Best of the 90s

PJ Harvey - Best Band of the 90s

PJ Harvey – Best Band of the 90s

What characterized music in the 90s depends on who you were, and where you lived. The number of cultural tribes that splintered into even more diverse subcultures is too vast to succinctly summarize in a nutshell. To Stefan in Chicago, the 90s meant Madonna, TLC, Spice Girls, and the house and techno he danced to at raves. To Jolene in Nashville, the 90s were all about Shania Twain, Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks. John in Milwaukee grew up on Motley Crue and Ratt, but was introduced to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Faith No More and Tool, and never looked back. Shelly in Fargo had no use for Nirvana, and preferred Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and AC/DC, who she saw with her dad shortly before he left home with a girlfriend barely older than her. Angelina, while at college in Oberlin, liked PJ Harvey, Hole, Babes In Toyland and had her mind blown by a live performance by Diamanda Galas, while her roommate Rachel preferred Alanis Morrisette, The Cranberries and Garbage, and was acutely disturbed by Angelina’s new Diamanda poster, which looked like something out of a horror movie. George sang in a Yale vocal group and listened to Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & The Blowfish and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while his hippie roommate Kyle listened to Primus and Phish, and had his own jamband, Pigpile. Kyle “freaked” when he first heard Radiohead and started introducing covers into his band’s repertoire, to the protest of his bandmates. Thor (not his given name) in Santa Cruz like to blast Butthole Surfers, NoMeansNo and Operation Ivy while he skated, and went to local punk and hardcore shows, while his friend Scratch listened to The Beastie Boys, Ministry and The Prodigy. Jason in Cleveland also listened to Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, but drifted to other industrial acts like KMFDM, Skinny Puppy and Front 242 when he felt they were getting too popular. His first wooed his goth girlfriend Misty, who was into The Mission, Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Dead Can Dance, by making her a mix tape that had turned her onto The Swans and Miranda Sex Garden. Michael in Brooklyn, barely 14, worshipped The Notorious B.I.G., Nas and Jay-Z, and had just started working up the nerve to pick up the mic at some local house parties. Roger was deep in Oakland hip-hop scene, but was hungry for something new. He befriended a German housewife named Mary through an Internet discussion group, who sent him tapes introducing him to Einsturzende Neubauten, Godflesh and Scorn, while he reciprocated with selections by Pharcyde, Blackalicious, and Jurassic 5. To friends and family of twin brothers Troy and Travis in Miami, they both listened to the same music – frighteningly extreme death metal. But the brothers insisted their tastes hardly overlapped. Travis followed homegrown heroes like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Obituary, while Troy argued the superiority of Swedish bands Entombed, Opeth and At The Gates. Both still love Judas Priest and Megadeth but will not admit to it. Leslie in Seattle cried when Kurt Cobain’s body was found and stayed up all night at the vigil. But she soon abandoned grunge, instead embracing the more introverted, abstract post-rock and electronic sounds of Labradford, Bark Psychosis, Autechre and Orbital. Kristen was a big fan of local Raleigh bands Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Polvo, and would go to a local pizza joint just because Polvo’s guitarist Ash Bowie worked there. Lorien was a bartender in St. Louis and liked to pre-program the jukebox to play her favorites by The Jayhawks, Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo. Andre was an anglophile who liked Blur, Pulp and Elastic. He became so smitten with Lorien one night when a friend brought him to the bar, that he bought the new Wilco CD the day it came out specifically so he could lend it to her. Back in Chicago, Frederick grew up going to Scratch Acid, Naked Raygun and Big Black shows, but made an effort to get more into dance music to enhance his social life. He met his partner Stefan while dancing to En Vogue at a club on Halsted.

Now that it’s been over 11 years since the 1990s ended, it’s easier to look back on it with a fresh perspective. When I put together my first version of my best of list in 2000, it was hard to put it in historical context. Just like any other decade, people will have oddly disparate views of it. Just as the 60s were seen as wildly revolutionary and hopeful by some and a tragic failure by others, and the 80s as both an abyssmal cultural blackhole and a pop rennaissance.

Melvins: Godfathers of Grunge

Melvins: Godfathers of Grunge

On the positive tip, young bands who’s members were just born in the 90s are starting to show strong influences of certain strains of indie rock and shoegaze in their music. People tend to often take an enthusiastic interest in music made around the time of their birth, and it’s kind of refreshing for those of us who lived through it to view it through their rosy lenses. What’s odd to me are the people who oversimplify an era even when they’ve experienced it first hand. The most common story is of course how Nirvana and grunge exploded onto the scene and “killed” hair metal. In fact, grunge has been blamed for killing almost everything. For example, in a recent interview, Steve Kilbey of The Church said, “Grunge came along and completely wiped us out.”

