Posted in music on August 13, 2014

by Andrew Sacher

MTV

It's no secret that the '90s are all the rage right now. The internet (and maybe even your real life) is filled with nostalgia for everything from Pogs to Nickelodeon cartoons to Tamagotchis and this reality check from The Onion that the '90s weren't only Pogs, Nickelodeon cartoons and Tamagotchis. Indie rock is no exception. The sounds of the Alternative Nation era can be heard in many of today's indie bands, and countless '90s OGs have reformed to excellent results, playing not just to the people who saw them the first time around but to many new, younger fans. When it comes to discussing '90s rock, we usually turn the conversation towards critically acclaimed bands like Pavement, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Built to Spill, Neutral Milk Hotel, and My Bloody Valentine or huge bands like Nirvana, Weezer, and Radiohead. You don't need another list telling you those bands are great. (But if you do, those lists are easily Googleable and recommended!) Instead, here's an alternative (pun intended) way of looking at the decade. Here's a list that highlights nine great bands who seem like they're starting to get re-evaluated a bit and starting to get the credit they deserve (some more than others).

I'm not trying to take the obscurer-than-thou route either. In fact, there's a good chance you've heard of all of these bands. All of them were on major labels. Some didn't have enough hits to get legitimately popular or remembered for more than one or two songs, but because of their MTV/KROQ associations they weren't very indie-cool either. Some achieved more mainstream success (often by changing their sound), an even bigger indie cred killer. But all of them are doing cool stuff right now, whether it's new albums, vinyl reissues, tours of the classic material, or new related bands. Almost all of them also have a clear influence on younger, modern bands. Whatever it is, it's reminding us why they were such great artists to begin with.

Of course this list could've had way more than nine bands. So feel free to comment telling us which ones you would've included and which ones you think we should've left off. Check out the list (in no particular order), with commentary and song streams, below.

UPDATE: Here's why we didn't include Nada Surf.

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Superdrag
Superdrag

SUPERDRAG: Ironically, "Sucked Out," the one song most people knew Superdrag for thanks to MTV and radio play, was railing against the way major labels, MTV and mainstream radio were exploiting alternative music, desperately looking for the next band they could capitalize on. "In your eyes you've already spread my thighs, and you're rocking to the next big thing," sang John Davis in the song's first verse. And that throat-scratching chorus of "Who sucked out the feeling?" has to be one of alt-rock's most memorable rhetorical questions. It's a great song that lives up today, but the album it's on, Regretfully Yours, Superdrag's debut LP for Elektra Records, is packed with other excellent material. Whether or not there's another could-be hit, the whole thing is a catchy-as-hell batch of punk-inspired power pop. Some tracks, like "Destination Ursa Major," "Nothing Good Is Real," and "Phaser" have a bit of a shoegaze influence that a couple of the members would fully embrace later on (we'll get to that soon).

For their next record, 1998's Head Trip in Every Key, they holed up in the studio with Green Day producer Jerry Finn (RIP) and made an ambitious followup that echoes The Zombies on opening track "I'm Expanding My Mind," brings on George Harrison-style sitar on "The Art of Dying," revisits the shoegaze influence on "Pine Away," rails against the mainstream music industry once again on "Bankrupt Vibration" ("And your alternative station / Is such a bankrupt vibration / Counting on the confusion / Of an alternative nation"), and has lush string arrangements all over the record. Elektra was displeased with its lack of hits, which eventually led to the band and label parting ways. The split resulted in Superdrag signing with the smaller Arena Rock Recording Company and releasing their third LP, 2000's In the Valley of Dying Stars, a darker album that returns in ways to the band's punk roots and features some of the best songs of their career. And if you're wondering how Davis was feeling about the industry at this point, well, the album opens with the line "I want rock 'n roll but I don't want to deal with the hassle."

Now, Superdrag has teamed up with respected independent punk label SideOneDummy, who gave Regretfully Yours its first vinyl release in 2013 and did the same with Head Trip this week (August 12) (along with a collection of demos from the era). SideOne also signed John Davis and Superdrag guitarist Brandon Fisher's new band The Lees of Memory, who go full-on MBV on their upcoming debut album, and it works. Garage rock label/lifestyle Burger is putting it out on cassette. Stream a track.

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The Muffs at Burger A-Go-Go 2014 (more by Debi Del Grande)
Muffs

THE MUFFS: The Muffs shared a producer (Rob Cavallo) and a punchy pop punk sound with Green Day on their 1993 self-titled debut for Warner Brothers, and on its two followups they'd share a label (Reprise, which Warner owns). But while Green Day and many of their pop punk contemporaries remained huge and eventually began making even more popular music that didn't really deserve the "punk" suffix, The Muffs are best remembered by many for a cover of Kim Wilde's "Kids In America" which is on the Clueless soundtrack. It's an unfortunate thing, because there's hardly a dud in their discography. And those first three records (the major label ones) sound fresher today than many of their contemporaries. The band mixed the sugary sounds of early rock 'n roll with rougher distorted garage rock (the Ramones had to be an influence too), and Kim Shattuck's scream gave them an edge over even the more underground pop punk bands of the era. It's all over their first record, which is probably their rawest (but still catchy) release, but that album's followup, 1995's Blonder and Blonder, is their crowning achievement. The scream shows up sometimes, like on album opener and standout "Agony," but they also show their diversity on a track like "Funny Face," a mid-tempo rocker with a descending chord progression that stands out among the peppier stuff and is one of their best songs.

