TODD RUNDGREN’S UTOPIA – “DISCO JETS” (1976)
Rundgren’s got a humongous discography, online made up of both his solo stuff and the work he did with Utopia, and after having taken a listen to just about the entirety of his output a few months ago, I have to say that 90% of it is total dreck, bland and forgettable MOR meanderings. But there’s a few good moments, such as the back-to-back albums “A Wizard, A True Star” (1973) and the completely genius “Todd” (1974).
Utopia was a band that started out with serious prog chops in the early ’70s, but by the early ’80s had become neutered, watered down into a generic pop band — much like all the rest of the ’70s prog heavy hitters. Utopia began pretty fiercely, though, and buried deep within their frantic output is an album called “Disco Jets” (1976), which remains unreleased, Apparently at the time, Utopia’s label was unhappy with the band turning in an album that was largely instrumental, and devoid of hits, so it chose to shelve it. I think it’s an alright slab, full of wanking analog nuttiness.
I’ve also included Utopia’s first album here as well — it’s a total monster, and it’s a record that’s always overshadowed by the singer/songwriter-y stuff that Rundgren was mostly known for.