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Underappreciated bands you STILL might not know

Loosely accompanies Gab & Jam,

314. Underappreciated bands you STILL might not know

We’re all tripping back in time to appreciate music of past decades, but do you know THESE cultural gems?

There has been a lot of tripping back down memory lane to the 70s through the aughts, but we think it’s a shame that some of the bands we’re going to share now are NOT on any of the playlists of their time period. —And you KNOW we love to share these sometimes obscure cultural gems. THAT’S why we put this list together for you. There’s also a playlist attached for your viewing and/or listening pleasure.

Check out the episode for the full discussion.

Here are the bands that we think you should add to your playlists:

They are Milwaukee’s post-punk band, and it’s their seminal raw, but organized style that lands them on this list. It’s the fact that they’ve got attitude. It’s the fact that songs like “Children of the Revolution” and “Blister in the Sun” are our jams. But if you’re tripping back to the 80s, THIS band needs to be on your playlist.

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2. Cake

We’ve talked about them before, but not only are they a genre unto themselves (See THIS episode on that) and ALWAYS quirky and funky in his own kind of way. John McCrea seems to be able to bring his own kind of weird no matter what band lineup he is working with, which has always been our love language, so you’re missing out if you don’t have a couple of Cake songs on your 90s-aughts playlist.

Cake's "No Phone"

Christian rock fronted by a black guy—Doug Pinnick—but has no particular “black” slant, however, has a guitar and vocal sound all their own. Hard-baked, Beatlesque harmonies. We appreciate the diversity of existential exploration, even if it is with a Christian slant.

Songs that don’t age well:

Great songwriting for 1990 through 1996–the “The Revival” to the “Sons of Souls” album, to “House of Music” album. Catchy songs that seemed like throw-a-ways at the time, but, in retrospect, seem to showcase solid songwriting of a full R&B band—which we think was the last of its kind (except for The Roots).

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What we appreciated MOST about Ben Harper is his constant commitment to doing what he wants. He has traversed into blues, rock, funk, and reggae, and in a way that does not follow any blueprint set by the contemporary music at the time. He has been our “hero” in this, because we never know where he’s going next, but THAT’S precisely why we constantly keep our ears to the ground for what he’s doing next.

This group has aged like fine wine, yo! Tunes like “Selling Jesus” and “Little Baby Swastika” are dealing with issues that are topical decades after they released them, which is why they moved waaaay up on our list of “need to know” artists of the 90s. –They’re on tour now, by the way. –Socially and politically, they are STILL relevant to what is in the ethosphere now.

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7. XTC

We love the fun stuff, like “Senses Working Overtime,” “The Mayor of Simpleton,” and “King for a Day,” but “Dear God” is the song that cements them as the 90s philosophical foundation. They were able to entertain and to be “deep” all at the same time. That’s why they will make ANY 90s deep dive playlist.

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We think people underestimate Rick James’ talent and vision, due to his less than reputable personal “indiscretions.” But as far as his songwriting, branding, and vision, we realize that he had SO much more impact and influence than he is given credit for. For instance, not only did he rival Prince when they were on tour together, but many of Rick James’ best ideas were inspiration for Prince (like having a protégé all-female opening act and mixing a variety of genres, especially funk plus rock plus R&B). So, if “Super Freak” is all you know of Rick James, we invite you to check out the playlist, where you can understand his work a little more.

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When we talk about pushing the envelope when it comes to traversing through rock, ska, and new wave, no one did it better than Fishbone in the 90s. When folks do a really deep dive, we are happy to see that Fishbone makes the list. (Here’s a handy playlist that includes their music.)

No, Corey Glover, the lead singer from Living Colour, is NOT Danny Glover’s son, much to our dismay. This group was at the forefront of that whole black rock push in the 90s, but what’s more is that they are MORE than a one-hit wonder and have continued to release interesting non-typical music for decades since.

11. Cameo

While folks like Prince gets credited with mixing funk, R&B, and rock, but folks like Cameo had been dabbling into that for a while. Somehow, Cameo gets relegated to a novelty act, but they were so much more than that. Check out our playlist to hear songs like “Shake Your Pants,” “Alligator Woman,” and “Candy.”

Yet another group that has been at the forefront of the genre-mixing of R&B, country, and pop, but is usually only known for their hit, “Brick House.” We will include some of the songs that are cultural gems that never seem to make time period playlists.

This group gets reduced to a few songs, but they are one of the super bands of the 70s. People sleep on them. Prince wouldn’t exist without their influence. Soul, jazz, and rock are mixed together to make a new groove altogether. –And, if you have never seen their album covers, you may need check those out.

These guys played on almost everything in the 70s and went on to release their own album in 1975. As a bass player, Bruce appreciates their R&B and funk grooves.

He’s kind of like our “spiritual father,” musically. Though his sound is rooted in the blues, but there’s ALWAYS a spaghetti-western slant to EVERYTHING he did. –For lack of a better way to describe it, it sounds as if his songs are riding on a horse. –And, to be TRUE to our inspiration, MOST of our songs sound like we’re traveling in SOME kind of vehicle, so while I didn’t appreciate him like I should have when he was alive, but I fully recognize that he is the underpinning of the Bourgeoisie Paper Jam sound.

Here's a handy playlist:


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Who did we leave out?

We’d love to hear who we should add to our list!

Leave them in the comments below.

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So, will we do it again? HELL, YEAH! 🙌🏾 In fact, our NEXT livestream is scheduled for Friday, December 1, where we will debut for Bourgeoisie Paper Jam’s full album “Obtanium Flow” We will also premiere the music video live and on-air—unless you are a member of our Patreon community. (If you’re in our Patreon, you will see the video one week earlier. Join here.)

Limited edition “Obtanium Flow” designs:

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Did you know that along with putting together our next album, we are working on our first book? Here’s the link, if you want to pre-order:

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Here’s what we’re into now:

· We’re featured in Variety Magazine!

· The video for “Every Heartbeat” is doing well in Indonesia!

· The Tony Webb "Funkalicious" video is going crazy in Honduras, y'all!

· One of our videos for our song, “Tell Me What You Want,” is going gangbusters in Vietnam!

If you like this, you might enjoy:

· Basic Recording Studio Setup:

· What to do when real life interrupts your artistic process?

· 7 Strategies for rebounding from creative burnout:

· How to give better interviews (for D.I.Y. Rock Star):

· How to give better live performances:

· How to collaborate better (for D.I.Y. Rock Star):

· How to write quicker, but better (for D.I.Y. Rock Star):

· Should you ever play for free?

· 17 Tips for taking better band photos—ESPECIALLY if you taking them yourself:



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Until next Monday, here’s wishing love, peace, and chicken grease!

Did you know that along with putting together our next album, we are working on our first book? Here’s the link, if you want to pre-order:

Use the code HOLIDAY2023 at checkout for a 50% off discount. Limited time only!




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