Maybe The Muffs didn't cause as many '90s kids to pick up a guitar and learn three power chords as Green Day did, but their influence can undoubtedly be heard in today's indie rock. Ohio's scrappy All Dogs covered them on an EP last year, and The Muffs sound like a clear influence on Seattle-via-Brooklyn punks Big Eyes. The Muffs themselves put out a new album, Whoop Dee Doo (their first since 2004), at the tail-end of July on Burger Records, a go-to place for garage rock. Whoop Dee Doo is an excellent album that doesn't sound very different from their early '90s material, and like the Superdrag-related The Lees of Memory, it also fits right in on Burger in 2014. In 2013, Kim was briefly a member of the Pixies. While The Muffs will probably never be as legendary as the Pixies, if you compare their reunion album to Whoop Dee Doo, it's easy to see which band still has it in 2014. Catch The Muffs on their tour which hits NYC in October with Miriam and Upset, and check out their new video.

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Harvey Danger

HARVEY DANGER: Still to this day, one of the biggest crimes of '90s indie rock is that Harvey Danger are considered a one hit wonder for "Flagpole Sitta". It's a great song, but only one of the ten great songs on their debut album, 1997's Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?. Produced by John Goodmanson, who at the time had recently helmed records by Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill, Merrymakers is '90s indie rock at its finest, and should appeal to any fans of the era's more universally acclaimed bands. The slacker rhythms of early Pavement are here, and Sean Nelson's nasal whine isn't a far cry from Built to Spill's Doug Martsch, but Harvey Danger were more than the sum of their parts. Like those bands, they were strong songwriters, and Sean really had his own personality to him. When he yells "The desperate need to be together / must've been good for something, sugar!" on "Private Helicopter," it's too powerful to be the work of copycats. Album opener "Carlotta Valdez" is even more of a rocker than "Flagpole Sitta," and at least as good of a song. "Problems And Bigger Ones" takes the slowcore formula that had been around for a few years by then, and throws in an anthemic chorus atypical of that genre. The whole record is a classic.

Sean Nelson has spoken about how the attention from the mainstream world for "Flagpole Sitta" was unnerving. There was an expectation that more hits would follow, but he wasn't concerned with writing hits. This showed on the band's followup album, 2000's King James Version, which came out on Sire and London Records (London had reissued Merrymakers after "Flagpole Sitta"'s fame) and sounded nothing like the radio-ready alternative rock that was expected of them. It did however, have 12 songs of quirky rock that would have fared much better on say, Barsuk, an indie label Sean was and is still friendly with. After that album, the band took a break and didn't release new music again until 2005's less aggressive Little by Little... (re-released in 2006 on Kill Rock Stars), which did produce some gems like the McCartney-esque piano pop album opener "Wine, Women & Song." So what are they doing now? Sean put out a solo album in 2013 that wasn't half bad and drummer Evan Sult formed the indie pop band Sleepy Kitty whose newest album Projection Room came out earlier this year (and a new video just came out). But most interestingly, they recently (July 29) gave Merrymakers its first-ever vinyl release on No Sleep Records, home to many of today's forward-thinking punk/post-hardcore bands.

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Jimmy Eat World at Osheaga 2013 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
JEW

JIMMY EAT WORLD: Jimmy Eat World have probably gotten the most after-the-fact acclaim of all these bands for their 1999 masterpiece, Clarity, but I still encounter people unfairly judging them on the basis of their 2001 breakthrough single, "The Middle," a good song from a great album (Bleed American) that just got played way, WAY too much. That song and the band's mainstream success in the 2000s has scared people away from Jimmy Eat World, but they had an incredibly interesting '90s career. Clarity is increasingly becoming a Pinkerton-style album, in that more and more fans and critics are recognizing its brilliance each year. Before I get there though, I'm rewinding to 1994 when Jimmy Eat World released their self-titled debut album. Unlike anything they'd follow it with, it was an album of emotionally-charged pop punk with all but one track being sung by current backup singer Tom Linton. Its followup, and their major label debut, was 1996's Static Prevails which this time saw Tom splitting lead vocals with current lead singer Jim Adkins, and moving into the emo territory of bands like Christie Front Drive (who they released a split with and whose singer Eric Richter is on that record) and The Promise Ring (whose Davey Von Bohlen contributes to a song on Bleed American that both quotes his song titles and includes the lyric "come on Davey, sing me something that I know"). Static Prevails, excellent as it is, was a commercial failure and at the time it seemed like its followup Clarity would be Jimmy Eat World's final shot at success.

