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Top 5 “T” Artists

September 14, 2014

With a quartet of posts, I reviewed twice as many ‘S’s than I did with most letters.  Then again, ‘S’ was twice as strong and had more than twice as many albums as most other letters.

Unless large, uninterrupted windows of free time suddenly appear this week, I’m likely back to the standard two reviews with the ‘T’s.

But of course, any reviews will follow the obligatory Top 5!


5. Tribe Called Quest, A
Love that according to my spreadsheets, this got listed as T, a!


4. Thrills, The
New to me and if I had a wheelhouse, this would find itself safely inside.


3. Teenage Fanclub
See rationale for #4!


2. Travis
Between novels, I devour essay collections, typically David Sedaris or Chuck Klosterman.  The latter author & I usually agree on most subjects but our opinions diverge diametrically with regards to Travis.

According to Chuck:

“It does not matter that Coldplay is the sh******* fu***** band I’ve ever heard in my entire fu***** life, or that they sound like a mediocre photocopy of Travis (who sounds like a mediocre photocopy of Radiohead)”

I’ll concede, they have a tendency to sound an awful lot like Thom Yorke & co, so much so that my stunning wife was stunned to hear The Man Who was not actually written & recorded by Radiohead.

I’ll also agree on the noted Radiohead-Travis-Coldplay sound evolution but I’d say the photocopy quality is vastly superior to mediocre!


1. Tragically Hip, The
Everyone has at least some vivid memories of childhood, key formative moments in his or her lifetime.  Seeing the Locked in the Trunk of Car video enter the Coca-Cola Countdown was an eye-opening/mind-blowing experience for me.

If the mark of a truly great band is being able to string together 5 consecutive top-notch records, the hip’s 90s run from Road Apples through Phantom Power ought to punch their ticket into the exclusive club.

Tricky & Thompson, Richard and Linda reviews are up next, enjoy!

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  1. The “T” section of my collection isn’t huge, but I do have the Hip. For me, I have a big #1: Thin Lizzy. Whom I just acquired the 7 disc At The BBC box from of yesterday!

    • Likewise – I’ve got the full hip catalogue but not much of the rest of the letter.
      Nice work on the Thin Lizzy, 7 discs, now that’s a box set!

      • It was one of my “Holy Grail” items. It was a limited edition and went out of print in about 6 months. I’ve been hunting for 3 years. Found it BRAND NEW on CD Japan for $133, which was less than I saw it for on Amazon when it came out new.

      • And the hunt is over!
        I have a feeling I’ll have some grail items from the 1001 – I’m thinking some of the more obscure ones from the 50s/early 60s may be tough to track down.
        With the first couple hundred, it’s been a lot of the ‘low-hanging fruit’ easy to find at garage sales, bargain bins, but I have a feeling by album #800 or so, I’ll be consulting the grail search committee for help finding stuff!

      • The Grail Search Committee is at your disposal, but be forewarned! Aaron and I are doing the annual Toronto trip soon, if you want anything this year, that is an excellent time to ask!

      • Nice – I’ll take a look at my 50s list and report back with requests!

      • I’m curating a Master Grail Search List over on the KMA, for anyone who wants to throw in their list of items that have eluded them forever for all to see.

        At the top of the main page at the KMA, there’s a sticky post called Pluggery. In that post is the Master List. If you want me to add anything we can all search for for you, fire a comment onto that post with your list (or email me) and I’ll update so everyone can see it.

        I’m actually thinking of changing it from Pluggery to Master Search list, so everyone can always find it as easy as pie. In fact, I’m-a go do that now.

        Send me your list! 🙂

  2. Oh man, Tragically Hip. Yes. Yes. YES. YESSSSSSS!!!! Total agreement. I got on board at Up To Here, and never looked back. First Day Buyer here, every record. Speaking of UTH, I would also argue that you oughta up the number of the run of astounding albums to include it, IMHO.

    And A Tribe Called Quest. Very, very good call. Man, it’s tough with the “T” section. Thin Lizzy. Tool. Even the Trews…

    • it took me a few seconds to decode IMHO, humble!
      As you might imagine, I have no disagreements about the merits of UTH 😀
      Music @ Work is half great, probably same for In Violet Light & We’re all the same.
      World Container might be my #2 behind Fully Completely!

      • Sorry, I don’t usually use those web-speak thingies. OMFG haha.

        I touched on all of the Hip records on the KMA, and found none of them lacking. Perhaps I’m biased, or too invested in it or something, but I can usually decipher where they were headed with an album. For the longest time, my jogging MP3 player had all their records on it, same as I did Metallica this time – all in one folder, no track numbering so it goes as a mix alphabetically by track name. It’s a great way to get to tracks we don’t always hear, and it cemented all of it in my head as awesome.

      • Correction, Now For Plan A was not out yet, when I went through them all. Come to think of it, I still need to review that one…

      • I eagerly await a Plan A review – it wasn’t my favourite, but it was the hip, therefore also still just fine. TTH just have the misfortune of competing with themselves, not an easy task topping some of those older records!

