Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top 10 Releases of 1990

So, not so much has changed since 1988 (or 1987) - many of the same bands still in the mix, I'm still in college. Well... I turned 21, and I'd moved out of the dorms. A great time for music & life!

What's interesting (maybe?) is that this list would have been about the same for me about 20 years ago. Not always the case.

#10 "Hurdy Gurdy Man" single - Butthole Surfers
piouhgd (1991) - Butthole Surfers
Lights Unfold - Beme Seed

"Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Butthole Surfers, from the single (1990)
"Old New Song" by Beme Seed, from Lights Unfold (1990)

Genre - Scattershot Depravity / Spirituality
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Austin, Tex.

Review - Mark Prindle's Record Reviews
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

I was all done preparing this list, and then I noticed only the single was from 1990. But it's too late go reverse course (and this has happened before) - so I'm crediting piouhgd/pioughd as 1990. Whatever, man... Not the best Surfers album by a long long shot, it seemed at the time like they were dumping on Rough Trade in contractual-obligation mode. And sure enough the label folded soon afterwards, with the Buttholes moving on to the major leagues.

It's kind of a hoot, though. "Psychedelic Jam" didn't really need lyrics (as "P.S.Y."), but it's still the only studio version released. "Something" is just "Something" (1983) to the tune of The Jesus & Mary Chain (1985). Timely! The album kicks off with "Revolution, Parts 1 & 2," which honestly might be the best thing you can say about it. The "Hurdy Gurdy Man" single/video was just this side of inexplicable... still. Beme Seed was the musical project featuring late-'80s Buttholes dancer Kathleen Lynch. It was weird.

#9 Goo (plus demo 7") - Sonic Youth

"Dirty Boots" from Goo (1990)
"Kool Thing" from Goo (1990)

Genre - Alternative Rock (& nothing more)
Official -
Myspace -
Location - New York City, N.Y.

Review - Mark's Record Reviews
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

Looking back, I'm not sure a major was the best course for Sonic Youth fans. Seems to have worked out pretty well for the band themselves, but this major-label debut seems like the high point of that phase (as far as I can tell). Sonic Youth's official channel has tons of stuff: official videos for "Tunic," "Titanium Expose," and "My Friend Goo" (???) Maybe others too. Swell Raymond Pettibon cover, but the '80s were gone.

The bootleg 7" (and CD-singles) had various rare demo's, edits, and a Neon Boys cover.

#8 Born in Blood - Pain Teens

"Pleasures of the Flesh" from Born in Blood (1990)
"She Shook Me" from Born in blood (1990)

Genre - Industrialistic Grind-Rock
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Houston, Tex.

Review - All Music Guide
Purchase - Amazon

One of the few legitimately great hometown bands for those of us stuck here in Houston. The Trance Syndicate debut & breakout album, the 2 official videos - including "The Basement" - appeared on the Love & Napalm VHS comp (see #2 below). This was just the start of the late great run for the Pain Teens. I would credit this record specifically for opening my ears to more noise, electronic, and somewhat industrial-experimental music styles.

The 1990 CD also contained Case Histories (1989), so it's worth mentioning here - similar style and a step towards Born in Blood, with "Hands in Fire," "Unthinkable," "Veil of Light," and others...

#7 Rutles Highway Revisited - V/A
The Power of Pussy - Bongwater

"Cheese and Onions" by Galaxie 500, from Rutles Highway Revisited (1990)
"The Power of Pussy" [***NSFW***, but featuring Fred Schneider] by Bongwater, from The Power of Pussy (1990)

Genre - Neo-Classic Psychedelia
Official -
Location - NYC, New York

Review - Man Without Shame / Haunted Creek Cafe
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon: Rutles / Power

After a few great releases, The Power of Pussy isn't quite up to its lofty predecessors. You can still just pick random songs out & hit weird-art-pop paydirt: "Nick Cave Dolls," "I Need A New Tape," "White Rental Car Blues," etc., etc. And there's no denying that Bongwater was just the band to cover the Peter Cook brush-off "Bedazzled." And/or to do a cover of The Weavers' "Kisses Sweeter than Wine"... or honestly any cover ever really.

The RHR comp is all covers of the Beatles-satire mockumentary band The Rutles, featuring the likes of: Galaxie 500! Dogbowl! King Missile! and Shonen Knife!! And also the likes of: Peter Stampfel! Tuli Kupferberg! Syd Straw & Marc Ribot!! Listen to the whole thing if you like.

#6 Pod - The Breeders
Bossanova - Pixies

"Hellbound" by The Breeders, from Pod (1990)
"Dig for Fire / Allison (live)" by Pixies, from Bossanova (1990)

Genre - Indie Noise-Pop
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Boston, Mass.

Reviews - Mark Prindle reviews: Pod / Bossanova
Downloads - Amazon offers: Pod / Bossanova
Purchases - Amazon sells: Pod / Bossanova

These are the ones I probably wouldn't have included among my favorites for a few years later. I successfully avoided Pixies for most of their existence, although I remember liking the concept for that "Allison" video, on the Mtv. But sometimes a bit later, someone had Pod, and I was very impressed. Haven't listened to it for a long time, but I remember especially liking "When I Was A Painter" and the Beatles cover and "Fortunately Gone." But also the whole thing really - and then I noticed that it was produced by Steve Albini, which made no sense...

