62. Mary’s Danish, There Goes the Wondertruck…
Many bands have influences, but few can trace them with the same sort of precision that Mary’s Danish can. Co-founders Gretchen Seager and Julie Ritter forged the plan to start a band while in the middle of watching a concert by the seminal west coast group X, inspired equally by their punky drive and sparer leanings. The endeavored to capture that dichotomy in their own band, naming it Mary’s Danish after a lyric in one of their initial stabs at songwriting. Those earliest efforts may have gotten them little more than a band name, but they clearly improved after that, as evidenced by the batch of great songs on their debut album There Goes the Wondertruck…, led by the attention-getting and propulsive lead single “Don’t Crash the Car Tonight.” Hopefully, they made John Doe, Exene Cervenka and everyone else in X proud.
61. Will and the Bushmen, Will and the Bushmen
Hailing from Mobile, Alabama, the band Will and the Bushmen built up quite a reputation as a rambunctious live act. In fact, it was exactly that growing reputation that inspired the fledgling major label SBK Records to make Will and the Bushmen one of the first acts they signed. The resulting self-titled album, their second overall, surely bears the marks of a band that’s figured out how to build their songs for maximum crowd-rousing effect in an environment full of distractions like clinking beer bottles, pinging pinball machines and darts hurled through the air. The record didn’t break through nationally, perhaps in part because the label’s idea of a clever way to promote it involved using the perplexing phrase “All’s Will that starts Will.” It found a loving home on the 90FM airwaves, though, especially around the yuletide, when the happy chorus of the single “Blow Me Up,” boasting that a lovely young woman is “much better than Christmas,” sounds just right rubbing up against holiday standards.