This is very similar to the phenomenon of punk being credited or blamed for wiping out bands in the 70s. Yet it’s still really difficult to substantiate either claim. Nearly all bands, genres and styles have a finite lifespan of creative relevance and popularity. Stars rise as others fade, and one doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the other. The careers of many British prog rock bands were already in decline before punk even got going. And it’s not like punk completely dominated the album charts. In North America, of course, it was barely a blip on the charts. When Nirvana’s Nevermind bumped Michael Jackson’s Dangerous from the #1 position on the album charts in January 1992, what did it mean? Many felt it symbolically represented the new guard taking over from the King of [80s] pop. Yet Jackson’s influence on music overall would arguably remain more powerful than Nirvana’s. Looking at the top sellers of the 90s, grunge made barely a blip. Pearl Jam’s more classic rock influenced Ten eventually eclipsed Nevermind, becoming the 18th best selling album of the decade with 12.1 million copies, compared to Nevermind ranking 29th with 10.6 million. Their followup Vs. also made the top hundred at #76. Then there was the pop-punk of No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom (#31), Green Day’s Dookie (#33), alternative rockers Smashing Pumpkins (Melon Collie… #39), U2 (Achtung Baby #41), Stone Temple Pilots (Core #56 & Purple #89), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Blood Sugar Sex Magik #68) and Offspring, who’s Smash (#97) had the distinction of being the best selling album from a true indie label. But if you’re going to talk sales, then the 90s belonged to Garth Brooks, with 7 albums selling over 74.3 million copies. Shania Twain’s had two albums that sold a total of 34.3 million, and Celine Dion had three albums sell 32.4 million (see charts). The other big winners were Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Dixie Chicks, Boyz II Men and Kenny G. So much for the alternative/grunge revolution.

Considering how much record companies depend on blockbusters to make most of their money, it’s amazing they paid alternative music any attention at all. But it’s no new thing to sign cult underground artists. Practically the entire roster of the 70s CBGB bands released albums on Sire, and a large portion of the British punk albums were on majors. 80s bands The Cure, U2, Echo & The Bunnymen, XTC, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Smiths, X, The Fall, Shriekback, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Cult, Julian Cope, Hoodoo Gurus, Hunters & Collectors, Guadalcanal Diary, The Church, The Feelies, The The, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soundgarden, R.E.M., Soul Asylum, The Pixies, Jane’s Addiction and many more all released albums on major labels before Nirvana. The risk is often minimal to the labels as those bands tend to record and tour very cheaply.

A positive influence of Nirvana (via Sonic Youth, who influenced Geffen in signing them) is that their success inspired major labels to diversify their releases. Remember that in 1991 we were in the throes of an economic recession, and album sales through the first three quarters of 1991 were in decline. Even in that environment, Nirvana wasn’t the most adventurous major label signing that year. Warner Bros. released the self-titled Mr. Bungle album that year, featuring Mike Patton’s spastic avant rock. Patton’s other band Faith No More would go on to release something nearly as challenging with 1992′s Angel Dust. Despite the recession, there was still plenty of money to invest in new talent thanks to the likes of Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Celine Dion. Once Nevermind, and soon after, Ten started selling beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, the feeding frenzy commenced.

This is where many believe a lot of damange was done to the music scene, with too many bands signing poor deals that involved advances that they would end up not being able to pay back. While the major labels are not without fault, they were simply conducting the same exploitive practices they’ve done for decades. Bands that did not use good lawyers and bit off more than they could chew were also at fault. Too many bands were delusional in thinking they could have even a fraction of Nirvana and Pearl Jam’s success, which was really just a perfect storm of luck and circumstance that could not be duplicated by any sort of formula. There were a few cases of lesser talents like Bush and Creed capitalizing on some success. But there were also a lot of good bands in the beginning of the decade that enjoyed modest hits, like Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, Pavement, Beastie Boys, Alice In Chains, Sonic Youth, Sugar, Ministry, The Lemonheads, The Breeders, Helmet, Screaming Trees, L7, Babes In Toyland, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, The Afghan Whigs, Dinosaur Jr., Tool, Uncle Tupelo and The Posies. Billboard/Nielson are very stingy with their information, so it’s hard to get actual sales info on these releases without paying hundreds of dollars. But to put it in context, it was extremely rare for an 80s indie band to sell more than 20,000 albums. Most of these bands were easily doing ten times that, and a handful reached 500,000 and beyond.