Clarity, the album where Jim took over as lead singer save for "Blister," is an absolutely brilliant record that moves them beyond the mid-'90s emo sound into far more dynamic territories. Its single, "Lucky Denver Mint," was the closest thing to a hit (or an attempt at one) and predicted a sound the band would revisit on several of their 2000s albums. Elsewhere on the album, "Crush" maintains the heavier style of their earlier albums but introduces a new knack for melody. "Table For Glasses" is emo-fueled slowcore of the highest quality, and gives Mineral a run for their money. And the album ends with a borderline-post rock 16+ minute song that doesn't drag. In Andy Greenwald's essential 2003 book on emo, Nothing Feels Good, he says every contemporary emo band would call it their favorite album. It's not hard to see why now. But at the time Clarity was another commercial (and initially also critical) failure, and it led to Capitol dropping them. Of course they didn't give up and instead put together a batch of perfect power pop called Bleed American that landed them on a new major (DreamWorks) and skyrocketed them to fame.

The band is still active, still on a major, and still successful, though the last few albums haven't quite captured the magic of their early days. They toured Clarity in full in 2009, and also gave it a vinyl reissue that year. This year, on September 30, they're giving it another vinyl reissue (double LP) via Universal. Static Prevails and Futures reissues are also due on 8/19 and 9/2, respectively. They'll go on another nostalgia tour this year, this time playing Futures in full for its tenth anniversary. The 2004 LP followed Bleed American, and while it's not as classic as their earlier material, it's still a solid record and probably the least radio-friendly of their post-"The Middle" years (in a good way).

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Smoking Popes in Chicago in June (more by Jeff Ryan)
Smoking Popes

SMOKING POPES: Like some of these other bands, the Smoking Popes make punk-inspired alternative rock, though they were set apart by Josh Caterer's croon that was closer to Morrissey than to any punk/alt-rock band. (Morrissey is a fan too!) They had a minor hit in "Need You Around" (it was also on the Clueless soundtrack) off their second and best LP, Born to Quit, which resulted in Capitol Records taking interest and re-releasing the record shortly after. While the album mostly embraces the band's punk roots like on "Need You Around," they do hint at the ballads they were clearly influenced by a few times, like on the romantic "Mrs. You and Me." And the bits of rasp Josh let into the chorus of "Gotta Know Right Now" make the song almost Jawbreaker-style emo (Josh would write a song for/about Blake Schwarzenbach on the next album). Born to Quit's followup, 1997's Destination Failure, was the first album recorded since signing to Capitol, and it would be their last. They got a bit more studio shine from Jerry Finn, but really embraced their love of balladry and classic pop this time around, and that didn't give Capitol the hits they wanted ("I Know You Love Me" was a somewhat popular single for them though). Some of that early emo style shows up again too, like in the lyrics of "Pretty Pathetic." Born to Quit may always be the album I associate with Smoking Popes, but Destination Failure is an (even more) overlooked gem that's very close to as good.

The band went on hiatus after that, with their 1998-recorded covers album The Party's Over (that Capitol rejected) eventually coming out in 2001. They finally reunited in 2005, put out a new album in 2008, and then like many other bands on this list, found independent punk labels who could give them the treatment they deserve, Asian Man Records and SideOneDummy. SideOne reissued Born to Quit on vinyl, and Asian Man gave them a place to get back to releasing new music, their most recent album being 2011's This Is Only a Test. Like their 2008 LP, it's mostly a return to the Born to Quit style, and good stuff. Smoking Popes have been embraced by a handful of newer bands too. Their influence on Michigan's Cheap Girls is undeniable. That band also has releases on Asian Man, and just about any of their albums fit right in with the 'Popes catalog, the newest being this year's Famous Graves (out on Xtra Mile). Into It. Over It., one of the most acclaimed artists in the "emo revival," also covered them in 2012. That was the same year the Smoking Popes toured Born to Quit in full. They haven't done another nostalgia tour since then, but continue to play live. We just caught them in Chicago with Braid celebrating Double Door's 20th anniversary, and they also played Riot Fest Chicago 2013 and NYE in Chicago with Jimmy Eat World.

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Hum at FFF Fest 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
Hum

HUM: While Hum already have a bit of indie acceptance (or had -- if you want to see the 8.3 Pitchfork gave Downward Is Heavenward you'll have to go to web archive, and if you want to see the album crack their top 100 of the '90s, off to the 1999 version of that list you go, not the one on their site), they still feel like they fit on this list for a few reasons. Like all of these bands, they were a major label band, and their only real taste of mainstream success came from the single "Stars." But most importantly, Hum have never been as influential on indie rock as they are right now. Their sound is all over Nothing, it's crept pretty heavily into a few Title Fight songs (especially "Head in the Ceiling Fan"), and informs other modern bands like Superheaven (fka Daylight), Balance & Composure and still more.

