The Bob Hate Discography by Hector "The Brim" Torres.

BOB HATE & THE EDDY BAND

**** Classic
*** Worth owning
** Meh, a couple of good tracks
* Waste of vinyl, polymer, or bandwidth

Bad in My Car • Eddy Band (1996)
***
The first Eddy lineup works its way through a stellar collection of songs, especially the title track and “Sin Crowd.” The powerful rhythm section shines.

Better Man Than I’ve Been • Bob Hate (1998)
**
A quiet and introspective record. But there is only so much broken heartedness we can be expected to bear. There are several moments when a listener will be encouraged to simply drive into a ditch.

Heart Like the Ocean • Bob Hate (2002)
**
A clever collection of 10 Bob Dylan tracks. Some re-arrangements are brilliant, like Hate’s clean and direct version of “Like a Rolling Stone.” Others, like the muddled “Masters of War,” are precious and indulgent.

Like a King • Bob Hate (2003)
****
Features the best of Bob’s 1990 work with the Eddy fellas, and some newer solo perform­ances, the desperate “Gas Giants,” and the electrifying “Swimming.”

Gasoline Nation • Bob Hate (2004)
**
Random and unessential. A couple of Hate / Hix tracks are interesting, especially Baltimore Girl. But some alternate versions of already released tunes are mere sketches that reveal nothing.

Poor Company • Bob Hate (2008)
*
Rudimentary and dull home demos. A casual and uninspired mix of decades-old tracks and some new, unfinished tunes.

Bitter Solo Album • Bob Hate (2009)
**
Angsty and overindulgent for the most part, but anchored with 2 new classics, “Nowhere” and “Silver City.”

Wreckerman • Eddy Band (2009)
***
This disc chronicles the 2008/2009 Eddy band reunion. The recordings are first rate. Thomas’s guitar work is inspired.

Six Foot Length of Rope • Eddy Band (2010)
****
Unnecessary and essential all at the same time; a collection of the best of Eddy, featuring 10 tracks from last year's "Wreckerman" paired with the half dozen best from the band’s first disc.

Imagine My Disappointment • Bob Hate (2010)
**
At first glance just a solo companion to SFLOR noted above, but this retrospective stands out mostly for its inclusion of a handful of revelatory tracks from early in Hate’s career, especially the evocative and transcendent “Romance,” and the early 90 classics “Map of the World” and “Desertland.” But too much of the rest appears on quite recent releases in more context.

eddimusik elektronik • Bob Hate (2010)
*
You have to really love blips and beeps to love this. And I don’t. Only saving grace is the haunting “Wichita Lineman.”

Every Day’s Been Darkness Since You’ve Been Gone • Bob Hate (2010)
***
A dynamic and creative collection of covers. In nearly all cases the songs are re-cast so well in Hate’s fashion that you’ll begin to forget the originals. Chief among this disc’s successes are “Beast of Burden,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”

Stopgap • Bob Hate (2012)
***
A selection of demos, featuring a number of new in-progress Eddy tunes, including “Bir­mingham,” a gorgeous ballad that Bob leans into with his 60’s heartbreak guy voice. Disc ruined with keyboards and reverb, as usual. But essential all the same for the inclusion of the new version of perennial under-achiever “Lubbock” (at least three recorded versions exist), and the new and quintessential Hate track, “King of Nothing.”

King of Nothing • Bob Hate (2012)
****
A sprawling, comprehensive, and well-chosen collection of the best band and solo recordings from 2008-2012. Features the first appearance of drummers Pete Young and Dave Whitlock. Some solo tracks from Stopgap, released early in the year, are much improved by the addition of actual musicians.

Superbaby • Rick Bart & Bob Hate (2012)
*
Gets a star for the funny title. But this 5 track, 60 minute (!) mess is a mashup of decent short story writing and overly permissive snatch and grab music “production.” Execrable.

In the Days of Gluten • Bob Hate (2013)
**
A followup to the 2010 covers collection, this disc has a few standouts, but there are too many mopey weepers and dull classic stompers. The closing and quiet Cast No Shadow is pretty fantastic, and the Timberlake and Aguilera numbers are modern and groovy.

Spanish for Hospital • Eddy Band (2013)
***
The band's "farewell" album should have been a muddled mess. Recorded partially in a brief Texas session and then finished up with some long-distance trickery, it might have lacked focus. But it’s a testament to the band’s strong material that it somehow nearly all works. At times some nimble bass playing from Buck Rudo and guitar work from Stephen Thomas stands out, but the material is the star. Literate narratives like the CD opener “Eddy + Cindy,” the muscular “Ruby,” and the funny and sharp “The Take” all make stellar companions to the band’s earlier, sprawling catalog. Front man Bob Hate wrings pathos out of some of the ballads, and careens through most of the tracks as a stellar – and not completely trustworthy – storyteller.

