It’s always strange, and rather unsettling, when an artist turns up in a blaze of glory, garners a degree of popular and / or critical success, and then disappears back into the ether. Of course, many long-standing artists will have a period where they tend to their families, drug addictions or large amounts of cash in the attic. Tom Vek’s case is a strange one, though: neither rich enough (presumably) nor popular enough (certainly) to really disappear from the limelight in as complete a way as he seemingly has.
Visit his MySpace and you’ll see a long litany of comments, simply saying: “Where are you?” Go to his essentially abandoned website and there’s nothing. No plans for recording beyond the vaguest of implications that work is afoot, and no tentative release dates or fill-in shows. Absolute disappearance. Possibly, the man much derided for his Talking Heads love is brewing up a record to slay the naysayers forever more. _Or_, maybe he’s taken his aural easel, folded it up and gone home for good.
Not uncommonly, many of our favourite bands have disappeared for years – sometimes decades – without a word, surrounded by fervent whispers of ‘difficult fifth records’, cocaine frenzies and satanic rituals in the Hollywood hills.
Beyond Tom Vek, here are a few others who’ve been troubling us:
Obviously there are plans for a record this year, but they’re worth a mention purely on the basis of the fact that they’re serial take-their-timers. The wait between OK Computer _and _Kid A was hell on earth for their many obsessive fans, and the results were typically confounding. Hail To The Thief, their last record, is a good three years old now. We wait with baited breath for the new one.
*Stephen Malkmus *
The last record that Malkmus released was 2005’s Face The Truth. The last record reviewed by DiS was the very patchy Pig Lib in 2003. Face The Truth appeared with such a whimper that you wonder what Malkmus is going to do next to get his career back on track.
Dance-indie-pop crossover king of a couple of years back, Mylo has been royally fucked by the appearance of his compatriot, the much taller and much, much more irritating Calvin Harris. Still, after such an unfeasibly large hit record, you wonder when the bedroom king will be dropping the new shit. Or maybe he’s feeling the pressure… dum dum dum de dum…
*Limp Bizkit *
2003’s Results May Vary (no shit) was their last proper LP, and marked the fall from grace of a band who once were (probably) the biggest turd-rock band in the world. Wes Borland left, he came back, he left again… who cares? Well, us enough to write about it. Apparently the follow-up to their last release, The Unquestionable Truth_ EP, will be out this year. Expect some mirth-making in the process.
No record since 2000’s Stiff Upper Lip – which was great – there’s word of a release early next year. Which is all well and good, but the main thing we’re waiting for is the return of probably still the best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. AC/DC to headline Download 2008? Here’s hoping...
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Their last record, Yanqui U.X.O, appeared in 2002. In 2004, guitarist Roger-Tellier Craig left the band to concentrate on Fly Pan Am. Last year, at a Silver Mt Zion show, Efrim responded to a question about Godspeed's hiatus by saying that he “[Does not] believe that anyone has given up on the group, but it's very complicated”.
No record since the Coxon-less Think Tank_, which seems older than its four years. There’s mooted talk of a recording session this September, and even more mooted chat about the return of our Graham. But another Blur record looks a bit of a long-shot.
The Postal Service
One record, one of the biggest-selling Sub Pop-released albums of all time. Somewhere between massive cult hit and quasi-mainstream crossover, Give Up _is better than all the Dntel and Deathcab records put together. Ever. No wonder everyone’s waiting for a follow-up and, hell, even a couple of live shows would be awesome. There’s talk of something appearing this year, but as ever, it’s very, very quiet…
After the really-quite-good Odyssey _in 2005, the band were dropped by their label, Capitol/EMI. Unabated, we should be hearing something from the former electroclash duo before the end of this year. In the meantime, fans can sate themselves by clapping in time to their tracks which have recently appeared on Nip/Tuck.
Other people we want to know what’s going on with: Roots Manuva, The Kills, Breeders, Cassius, Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Constantines and John Squire. Yes, John Squire…
DiScuss: Are you waiting impatiently for these bands to get themselves into gear? Who else do you miss? What’s the most common reason for bands and artists taking such hiatuses? Do they need that long a holiday…?