Saturday, November 7, 2009

Top 10 Music of 1995

As mentioned previously, we're going back in time on a randomized journey through the previous rock-era decades. And 1995 won the drawing!!

Unfortunately, 1995 wasn't the best year for me and new music. I was finally out of the college scene, I definitely wasn't yet gainfully employed, I was living out in the sticks and living poorly. My tastes at the time meant I totally missed out on Raekwon's Cuban Linx, the GZA's Liquid Swords, Tupac and B.I.G. As well as Britpop, Pulp, early Radiohead, and all the "Cool Britannia" rigamarole. And I haven't spent much of the intervening time correcting those oversights.

Some of these were playing at that time, a couple I've found much more recently. Amazingly, I only had to dip into one re-issue collection for the list. Here it is!

#10 Izlamaphobia - Muslimgauze

"Tozeur Palm" from Izlamaphobia (1995)

Genre - Experimental Electo-Noise
Official -
Myspace -
Location - United Kingdom

iTunes - other Muslimgauze
Lala - Intifaxa [all]
Purchase - Insound

Had to get at least one Palestinian Liberation Electronic Noise album on here. Actually just a really ideologically focused British guy, it's very persussion-heavy with lots of Middle Eastern sounds. Intifaxa (1990) was the first of this I ever got, but this double-cd is probably the best I've heard.

#9 Immortal Chinese Classics - Linus Pauling Quartet

"Linus Theme" from Immortal Chinese Classics (1995)

Genre - Heavy Rockin' Psych
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Houston, TX

Review - Reign of Toads
iTunes - only All Things Are Light (2007)
Purchase - maybe Here

First album by Linus... Definitely not their best, but I did listen to it a lot on release. Good stuff - just a little raw on the inexperience side. The theme song is an iconic '90s local music classic!

#8 Heyday 1979-83 - The Embarassment

"Sex Drive" from Heyday 1979-83 (1995)

Genre - Twitchy Plains Post-Punk
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Kansas, USA

Review - talk about Blender
iTunes - The Embarrassment
Lala - Heyday 1979-83
Purchase - Bar/None Records

Learned about this band around this time from the Spin Alternative Record Guide (1995), but I guess I didn't realize they ever issued a collection. Picked it up a few years back, and it's great early-'80s regional scene type music. Somewhat like the Feelies mixed with early R.E.M. Spiky and angular...

#7 Market Square - Charalambides

"Silvatica" from Market Square (1995)

Genre - Drone-Folk
Official -
Myspace - Tribute page
Location - Houston/Austin/beyond...

iTunes - other Charalambides
Lala - Our Bed Is Green

Pioneers on the frontier of ghostly haunting Drone-Folk, the nomadic Charalambides moved from Houston to Austin on to points beyond. Another double-album, this is a monolithic root system of ambient guitar and voice explorations.

#6 Wowee Zowee - Pavement

"Half A Canyon" from Wowee Zowee (1995)

Genre - Lo-Fi Heroes Go All Wide-Concept
Official/Myspace -
Location - Cali

Review - Pitchfork
iTunes - Pavement
Lala - Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels edition
Purchase - Matador Records

Pavement were never my favorite band, but somehow I liked most of their albums. Maybe I'm just a little hype-averse. Hard to say if this is my favorite, but it's a definite contender. Another double-album, full of variety and cascading ideas, reasonably thought of as their White Album.

#5 25,000 Feet Per Second - Farflung

25,000 Feet Per Second
"Don't Forget to Breathe" from 25,000 Feet Per Second (1995)

Genre - Post-Punk Space-Rock
Official/Myspace -
Location - Los Angeles, CA

Review - Aural Innovations
iTunes - other Farflung
Lala - So Many Minds, So Little Time (later best-of)
Purchase - Expensive...

Debut from a band that I keep meaning to get more from. I only have this first one and their last one, A Wound in Eternity (2008), also great. It's revved-up, adrenaline-charged spaceyness, madly oscillating through the psychedelic void.

#4 "Poison Fingers" 7" + Seemless - Into Another

Benefits PETA
"Herbivore" from "Poison Fingers" 7" (1995)

Genre - Spiritual Left-Wing Vegan Post-Hardcore Metal
Official/Myspace -
Location - NYC, NY

Review - From the Dust Returned blog
iTunes - Into Another
Purchase - Amazon

"Poison Fingers" was the single from Into Another's masterwork Ignaurus (1994). And before making the fatal move to the majors, they released a single/EP to benefit PETA. Because that's the kind of band Into Another was! Seemless was okay, it got them put on the inaugural Warped Tour. But they were truly an independent band, and leaving that universe was a big mistake. As the story of Soul Control just goes to prove.

#3 Clutch - Clutch

"Spacegrass" from Clutch (1995)

Genre - Heavy Stoner Metal Rock
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Germantown, MD

Review - Sputnik Music
iTunes - Clutch
Lala - Clutch
Purchase - Amazon

Definitely a heavy rotation hit for me at this time. The unbridled pure rock fury, with some haze of weirdness, was just right for the time. Also, the live show back in the early days was hard to compete with, and they toured relentlessly.

#2 See You on the Other Side - Mercury Rev

See You On The Other Side
"Everlasting Arm" from See You on the Other Side (1995)

Genre - Lush Orchestral Noise-Pop
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Catskills, New York

Review - Stereomouse blog
iTunes - Mercury Rev
Lala - See You on the Other Side
Purchase - Amazon

I think this is still OOP, and my copy got stolen not too long after I got it. But luckily I'd taped it, so I had that. Awhile back, I found it on iTunes... then really recently, I bought a used copy from Vinyl Edge. So, everything comes full circle. I loved the original Mercury Rev (this was the first one with Donahue as lead vocalist), and I've loved a lot of their stuff since then. But this might be my single favorite Rev album. [Apparent outtake!!]

#1 Clouds Taste Metallic - The Flaming Lips

Clouds Taste Metallic
"Bad Days" [live Houston], from Clouds Taste Metallic (1995)

Genre - Maximum Freak-Out Guitar-Pop
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Oklahoma City, OK

Review - Rolling Stone
Discography Post - Flaming Lips
iTunes - Flaming Lips
Lala - Clouds Taste Metallic
Purchase - Amazon

The Ronald Jones era deserves its own post, and it shall have it. This is a stupendous album, very possibly the best overall from the Flaming Lips. Although there are challengers from all different eras and line-ups...

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