Bossanova doesn't have a lot of the ultimate classic Pixies tunes, but it's solid overall. As I mentioned, good videos - such as the one for "Velouria."

#5 Fear of a Black Planet - Public Enemy
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted - Ice Cube
Kill At Will EP - Ice Cube

"Fight the Power" by Public Enemy, from Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
"Jackin' for Beats" by Ice Cube, from Kill At Will EP (1990)

Genre - Hip-Hop / Rap
Public Enemy -
Ice Cube -
Location - Coastal Urban America (N.Y./L.A.)

Reviews - Prindle on Black Planet / Entertainment Weekly
Download - Ice Cube, Public Enemy
Purchase - Amazon: Fear, baby / AmeriKKKa's / Kill At Will

These were the last hurrah's for me & rap, probably for good. Ice Cube guested on "Burn Hollywood Burn," the Bomb Squad produced AmeriKKKa, and Chuck D guested on "Kool Thing." O yeah, and "Endangered Species (Tales from the Darkside)" too. Flavor Flav, boyeee!!

The Ice Cube debut is a classic no doubt, but you can't sleep on the Kill At Will EP, with the awesome "Jackin' for Beats," some remixes, "Dead Homiez," and "The Product." N-W-who?!

#4 Tulip - Steel Pole Bathtub
"Arizona Garbage Truck" single - Steel Pole Bathtub
Lurch/Butterfly Love CD - Steel Pole Bathtub

"One Thick Second" from Tulip (1990)
"Arizona Garbage Truck" from 7" single (1990)
"Paranoid" from Lurch EP (1990)
"I Am Sam I Am" from Butterfly Love (1989)

Genre - Noisiest-Rock
Official -
Myspace -
Location - San Francisco, Calif.

Review - Mark's Record Reviews
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

The genesis of a mighty empire, and at some point the loudest club gig I've ever heard. Man, were they loud! I'm including the CD-combo and original Tulip release dates for 1990, along with the awesome SFTRI single - because this run all belongs together. Excellence!

Opening song triple-feature: "Time to Die," "Christina," "Soul Cannon." Shame I can't find the 7" b-side cover of "Voodoo Chile"...

#3 In A Priest Driven Ambulance with Silver Sunshine Stares - Flaming Lips
Unconsciously Screamin' EP - Flaming Lips

"Unconsciously Screamin'" from In A Priest Driven Ambulance (1990)
"Lucifer Rising" from Unconsciously Screamin' EP (1990)

Genre - Indie-Distorto-Guitar-Heroism
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Oklahoma City, Okla.

Review - both, by Mark Prindle
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon (with extra's!)

The first of a few perfect-10's in the Flaming Lips discog-post, and the first of two albums with Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue. Lotsa fuzzy guitars (as usual) but the songwriting has taken a great leap. All the way from shining Jesus to Can worship to Louis Armstrong. Because of the whole YouTube-Warners debacle, some is blocked - and yet somehow the whole album is up. Really nice.

#2 Love Poke Here - Ed Hall
Love & Napalm, Vol. 1 EP - V/A

Love Poke Here
"Blue Poland" by Ed Hall, from Love Poke Here (1990)
"It Will" by Pain Teens, from Love & Napalm, Vol. 1 7" EP (1990)

Genre - A Seriously Wild Party
Official - /wiki/Ed_Hall_(band)
Myspace -
Location - Austin, Tex.

Review - The History of Rock Music, by Piero Scaruffi
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Amazon

Somehow only gave LPG a 9/10 on the Ed Hall discography post - how?? It has the original "Buddha!" (Well, not the actually original Buddha - just the original version of their song...) It has "Sam Jackson" (made a decision). "Gilbert" too! This was my life story.

The first Love & Napalm was a 7" vinyl EP. In addition to the Pain Teens linked above, it had Crust with "Hard Stool," Lithium X-Mas covering Nilsson's "Jump into the Fire," and Ed Hall on the original "Grumbler!" Wow.

Over Thanksgiving weekend (end of Nov.), we headed up to Austin and the new(-ish) Emo's location, to see the Pain Teens ("The Poured Out Blood") and Ed Hall ("Pollution") reunions. Look for a Top 10 Live Shows entry! Crust also reunited ("Mosquito Beach"), but we got there too late for that.

#1 God Ween Satan: The Oneness - Ween

"El Camino" from God Ween Satan (1990)
"Tick" from God Ween Satan (1990)

Genre - Trans-Genre Bouillabaisse
Official -
Myspace -
Location - New Hope, Penn.

Review - Mark Prindle
Download - iTunes
Purchase - Chocodog, Amazon

Here's where I discovered one of my long-time favorites, those two songs up there on an Arizona Mixed Tape. As much as I dug this album, it took me quite awhile to appreciate everything that Ween accomplished here - balancing punk-rock amateurism and goofy in-joke humor with sneaky-good songs, while balancing lo-fi pre-taped drums with some pretty sweet playing & singing. Sure I could pick out this or that special tune - but other than the discovery lode, I'll just roll with the entire album. Peace!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much this is a great post! I'll definitely be checkin all these out.