to branch out into numerous other ventures. Throughout his career, Patton has performed with Mr. Bungle, avant-garde supergroup Fantômas, experimental metallers Tomahawk, or has released solo albums which range from almost non-musical vocal noises, to a cover album of 1960’s Italian pop. Needless to say, the man is versatile.
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In 2006 though, he teamed up with artists such as Kool Keith, Norah Jones, and Massive Attack to record a trip-hop album under the name Peeping Tom. Releasing only one sole album under this name, it stands out in Patton’s repertoire by being not only an incredibly experimental album, but easily one of his more palatable albums for a casual listener. Whatever your views are on Mike Patton’s music, there’s no denying he’s a fearless innovator.
Melody’s Echo Chamber
Melody’s Echo Chamber is the brainchild of French musician Melody Prochet. With Prochet’s first project, My Bee’s Garden, supporting Tame Impala on a European tour, Kevin Parker and Prochet struck up a friendship, which culminated in Parker helping to record and produce Melody’s Echo Chamber’s first record.
There has been talk of a second album, named Bon Voyage, coming out soon, but frequent setbacks have seen the record postponed. Here’s hoping that the record will see an eventual release so that we may no longer consider Melody’s Echo Chamber as a ‘one and done’ project, but rather as a gift that keeps on giving (every now and then).
If you’re interested in bands that didn’t exactly do things the conventional way, well, look no further than WU LYF. With their name being an initialism for ‘World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation’, first impressions the public got of the group were usually that of confusion and intrigue. The English quartet were intent on maintaining an air of mystery about them, going so far as to deny any requests for interviews and information, intending instead on their music talking for them.
After recording their debut record Go Tell Fire To The Mountain inside of a church, the group rejected offers from major record labels, instead choosing to release their LP independently. A year after the release of their debut, the group broke up as suddenly as they had appeared, leaving fans with a very limited amount of knowledge of the group and its members, just as they had intended. Nevertheless, their sole record does a pretty good job of speaking for them.
Fronted by one of the most important females in alternative rock music, Carrie Brownstein, Wild Flag were destined to be an amazing band. A supergroup made up of members of Sleater-Kinney, Helium, and The Minders, the group proved to be just as vicious and raucous as the bands from which their members came from.
After releasing a sole, self-titled album in 2011, the group made few live performances before quietly breaking up. However, following the group’s demise, Carrie Brownstein returned to her TV show Portlandia, an her original group, Sleater-Kinney, whose 2014 reunion delivered one of the best rock albums in recent years, No Cities To Love.
Ask any punk musician from the last 20 years what their most influential album is, and a fair proportion of those surveyed will undoubtedly tell you that it’s Operation Ivy’s Energy. Taking their name from a series of nuclear tests in 1952, the group clearly meant business. Fierce, political, and unrelenting, the group only lasted for 2 years, but their legacy has lived for decades.
Following Operation Ivy’s demise, guitarist Tim Armstrong would go on to form Rancid, arguably one of the best-known punk groups of the past decades. Numerous punk groups of today still consider Operation Ivy to be one of the biggest influences on their music
In the early 90’s, Pantera made a name for themselves as one of the leading proponents of the groove-metal genre. With legendary tracks such as ‘Cowboys From Hell’, ‘Walk’, and ‘Fucking Hostile’, the group were an unstoppable force. Lead by singer Phil Anselmo and featuring the immeasurable talent of guitarist ‘Dimebag Darrel’ Abbott, the group are highly revered in rock and metal circles.
Following the group’s demise in 2003, Dimebag Darrell went on to form the group Damageplan with his brother Vinnie Paul Abbott. With a ferocity equal to that of Pantera, Damageplan’s debut record New Found Power was well-received in the metal community.
Sadly though, in December of 2004, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed while performing onstage with Damageplan by Nathan Gale, who believed that the Abbott brothers were to blame for the dissolution of Pantera. Sadly though, even years after Dimebag’s death, he is still being harangued by crazy fans who just don’t know when to let up.
The Horrible Crowes
Formed in 2011 by The Gaslight Anthem vocalist and guitarist Brian Fallon, The Horrible Crowes were formed as a way to explore the darker side of music. Billed as an alternative rock band, the group’s sound is better classified as a subdued, bluesy folk band.
Featuring the soulful vocals of Fallon and accomplished contributions from guitarist Ian Perkins, the group were highly revered with the release of their debut record, Elsie, in 2011.
Since the release of the record though, the group have done, well, not a whole lot. Brian Fallon returned to his position as the frontman of The Gaslight Anthem and has remained there since. While his original intention was for The Horrible Crowes to serve as more of a side-project than anything else, dedicated fans are still wondering when and if we’ll see a second record coming soon.
On paper, the Germs look like one of those bands who should be considered music royalty. With their debut record produced by Joan Jett, and with members going on to play in bands such as The Go-Go’s and Nirvana, you’d think they would be a band whose music is far better known than it is.
Having only been active for a short three years at first, their debut record (GI), was released in 1979, only a year before the death of frontman Darby Crash.
With a reputation for their frenetic songs and live shows, Germs quickly made a name for themselves, with tracks like ‘Lexicon Devil’ becoming a staple of classic punk rock to this day. Sadly, frontman Darby Crash’s death, and the subsequent demise of Germs, was largely overshadowed by the death of John Lennon, whose death occurred on the same day as Crash’s.
Thankfully though, the solid collection of music that was released on the Germs’ debut LP remains one of the most highly-revered punk debuts in the history of the genre.
It almost seems like cheating to include supergroups in a list like this, because when you think about it, that’s precisely the reason why only one album may have been released.
If the group is comprised of many famous members, they all have different bands they need to get back to, with the supergroup considered just a side-project. This is precisely the case of Mad Season, a supergroup made up of members of Alice In Chains, Screaming Trees, and Pearl Jam.
Formed with members of some of the most influential members of the grunge scene, the group only lasted for a few short years, with one album, Above, being released in that time. Sadly, 1999 saw the death of founding member John Baker Saunders due to a drug overdose, with the death of vocalist Layne Staley occurring three years later.
While many saw this as the complete demise of the band, surviving members reunited for a few select shows over the last few years with different musicians, including Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, stepping in as the guest vocalist. While we’ll never see a full blown Mad Season reunion, Chris Cornell fronting the group is a pretty decent compromise.