GRUNGE! Mmmm yeaaaaahh!!!
In Utero, VS., Siamese Dream, Where You Been, Houdini, Pop Smear…
Some of the most seminal and influential albums of the 90’s decade were released in 1993! Not just for grunge, but for rock music as a whole. Rock was already transformed via Nevermind, so these follow up records were simply sealing the deal.
Now, 24 years later, it is almost surprising how these albums are not just regarded as classics. They are also favorites, and are being discovered in haste by this new generation! I often see teenagers wearing Nirvana or Soundgarden shirts, and posting Mudhoney or Hole videos on their timelines.
In the same degree as hip hop, and perhaps even stronger than hair metal, “grunge” has once again risen to the forefront and keeps on giving.
In the words of the frail yet aggressive leader of the Seattle grunge movement:
“With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us”
-“Smells Like Teen Spirit” Nevermind by Nirvana 1991. Lyrics by Kurt Cobain.
If you were alive during the 1990’s then you at the very least caught wind of the grunge movement; mainly permeating the stank air from the basement clubs of Seattle.
Some of us writers here at B.G.M. will do our best to recapture that stank and relive those moments by writing about a song that affected us from ’93.
Here are this month’s nostalgic feels for all things grungy from the year of 1993!
The Smashing Pumpkins – “Cherub Rock” – Virgin Records
If the bands didn’t look like Slaughter, they weren’t having it
The first time I heard “Cherub Rock” was on a local station coming from my 57′ Chevy shaped stereo.
I fell in love instantly.
The Smashing Pumpkins remained one of my favorite bands of all time.
Even today when I hear “Cherub Rock” it takes me back to a time when the alternative to my normal, was exciting and unpredictable. Anything could happen and often did. There’s still songs that convey that feeling but I’m not sure if there will ever be another “Cherub Rock” for me. – Aaron Cooper
Nirvana: “Tourette’s” – DGC Records
I was 10 in 1993. I was a dumb energetic kid who was slowly starting to pay attention to more music; aside from the trash on the radio. I was introduced to old school metal at a very young age – Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Motörhead – and was immediately in love and that world was taking up most of my attention. I was kind of aloof as to what was going on with grunge until I heard a little track called “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It literally blew my mind and I was washed away in this revolution that was changing rock music forever. Our generation’s Beatles
I remember IN UTERO being received with a little apprehension at the time because of the monumental insane success of NEVERMIND.
Someone made me a mixed CD with a punk rock theme, and “Tourette’s” was on it!
All of Nirvana’s catalog has nostalgic vibes written all over it for me and millions of others. “Tourette’s” is burned into my mind as the culmination of all the rage Kurt must have felt towards certain societal structures and people. As an angsty teen, I could relate, and I remember soaking it in. Lyrically, it is about his aching heart, but that is all it needed to say. For me, those words meant that it was ok to be mad because it makes great art!
This deep cut, mostly passed over and ignored, is a direct channel to producer Steve Albini’s influence; I imagine him saying to Kurt, “Just play it loud and mad and I’ll hit record!” – Jeremy Erickson
Babes In Toyland – “Angel Hair” – Reprise Records
Beavis and Butthead was a gateway drug; while living in the middle of the nowhere Vermont, it introduced a young, long haired, tinsel teethed, awkward as fuck Brandon to a whole plethora of art rock, noise rock, metal, etc., bands like Chavez, Helium, Shudder To Think and Six Finger Satellite come to mind. The first time I heard Babes in Toyland was on this show probably in 1993 with the video for “Ripe” which was a great introduction to the band; Kat Bjelland’s vocals are extra intense during the verse, which is comprised of back to back banshee wails that would wake the dead. In fact I would say Kat probably has my favorite female vocals in rock; her power, projection, and dynamic range are a menacing force and it has yet to be rivaled.
Through middle school and high school, Babes in Toyland was one of my favorite bands.
I wrote their name on everything and rabidly collected any of their music and side projects. They released an EP in 1993 called Painkillers that featured outtakes from their previous full length Fontanelle, (also, the cover art was done by one of my favorite photographers Cindy Sherman.) The song “Angel Hair” has stuck with me throughout the years and is a 4-minute epic that shows the restraint and ferocity they effortlessly teeter back and forth between; the verse is a catchy, driving gallop that dips in and out of snarled guitar wreckage. Kat Bjelland’s vocals are extra manic and frenzied and while her signature lycanthropic howl towers over noise.
The ladies of Babes In Toyland recently reformed and played a few shows last year and there are rumors of a new album in the works.
I’m hoping a tour is also in the cards so I can live my adolescent fantasies of being able to eat Dorritos and not having half the bag remaining in my teeth and seeing Babes In Toyland put rock n roll into a chokehold. – Brandon Perras
Quicksand – “Fazer” – Polydor
I should probably be sharing a song of Pearl Jam’s Vs. ( I’d probably go with “Animal” from that album) if I am being honest about what song really brings back the nostalgic vibes from the grunge years. However, if I am being super-real here and actually posting about what music I was actually listening to back in the day then I should be listing songs like Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” (Mimi I will always love you), or something of off Aerosmith’s Get a Grip probably “Living on the Edge.” I didn’t start diving int rock / grunge until after Cobain offed himself, but when I dove in it was an all out head-first belly flop.
From about 1994 until this day music has been my obsession.
Listening to as much of it as possible, trying to learn everything I possibly could about my favorite bands and records, and beginning a futile attempt to play music for the next 22 years. So saying I was a fan of something super cool, grunge, or underground back in 1993 is a total front. But since the music obsession took over I have found a ton of really dope albums from 1993 and if I am going to limit it to “grunge” type stuff like: instrumental math-rock pioneers Don Caballero‘s first album For Respect, or The Breeder‘s second album Last Splash, and Helium started releasing cool tunes too.
But fuck all those bands and songs because one of my favorite bands of all time released their first album and that would be Quicksand’s Slip (their second and final album Manic Compression is my favorite, but Jeremy is making us do 1993 so whatever).
Quicksand is technically post-hardcore, but any rock music released in 1993 is grunge as far as I am concerned. “Fazer” is the first jam on Slip and it has so much taters, the tone of the bass from Sergio Vega, the perfect bark of Walter Schreifels, the crunch of Tom Capone’s guitar, and the balls out aggressive drumming from Alan Cage just straight up puts me in a frenzy. Love this band. Do yourself a favor and look up the band members other project they started doing after Quicksand broke up.
I loves this song and band! – Jon