Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Best Discography Sites - Part 3 of 5

Previously, this series was introduced with a 90s indie band and then followed up by a 50s rockabilly queen.  Today, for the third installment, we'll go to the late 70s with The Shapes.  As we can see from, The Shapes released a 4-song 7-inch in 1979 featuring "Wot's for lunch Mum? (Not B*****s again)" and "(I Saw) Batman (In The Launderette)" and also a 2-sing 7-inch in 1980.  As always, 45cat excels at providing high quality pictures of the original records, the sleeves as well as the insides.

Both Wikipedia and Discogs have the same two releases along with the 1998 collection which first brought The Shapes to my attention.  Discogs also includes 5 appearances on various compilations, including their appearance on the excellent Messthetics series.  Importantly, they are findable as a UK band via wikipedia's well-known, but too-infrequently-imitated disambiguation feature.  They're a tad harder to find on Discogs.  If you enter "The Shapes" into the search tool on Discogs, nothing that comes up initially is close to what you want, but if you click on "Artist" at the top, you quickly get to a set of links for various bands called "The Shapes" from which you can find the right one. is relatively incautious about disambiguation.  I don't know if bots are too blame or if it's due to their minimal use of crowdsourcing corrections.  The bio at Allmusic appears to be accurate, or at least consistent with other reliable sources, but the discography includes not only the collection that is truly theirs but also two other releases that are almost certainly some other band's or bands'.  For instance, this record can also be found at bandcamp, and I really don't think the original The Shapes became a mathrock band called Shapes.  Mind the "The". does an impressive job of listing the different options for The Shapes.  You can find the band that miscategorized at under "Shapes (Birmingham, UK Rock Band)" and you can find The Shapes for whom we are looking today easily identifiable as "The Shapes (UK Punk Band)" second on the list.  Musicbrainz only lists 4 compilation tracks, not the 1998 collection or the original singles, but it feels like musicbrainz has at least built a framework that will allow for continuous improvement.

Rateyourmusic, on one nice single page, list the 4-song 7-inch (the EP), the 2-song 7-inch, the collection, and 5 appearances on various compilations.  I can't tell for sure if the 5 compilations included by rateyourmusic are the same as the 5 listed by discogs.  They have slightly different titles and dates, but only rateyourmusic has cover photos for all 5.

This round goes to Rateyourmusic, but Discogs a very close second.  Allmusic, to my surprise, comes in dead last.  I knew they were facing tougher competition these days, but I'm starting to wonder why I keep putting up with the aggressive pop-up ads for what is increasingly looking like an inferior site.  I hope they make a comeback, because they're a site I've valued as a resource for many years.

And now I think it might be time for lunch.  I don't think I'll have beans, just to disimbiguate myself from The Shapes.

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