(I'll be adding to this post later today, so stay tuned...)
Ah, the '90s. A time in music when the most bizarre stuff became mainstream-popular -- even for a second. This included (but wasn't limited to) beat-poet jazz, lounge-jazz, Britpop, ska-core, punk, piano-pop, sad-sack songwriters, grunge-lite, power-pop, etc.
This of course is near and dear to my heart, since I was a kid in the '90s, and all of these bands blew my mind. Completely. The older I get, the more I seem to continue to reach for albums released in the decade -- which I guess just proves the points that either a) music was better back then (doubtful), b) nostalgia is strong (probable) and c) everyone finds the most comfort in music they first heard while a teenager (highly probable).
So this post is dedicated to the '90s, when I wore Doc Martens to school, daydreamed about Morrissey, worshipped My So-Called Life, did calculus homework in front of MTV and begged my parents to let me see Metallica on the Load tour. (Go ahead, make fun: That was some hot shit to a 16-year-old in Ohio.)
The weird group below is Hot Tin Roof, who were a local Cleveland act I loved growing up. The band was fronted by Tom Lash, who was in the new-wave band Lucky Pierre -- whose most famous member (after Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, who was in the band for a spell) was Kevin McMahon, who later went on to form Prick. (Remember "Animal," and that band's opening slot for the NIN/Bowie 1995 tour?)
Hot Tin Roof opened for House of Love and My Bloody Valentine in Clevo, but also incorporates synthpop, jangle-rock, Britpop and industrial influences. "Black Christmas" is a fantastic, fantastic tune that namechecks downtown Cleveland's Public Square. You can download that song and another one, "A Christmas Wish" -- which is being used in an AMC commercial this year, go figure -- at luckyprick.net.
Other present whereabouts: Smashing Pumpkins released a new record, Zeitgeist, this year. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have regrouped for its tenth-annual Hometown Throwdown in Boston (and released a CD of rarities and sundry, called Medium Rare, for the occasion). Soul Coughing's M. Doughty has a new solo album (produced by Semisonic's Dan Wilson) out in the new year. Of Montreal is doing its best Prince imitation to hordes of kids. I'm not sure what No Doubt is up to; I know it was supposedly working on a new album, but Gwen Stefani's been doing her solo thing for so long now...
-- Annie Zaleski