The news that Stereophonics are on the comeback trail (well, kinda – they had an album out in 2013 that nobody really cared about) with a new album out in September got us thinking.
The music scene is a big, fast-moving and often intimidating place. It's inevitable that the heroes of yesteryear will become the nobodies of today. It happens. With that in mind, we've put together a list of formerly high-profile acts that you might be surprised to hear are still on the go in 2015.
Remember CSS? Sure, the Brazilians were everywhere around 2005 with their self-titled debut album, a radio hit ('Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above') in their back pockets, and a sassy frontwoman called Lovefoxxx, who used to go out with yer man from Klaxons. It seemed like they played Ireland every three months at one stage, but when their second album 'Donkey' was released in 2008, their popularity waned majorly. They've had two more albums since then, the most recent being 2013's 'Planta'. Anyone name a song from it? Anyone? Thought not.
2) THE POLYPHONIC SPREE
While we're on the topic of CSS, here's another band – or choir, or collective, or whatever you want to call them – who were big in the early-to-mid-noughties but haven't done a whole lot since. Their live shows were a hell of a lot of fun – what's not to like about a large group of smiling people jumping around in white robes, playing uplifting indie-pop songs? You'd never have expected longevity to feature in their story, but not only are they still together, but they're playing Dublin next month and released their fourth album 'Yes, It's True' as recently as 2013.
You have to feel a bit sorry for Embrace. Although the Liverpudlians may have been a big deal in the '90s, they've been relegated to a post-Britpop memory in the minds of most – although they had a mini-resurgence with 2004's 'Out of Nothing' and the Coldplay-penned hit 'Gravity'. Still, everyone has at least one rogue mate who'll stand up for Embrace. "Ah yeah, but they had one or two good songs and… and… what about 'All You Good Good People', or, or, 'Save Me' was a cracking tune, and…". If you're the apologist in your group of friends, maybe it's time to have a word with yourself.
4) GOO GOO DOLLS
There are two types of people in the world: those who know Goo Goo Dolls for their one big hit 'Iris' (a song beloved of X Factor wannabes), and those who will regale you with what an amazing back catalogue the New York trio supposedly have. Like Counting Crows fans, however, these people are to be neither trusted nor believed. On the other hand, you have to give it to Goo Goo Dolls – they're approaching their 30th year as a band in 2016, and didn't score major success with the aforementioned 'Iris' until their sixth album, 1998's 'Dizzy Up the Girl'. They're grafters, no doubt of it. Still, though. Still.
Yes, believe it or not, Jamiroquai are still officially classified as an 'active' band. We may be a long way from Jay Kay's heyday (badum tsshhh!) with songs like 'Cosmic Girl' and 'Virtual Insanity', but the 'funk fusion' (shudder) band – who formed in 1992 – are reportedly on the comeback trail, with their 8th studio album rumoured for release sometime this year. We wait in (slightly terrified) anticipation.
6) SUGAR RAY
Remember Sugar Ray? Probably not. You might recall their one hit that made it big on this side of the pond, though – 1999's 'Every Morning'. The Californian band fared moderately better in their native US, where their incursions into funk metal (it's a thing, apparently) first began in 1986. Their sound obviously softened over the years, resulting in radio-friendly shite like 'Every Morning'. Remarkably, they're still on the go and tour regularly, although their last album was in 2009 and titled 'Music for Cougars' – which says it all, really.
7) THE OFFSPRING
To be fair to The Offspring, they were around for quite a while - and as a reasonably well-respected punk-rock band, too - before their struck it lucky with their 1998 album 'Americana', which spawned the mega-hit 'Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)'. Still, unless you were invested in their career, you wouldn't know that they were a going concern in 2015. As a matter of fact, they still tour regularly in the States and are reportedly close to completing their tenth album this year.
Wheatus have been in the Irish gig-going public's consciousness more recently than many of the bands on this list – most notably because they've played here a couple of times over the last year or two. (Who goes to these gigs? Get in touch. We're genuinely fascinated). These guys could write 'The Dummy's Guide to Stretching Out a One-Hit-Wonder Against the Odds'. They've released five albums in total, and celebrate their twentieth anniversary as a band this year. No idea how. No. Idea.
9) NATALIE IMBRUGLIA
First she was in Neighbours, and then she was a pop star, and then things seemed to go a bit quiet for Natalie Imbruglia. Her cover of American band Ednaswap's song 'Torn' established her as a musician in 1997, and she managed to maintain a certain momentum that led to her second album, 2001's 'White Lillies Island' ('Wrong Impression' is still a nifty little pop tune, we'll have you know). Since then, she's released two more studio albums that virtually sank without trace – at least in this part of the world - and you'd be forgiven for thinking she's given up on the music thing altogether. NOT SO! Imbruglia is making a comeback with her first album in six years, 'Male', next month. It's a collection of covers by male artists, if you're wondering what the title is all about. So now you know.