College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 12 and 11

12. Björk, Post Post starts with a crash. Following the surge and clatter of synthesized noise, Björk launches into “Army of Me,” as thrilling and powerful of a statement of purpose as a song can be. Reportedly directed at the Icelandic songstress’s brother, the song makes a musical statement just as pointed as the one delivered by the lyrics. Following the somewhat tepid Debut — technically her second release under her own name (Björk released an album when she was still a child) but considered her solo bow by just about everyone including obviously the artist herself –Björk uses Post to demonstrate exactly … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 12 and 11

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 14 and 13

14. Primus, Tales from the Punchbowl Tales from the Punchbowl is probably the delineation point that brought Primus to punky, bratty funk rockers to a trio fully prepared to embrace the jammy indulgence of post-prog rock. There were still curdled dollops of juvenilia, most notably in lead single “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” but the trio was just as likely to wrench their signature sound into the sprawling, shifting soundscapes “Professor Nutbutter’s House of Treats” and “Southbound Pachyderm.” Adding to the sense that they were ready to start crafting soundtracks to go with especially warped versions of one of Roger Dean’s vistas was the eventual existence of … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 14 and 13

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 16 and 15

16. Soul Asylum, Let Your Dim Light Shine In a fairly unique situation, know exactly where I was when I first heard Soul Asylum’s Let Your Dim Light Shine. I was crammed into a booth at The Plaza Tavern, a landmark to certain boozy souls in Madison, Wisconsin and home of the “world famous” Plazaburger, commiserating with the handful of pals who’d joined me there for a listening party sponsored by the “New Rock Alternative” commercial radio station where I was working at the time. I’d been assigned to staff this particular remote, which was supposed to be a boon … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 16 and 15

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 18 and 17

18. Mike Watt, Ball-Hog or Tugboat? If on the last day of 1995 you had asked me to name the best album of the year, without hesitation I would have answered Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, the debut solo release of  Mike Watt. I’m not entirely convinced I’d stand by the pinnacle placement now (besides being inclined toward the member of the legendary Minutemen and the shoulda-been-legendary Firehose, I was certainly committing to some bratty contrarianism as the record wasn’t championed in the music press nearly as much as I felt was merited), but I completely understand while it appealed to me. In … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 18 and 17

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 20 and 19

20. The Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness For most of 1995, I heard at least a portion of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, even if it was only reverberating through my floorboards. Early in that calendar year, I took up residence in what became a beloved rental house located on a main drag of Madison, Wisconsin. Though it may have involved some creative disregarding of the terms of the lease to set our household lineup, we quickly had four people in total living there, one of them sadly crammed into a minuscule room that was also … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 20 and 19

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 22 and 21

#22 — Throwing Muses, University Throwing Muses took a complicated path to University, their sixth studio album. Though this was their second release without departed member Tanya Donelly, by then landing on the cover of Rolling Stone with her band Belly, most of the reviews remained preoccupied with her absence. This album also sat on the shelf for over a year, as Sire Records, eternally perplexed about how to turn this critically-acclaimed band into a commercial success, decided it would fare better if it arrived after the solo album lead singer and chief creative force Kristin Hersh recorded in close chronological proximity … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 22 and 21

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 24 and 23

24. Everclear, Sparkle and Fade When I was at the height of my imperious, combative, disgruntled twenties, my contrarian streak could lead me to come dubious judgments, at least where new music was concerned. For example, while there’s some haziness around this memory (many of my most spirited music debates took place in the wee hours of beer-soaked evenings), I expended some of my taste capital announcing to whoever had the misfortune to be across the table that Everclear was one of the more underrated bands on the day and their 1995 release, Sparkle and Fade, deserved prominent mention in … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 24 and 23

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 27 – 25

27. Smoking Popes, Born to Quit Smoking Popes hailed from the ‘burbs of Chicago and played exactly the sort of brash, punk-punched pop music that was necessary to get noticed in that noisy, busy city. Born to Quit was the band’s sophomore album, released initially on the local ultra-indie Johann’s Face Records before being picked up and reissued by Capitol Records, effectively making it their major label debut (though it would be entirely reasonable to affix that descriptor to their follow-up, 1997’s Destination Failure, which was actually recorded for Capitol and lived down to its title as it was a … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 27 – 25

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 30 – 28

30. Bush, Sixteen Stone A few year backs, when I called a different online space my digital home, I spent an entire day watching Michael Bay films and chronicling the experience for anyone who cared to read. I’d sworn off the efforts of the director following the appalling Armageddon, and decided, for reasons that escape me now, to watch everything I’d missed, in chronological order, across one morning and afternoon, culminating with an evening viewing of Transformers. I tried reading a book afterward and couldn’t do it. That’s how bad the endless march of terrible filmmaking scrambled my brain. While recently … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 30 – 28

College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 32 and 31

32. Love Battery, Straight Freak Ticket It often seemed that playing grunge music and being from Seattle basically combined up to create a golden ticket for qualifying bands in the early-to-mid-nineties, but the crossover success wasn’t uniformly distributed. Love Battery had the right sound and the correct zip code. What they didn’t have was a label that knew how to market them. Straight Freak Ticket was the band’s fourth album overall and their first full-length since jumping from Sub Pop Records to Atlas Records. It obviously did pretty well with at least one batch of college kids. As far as I can … Continue reading College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1995, 32 and 31