1994


Title: Savory

Artist: Jawbox

Album: For Your Own Special Sweetheart

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: Loud. Intense. Loud. Riveting. Loud. Thought-provoking. Did I mention loud?

Riffage / Hookage: J. Robbins and Bill Barbot’s guitars work together as a brutal yet unified force. One plays a heavy heavy riff and the other starts with some psychedelic-ish discordant patters. Throw in Kim Coletta’s powerful bass lines and you got yourself some world class volume there. But even though it’s quite a racket, you can still hum the chorus.

Cowbell?: Zach Barochas starts by pounding his drum set like he was trying to put out a fire, but later shows some deft jazzy touches. Alas, though, no cowbell (though he likes his cymbals, which is a good thing.)

Words Of Wisdom: “Hey angel, fly over and bless me
See you feign surprise
And I’m all eyes
And you’re all you need to be”

Mixology Report: Me, I’d mix this. Well, you knew that already. However, the discordant sounds means you may need to plan your transitions well.

Top Five Genius Results:Burning Airlines – Outside The Aviary (fitting, since that was the band J. Robbins and Bill Barbot formed after Jawbox)
Fugazi – KYEO
Drive Like Jehu – Do You Computer
Dismemberment Plan – A Life Of Possibilities
Minutemen – History Lesson, Part II

For The Good Of The Order: Well, I’ll have you know I’ve met half of the band at my best bud’s house in Maryland. And just today, I talked to one of them at a conference. We spent 20 minutes talking about Krautrock, the nature of singles vs. albums in today’s day and age, the Minutemen, neo-psychedelia, and Budgie. No, not birds. The band Budgie. Oh, and database and web stuff, the reason we’re AT the conference.

Here’s the video for this tune. This album is being re-mastered and re-released on Dischord (they originally released this on Atlantic and were branded ‘traitors’ and ‘Judas’ by some uptight indie rock zealtos). They’re also going to be on Jimmy Kimmel’s show in December. TiVo it and wake up yer ma with it!

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Title: Milquetoast

Artist: Helmet

Album: Betty

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: A strong hard-hitting song from one of my favorite 90’s bands. For some reason they signed a big major label deal (post-Nirvana giddyness by record companies) when they were rather stark and uncompromising. This is toned down a bit from their first major release, and a LOT toned down from “Strap It On” and “Born Annoying”. But still, music of quality and distinction. And….YAAAAAAH!

Riffage / Hookage: Helmet = riffs. Riffs, harmonics and Coltrane-like guitar excursions. That’s what you get with them. Of course, it helps that Page Hamilton, the leader of Helmet, was a serious jazz student who found he loved distortion and worked with Glen Branca.

Cowbell?: John Stanier usually sticks to his toms and pounds them with alacrity.

Words Of Wisdom: “Tell me if you think it’s all right
I’ll give in to what you know
I don’t see the habits that become me
I’ve saved up my useless thoughts

Well means, it works I’m on your side
I said that? Well so, I lied
Remember I tried not to be wary
This failed me once too much

Unrecognized
Well preserved
Don’t forget what you heard”

Just like the music, the lyrics are sharp, concise and well thought out.

Mixology Report: Everyone needs a bit of AAAARGH! in their life. Why not have it something meaningful, thoughtful and atypical.

Top Five Genius Results: Soundgarden – Room A Thousand Years Wide
Rollins Band – Low Self Opinion
Fugazi – Repeater
Alice In Chains – We Die Young
Mother Love Bone – Stardog Champion

For The Good Of The Order: Hamilton’s had some…issues…keeping a band together. They broke up in 1998 after some band members came and went, and reformed in 2004. But the personnel still changes seemingly on a whim. Also, I’m not that happy with the direction. Instead of singing (sort of, but at least not growling), Hamilton now just barks out the lyrics. At least he tried to get some melody in there before.

Here are two clips. For some reason, they both start a few seconds into it (so be patient). Here’s the studio version:

Here’s a shot of them live. I did seem them live, in 1992, and yes, it was kinda like this.

Title: Supersonic

Artist: Oasis

Album: Definitely Maybe

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: The beginning of one of the most intriguing bands in contemporary rock and roll. From their brotherly fights, to their ‘feud’ with Blur, to their out-and-out theft of melodies and riffs, to their boorish behavior, they seem to be one of the only bands who are more about being a rock-and-roll star than a corporation. The Gallagher brothers drink and fight like the Davies’, except the Davies seem to love each other in the end. I think Liam and Noel would kill one another if given the chance. As for the tune, this has to be one of the best debut singles, ever. The first time I heard it I went…WHOA!

Riffage / Hookage: Oh, man, the opening is fierce. (Am I channeling Tyra? Lord help me.) When the whole band kicks in it’s such a rush. And the tune is infectious. Everyone sing along, right?

Cowbell?: No, but it’s pretty solid drumming from Tony McCarroll.

Words Of Wisdom: “You need to be yourself
You can’t be no one else
I know a girl called Elsa
She’s into Alka Seltzer
She sniffs it through a cane on a supersonic train
She made me laugh
I got her autograph
She done it with a doctor on a helicopter
She’s sniffin in her tissue
Sellin’ the Big Issue”

Noel wrote better lyrics later – but he never wrote lyrics that were funnier.

Mixology Report: Yes. Yes. Yes. Actually, put this and “Song 2” by Blur together. That’ll teach the punters!

