70. Jonny Polonsky, Hi My Name is Jonny
Besides looking like he was about fifteen years too early to snare a role in the supporting cast of Lena Dunham’s Girls, Jonny Polonsky was notable as a discovery of one Black Francis, when the former Pixies frontman still had some wider influence (I assume he’s mostly seen as part of nostalgia act these days, a seminal nostalgia act, but still a nostalgia act). Polonsky had sent around demo tapes to anyone he could think of, encouraging rigorous trading, one eventually finding its way to Black. Liking what he heard, Black helped Polonsky produce a slicker tape and connected him with a manager, instrumental help in bringing him to the attention of Rick Rubin, head of American Recordings. Polonsky was signed, and his introductory debut album was released in early 1996, just in time to catch the attention of student programmers returning from Winter Break and desperate for new music catchy enough to wipe away the memory of whatever painful selections they’d had to endure at home because of the taste of their family and old high school friends. Polonsky’s time as a fledgling rock star was notably short-lived, in part because the American Recordings label parted way with helpful distribution partner Warner Bros the year after Hi My Name is Jonny, leading to an understandable culling of the roster. Best as I can tell, there was one more album. Polonsky also turned up as a touring partner with Lisa Loeb earlier this year.
69. Brendan Benson, One Mississippi
There’s a reason a strong contingent emerged at the release of the first single from the Raconteurs, insisting that Jack White may indeed be the bee’s knees, but the contributions of the other chief songwriter for the band shouldn’t be discounted. That reason begins with fellow Michigander Brendan Benson’s own debut release, One Mississippi. Benson may not have gotten the same traction as White and his drumming ex in the White Stripes, but he had his adherents from the very beginning, even if those adherents didn’t include very many people at his original label, Virgin Records. The label reportedly rejected an early version of the album, produced by and largely co-written with Jason Falkner of the band Jellyfish, instead pairing him with relatively new producer Ethan John in an attempt, it would seem, to tamp down the psychedelic wonderment. The reworked tracks, while quite good, still weren’t what Virgin wanted and Benson was dropped. The performer eventually worked his way back, including a 2005 album, The Alternative to Love, released on V2, the label Richard Branson formed after selling off Virgin Records in the early nineties.
–90 and 89: Antichrist Superstar and Three Snakes and One Charm
–88 and 87: No Code and Unplugged
–86 and 85: Greatest Hits Live and Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts
–84 and 83: To the Faithful Departed and God’s Good Urges
–82 and 81: Billy Breathes and Sweet F.A.
–80 and 79: The Process and Test for Echo
–78 and 77: Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds and Breathe
–76 and 75: Bob Mould and Walking Wounded
–74 and 73: It’s Martini Time and Trainspotting soundtrack
–72 and 71: Aloha Via Satellite and Fever In Fever Out