In addition to "Stars" being a great song, the album it's on, 1995's You'd Prefer An Astronaut, is equally great and its 1998 followup, Downward Is Heavenward, may be even better. Both records mixed post-hardcore, alternative rock, and space rock/shoegaze into an atmospheric, crushing blend. The songs were heavier and clearer than My Bloody Valentine, but also had a lot more to them than a lot of the post-grunge bands of that time whose riffs weren't all that different from Hum's. At the time it was an interesting middle ground, but that sound didn't live on into the new millennium of indie rock the way MBV's did. Now that it's finally being reclaimed, it's a good time to revisit those records. Hum reunited at the beginning of this decade (and a tribute album featuring Junius, City of Ships and others was released around that time), and since reissued You'd Prefer An Astronaut on vinyl via Earth Analog Records. The label has recently been talking about a Downward Is Heavenward reissue too.

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Toadies at Webster Hall in 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
Toadies

TOADIES: Fort Worth, TX band Toadies' major single on '90s alt-rock radio was "Possum Kingdom," the hit off their debut album, 1994's Rubberneck which came out via Interscope. It's a fairly typical single of the post-grunge era, one that may not have caused you to explore the band further after hearing it on a playlist with Bush or Silverchair, bands that took on the mainstream appeal of Seattle grunge but ignored its underground roots. However, much of Rubberneck sounds rooted in the same kind of outsider punk and metal bands that inspired Nirvana (and likely rooted in Nirvana too). It may have come out a few months after Kurt died, but being a few years late doesn't stop the album from being a gem of '90s alternative. "Tyler" sounds closer to the Pixies than most bands on the radio did by then, "Mister Love" is straight punk with a guitar riff right out of the book of Cobain, and the loud-quiet-loud formula of "Quitter" is a fantastic take on grungy indie rock.

Toadies tried to follow up Rubberneck in 1997 with Feeler but when they showed the album to Interscope, the label rejected it. This sent the band back into the studio, resulting in Hell Below/Stars Above (which featured Elliott Smith playing piano on one song), which came out in 2001, thus making Rubberneck their only album of the '90s. The album didn't perform well commercially and the band broke up soon after. Though in 2006 they regrouped and have been going strong ever since, having released more albums in their second run as a band than their first -- 2008's No Deliverance, 2010's re-recording of Feeler, and 2012's Play.Rock.Music. Each one has its moments, and as a track like "Laments of a Good Man" on Play.Rock.Music proves, they can still be truly weird. Plus, unlike other bands that toed the line between "post-grunge" and "grunge," they're not doing things like inviting Linkin Park's singer to join their band. Instead, they're palling around with other greats from that era like Helmet, Supersuckers, and Old 97's, the latter of whom will open Dia De Los Toadies Festival in Fort Worth this September, where Toadies are playing Rubberneck in full. The band also gave that album a reissue with bonus material on vinyl and CD earlier this year via their current label, Kirtland.

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Veruca Salt at MHOW in July (more by Adea Loconte)
Veruca Salt

VERUCA SALT: BV's Bill Pearis has written before that Veruca Salt stirred up buzz with their 1994 debut single "Seether" and the album it appeared on, American Thighs, but followed it with an over-produced second album (Bob Rock was at the boards). Co-frontperson Nina Gordon left shortly after, and drummer Jim Shapiro and bassist Steve Lack soon followed suit, leaving Louise Post as the only original member. "Seether" and the rest of American Thighs (produced by Brad Wood) are classics of '90s indie rock, and it's easy to see why the radio latched on to this stuff. Like Weezer, whose debut LP came out that same year, these songs have huge hooks -- bigger than say, other Class of 1994 indie rock bands like Pavement or Guided by Voices -- but they're smart and intricately crafted too. My personal favorite Veruca Salt release came in between that album and its polished followup though, the 4-song Blow It Out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt EP, which was just about the opposite of polished. Like many alternative bands who want raw but powerful, they went with Steve Albini to record this one, and he was the perfect fit for what turned out to be some of the most biting songs of their career.

Similarly to Hole or Liz Phair, the female-fronted Veruca Salt weren't directly associated with the Riot Grrrl movement of that time (and were more popular than most bands who were), but Riot Grrrl's feminist punk values found their way into the band's music. The EP's first track, "Shimmer Like A Girl" is an excellent example of this. Opening with a power chord riff and drum fill that could've come straight from Nirvana's In Utero sessions (in case you don't know, Albini recorded that album too), Nina Gordon rips right into "It's a shame you have a mind of your own now," and by the song's chorus she howls the anthemic "Shimmer like a girl should." Its unsubtle sarcasm fits better on a mixtape next to "Rebel Girl" than almost every band who would ever go on to record with Bob Rock. This year, Veruca Salt put out a new two-song single on Record Store Day, their first new music with the original lineup since '97, and both tracks fit right in with their classic material. They've also been touring again to excellent results. They recently hit NYC for sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg, showing off how timeless those old songs are and how well they fit with the new ones. Here's to hoping the reunion continues and more new music is on the way.

