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Five For Friday: Supergroups Who Need to Make a Second Album

by Rob Slater on March 14, 2014

The "supergroup" moniker is really overused. There, I said it. Supergroups aren't various members of your favorite super-indie rock bands playing together. That's called a side-project. Supergroups are genre-defying, devastating pairings that make even the most jaded of fans drool all over themselves. Supergroups are why we sit around drinking cheap beer and saying "what if this guy played with that guy?" Supergroups, at their core, are short-lived. And that's the worst part. They come, they blow you away, then they leave. There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'd rather not explore that now.

Regardless, the imprint left by some of our favorite mega-collaborations will never die. We will always have the music, the memories, and the hope that the email or tweet may come across our eyes announcing a reunion tour and new album. For now, let's relive some of the best short-lived supergroups and dig into why they should return for a sophomore effort. Throw on your favorite collaborative record on this Friday and enjoy, commiserate, and rock out to it.

Them Crooked Vultures

The Players: John Paul Jones (Zeppelin), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)

The Debut: Them Crooked Vultures (2009)

Why We Need A Follow-Up: Fans of rock and roll drooled all over themselves when this power trio was announced. Not only would two of the biggest names in rock present (Grohl and Homme) join forces, but a legend from rock's past (Jones) would round out the trio. A match made in musical heaven, and the self-titled debut was nothing short of majestic.

The best thing about TCV (and why we need a follow-up) was that it showcased three classic rock musicians venturing outside of their comfort zone, dabbling in psychedelia as well as heavier rock sounds. The Vultures took the best of Queens, Foo and Zeppelin, threw them in a blender and poured tequila all over it. The best kind of rock and roll smoothie. Let's do it again!

Monsters of Folk

The Players: Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), M. Ward (She & Him)

The Debut: Monsters of Folk (2009)

Why We Need A Follow-Up: Anyone who digs the rootsy, singer/songwriter vibe is basically in love with this group. I mean, if "Say Please" isn't a Beatles B-side, then I must not know Beatles B-sides. The 2009 debut was (and still is) a songwriting clinic, with every nook and cranny carefully and meticulously explored.

While most were excited about the possibilities studio stalwarts James and Ward presented with their collaboration, the aspect that shined brightest was the wide range of vocal tone the quartet could provide. There really is a true Beatles aspect to Monsters of Folk and much like The Fab Four of old, this one quit long before its time.

Postal Service

The Players: Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie), Jimmy Taborello (Dntel)

The Debut: Give Up (2003)

Why We Need a Follow-Up: Sure, the Gibbard/Tamborello project may have re-issued their debut in 2013 and even toured around it again, but that isn't nearly enough. Look at how well a new recording session worked out for the other indie duo pairing, Broken Bells. I'd say they're having a pretty good year so far.

While Gibbard appears busy with Death Cab (which is a great, great thing) if the mood strikes, he should certainly explore a second go-round with The Postal Service. When indie goes full-disco pop, only good things happen.


The Players: Trey Anastasio (Phish), Les Claypool (Primus), Stewart Copeland (The Police)

The Debut: The Grand Pecking Order (2001)

Why We Need a Follow-Up: This trio almost seemed too good to be true. Intended to be a one-off at Jazz Fest in 2000, the all-world trio ended up teasing us all when they released their debut album the following year.

Presently, Trey is back with Phish and Claypool is thriving with Primus, so a studio session next week may not be likely. However, if it were to occur, Anastasio's newfound studio prowess and Claypool's proficiency with getting weird in the studio, all they would need is Copeland to add that extra push to the top. It really doesn't seem like this trio would ever write a "bad" song, although a couple on their debut were hit or miss, especially in the present when all three members seem to be oozing with creativity.

How to Destroy Angels

The Players: Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Mariqueen Maandig (West Indian Girl), Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails), Rob Sheridan (Nine Inch Nails)

The Debut: Welcome oblivion (2013)

Why We Need a Follow-Up: This selection may seem a little off, because the Reznor collaboration with wife Mariqueen Maandig does have a pair of EP's to go along with their 2013 debut Welcome oblivion. Nonetheless, with one studio album, they qualify.

The beauty of this quartet (including Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan), is that it provides mega mastermind Trent Reznor with an outlet for his more sonic, tonal material without the expectations of moshability that comes with writing Nine Inch Nails songs. While there is still a good bit of rock in this project, the imagery and musical layering is really what shines throughout. With Reznor and Ross deep into their movie-scoring days (check out The Social Network soundtrack if you haven't already) and NIN exploring darker themes, another Angels record seems like a perfect culmination to all of these other projects.


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