Music – 1990s

Sundays, The

London-based pop-rock quartet formed in 1987 when vocalist Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin – who were also the main songwriting team – met at college in Bristol. Their debut album, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (1990) – equal parts The Smiths and The Cocteau Twins – was released by Rough Trade. Debut single, Can’t Be Sure, went to the top of the British indie charts, entering at #4. Blind (1992)(…)

Super Furry Animals

Arriving completely out of left field, Animal Logic (1996) casually referenced such disparate cultural phenomena as comedian Bill Hicks, drug smuggler Howard Marks, 17th-century scientist Isaac Newton – and the Super Furry Animals’ pet hamster. The music was an artful mish-mash of Sixties pop, punk rock, and psychedelia, with an underlying Nineties dance sensibility. Indeed,(…)


Singer/guitarist Gaz Coombes and his older school friend, drummer Danny Goffey had been playing together in The Jennifers since their early teens, releasing one single (Just Got Back Today) on Suede‘s label Nude Records and developing a following in their hometown of Oxford. But it was when they split that band and joined up with bassist(…)

Take That

As the most popular teen pop sensation in Britain since the 1960s, Take That ruled the UK charts during the first half of the 90s. In strict commercial terms, the band sold more records than any English act since The Beatles, though the cultural and musical importance was significantly less substantial. Take That initially worked the(…)

Teenage Fanclub

A band for which the word ‘quirky’ may have been invented, Teenage Fanclub had always possessed an infuriating knack of confounding expectations. They promised so much with 1990s A Catholic Education and the majestic Everything Flows but celebrated joining the prestigious Creation label with The King, a frankly rubbish set of instrumental covers. Having tested the patience of(…)


Texas was formed in Glasgow, Scotland, by Johnny McElhone, a veteran of the Scottish rock circuit who had been part of two groups, Hipsway and Altered Images. The group made their performing debut as a band in March 1988 at a local college in Glasgow. Their debut album, Southside, was released in 1989 and the group scored(…)

They Might Be Giants

This Brooklyn-based duo, comprising John Flansburgh and John Linnell, gave a refreshing new twist to pop music. Their lyrics – which were usually funny and offbeat – were accompanied by Flansburgh’s guitar and Linnell’s accordion, giving their songs a truly unique sound. The two Johns grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, but parted company after high(…)

Throwing Muses

Boston’s Throwing Muses introduced a feminine sensibility that made a mockery of banal notions of ‘Women In Rock’. Over abruptly shifting guitar chord patterns, Kristin Hersh (later diagnosed as manic-depressive) sang as if undergoing an exorcism or speaking in tongues. Carrying Hersh’s voice were her own colossal guitar, and one of the finest rhythm sections(…)

TISM (This Is Serious Mum)

Masters of disguise for over 15 years, the seven individuals who make up TISM never revealed their faces nor their identities – save to a very select few who remained ridiculously loyal. With such costumes as four-foot high face-covering Louis XIV wigs, six-foot helium inflated, condom-like sheaths and, of course, their trademark balaclavas, TISM have(…)

Tori Amos

Tori Amos was born Myra Ellen Amos in August 1963. Raised, as Amos put it, with “a peace pipe in one hand and a cross in the other,” the daughter of a Cherokee mother and Methodist minister father redefined the role of female singer-songwriters in the 1990s by addressing persecution in religion, relationships, and sex(…)

Traveling Wilburys, The

Reversing the usual process by which groups break up and give way to solo careers, The Traveling Wilburys were a group made up of successful solo stars. The group was organised by former Beatle George Harrison, former Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison – thus representing three generations of rock stars. In 1988, the five (who had known(…)


One of the most popular intelligent techno acts to emerge during the genre’s ascendance during the 1990s, Underworld began life in the late 80s as a funk-rock group including vocalist Karl Hyde and guitarist Rick Smith. The two had formed the new wave band Freur and released Doot-Doot in 1983. Get Us Out of Here followed two years later,(…)


Formed in the downtown late 80s New York scene which threw up the likes of Pussy Galore, Cop Shoot Cop and Boss Hog, Unsane underwent drug deaths and departures before arriving at the prime lineup of singer-guitarist Chris Spencer, bassist Dave Curran and former Foetus and Swans drummer Vinny Signorelli, recording their landmark third album Scattered,(…)

Urge Overkill

Urge Overkill formed in Chicago in 1985 and made their full-length debut four years later with Jesus Urge Superstar, a heavy and riffcentric effort produced by Steve Albini. They followed it in 1991 with The Supersonic Storybook and supported Nirvana on the American Nevermind tour the same year. But the Urge story doesn’t really begin until their 10″ Stull EP of 1992. It featured(…)

Vanilla Ice

It’s understandable why Robert Van Winkle chose not to use his real name when embarking upon a career in Rap music. A white rapper was a laughable enough concept at the beginning of the 1990s. But one with a name that made him sound like a Dutch investment banker was never going to be taken(…)

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