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GGDs

GOO GOO DOLLS: Okay I'm kind of cheating here because one listen to the Goo Goo Dolls' 2013 album proves they are NOT doing anything awesome now, but here's some wishful thinking that they'll revisit the old days. Everyone knows that by 1998's Dizzy Up the Girl they became one of the most successful adult alternative bands around, but what's lesser known -- and more interesting from an indie rock perspective -- is that they started in the late '80s as a punk band who by 1989 had signed to Metal Blade Records (who released the first two Slayer albums) for their sophomore album Jed. Like Jimmy Eat World, Goo Goo Dolls started with another member, Robby Takac, on lead vocals, and with each album the cleaner-sounding John Rzeznik increasingly took the lead. John sang two songs on Jed, but he really got it together on 1990's Hold Me Up (which, if we're keeping alt-rock cred score, is a year before Nevermind and Ten), where his best songs ("Just the Way You Are," "There You Are") had the band sounding like very good Replacements clones. They seemed to at least have a bit of that band's support too, considering Paul Westerberg co-wrote "We Are the Normal" on the GGDs next album, 1993's Superstar Car Wash, their first for Warner Bros. That album saw the band with higher production and sharper hooks, and it resulted in some of their best songs -- "Fallin' Down," "Cuz You're Gone" and "So Far Away," to name a few.

They returned in 1995 with A Boy Named Goo, their last to prevalently feature their punk roots and their best album to date. At this point, Rzeznik had the Westerberg formula down, but he'd also fully developed a sound that was distinctly Goo Goo Dolls. The Goo Goo Dolls will never be as great a band as The Replacements, but it's rewriting history to say The Replacements were ever this downright catchy. With Rzeznik's ringing open chords, huge choruses, and guitar solos that were just the right mix of technical and hummable, A Boy Named Goo is responsible for quite a handful of '90s alt-rock bangers. All of their records have filler, and this one's no exception, but "Long Way Down," "Ain't That Unusual," "Naked," "Eyes Wide Open," "Only One" and "Flat Top" are some of the best songs of that era. It's also the album that produced the acoustic rocker "Name," their first major hit and the one that laid the groundwork for pretty much every (equally uncool) Goo Goo Dolls single to follow (like "Iris"). I won't hate on "Name" (and if we're being totally honest, I won't entirely hate on all of Dizzy Up the Girl either), but it's far from representative of what this album has done and can do for indie rock.

Like I said, the Goo Goo Dolls haven't hopped aboard the nostalgia train just yet (but guys, if you're reading this, A Boy Named Goo turns 20 this March...) but until then we've got some modern bands keeping their early '90s sound alive. Most notably, there's Beach Slang -- who themselves are fronted by a member of a loved '90s band, Weston -- who put out their excellent debut EP earlier this year. As many agree (myself included), they're basically doing early '90s Goo Goo Dolls for the current era, with some Jawbreaker thrown in there for good measure. You can also hear some early GGDs in bands such as Failures' Union (who share the GGDs' hometown of Buffalo), High Water and Cheap Girls (who we also compared above to Smoking Popes). Placeholder namedropped A Boy Named Goo as one of their favorites in an interview with us, and Chumped (who play with Beach Slang soon) are not shy about their love for the band either. Maybe the Goo Goo Dolls weren't always the coolest to like, but in 2014 their classic material sounds a lot more like modern indie rock than even some of their more respected peers.

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Comments (127)

No Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Ween, or Built to Spill but you have Goo Goo Dolls?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:12 PM

Spacehog was (and is) better than any of these bands.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:14 PM

Really? You're doing lists now?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:14 PM

Uh, Gin Blossoms? Hello?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:15 PM

people aged 25-35 in the 90s are now in full mid-life crisis mode, whoop de doo

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:15 PM

I'll give ya this one...Hum's sound is definitely all over the band Nothing.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:15 PM

"one of the biggest crimes of '90s indie rock is that Harvey Danger are considered a one hit wonder for 'Flagpole Sitta'"

It's a crime (one of the biggest!)that a band with one hit is considered a one hit wonder?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:17 PM

huh, you guys really did get bought out by buzzfeed

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:17 PM

Superchunk and Ween!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:17 PM

That's because people thought Superchunk and BTS were good bands back then - you missed the premise...

