The expectation for most artists these days is, after releasing an album, to tour and tour and tour until they just can’t tour no more. A longer stretch of time between records means fans getting hungrier and hungrier for new tunes with each passing month. Gone are the days of the annual album > tour > album cycle.
Thankfully, there are a number of artists that live to buck that particular trend. They crank out the music with alarming regularity, to the point that it can be difficult to keep up with everything. Ah, but isn’t that glorious problem to have? As Mae West once said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful. Here, then, are a mere 10 artists that are putting the rest of the world to shame with their creative output.
1. Lil B
The best way to describe the career of hip-hop artist and motivational speaker Lil B is as distressingly prolific. It doesn’t seem at all fair to the rest of the world’s rappers to know that, since he self-released his first album I’m Thraxx in 2009, he has been unloading every last thought in his head to the tune of five full-length albums, multiple EPs, and a whopping 50 mixtapes. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that 2013’s 05 Fuck Em mix threw down 101 tracks that totaled over five hours of music. Should we be worried that it’s March and we haven’t heard any new music for Lil B yet this year?
2. Ty Segall
Since being embraced by the Bay Area garage punk scene in the late ‘00s, Ty Segall hit the ground at full speed and hasn’t really looked back since. What he’s left in his wake is an impressive and eclectic discography that includes his own solo records, collaborations with buddies like Mikal Cronin and White Fence, membership in the groups Fuzz and The Traditional Fools, and even a healthy smattering of production credits. Long may you run, Ty Segall.
Future has secured his place in the hip-hop pantheon by rarely wasting a waking moment. That’s allowed him to knock out a quartet of albums, including the recently released EVOL and a grip of mixtapes. His true cachet, however, maybe his numerous guest appearances on other artists’ albums and mixes, which has helped him to stick deep into the public consciousness and fuck up some commas on the regular.
This enigmatic avant-garde artist has been flooding the marketplace with his singular musical visions since 1978 ,and he shows little sign of stopping now. If anything, he’s got even more material to share with the world since he started performing live, and recording every show, starting in 2004. To that end, Jandek has issued 27 live albums through his Corwood Industries label that vary in tone from solo acoustic sets to guitar/drum/bass clatterings. And in the mix, he’s also dropped a series of studio recordings that include a nine-disc set of solo piano instrumentals, and a six-disc set of piano and synth duets.
5. Gucci Mane
You gotta hand it to this Atlanta rapper for mixing moxie in with his prolificacy. In March of last year, he dropped a trio of albums, charmingly titled Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, and, for the past two years, Christmas Day releases entitled East Atlanta Santa. The slow commercial decline of trap over the past decade also hasn’t slowed him down one bit, with a whopping 49 mixtapes to his credit and a slew of guest appearances and featured spots on tracks by Jamie Foxx, Mariah Carey, and Yelawolf.
6. Thee Oh Sees
How do you deal with the decision to put your band on indefinite hiatus in 2013? If you’re John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, you turn around a release a new album the next year and then hit the road. Surrounding that hilarious turn of events has been a bumper crop of incredible garage punk albums and 7”s that provide ample evidence (not to mention countless live appearances) that something very wonderful is in the air out the Bay Area if it’s able to inspire Ty Segall and Dwyer like this.
7. Willie Nelson
You have to wonder if Willie Nelson knows that he’s reaching the end of his days and wants to make sure he gets as many licks in as he can before he breathes his last. That would go some small way toward explaining how, over the past decade, he has blessed us with as much fine music as he has. It’s been a steady stream of strong solo efforts along with collaborations with his old buddy Merle Haggard, Western swing icons Asleep At The Wheel, jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, and easy listening vocalist Don Cherry.
8. Robert Pollard
Uncle Bob has long been a proponent of first thought/best thought songwriting and completely uninterested in fixing shaky performances or wonky lyrics with overdubs. That is precisely why his name is associated with hundreds of recordings, either released under his own name (18 LPs over the past decade), as a member of his peerless rock band Guided By Voices (since 2006, six full-lengths and 23 singles), or as part of any number of other projects. You can do your best to keep up, but by the time you think you have, Pollard will have already released a few more albums for you to chase after.
Unless you live in Japan or are best friends with the artist or have a limitless budget to spend on music, there’s almost no chance you could collect everything that Masami Akita, aka Merzbow, has released. Of the nearly 300 albums that the noise artist has released, over 75 of them have come out over the past 10 years, as well as seven multi-disc sets that generally comprise his previously unreleased material. Eight more albums (many of them collaborations) are on the way this year. We might never know how, but fans of experimental and extreme music are very glad that Akita keeps finding the time and inspiration.
10. Pete Namlook
German electronic producer Pete Namlook can’t stop and won’t stop. When he’s not overseeing his record label FAX +49-69/450464, he’s making music. Lots and lots of music. Much of his work since 2006 has looked to the inspiration of synth pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Cluster, with a definite influence of fourth world composers like Jon Hassell melding into the mix. The sounds get even better when Namook (nee Peter Kuhlmann) allows a little acid house and techno to flow into his expansive works that can sometimes float on for the better part of a half hour.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can find more of his writing here;.