As time goes by, who sold how many albums means less and less. Looking at albums listed as personal favorites and on 90s album polls, grunge is just a drop in an ocean of diverse styles. Some can be categorized as alternative, rap/hip-hop, indie rock, shoegaze, Brit pop, trip hop, electronica, jungle/drum ‘n’ bass, metal and all it’s subgenres, and others, like DJ Shadow, Disco Inferno, Slint, Tortoise, Talk Talk, Björk, Laika, Sigur Rós, Boredoms, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Dirty Three and Labradford defy easy categorization (though post-rock is a handy bucket for some of them). Even Jeff Buckley didn’t seem to fit in anywhere when I first saw him play a small room in 1994. He had cheesy classic rock tendencies, yet also the sensitivity of a 40s chanteuse. Yet they have proven to have a long lasting influence on future musical developments.

My 90s involved a few hundred shows, mostly at small venues. The best seemed to be the most intense, sweatiest performances by the likes of The Jesus Lizard, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Walt Mink, Fugazi, Shellac, Gaunt and Rocket From The Crypt. Eric Davidson of the New Bomb Turks did a good job in telling the neglected story in We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (2010). I also remember taping 120 Minutes on my housemate’s VCR to see the latest videos by Catherine Wheel, Morrissey and Ride. Learning that Polly Jean Harvey was born within a month of me and also grew up listening to Captain Beefheart, inspiring a (not my first or last) celebrity crush. Watching James Brown in Grant Park, altered by special brownies. Reading enticing reviews of Tricky, Laika, Disco Inferno, Oval, Autechre, Mouse On Mars and Portishead in The Wire and Option and tracking down the imports via Reckless, Evil Clown and the new online vendor CDNow, which started in September 1994. Hearing “Bittersweet Symphony” everywhere I went in London, Amsterdam and Prague in autumn 1997 (actually Gypsy Kings seemed to be the big thing in Prague at the time). At the clubs in 1999 Barcelona, the big song I heard repeatedly was Hanson’s “Mmm Bop.” Buying way too many CDs to fill out my jazz, reggae and soul sections. And just after the end of the decade, snubbing my childhood hero Bono in order to meet Polly Harvey when she opened for U2.

The list below is not meant to be a strictly definitive reference of all the best music of the 90s. It’s the opinion of one person. Those wondering about missing hip-hop albums, I did enjoy to varying degrees consensus favorites by Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and GZA/Genius, which can be found lurking in my yearly lists. They just didn’t make the cut to the big list. The value of an individual’s list is that you’ll find a lot of interesting albums that you won’t find elsewhere (Acclaimedmusic.net is a good reference for critical consensus). Aside from rap, there is plenty more good music bubbling under. Many of my favorite bands have numerous albums that I enjoy and still listen to, but did not make the top 300 list, such as Royal Trux , The Sea And Cake, Eleventh Dream Day, Uncle Tupelo. So while 300 may seem a lot to some, it’s only scratching the surface of an entire decade of music.

Album of the 90s: Tricky, Maxinquaye (1995)

Best Albums of the 90s

  1. Tricky – Maxinquaye (Island)95
  2. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing (Mo Wax) 96
  3. Disco Inferno – DI Go Pop (Rough Trade) 94
  4. Slint – Spiderland (Touch & Go) 91
  5. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (Sire) 91
  6. PJ Harvey – Rid Of Me (Island) 93
  7. Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey) 96
  8. Tom Waits – Bone Machine (Island) 92
  9. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam) 90
  10. Tom Waits – The Black Rider (Island) 93
  11. Nirvana – Nevermind (Geffen) 91
  12. PJ Harvey – Is This Desire? (Island)98
  13. Massive Attack – Blue Lines (Virgin) 91
  14. Talk Talk – Laughing Stock (Polydor) 91

    Disco Inferno, DI Go Pop (1994)
  15. Kyuss – Blues For The Red Sun (Dali) 92
  16. Acrimony – Tumuli Shroomaroom (Leaf) 96
  17. Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley (Elektra) 94
  18. Sleep – Dopesmoker (Tee Pee) 95
  19. Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss (American) 90
  20. Björk – Homogenic (Elektra)97
  21. Portishead – Dummy (Go! Discs) 94
  22. Radiohead – OK Computer (Capitol) 97
  23. The Breeders – Pod (4AD) 90
  24. Fugazi – Repeater (Dischord) 90
  25. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars)97
  26. PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love (Island) 95
  27. Björk – Post (Elektra) 95
  28. Laika – Silver Apples Of The Moon (Too Pure) 94
  29. Tortoise (Thrill Jockey) 94
  30. Cornelius – 69/96 (Trattoria) 95
  31. Ride – Nowhere (Creation/Sire) 90
  32. Beck – Odelay (Geffen) 96
  33. Fugazi – Red Medicine (Dischord) 95
  34. The Dismemberment Plan – Emergency & I (De Soto)99
  35. Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea Merge)98
  36. Sigur Rós – Agaetis Byrjun (FatCat/Bubble Core)99
  37. Chico Science & Nação Zumbi – Afrociberdelia (Chaos)96
  38. Nirvana – In Utero (Geffen) 93
  39. The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin (WB)99
  40. Boards Of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children (Matador) 98

