College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 62 and 61

62. Cast, All Change

When the debut release from the Liverpool band Cast arrived in late 1995, the primary excitement derived from the presence of John Power, formerly of the band the La’s. That band’s self-titled 1990 album was already reaching quasi-legendary status, thanks in part to the departure of Power contributing to a permanent stasis with the band. This was even though Lee Mavers was the primary creative force behind the La’s, but he never managed to craft a follow-up, despite a few false promises. The Cast record provided the best stopgap fans could hope for, exhibiting a similar knack for sterling pop songcraft, albeit with a bigger, brasher sound, heard as well as anywhere on the lead single, “Alright.” Cast was longer-lived that Power’s previous band, putting out a total of four albums over the course of six years, although I don’t remember most of those later efforts registering much in the States (they had three Top 10 albums back home in the U.K.). The band officially ended in 2001, but, as is the case with many of the groups on this countdown, the eventual reunion was inevitable.

61. Prong, Rude Awakening

Among the many bands that can trace their legacy through the late, lamented Manhattan club CBGB, heavy metal act Prong had one of the more unique journeys, given that it had less to do with the stage and more to do with the jobs that kept the place running. Tommy Victor, Prong’s guitarist and lead vocalist, worked the soundboard for the club and bassist Mike Kirkland was the doorman. They started playing together in 1986, eventually recruiting drummer Ted Parsons, formerly of the Swans. The lineup had gone through a couple shifts by the mid-nineties, with Kirkland long gone and formerly Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven in the fold. By the time of the 1996 release {Rude Awakening}, their fifth album overall, Prong was on major label Epic Records. By three weeks after that release, they weren’t any longer, the execs apparently deciding the initial sales weren’t promising enough to maintain the relationship. The stuff from the album sure sounds to me like the kind of thing they could have sold to the abundance of metalheads always ready to rage. Getting dropped hastened the end of the band, at least until Victor reformed Prong a few years later.

An Introduction
–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
–70 and 69: Hi My Name is Jonny and One Mississippi
–68 and 67: Everything Sucks and The Aeroplane Flies High
–66 and 65: First Band on the Moon and Razorblade Suitcase
–64 and 63: Comic Book Whore and Peachfuzz

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