Critical 10: Band Reunions
- Best of List
Nostalgia or Necessary?
A band's dynamic is almost akin to a family, and is as strenuous as a romantic relationship. There are break-ups, make-ups and messy leftovers. But with so many groups reuniting this summer, perhaps the old gripe is true: they just don't make music like they used to.
The Stone Roses
After announcing their reunion tour last year, this seminal group of the Madchester movement hit the road this spring, for their first performance since the group broke up in 1995. Despite only playing a few shows, it seems their truce was a shaky one, with a recent walk off by drummer Reni, who stormed off stage during the band's concert in Holland. Here's hoping they can bury the hatchet long enough to grant us another album before disbanding again until the unforeseeable future.
The Beach Boys
They may not be California boys anymore, but these living legends of American rock have survived more than their fair share of obstacles in the form of legal disputes, mental illness, and substance abuse, just to name a few. Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, the band reunited on this year's Grammys proving they could still carry a tune after all these years. With their first album of all-new material since 1992, That's Why God Made the Radio, they topped the Billboard charts, thanks to CD buying boomers and a fresh set of fans.
The Afghan Whigs
Despite many protestations over the years, Greg Dulli and the rest of the alt-rock group, The Afghan Whigs, finally reunited to perform together for the first time in 13 years. After dusting off the old Whig songs on a solo acoustic tour a couple years back, Dulli decided it was time to revisit the old material using an electric guitar and the rest of the Whigs. With a new track released, and rumored reissues, let's hope we don't have to wait another 14 years for a new album.
Being a cash-strapped Britpop fan can really have its downsides for any stateside resident, but our devotion was rewarded by a recent Pulp reunion tour, complete with the bespectacled Jarvis Cocker bringing his special blend of dry wit and spritely stage choreography to Radio City this past April, a full 14 years after their last New York show. The notoriously underrated group may not have sold out such a venue in their heyday, but their class-bashing music is still just as relevant today.
While they technically reunited back in 2005 and have released two subsequent albums since then, it had been awhile since we last heard anything new from the beloved indie-rock band. After a brief tour last year to revisit their 1988 classic, Bug, on the road, they recently announced not only a full tour, but another record for our anxious ears: a new LP, I Bet On Sky, is due out this September. Time is never on the music lover's side, so it's best to catch these guys on tour while they're still talking to each other.
Archers of Loaf
The reunited alt-rockers played a handful of festival dates last year, the first since their breakup in 1998. While the band-members have been active in other projects, most notably singer-songwriter Eric Bachmann's Crooked Fingers, they've managed to hit the road again this summer, after rereleasing their sophomore album from ‘95, Vee-Vee, which includes 16 unreleased tracks of demos, rarities and all the stuff completist dreams are made of.
Public Image Ltd.
Even old punks will sell their souls for butter ads if it means they can put out new material. And that's exactly what John Lydon (former Sex Pistols frontman) of Public Image Ltd. (PiL) did when he appeared in Country Life Butter commecials and used the paycheck to reform the band and put out a new DIY record. His bristling voice is still savage as ever, and their newest LP, This is PiL, is their first release in two decades. They'll be touring this summer if you can make the trip cross the pond.
When he's not busy communing with nature in the great outdoors, Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle is carrying the torch of the 90's band reunion tradition. Since splitting in 2006, the band recently announced upcoming summer tour dates and a new solo album from Lytle, Department of Disappearance. In the meantime, fans can whet their appetites with reissues of the first three Grandaddy albums.
The Jesus and Mary Chain
Sibling rivalry has broken apart many a band, so we're happy to see brothers Jim and William Reid of the Scottish shoegaze pioneers The Jesus and Mary Chain finally playing nice since their last split-ups in 1998 and 2007. After playing a couple reunion gigs at this year's SXSW, they'll be playing a handful of dates stateside this summer.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse
We had high hopes for Neil Young reuniting with his Crazy Horse band members. Especially since it's been an eight-year sabbatical, and with Patti Smith as a tour opener, it sounded like a win-win. Unfortunately, Americana, Young's experiment with campfire songs, was a huge misfire, but with a second album already in the pipeline, perhaps we'll keep our calendar clear til next year.