    Laika, Silver Apples Of The Moon (1994)
  41. Boredoms – Super Ae (Birdman) 98
  42. Godspeed You Black Emperor! – f#a# (Kranky) 98
  43. Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Arista)97
  44. Melvins – Houdini (Atlantic) 93
  45. Unida – Coping With The Urban Coyote (Man’s Ruin) 99
  46. Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen (Elektra) 93
  47. Björk – Debut (Elektra) 93
  48. Liz Phair – Exile In Guyville (Matador) 93
  49. Seam – The Problem With Me (Touch & Go) 93
  50. Fugazi – In On The Kill Taker (Dischord)93
  51. Arto Lindsay – Noon Chill (Bar/None)98
  52. Radiohead – The Bends (Capitol) 95
  53. Dirty Three (Touch & Go) 95
  54. PJ Harvey – Dry (Island) 92
  55. Walt Mink – Miss Happiness (Caroline) 92
  56. The Jesus Lizard – Liar (Touch & Go) 92
  57. Pavement – Slanted And Enchanted (Matador) 92
  58. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head (Capitol) 92
  59. The Jesus Lizard – Goat (Touch & Go) 91
  60. Shellac – At Action Park (Touch & Go) 94
  61. Melvins – Bullhead (Boner) 91
  62. Monster Magnet – Spine Of God (Caroline) 91
  63. The Flaming Lips – Transmissions From The Satellite Heart (WB) 93
  64. Dog Faced Hermans – Hum Of Life (Project A Bomb) 93
  65. Monster Magnet – Dopes To Infinity (A&M) 95
  66. Dr. Octagon – Dr. Octagonecologyst (75 Ark) 96
  67. Labradford – A Stable Reference (Kranky) 95
  68. Dirty Three – Horse Stories (Touch & Go) 96
  69. Labradford (Kranky) 96
  70. Tom Zé – Fabrication Defect (Luaka Bop)98
  71. OOIOO – Feather Float (Polys/Birdman) 99
  72. Souled American – Around The Horn (Rough Trade) 90
  73. Arto Lindsay – Prize (Righteous Babe) 99
  74. Baaba Maal – Lam Toro (Island/Palm Pictures) 93
  75. Laika – Sounds of the Satellites (Too Pure) 97
  76. Arto Lindsay – Mundo Civilizado (Bar/None) 97
  77. Robert Wyatt – Shleep (Thirsty Ear)97
  78. God – Possession (Virgin) 92
  79. Queens Of the Stone Age (Loosegroove) 98
  80. Public Enemy – Apocalypse ’91…The Enemy Strikes Black (Columbia) 91
  81. Walt Mink – Colossus (Deep Elm)97
  82. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Devotional & Love Songs (Real World) 92
  83. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs (Merge)99
  84. Electric Wizard – Come My Fanatics… (The Music Cartel) 96
  85. Stereolab – Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements (Elektra) 93
  86. Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood (Relapse) 96
  87. Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque (Geffen) 91
  88. Pulp – Different Class (Island) 95
  89. Walt Mink – Bareback Ride (Caroline) 93
  90. Swervedriver – Raise (A&M) 91
  91. Mercury Rev – Deserter’s Songs (V2) 98
  92. Blacktop – I’ve Got A Baaad Feeling About This (In The Red) 94
  93. Dwarves – Blood Guts & Pussy (Sub Pop) 90
  94. Halo Of Flies – Music For Insect Minds (Amphetamine Reptile) 91
  95. Monster Magnet – Tab…25 (Glitterhouse/Caroline) 91
  96. Fugazi – Steady Diet Of Nothing (Dischord) 91
  97. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory (Jive) 91
  98. The Lazy Cowgirls – Ragged Soul (Crypt) 95
  99. Turbonegro – Apcocalypse Dudes (Epitaph/Burning Heart) 98
  100. Sons Of Otis – Temple Ball (Man’s Ruin) 99
  101. Royal Trux – Twin Infinitives (Drag City) 90
  102. The Hellacopters – Payin’ the Dues (Sub Pop) 97
  103. Monster Magnet – Superjudge (A&M) 93
  104. Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger (A&M) 91
  105. Belle & Sebastion – If You’re Feeling Sinister (The Enclave) 96
  106. Helmet – Strap It On (Amphetemine Reptile) 90
  107. Melvins – Stag (Atlantic) 96
  108. Acid Bath – Paegan Terrorism Tactics (Rotten) 96
  109. Th’ Faith Healers – Imaginary Friend (Too Pure/Elektra) 94
  110. The House Of Love – The Butterfly Album (Fontana) 90
  111. Motorpsycho – Timothy’s Monster (Stickman) 94