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:19 PM

goo goo dolls and jimmy eat world? any respect this blog gets is getting washed away with sacher. haha.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:20 PM

I wish HUM would tour again

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:20 PM

"the '90s are all the rage right now"

Right now +/- the last 13 years of permanent nostalgia

Or is that a new record store

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:20 PM

No.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:23 PM

BELLY!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:24 PM

i clicked on this ONLY to see if you included veruca salt, so you get pats on the back for that. but come on, goo goo dolls and harvey danger?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:25 PM

I lost my virginity in '91 and became a full-fledged swashbucking swordsman in the late '90s.

Posted by Mr. Foot Fetish | August 13, 2014 12:26 PM

i miss jellyfish

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:27 PM

Gin Blossoms aren't doing anything great these days. They had one amazing album and then kicked the main songwriter out for being a drunk. then got famous off his songs. so fuck them.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:28 PM

I cant believe someone took a load of time to compile this bullshit list..

anyone self-respecting person who has ever listened to the goo dolls would have to admit that it was a mistake.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:28 PM

"No Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Ween, or Built to Spill?"

As I sad in the intro, this list is bands who aren't critically acclaimed like Archers of Loaf, Superchunk and Built to Spill.

Posted by Andrew Sacher | August 13, 2014 12:29 PM

Could have sworn the Archers and Superchunk line wasnt in the intro at first.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:31 PM

oof.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:33 PM

"Spacehog was (and is) better than any of these bands."

Not for Hum, they aren't.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:36 PM

oddly no Sachercore bands on this list.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:36 PM

"Could have sworn the Archers and Superchunk line wasnt in the intro at first."

And I was right. Original article was still open on my computer.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:38 PM

Local h.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:39 PM

BECK?!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:40 PM

"No Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Ween, or Built to Spill but you have Goo Goo Dolls?"


"When it comes to discussing '90s rock, we usually turn the conversation towards critically acclaimed bands like Pavement, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Built to Spill, Neutral Milk Hotel, and My Bloody Valentine or huge bands like Nirvana, Weezer, and Radiohead. You don't need another list telling you those bands are great. (But if you do, those lists are easily Googleable and recommended!)"

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:41 PM

Toad the Wet Sprocket has made a triumphant, mature comeback. They should be on this list.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:41 PM

^ah yes I agree. Glen solo stuff is good too.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:48 PM

I guess he doesn't consider them (TTWS) overlooked? I heard 'something's always wrong' in home depot the other day

1228, he then killed himself, "found out about you" is such a great song, sad story, I tried to catch them for free at the Sayville Seafood festival a few years ago haha, that's where they are now

Goo Goo Dolls' 'naked' is a good song - their huge hit at that time was the slow jam though, something about your name, terrible song, tailor made for 'meet joe black' or other schlocky movies, funny I remember reading an interview with Westerberg and he was asked whether he got royalties from the GGD, he laughed and said something like I should, guess they had a falling out?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:56 PM

the other John Davis (from Folk Implosion) is making a new album too.

love this list.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:56 PM

This is about bands that had mtv hits. Archers and superchunk never had videos on in the daytime. These bands did.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 12:59 PM

No Failure?!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:11 PM

"oddly no Sachercore bands on this list."

he wasn't old enough to have seen the bands that mattered back then and influenced the bands he likes today.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:19 PM

"....after hearing it on a playlist with Bush or Silverchair, bands that took on the mainstream appeal of Seattle grunge but ignored its underground roots. "
First of all, the kids in Silverchair were friggin 14 years old when that record came out. What the hell would they know about roots at their age? Meanwhile, their sound changed drastically over the years, and they actually became a very good band. Huge in Australia.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:39 PM

12:27 Jellyfish was the most underrated band ever.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:42 PM

Goo Goo Dolls used to be a great band. Glad that someone else remembered,

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:43 PM

TTWS is just OK. They were much stronger in the mid 90s during their original run. Fear and Dulcinea were amazing albums, but the new stuff is just OK. They should remain off the list.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:45 PM

fun lovin criminals, soul coughing, jesus jones, the farm, sneaker pimps, dada, EMF

90s relics

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 1:56 PM

I was about to mention the Lemonheads, but then I remembered the reviews from those shitshows a couple of years ago.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 2:01 PM

+1 for Ween

Posted by Original Fuzz | August 13, 2014 2:05 PM

Urge Overkill--2011's Rock and Roll Submarine is mighty good!

