Saturday, February 27, 2010

Top 10 Records of 1993!

Big steps down for Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins this year... Tool and Liz Phair were up-and-coming, and I didn't care. I was missing out on Wu-Tang and Tribe (except for "The Scenario"). But what a spectacular year for my kinda music. Some of the most difficult exclusions from the Top 10 yet, though I've run out of steam for doing #11-20. And some of the ranking decisions were ruthless.

These are good music!!

#10 Moistboyz EP - Moistboyz

Moistboyz EP
"Adios Amigo" from Moistboyz (1993?)

Genre - Offend-o-Matic Electro-Punk
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Jersey / Austin

Review - All Music Guide
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Moistboyz I & II
Purchase - Amazon

Hahaha!! Lighten up, mang... Mickey Moist is Mickey Melchiondo, who is also Dean Ween. Dickie Moist is the singer. This 6-song EP is in your face, from "Carjack" and "1.0 (Fuck No)" [both live] all the way to "I Am The Jury." Gotta go!

#9 Love God - Milk Cult

Love God
"Bow Kiness Static" from Burn or Bury (1994)

Genre - Art-Damage Metalscapes
Official/Myspace -
Location - San Francisco, CA

Review - Swordfish blog
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Love God
Purchase - HB Direct

More SPBT/Frank Grow connections. He also made a movie called Love God, for which some of this music might have been used. Like an even more chopped-up Steel Pole Bath Tub, this side project is all instrumental and experimental. Like avant-soundtrack score! Including the 38-minute multi-part "Clown Party."

#8 Independent Worm Saloon - Butthole Surfers

Independent Worm Saloon
"Dust Devil" from Independent Worm Saloon (1993)

Genre - Alternative Reality Alt-Rock
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Austin, TX

Review - Sputnik
Download - iTunes, Amazon
Lala - Independent Worm Saloon
Purchase - Amazon

The Buttholes' major-label debut, produced by Zeppelineer JPJ, and it's better than it has any right to be. Gibby had tasted Mtv rotation with Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod," and they were on their way towards "Pepper." Despite a bit of filler, this was really the last all-around solid Butthole Surfers album.

#7 Bubble & Scrape - Sebadoh

Bubble & Scrape
"Soul and Fire" from Bubble and Scrape (1993)

Genre - Indie Rock
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Western Massachusetts

Review - Pop Matters
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Bubble and Scrape
Purchase - Amazon

Last album with Eric Gaffney, who did the best job of balancing and complementing Lou Barlow's tendencies. Other than the Tokyo semi-bootleg, this is where the "main" Sebadoh ended for me. Lotsa good songs, and it almost coheres into an actual album, which was never their strong suit. Too many strands and directions.

#6 Mule - Mule

"Mississippi Breaks" from Mule (1993)

Genre - Hard-Drinkin' Blooze-Rock
All Music Guide - Mule bio
Location - Michigan, USA

Review - Trouser Press
Download - Touch and Go, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

Excellent debut of mostly raucous throwdowns from former Laughing Hyenas and Wig-man. Being blues-based, the JSBX comparisons were everlasting. Being from Michigan, they lacked the hipster-cred ironic non-detachment detachment. To their enduring benefit. "Now I Truly Understand" is not raucous, but it is a really old song.

#5 Almaron - The Mike Gunn

"Bullinga" from Almaron (1993)

Genre - Stoner-Psych Metal
A label site - Worship Guitars
Location - Houston, TX

Review - Examiner/Houston
No Downloads, no Lala, no Purcase. Forgotten to the internet...

A classic 2xLP from the Houston post-punk mid-grunge heavy-psych icons, wherein they refuse to do everything the right way. But thus is The Mike Gunn way, and it works so well here. Fine, get the CD... It's in the wrong order, and you're missing the epic "Fly to the Sun," with organ!! But you can almost fix that with the .mp3's or your programmable cd-players. Almost.

#4 Boces - Mercury Rev

"Something for Joey" from Boces (1993)

Genre - Harmony Rocket Noise-Pop
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Catskills, New York

Review - Sputnik
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Boces
Purchase - Amazon

Second album from Mercury Rev, and the last with singer Dave Baker. It somewhat expands the palate from Yerself Is Steam, but keeps experimenting with more noisey arrangements, more rich accompaniment, and pop maneuvers both tight and epic. Gotta mention the official video for "Bronx Cheer" - never saw it before!

#3 The Rude Gesture: A Pictoral History and Uranus 7"s - Shellac

The Rude Gesture
"The Guy Who Invented Fire" [and others] from The Rude Gesture: A Pictoral History (1993) [and others]

Genre - Power-Drill Trio
Wikipedia - /wiki/Shellac_(band)
Location - Chicago, IL

Not much by way of Review, Lala, Download or Purchase for these 7"s. I'm not even going to link the 2 on Amazon going for $105+... The Shellac LP's I've heard have all been at least very good. But all the 7" releases are essential Albini (and Weston and Trainer) - just listen to the first 6 or 7 songs in the playlist linked above. They also released a split 7" with Mule.

#2 Motherscratcher - Ed Hall

"White House Girls" [live] from Motherscratcher (1993)

Genre - Hill Country Noise Rock
Wikipedia - /wiki/Ed_Hall_(band)
Location - Austin, TX

Review - All Music Guide
Download - iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

This went back and forth between #1 and #2. Unfortunately, this is where it belongs - though not for any major faults. The songwriting's not quite up the previous couple of records, but Ed Hall did expand here. Not sure I would have laid money on their ever writing something like the instrumental beauty "Satori in Manhattan, Kansas."

The closing epic, "Afghani Harvest Period" is a little more predictable, with almost comically Buttholesque vocal weirdness. But extremely awesome! I always thought it was weird how thematically similar "Leave Me Alone" (here) was to "Luke Flukenstock" (on the previous). Larry wants you to shut up and go away! There's also a cd-filling "bonus track" of droning ambience, which is actually better than this type of thing usually went down back in the day.

#1 Transmissions from the Satellite Heart - Flaming Lips

Transmissions from the Satellite Heart
"Turn It On" [and the rest] from Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993)

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

Review - Almost Cool
Discography Post - Flaming Lips
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart
Purchase - Amazon

Yeah, it's the "Jelly" album. Hey, I don't really mind it too much - not like I was listening to a lot of Modern Rock radio in 1994 (when it hit big). Plus, I'd already been a major fan for six years by then. Hell, I was celebrating for them - until they had to open a Candlebox tour. Yikes!

Anyway, the first album of the Ronald Jones/Steven Drozd era. Not quite the high-water mark of Clouds Taste Metallic (#1, 1995), the second and last with Jones. But a gigantic leap from the major-label debut of Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992). I am certainly damning with faint praise, huh? Well, how about... #1?! Yeah, it's a terrificly great album: great drumming, great lead guitar, great songs, great production, great B-sides! You should own it, whoever you are.

From the discography post:
Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) 10/10 - Depending on your view, the surprise come-from-behind hit "She Don't Use Jelly" might be skippable. Or it's simply not the best of a superb collection of densely-woven, fully-realized, widely-ranging noise-pop.

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