    • Trews played an acoustic show in Kingston last summer – Gord Sinclair & Paul Langlois got up on stage and played a few tunes with them.
      The Trews singer nailed 38 years old!

      • Damn, that would have been awesome! Do you have Langois’ solo record? And the two Stripper’s Union records?

  3. jprobichaud permalink

    As you already know, I way on board with your number three pick but I am also a Travis admirer. My wife and I saw them for “The man who” tour. Brilliant.

    • Envious! I’m impressed you guys get out to so many shows & festivals – some of those choruses from ‘the man who’ would have been something else to see live, big sing-a-longs!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Yeah. We’ve seen a lot of shows together. A lot of songs on “The man who” would’ve filled a stadium but we saw them at The Warehouse in Toronto. We sang along for sure.

      • I enjoy seeing bands out of their home country – saw Blue Rodeo in Scotland in a club once, no chance that would happen at home!

  4. Very nice list, especially #’s 1-4, even though only one (The Hip) would possibly make it to my Top 5 or 10. Very pleased to see Travis get some love. It seems like people forgot about them as soon as Coldplay became huge.

    A few key “T” artists who deserve consideration, in addition to Thin Lizzy (who Mike already mentioned):
    Pete Townshend
    The Tubes
    James Taylor
    Robin Trower
    Richard Thompson
    They Might Be Giants
    Talking Heads
    Tangerine Dream
    Tears For Fears
    Thirty-Eight Special (or do they get listed under “numbers”?)
    George Thorogood
    Peter Tosh
    Derek Trucks

    Wow, this is another tough letter. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten some deserving artists.

    • A few of those Ts definitely make appearances on the 1001 (Talking Heads make 4 stops).

      I have a feeling, based on the limited Richard Thompson I’ve heard so far, that he’ll be on a future list for me.

      Good question about 38 Special – and thank you for reminding me. With my spreadsheets, there are 5 classified as numbers (2pac and few more), the alphabet series won’t actually be complete until I get to a Top 5 ‘Number’ Artists as well!

  5. I never really made the comparison between Radiogead and Travis at all. I’m not really sure Radiohead would welcome that comparison at all, and I don’t even like Radiohead (and kind of like Travis)!!

    • I hadn’t really noticed either until Klosterman was, let’s call it, emphatic about it! After hearing him say it though, for me it became sort of like when you’re buying a house and all of a sudden you see for sale signs everywhere that you’d previously never noticed.

  6. Do you know that Super Furry Animals released an album named “Phantom Power” too?
    As Steven Wright observed, “It’s a small world but I wouldn’t want to paint it”.

    These 5 Ts are amongst my favourite artists, period.

    Tangerine Dream
    Teenage Fanclub
    Thompson, R
    Talk Talk

    • And he’d say it deadpan of course! I was not aware of that record, they’re on the list with another album, I can’t recall the name at the moment.
      Speaking of the 1001 list, I believe all your picks make at least one appearance. Just had the terrific “I want to see the bright lights tonight” on this week – another of those, how had I not heard this one?!

  7. Can’t say I ever made the Travis/Radiohead connection either. I don’t have a lot of Ts actually. My Top 4 would probably be:

    Richard Thompson
    Type O Negative
    Thin Lizzy

    And 5th place would probably be a tie between Twisted Sister, Trouble, Testament, Triptykon, Tygers of Pan Tang, Talk Talk, Thunder and Toto! Sorry, just couldn’t decide.

    • … throw in Twilight of the Gods (best album of 2013) and Tokyo Blade too!

      • I was pleased to be able to reference the twisted sister video’s “electric twanger” line the other day.
        Love the diversity of the picks, Toto and Testament don’t always show up in the same category!

  8. Oooft. ‘T’ is a tough one. Let’s see … I’d have to go with the following (and absolutely no Travis in sight!)

    1. Twilight Singers
    2. Truly
    3. TV On the Radio
    4. Talking Heads
    5. Ten Minute Warning (one album, but enough to secure them a place),

    … Tool and This Will Destroy You just missing out.

    • As a Glaswegian, I guess you’ve probably heard enough of Travis! They didn’t make it too big in Canada (only Why does it always rain on me seemed to get airtime) so I wasn’t as overexposed to them.
      Not familiar with all of those – saw Tool a couple years ago, one of the more distinct sounds I’ve heard!

      • Horrible, horrible band. Can’t say what it is exactly, as I don’t listen to mainstream radio enough to say that it’s just that I’m sick to death of them. I just think they’re too pedestrian, I’m afraid.

  9. I loathe Travis. Their watered-down, insipid melodies and delivery are only slightly less painful to me than their success. I haven’t heard any of their album tracks, only the singles that seeped from the radio including lowlights like the pathetic ‘Sing’, so I can’t comment on any Radiohead similarities, but I find it hard to believe that they have approached the latter band’s adveturous spirit.

    • you’d get along well with Mr. Klosterman!
      More in common with the first 2 radiohead records, very little with anything Radiohead’s produced in the 21st Century

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