  112. Red Red Meat – Jimmie Wine Majestic (Sub Pop) 94
  113. Rocket From the Crypt – Scream, Dracula Scream! (Interscope) 95
  114. Walt Mink – El Producto (Atlantic) 96
  115. Tool – Ænima (Volcano) 96
  116. Cibo Matto – Viva! La Woman (WB)
  117. Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup (Elektra) 96
  118. Long Fin Killie – Valentino (Too Pure) 96
  119. Sleater-Kinney – Call The Doctor (Chainsaw) 96
  120. Superchunk – No Pocky For Kitty (Matador) 91
  121. Bitch Magnet – Ben Hur (Communion) 90
  122. The Feelies – Time For A Witness (A&M) 91
  123. Smashing Pumpkins – gish (Caroline) 91
  124. The Pixies – Trompe Le Monde (Elektra) 91
  125. The Young Gods – Only Heaven (Interscope) 95
  126. Chico Science & Nação Zumbi – De Lama Ao Caos (Chaos)95
  127. Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Virgin) 98
  128. Motorpsycho – Trust Us (Stickman) 98
  129. Cornelius – Fantasma (Matador)98
  130. Finley Quaye – Maverick A Strike (550 Music) 97
  131. Oval – 94 Diskont (Mille Plateaux) 95
  132. Elastica (Geffen) 95
  133. Swervedriver – Ejector Seat Reservation (Creation) 95
  134. The Boo Radleys – Wake Up! (Creation/Columbia) 95
  135. Catherine Wheel – Happy Days (Fontana/Mercury) 95
  136. Teenage Fanclub – Grand Prix (DGC) 95
  137. Long Fin Killie – Houdini (Too Pure) 95
  138. Slowdive – Pygmalion (4AD) 95
  139. Pavement – Wowie Zowie (Matador) 95
  140. Autechre – Tri Repetae (Warp) 95
  141. The Flaming Lips – Clouds Taste Metallic (WB) 95
  142. Massive Attack – Protection (Circa) 94
  143. The Lord Weird Slough Feg – Twilight Of The Idols (Dragonheart) 99
  144. Beck – Midnite Vultures (DGC)99
  145. Wilco – Summerteeth (Reprise)99
  146. Blind Guardian – Nightfall In Middle-Earth (Import) 98
  147. Asian Dub Foundation – Rafi’s Revenge (London)98
  148. Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come (Epitaph) 98
  149. Afghan Whigs – 1965 (Columbia)98
  150. Long Fin Killie – Amelia (Too Pure)98
  151. The Oblivians – Popular Favorites (Crypt) 96
  152. Material Issue – Freak City Soundtrack (Mercury) 94
  153. God – The Anatomy of Addiction (Big Cat) 94
  154. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Orange (Matador) 94
  155. Asian Dub Foundation – Facts And Fictions (Nation) 95
  156. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Let Love In (Elektra) 94
  157. Stereolab – Mars Audiac Quintet (Elektra) 94
  158. Luna – Bewitched (Elektra) 94
  159. Low – I Could Live In Hope (Vernon Yard) 94
  160. Slowdive – Souvlaki (4AD) 93
  161. Entombed – Wolverine Blues (Sony) 94
  162. Jeff Buckley – Grace (Columbia) 94
  163. Weezer (DGC) 94
  164. Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (Matador) 94
  165. Monster Magnet – Powertrip (A&M)98
  166. Melvins – Stoner Witch (Atlantic) 94
  167. Pram – Helium (Too Pure) 94
  168. `O’rang – Herd of Instinct (Echo) 94
  169. Seam – Headsparks (Homestead) 92
  170. Sleep – Holy Mountain (Earache) 92
  171. Th Faith Healers – Lido (Too Pure/Elektra) 92
  172. Unrest – Imperial f.f.r.r. (No. 6 Records) 92
  173. Stereolab – Peng! (Too Pure) 92
  174. Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend (Zoo) 91
  175. Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall (American) 92
  176. Luna – Lunapark (Elektra) 92
  177. Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies (Dedicated) 92
  178. The House Of Love – Babe Rainbow (Fontana) 92
  179. Afghan Whigs – Congregation (Sub Pop) 92
  180. Dog Faced Hermans – Mental Blocks For All Ages (Project A- Bomb) 92
  181. Helmet – Meantime (Interscope) 92
  182. Fela Kuti – Underground System (MCA) 92
  183. Buffalo Tom – Birdbrain (Beggars Banquet) 90
  184. The Flaming Lips – In A Priest Driven Ambulence (Restless) 90
  185. The Pixies – Bossanova (Elektra) 90
  186. Soundgarden – Superunknown (A&M) 94
