Why. Just why. That’s probably a question many have asked themselves in lieu of the recent nostalgia for that decade of poor fashion choices, bleach-blond curtains and combinations of incompatible musical genres: the 90s. But even if you would count yourself amongst these naysayers of the decade that we all claim to have grown up in (if you were 5 when it ended you weren’t really there at all), there’s no denying that the 90s seems to be back in the music scene. What’s more, it’s not the preserve of a few brave, or possibly misguided artists, but rather a pot of influences for any musical group to dip in to, often yielding surprisingly brilliant results. We’ve seen grunge rear its unwashed head, guitars aren’t something to be ashamed of, and for some reason Limp Bizkit still exist. Not quite sure why with that last one.
It may be back, but a lot has been forgotten from the 90s. Wonderwall and Parklife are not the only two songs to come from an incredibly rich musical decade, whatever Timepiece may think; below I’ve compiled a few tracks from then and now to try and show perhaps the more interesting artists of 90s music, and the best bands around today that are indebted to them.
Pavement – Cut Your Hair
Good idea, Pavement. The curtains can go. In all seriousness, however, Pavement were one of the 90’s most influential bands on the indie rock scene, shunning major labels for independents. Known for tracks such as “Gold Soundz” and “Range Life” (both 1994), Pavement briefly brushed with mainstream success with the track above. The awkward talk-sing style and quirky lyrics make “Cut Your Hair” one of the 90’s best picks.
Ride – Vapour Trail
Britain’s shoegaze experts, Ride are one of the 90’s absolute gems. A cult band for many, Ride experimented with lengthy song structures and helped establish shoegaze as the soundtrack to a generation, paving the way for heavyweights such as The Smashing Pumpkins. Get sad to this one.
Cap’n Jazz – Little League
Honestly, you’re not a bad person or a poor music fan for despising this. The word ‘vocalist’ is perhaps only arbitrary for Tim Kinsella, and it’s all over the place. But Cap’n Jazz’s influence on the Midwest emo movement (nope, I don’t mean fringes, eyeliner and moshpits) is undeniable, and there’s just something about this track that makes it irresistible.
Nai Harvest – Hold Open Your Head
Two bright young sparks from Sheffield, Nai Harvest have been going from strength to strength, with a bunch of demos, two EPs and a full length, “Whatever”. Recently signed to US Indie heavyweights Topshelf, the two-piece blend indie rock, shoegaze, and punk in a wonderful cocktail. If you love VHS, get a load of that video.
Daylight – Life In a Jar
Ah, grunge. Hated by some, loved by many, even if they don’t admit it. If you go crazy every time Smells Like Teen Spirit comes on, you might like America’s finest grunge revivalists, Daylight. Nihilistic lyrics, riffs galore and a video with shots of worms and dirt – Cobain would be proud. Or, on second thought, he’d hate it.
GDP – Gateway to a Savage Frontier
Rap’s not dead yet, despite the repeated attempts of 2 Chainz that convince us otherwise. Eminem’s still going strong, and younger acts like GDP remind us that rap has a future. Aggressive, witty and certainly not afraid to be controversial, GDP is one to watch if you long for the days of Biggie Smalls.
by Joe Stewart, Razz Music Correspondent