No Hoobastank?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 2:10 PM

Absolutely LOVE the mention of Failure's Union! Great musicians and a great group of guys who deserve so much more attention.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 2:11 PM

Urge is still good fun

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 2:19 PM

Jack Johnson!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 2:21 PM

Eugenius

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:02 PM

Superdrag's "Jokers..." vinyl arrived yesterday and been spinning it on repeat! Many of those list bands have had a tremendous influence on this new Brooklyn band, American Darlings! Thanks for the great article!
https://soundcloud.com/americandarlings

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:03 PM

Harvey danger's albums were solid, I'll stand by that.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:10 PM

Good concept, crappy bands.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:16 PM

I was eating that good hummus shit before any of you.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:19 PM

Nostalgia gives every band bonus 5 points on that inner Pitchfork scale by which the holier than thou now use to measure their "tastes". I remember when Veruca Salt was around. Their first and especially second album was bubblegum pop, not indie by any stretch of how that phrase was used at that time. If you must compare them to any of the other female fronted melodic bands with darker lyrics, the lyrics and musicianship was just plain less interesting than their peers - Belly, Throwing Muses, The Breeders, the sadly undersung Scrawl, any number of more interesting but less "cute" and more marketable Veruca Salt. Good on VS for getting some more time in the sun, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. They weren't more remarkable than many, many other bands who are due a true re-visit. Oh yeah, and get off my lawn.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:25 PM

Nada Surf is ten times better than they were in the 90's with that shitty "Popular" song. Now they are amazingly good, better than any of these bands. Superdrag is a close 2nd.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:26 PM

Wow, i LOVE this list, though i'd replace the Toadies and Goo Goo Dolls (both good bands) with Letters To Cleo and maybe Fountains of Wayne or the Gin Blossoms.

Posted by Christian | August 13, 2014 3:27 PM

Seconding NADA SURF. Had a random '90s hit, became quite amazing (and still are today) in the 2000s.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:37 PM

Midlife crisis post of the day.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:42 PM

Failure to mention of Nada Surf in this article is a crime against humanity. They've stayed quite busy despite being generally forgotten by the general public since the mid-90s, and their 2003 album "Let Go" is a masterpiece.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:43 PM

Where the fuck is Slowdive?

Posted by Caolo | August 13, 2014 3:49 PM

Detachable Penis!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:49 PM

SPONGE

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:50 PM

Grimes

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:54 PM

This list means a thing because SUPERDRAG is there, and they're the best band the world has ever seen...
But come on... where's SPACEHOG? They were great and just released one of their best albums this year.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:57 PM

what the fuck is this

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:59 PM

lol the toadies

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 3:59 PM

that dog.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 4:02 PM

Move on and quit trying to be young again.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 4:05 PM

Mathew sweet, dinosaur jr, frank black,the rentals, echobelly, the breeders

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 4:15 PM

The Dandy Warhols!

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 4:33 PM

Sacher is in his early 20s, so he was too young to appreciate any of these bands the first time.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 4:40 PM

the lemonheads

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 5:01 PM

Thanks for posting this. Wonderful, For me it was "Goo Goo Dolls' 'naked'. The first time I heard I was shocked.

Posted by A Fazenda 7 | August 13, 2014 5:38 PM

In the nineties brunch wasn't as important to the big town as it is today. Now FUHGEDABOUTIT - brunch, brunch, brunch, brunch, brunch!

Posted by Mr. Foot Fetish | August 13, 2014 5:41 PM

Everything but the goo goo dolls I agree with, MOST ESPECIALLY the Toadies. And I know it is hard to put together a list like this, but no Ween or Chainsaw Kittens? Seriously?

Posted by boots | August 13, 2014 6:06 PM

I'm loving all the votes for Spacehog - hell yes!!

Posted by Christine | August 13, 2014 6:34 PM

ASSHOLE!

Posted by brand_ON | August 13, 2014 6:36 PM

Grant Lee Buffalo is better than any of these bands

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 7:18 PM

Come back when to me when you REALLY thought long and hard on this

Posted by The All-knowing Authority on Pop Music | August 13, 2014 7:29 PM

WHERE'S WALT MINK???

Posted by bryontreece | August 13, 2014 8:01 PM

Men's Recovery Project

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 8:05 PM

Get bent

Posted by blayne | August 13, 2014 8:40 PM

Slint?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 9:05 PM

Posies?

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 9:27 PM

Hum, Superdrag, Failure, Dig, Gene,

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 9:43 PM

FAILURE.

Posted by Anonymous | August 13, 2014 10:03 PM

sELF, Jawbreaker, Fig Dish, Tripping Daisy ...?

Posted by anonymous | August 14, 2014 1:20 AM

The only real must listen to on this list is Hum. Some are ok, and others ... Harvey Danger and the Goo Goo Dolls ugh really? This list definitely needs work, no Failure, Mazzy Star, Cake?

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 4:50 AM

Goo Goo Dolls was a good call for this article. Fuck the clueless haters.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 5:24 AM

Goo Goo Dolls were and still are crap. also the bassist is the ugliest musician of all time

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 6:56 AM

Matthew Sweet, Jellyfish, Posies, Nada Surf, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Ween, Silverchair (yes, Silverchair... before you snobs mock me, check out their latter albums; they are actually really good).