  187. Gallon Drunk – In The Long Still Night (City Slang UK) 96
  188. Sheila Chandra – ABoneCroneDrone (Real World) 96
  189. Orbital – In Sides (ffrr) 96
  190. Tricky – Pre-Millenium Tension (Island) 96
  191. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads (Mute) 96
  192. Meshuggah – Destroy Erase Improve (Nuclear Blast) 95
  193. Natacha Atlas – Diaspora (Mantra/Beggars Banquet) 95
  194. Cornershop – When I Was Born For the 7th Time (Luaka Bop/WB)97
  195. Catherine Wheel – Ferment (Mercury/Polygram) 92
  196. Social Distortion – Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell (Epic) 92
  197. Belle & Sebastian – Tigermilk (Matador) 96
  198. Screaming Trees – Dust (Epic) 96
  199. Afghan Whigs – Black Love (Elektra) 96
  200. The Screws – 12 New Hate-Filled Classics (In The Red) 99
  201. Turbonegro – Ass Cobra (Sympathy for the Record Industry) 96
  202. The Hellacopters – Supershitty To The Max (White Jazz) 96
  203. Portishead (London) 97
  204. Daft Punk – Homework (Virgin) 97
  205. Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole (Astralwerks) 97
  206. Missy Misdemeanor Elliott – Supa Dupa Fly (East/West)97
  207. Sonic Youth – Dirty (WB) 92
  208. Babes In Toyland – Fontanelle (Reprise) 92
  209. Sixteen Horsepower – Low Estate (A&M) 97
  210. Pram – Sargasso Sea (Too Pure) 95
  211. Mouse On Mars – Iaora Tahiti (Too Pure) 95
  212. Scott Walker – Tilt (Fontana) 95
  213. Stereolab – Dots And Loops (Elektra) 97
  214. Blur (Virgin) 97
  215. The Flaming Lips – Zaireeka (WB) 97
  216. Catherine Wheel – Adam and Eve (Mercury) 97
  217. Primal Scream – Vanishing Point (Reprise) 97
  218. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Fabulosos Calavera (BMG)97
  219. Richard Horowitz & Susan Deyhim – Majoun (Sony Classical) 97
  220. Royal Trux – Accelerator (Drag City) 98
  221. Outkast – Aquemini (LaFace)98
  222. Dog Faced Hermans – Those Deep Buds (Alternative Tentacles) 94
  223. Built To Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong With Love (Up) 94
  224. The Grifters – Crappin’ You Negative (Shangri-La) 94
  225. Beck – Mellow Gold (Geffen) 94
  226. The Sea And Cake (Thrill Jockey) 94
  227. Orbital – Snivilisation (ffrr) 94
  228. Rodan – Rusty (Quarterstick) 94
  229. Drive Like Jehu – Yank Crime (Interscope) 94
  230. Unwound – New Plastic Ideas (Kill Rock Stars) 94
  231. Sloan – Twice Removed (DGC) 94
  232. Spiritual Beggars – Mantra III (Music For Nations) 98
  233. Bark Psychosis – Hex (Caroline) 94
  234. Clinton [Cornershop] – Disco & The Half Way To Discontent (Hut)99
  235. Café Tacuba – Reves/Yosoy (WB) 99
  236. Yo La Tengo – Painful (Matador/Atlantic) 93
  237. Swervedriver – Mezcal Head (A&M) 93
  238. Moby – Play (V2)99
  239. Opeth – Still Life (Peaceville/Snapper) 99
  240. Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over (Beggars Banquet) 92
  241. Screaming Trees – Sweet Oblivion (Epic) 92
  242. Circle – Andexelt (Metomorphos) 99
  243. Basehead – Play With Toys (Imago) 92
  244. Tom Waits – Mule Variations (Epitaph)99
  245. Ride – Going Blank Again (Sire/Reprise) 92
  246. Flaming Lips – Hit To Death In The Future Head (WB) 92
  247. Built To Spill – Keep It Like A Secret (WB)99
  248. The Orb – Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld (Mercury) 91
  249. Le Tigre (Mr. Lady)99
  250. The White Stripes (Sympathy for the Record Industry) 99
  251. Royal Trux – Veterans of Disorder (Drag City) 99
  252. Basement Jaxx – Remedy (Astralwerks) 99
  253. The Lazy Cowgirls – How It Looks How It Is (Sympathy For The Record Industry) 90
  254. The Oblivians – Soul Food (Crypt) 95
  255. The Jesus Lizard – Head (Touch & Go) 90
  256. Ride – Tarantula (Sire) 96
  257. Faith No More – Angel Dust (Slash) 92
  258. Orbital 2 (ffrr) 93
  259. Einsturzende Neubauten – Tabula Rasa (Mute) 93
