College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 70 and 69

70. Jesus and Mary Chain, Automatic

If it seems like it took the brothers Reid to put out their third album as the Jesus and Mary Chain, that may simply be because they’re taking on more of the responsibilities of crafting their music themselves. They followed the experiments with drum machines on their previous release Darklands with extensive use of bass parts played from synthesizers on the Automatic. The mechanical drive of the backbeat becomes the perfect means to showcase their trademark gorgeous fog of thick guitar sound. The lands they survey are still dark, though that’s not necessarily the way they see it, calling the record “very uplifting.” That viewpoint is an extension of the band’s singular viewpoint. They’re going to do whatever they want, and it doesn’t much matter what anyone else thinks. The goal is to simply make the best music they can. As Jon Reid puts it, “We don’t deny we’re shy people, but we give you honesty. There’s no group that sounds like us, no group who ever have and no group who ever will again.”

69. Mental As Anything, Cyclone Raymonde

Talking Heads will tell you that art school is a pretty good place to form a band, a sentiment that will be echoed with an Australian accent by the group Mental As Anything. They started up when a batch of like-minded aspiring artists came together at an art school in Sydney. They played parties and other shows around town before finally landing a gig that was prominent enough that they needed to have a name. They provided a list of possibilities to the promoter, who selected the one based on a description of the band’s shows as offered by a fan. And thus Mental As Anything was born. A long career and a steady stream of inspired pop records followed, including their seventh, Cyclone Raymonde. The album was given a boost in their homeland by the band’s association with the hit comedy Young Einstein, a promotional tool far less effective stateside, as it turned out. There should be enough appeal in the band’s goofy sense of humor and well-crafted pop songs to let them stand on their own anyway.

90 and 89
88 and 87
86 and 85
84 and 83
82 and 81
80 and 79
78 and 77
76 and 75
74 and 73
72 and 71

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