Juvenilia • Bob Hate (2014)
****
This is nothing short of a revelation, a dozen 30 year old songs re-recorded and reimagined over a blistering 9 days. Most of the tunes are completely unknown to all but the most fervent fans, and they strike with alacrity and force. The rockers, like “Remember my Name,” “Dream Street,” and “Hold Your Tongue” are taut and thrilling. Some moodier pieces like “The Twist” and “Big Girl” highlight directions Hate might have gone had he not followed the bitter 2 lane roads of middle Americana. Euro-guitarists Klimis and Mostafa add no small amount of bite to a number of the tunes, but it’s Hate’s own diverse acoustic work that adds some authentic texture to the disc.

I Was the Big Train (Unplugged) • Bob Hate (2014)
*** 
Coming so closely on the heels of the surprising “Juvenilia,” this disc unfortunately gets a bit lost in early year releases. Its 12 songs are all rendered achingly in a mostly unplugged format. (If you consider synthesized conga samples unplugged, well then you’ll be just fine.) But the disc is a winner. It’s an especially idiosyncratic collection of tunes, but the earnest playing holds the disc together. Well known older tunes like “Map of the World” and “Bad in my Car” come off beautifully in stripped down – yet propulsive – arrangements. And the deep cuts like “Love Carlene” and “Marie” shine. The standout tracks are those that have received the biggest overhaul, like “Pontiac,” which was transformed from a comic car ride into a terrifying goodbye letter.

Hate Town • Bob Hate (2016)
*** 
The release of 3 summer 2016 EPs from lost Americana giant Bob Hate came as a shock to many fans. Happily, Bitter Clown Records has neatly merged them into an extended disc, populated with little wonders. Throughout, the recordings are energetic and winning. Some songs like “Crash Car Mike,” “Make it Up,” and “Not Today” have been wholly rewritten and rendered propulsive and superb compared to their bootleg versions. And Pasadena guitarist (and YouTube sensation) 'The Hash' provides some stunning modern textures, like in "Drenched to the Bone,” that could have been used more liberally. London-based Phil Ockelford adds tasty blues work to several tracks, perfectly crafted solos that often extend the lyricism of the music. Frequent and longtime collaborators Chet Hix and Stephen Thomas also have songs featured on the disc; Thomas’s “Seconds” is especially taut and thrilling. And the mid 90s Hate/Hix period is well represented, maybe most brilliantly in the comic madness of “Planet Dog.” The 16 song release is sprawling enough even to feature some of Hate’s blues past, with instant classic “Wish I’d Quit You” being balanced with the funny “Brand New Man.” But the reader will likely return most frequently to the long-rumored but never released “Desertland,” and the title track, a splendid song that features Hate’s once in a generation voice, heartbreaking, brilliant, and gone too soon.

Something Bad Has Happened Here • Bob Hate (2017)
***
When the pre-release for Bob Hate's newest new album was made available (the second in 3 months), I was one of the first dozen writers offered a listen. My history with Hate and his able (and too-occasional) backing band is long and tortured. But I was encouraged by the liveliness and vigor in the summer surprise "Hate Town," and "Something Bad" is a swift but welcome followup. Like other recent releases, SBHHH features re-worked versions of some older material Hate wrote with bandmates Chet Hix and Stephen Thomas. Of those, "Last to Go" and "We're Gone" really stand out. They are, can I say it, a little funky? Blues-based in its overall theme, the album is tightly played but generous with narrative. Throughout, the characters of Big Tiny and Melinda seem to scuffle about in a 30 year romance that probably is best summed up in the era-defining "Big Tiny," a worthy addition to Hate's canon. "Lookaway," written 25 years ago with Chet Hix, and recorded pretty much in the same arrangement as rare but extant demos, is terrific, dark, and awfully mysterious. "Something Bad" is a minor key blues number that shows some promise, and "Savannah," with its bezerker tempo changes, is again surprising and challenging. If I ever get the pleasure of interviewing Hate again - a rather unlikely scenario given our last meetings - I'll have to ask him about the "train, train" chorus that appears in both "Savannah" and an earlier track on the album, wait for it, called "Train, Train." In fact trains appear in 5 of the songs. What is he? A hobo? It was such a revelation when Hate and the Eddy Band re-emerged in 2008. They have worked compellingly, if not steadily, ever since. And nearly all of the work has proven to be worthy and thrilling additions to their catalogs.