Top Five Genius Results: The View From The Afternoon – Arctic Monkeys
Lucky Man – The Verve
Parklife – Blur (HAH!)
Processed Beats – Kasabian (?)
Can’t Stand Me Know – The Libertines

For The Good Of The Order: If Oasis were a California band, then both Gallagher’s would have been in detox and rehab by now, and joined AA. They’ve also would have had family counseling. But they aren’t – they didn’t – and while I’m not advocating addiction or fratricide, it does make for intriguing rock and roll. Even now, with Oasis on the downside of a career, they make headlines, as Noel walked out recently and Liam said, “Piss off!” or words to that effect. They still have enough fans to get albums in the Top 10, so perhaps Noel and Liam are laughing all the way to the bloody bank (or pub or both)!

Here’s the vid that started it all…

Title: Zombie

Artist: The Cranberries

Album: No Need To Argue

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: A bit of a departure from “Linger”, so some fans were a bit surprised by the heavy rock influences here. But it’s a very powerful song about the plight of the Irish sung with Dolores O’Riordan’s brogue in full force.

Riffage / Hookage: There’s a great hook in the chorus and the riff is simple and strong.

Cowbell?: Nope.

Words Of Wisdom: “It’s the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they’re still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying… “

It really hits home when O’Riordan sings it full Irish brogue.

Mixology Report: Sure, if people didn’t get sick of it in 1994 / 1995 (see below).

Top Five Genius Results: Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins
Creep – Radiohead
Just A Girl – No Doubt
Self-Esteem – Offspring
Jeremy – Pearl Jam

“Hey, how ya doin’? Smed here for the 90’s at 9 here at B-99”

For The Good Of The Order: As I alluded to earlier, this song was a wee-bit overplayed on the burgeoning ‘alternative rock’ radio stations (at least in Indianapolis, where it seemingly was on a once-an-hour rotation for a while). Thus, I didn’t really care for it. However, a few years ago I was watching a Saturday Night Live re-run on E! and heard The Cranberries live. And wow, that made a difference (that and about 10 years) so I now really dig this song. Especially O’Riordan’s Irish. Yowza.

Speaking of that, here’s a live clip from 1999:

Title: Mind Talking

Artist: Arson Garden

Album: The Belle Stomp

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: Indiana University’s own Arson Garden breaks out of Indianapolis and onto a major label – for about 59 seconds. The label pulled back, the record died, and the group soon split. I guess they reformed somewhat and went to Chicago, but nothing. Singer April Combs is now a professor at the University of Cincinnati. That’s not quite a lateral career move.

Riffage / Hookage: Not really a straight forward riff, however I do dig the herky-jerky guitar. The bass line is neat and the chorus is hooky enough. It could have done something in the alternative universe. (Not the bizarro universe, the alt-rock universe).

Cowbell?: Not that I heard. But some decent cymbal work, and you know how I feel about that.

Words Of Wisdom: Well, I didn’t find the lyrics online and I am loath to misquote.

Mixology Report: I dig ’em enough. I have about 4 or 5 Arson Garden tracks on my mix lists, mainly because their fresh to people’s ears (and they’re good!)

For The Good Of The Order: First time I saw them must have been 1991. I just moved to Indy and was hanging out at the Patio. I started talking to this cute girl, just small talk. She said, “The band’s about to start…” and I said I’d catch her after the set. Well, um, next thing I know SHE’S ON STAGE! Needless to say I was floored. And no, I never did resume that scintillating conversation.

Here’s the vid. They coulda been contenders! Notice that it is very alterna-90’s!


Title: XXX

Artist: Helium

Album: Pirate Prude

Year Released: 1994

What It Is:Slow. Slow and noisy. Slow and noisy and beautiful. Slow and noisy and beautiful and scary.

Riffage / Hookage: Not in a traditional sense, really. The guitar is noisy and rife with distortion and feedback. The melody is hauntingly slow and off kilter a bit. The whole thing sounds like it’s been recorded during a Robitussen spree.

Cowbell?: Noper. Just drummin’.

Words Of Wisdom: “And now I feel good, I feel like candy
go out on the street I wanna make some money
That was just a joke about the money
you’re gonna pay me with your life”

I am mixed about what this song really means. Is Mary Timony a hooker? Is she complaining that men treat her like a hooker and try to buy her love? Do the sirens mean anything? Do they mean…MURDER? Is this all a metaphor? Am I reading way too much into this? Is the slow tempo causing me to overthink?

Mixology Report:Good for our adventurous mixers.

For The Good Of The Order: The video, below, was a star attraction on “Beavis & Butthead” where I saw it first. The miscreants were riffing on how she just woke up, and how slow the thing was, and why she beat the hell out of the overhead projector. I wonder about the projector as well. Mr. Lebedeff would be distraught.

Title: Here

Artist: Luscious Jackson

Album: Natural Ingredients

Year Released: 1994

What It Is: A great dance / rock song from Jill Cundiff and Luscious Jackson, throwing in all kinds of elements into a delicious tasty mix! It’s got a groove, a great mix, and it doesn’t discount melody or harmony.

Riffage / Hookage: A great chorus hook, plus the bridge between chorus and verse has a great wah-wah guitar line from Gabby Glaser.

Cowbell?: Yep! There’s cowbell (on the studio mix, at least, not in the live cut below) during the chorus doing a double time accent to the beat. It stands out pretty well, too.

Words Of Wisdom: “Get on the floor, let’s dance some more.”

Sometimes that’s all you require.

Mixology Report: Pretty decent to throw on anywhere. A great tempo or genre changer in a mix, too.

For The Good Of The Order: Drummer Kate Schellenbech is now a producer on Ellen DeGeneris’ show.

Now here is a vintage clip from The Late Show. I recall seeing this one when it was on. Boy Dave looked young then.