  260. Young Gods – TV Sky (Caroline) 92
  261. Uncle Tupelo – No Depression (Rockville) 90
  262. Down – NOLA (Elektra) 95
  263. Beck – Mutations (Geffen)98
  264. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Acme (Matador/Capitol)98
  265. New Bomb Turks – !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! (Crypt) 92
  266. Cosmic Psychos – Go The Hack (Sub Pop) 90
  267. Archers Of Loaf – Icky Mettle (Alias) 93
  268. Alice In Chains – Dirt (Columbia) 92
  269. Tool – Undertow (Zoo) 93
  270. Neurosis – Enemy Of The Sun (Alternative Tentacles) 93
  271. Matthew Sweet – 100% Fun (Zoo) 95
  272. Orbital (ffrr) 91
  273. Weezer – Pinkerton (DGC) 96
  274. Cat Power – Moon Pix (Matador)98
  275. Spoon – Telephono (Matador) 96
  276. Air – Moon Safari (Source/Caroline) 98
  277. Pram – North Pole Radio Station (Merge)98
  278. The Posies – Frosting On The Beater (DGC) 93
  279. Matthew Sweet – Altered Beast (Zoo) 93
  280. Amon Tobin – Permutation (Ninja Tune) 98
  281. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Now I Got Worry (Matador) 96
  282. Amon Tobin – Bricolage (Ninja Tune) 97
  283. Elliott Smith – XO (Dreamworks) 98
  284. The Boo Radleys – Learning To Walk (Rough Trade) 91
  285. Social Distortion – White Light, White Heat White Trash (Epic) 96
  286. Cujo – Adventures In Foam (Shadow) 96
  287. Screeching Weasel – My Brain Hurts (Lookout!) 91
  288. Dinosaur Jr. – Green Mind (Sire) 91
  289. Mercury Rev – Yerself Is Steam (Columbia) 91
  290. Slowdive – Just For A Day (Creation) 91
  291. Jeremy Enigk – Return of the Frog Queen (Sub Pop) 96
  292. Eels – Beautiful Freak (Dreamworks) 96
  293. Elliott Smith – Either/Or (Kill Rock Stars) 97
  294. U2 – Achtung Baby (Island) 91
  295. Disco Inferno – Open Doors, Closed Windows (Che) 91
  296. Catherine Wheel – Chrome (Mercury) 93
  297. The Boo Radleys – Giant Steps (Creation/Columbia) 93
  298. Gallon Drunk – From the Heart of Town (Sire/Reprise) 93
  299. Sepultura – Chaos A.D. (Roadrunner) 93
  300. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (Virgin) 93
  301. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom (Interscope) 95
  302. Dinosaur Jr. – Where You Been (Sire/WB) 93
  303. Belly – King (Sire/Reprise) 95
  304. Electric Wizard (Rise Above) 94
  305. Ride – Carnival Of Light (Sire) 94
  306. The Wildhearts – P.H.U.Q. (Lemon) 95
  307. Kyuss – …And The Circus Leaves Town (Elektra) 95
  308. Monster Magnet – Superjudge (A&M) 93
  309. D’Angelo – Brown Sugar (EMI) 95
  310. Hole – Live Through This (Geffen) 94
  311. Ween – Chocolate And Cheese (Geffen) 94
  312. Helium – The Dirt of Luck (Matador) 95
  313. Catherine Wheel – Happy Days (Fontana/Mercury) 95
  314. Spiritualized – Pure Phase (Dedicated/Arista) 95
  315. Mercury Rev – See You On The Other Side (Work) 95
  316. Rancid – …And Out Come The Wolves (Epitaph) 95
  317. Mudhoney – My Brother The Cow (Reprise) 95
  318. Mr. Bungle – Disco Volante (Slash) 95
  319. Techno Animal – Re-Entry (Virgin) 95
  320. The Breeders – Last Splash (4AD/Elektra) 93
  321. Otto – Samba Pra Burro (Trama) 98
  322. Belle & Sebastion – The Boy With the Arab Strap (Matador) 98
  323. Seam – Am I Driving You Crazy? (Touch & Go) 95
  324. Blur – The Great Escape (Virgin) 95
  325. The Jayhawks – Tomorrow The Green Grass (American) 95
  326. The Sea And Cake – Nassau (Thrill Jockey) 95
  327. Wilco – A.M. (Reprise/WB) 95
  328. Buffalo Tom – Sleepy Eyed (EastWest/Beggars Banquet) 95
  329. Urge Overkill – Exit The Dragon (DGC) 95
  330. Pere Ubu – Ray Gun Suitcase (Cooking Vinyl) 95
  331. Sonic Youth – Washing Machine (Geffen) 95
  332. Yo La Tengo – Electr-O-Pura (Matador) 95
  333. Cornershop – Woman’s Gotta Have It (Luaka Bop/WB) 95
  334. Seefeel – Succour (Warp) 95
  335. R.E.M. – Automatic For the People (WB) 92