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 9:00 AM

Saw Helment, Filter, and Local H last night. All honorable mentions for this list. Love the inclusion of HUM! Good stuff.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 9:43 AM

Wow, what a list of shitty bands. I haven't thought of most of these guys since the era of used CD stores, where each of these groups had a massive stack of unsold, unwanted copies of their albums.

I'm sure those same CDs are cluttering landfills by now.

Jeez Sacher, I didn't realize you had such awful taste.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 10:46 AM

Nada Surf for sure, but any such list not including Fountains Of Wayne is criminally misinformed.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 10:52 AM

The Internet: giving anonymous haters a pathetic little platform since '95.

Posted by Al Gore | August 14, 2014 11:36 AM

HUM is great! I'm glad that people are aware of their music. They lived down the street from us in Champaign-Urbana and are good people. Most of them were in another great band (Honcho Overload) who is also very worth a listen if you can track down their stuff.

Posted by Brian | August 14, 2014 11:53 AM

Buffalo Tom.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 12:26 PM

lazarus q

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 12:49 PM

It's always funny when people who were born in the 90s write about music from that decade as if they are historical experts.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 2:02 PM

Hum is to Failure as Filter is to NIN.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 2:10 PM

It's always funny when people who were born in the 1890s write about music from that decade as if they are historical experts.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 2:52 PM

It's always funny when people who were born in the 1980s act like they are any better than people born in the 1990s who write about music from that decade as if they are historical experts.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 3:55 PM

Nah, that's not too funny, 3:55.
People born in the '80s are old enough to have experienced the music and actually see these bands perform live during that time. So yes, people in the 80s are better suited to talk about 90s music than people born in that decade.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 4:03 PM

If you were born in the 1890s, you're probably an expert on a lot of historical stuff, being that you're over 100 years old and was around to witness it all firsthand.

Anyways, count my votes for Failure and Helmet as unfortunate oversights.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 4:08 PM

^Helmet, definitely. Also, good call on Portishead & Slowdive.

And since less than half of the dimwits posting here have noticed that this article is essentially about bands who were on major labels for some or all of their careers, we'll add: Swervedriver, The Afghan Whigs and Quicksand to the list as well.

Also, dude gets points for the King Missile reference.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 4:53 PM

The Refreshments
Nashville Pussy
Supersuckers
Murder City Devils
The Reverend Horton Heat(They're still going hard though)
Bush
Pantera

Great 90's bands.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 8:10 PM

SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE!

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 11:06 PM

One of the biggest regrets of my life is missing the last LIRR train from Ronkonkoma and missing HUM. They really need to come to NYC sometime soon!

I agree with most of this list, but I STILL regret buying those Harvey Danger and Superdag records.

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 11:08 PM

No love for Shudder To Think?

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 11:46 PM

Definitely Hum but also...
The Get up Kids
Faith No More
Built To Spill
Blur
Bikini Kill

Posted by Anonymous | August 14, 2014 11:46 PM

The Ocean Blue, Lemonheads, Mazzy Star. Helmet, Pond, Dinosaur Jr. Portishead, Stereolab, Apples in Stereo, Chapterhouse, Blur, Trashcan Sinatras....

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2014 12:36 AM

KILLDOZER...nuff said

Posted by DanO | August 15, 2014 1:43 AM

I'd add unsane, dazzling killmen, (pre relapse) today is the day, and jawbreaker to the list

Posted by Anonymous | August 15, 2014 4:47 PM

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.


Nope.

Posted by Anonymous | August 16, 2014 1:50 PM

people in the 80s are better suited to talk about 90s music than people born in that decade

Posted by massagista sp | August 16, 2014 4:04 PM

Jonathan Fire*Eater, stellastarr*, Railroad Jerk, etc
Fuck the Goo Goo Dolls and Jimmy Eat World are you kidding me?

Posted by Jordan | August 16, 2014 11:07 PM

Sacher, you shouldn't be writing about music. This is one of the most widely read music blogs. This is sad.

Posted by Anonymous | August 16, 2014 11:10 PM

Most of these bands that came after 1993 were corporate renditions of the music that was actually good. Terrible, sophmoric list with the exception of the Goo Goo Dolls.

Posted by Puck | August 17, 2014 7:56 AM

Semisonic.

Posted by Anonymous | August 17, 2014 8:00 AM

Cracker

Posted by Anonymous | August 17, 2014 9:32 PM

The Buck Pets

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:30 PM

Love & Rockets fuckers

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 4:13 PM

The Bogmen

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 5:05 PM

gandharvas

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2014 1:11 PM

I remember the times

The times that we had

I remember the things

That used to make you sad

Posted by gatitjoc | September 1, 2014 4:44 PM

Hum, Superdrag, Failure, Dig, Gene,

Posted by Filmes Online | September 6, 2014 11:39 PM

you idiots are all missing the concept

Posted by dp | September 10, 2014 4:58 PM

Pantera the best band !!

Posted by maquiagem | November 22, 2014 3:13 PM

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