While driving home from work yesterday, my iPod all ashuffle, The Jam's "Away From The Numbers" popped up and graced my short drive with a little mod-rockin' goodness. As is usually the case when I hear a Jam song, I thought, "you really need to listen to more Jam" (since remedied). I also thought, "wow, these guys are underrated." A few miles further North on I-5 I reconsidered my "underrated" tag for The Jam and opted instead for "underappreciated."
This may be nothing more than semantics, but I think it's easy for people to throw around the underrated tag when often it's just not the case. I'd bet most people familiar with The Jam's stuff consider them a fairly seminal late 70's - early 80's act. They were a band that achieved much more notoriety in the UK than here in the States, and they often get lumped in with the British punk bands of the time. While this isn't egregiously off the mark, it also sells the band short a bit. Their mod-rock revival sound bridged the gap between the punk acts and the new wave acts that were beginning to pick up steam. In a sense, The Jam were in no-man's land. Too musical and melodic to be punk, too subversive and angsty to be new wave. Classifications aside, though, they were a great band and today, perhaps a little underlistened to and underappreciated.
A few more underappreciated bands:
And some bands I feel are truly underrated:
Built to Spill
Stiff Little Fingers
Apparently, I don't think 70's and 80's punk gets its due. What are your underrated and underappreciated acts?