  336. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (Ruffhouse) 98
  337. Tortoise – TNT (Thrill Jockey)98
  338. Blur – Parklife (Food) 94
  339. Rancid – Let’s Go (Epitaph) 94
  340. Earth – Earth 2 (Sub Pop) 93
  341. Pulp – This Is Hardcore (Island) 98
  342. Rancid – Life Won’t Wait (Epitaph) 98
  343. Spoon – A Series Of Sneaks (Elektra) 98
  344. The Eels – Electro-Shock Blues (Dreamworks) 98
  345. Mano Negra – In The Hell Of Patchinko (Virgin) 92
  346. A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm (Jive) 90
  347. Sonic Youth – Goo (Geffen) 90
  348. Jane’s Addiction – Ritual De La Habitual (WB) 90
  349. Babes In Toyland – Spanking Machine (Twin/Tone) 90
  350. Gaunt – I Can See Your Mom From Here (Thrill Jockey/Crypt) 95
  351. Crunt (Trance Syndicate) 94
  352. Mr. Bungle – California (WB) 99
  353. Sunny Day Real Estate – The Pink Album (Sub Pop) 95
  354. Opeth – Orchid (Century Media) 95
  355. Colour Haze – Periscope (Elektrohasch)99
  356. Tragic Mulatto – Chartreuse Toulouse (Alt. Tentacles) 90
  357. Throwing Muses – The Real Ramona (4AD/Sire) 91
  358. Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas (4AD) 90
  359. Galaxie 500 – This Is Our Music (Rough Trade/Ryko) 90
  360. Sinéad O’Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (Chrysalis) 90
  361. Baaba Maal – Firin’ In Fouta (Mango) 94
  362. Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand (Matador) 94
  363. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – The Last Prophet (Real World) 94
  364. Jessamine (Kranky) 94
  365. Eleventh Dream Day – Ursa Major (Atavistic) 94
  366. Versus – The Stars Are Insane (Teen Beat) 94
  367. Velocity Girl – Simpatico! (Sub Pop) 94
  368. Bedhead – What Fun Life Was (Trance Syndicate) 94
  369. Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary (Sub Pop) 94
  370. Veruca Salt – American Thighs (Minty Fresh) 94
  371. Mano Negra – Casa Babylon (Virgin) 94
  372. Café Tacuba – Re (WEA) 94
  373. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral (Nothing/Interscope/Halo) 94
  374. Royal Trux – Thank You (Geffen) 95
  375. The Beastie Boys – Ill Communication (Grand Royal/Capitol) 94
  376. Judas Priest – Painkiller (Columbia) 90
  377. Eleventh Dream Day – El Moodio (Atlantic) 93
  378. Royal Trux – Cats And Dogs (Drag City) 93
  379. Eleventh Dream Day – Lived To Tell (Atlantic) 91
  380. Red Red Meat (Perishable) 93
  381. Material Issue – International Pop Overthrow (Mercury) 91
  382. Uncle Tupelo – Anodyne (Sire/Reprise) 93
  383. Teenage Fanclub – Thirteen (Geffen) 93
  384. Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See (Capitol) 93
  385. Velocity Girl – Copacetic (Sub Pop) 93
  386. Girls Against Boys – Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby (Touch & Go) 93
  387. Afghan Whigs – Up In It (Sub Pop) 90
  388. Motorpsycho – Demon Box (Voices Of Wonder) 93
  389. Material Issue – Destination Universe (Mercury) 92
  390. Natacha Atlas – Gedida (Beggars Banquet)99
  391. Yo La Tengo – Fakebook (Bar/None) 90
  392. F/i – Blue Star (RRR/Lexicon Devil) 90
  393. Brainiac – Hissing Prigs In Static Couture (Touch & Go) 96
  394. Material Issue – Telecommando Americano (Rykodisc) 97
  395. Sigur Rós – Von (One Little Indian) 97
  396. Soul Asylum – And The Horse They Rode In On (A&M) 90
  397. Peter Murphy – Deep (Beggars Banquet) 90
  398. Social Distortion (Epic) 90
  399. Handsome Boy Modeling School [Prince Paul & The Automator)] – So…How’s Your Girl? (Tommy Boy)99
  400. Shack – H.M.S. Fable (Laurel/London) 99

Comments

  1. [...] Best of the 90s | Fast ‘n’ Bulbous – What characterized music in the 90s depends on who you were, and where you lived. … But it’s no new thing to sign cult underground artists. Practically the entire roster of the 70s CBGB bands released albums on Sire, … [...]