Music – 1990s

Electronic

Electronic were a perennially-resurgent joint project between Bernard Sumner of New Order and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Their first single, Getting Away With It (1989), featured the Pet Shop Boys on a breezy, shiny, clever piece of pop. A patchy but interesting album followed in 1991, and the duo recorded on and off throughout the 90s. Neither Sumner(…)

Everclear

The major label debut by neo-Nirvana trio Everclear, Sparkle and Fade, caught the authentic note of vacant ennui that haunts adolescent America. But the songs on So Much For The Afterglow (1997) managed to only present a series of victims, objects of leadman Art Alexakis’ confused contempt or peculiarly mopey brand of compassion. 2003 was a bad year(…)

Faith No More

Formed as a post-punk outfit in 1982, Faith No More fired hard-drinking vocalist Chuck Mosley. His replacement was Mike Patton, a handsome 20-year-old from Eureka in Northern California, who possessed a multi-octave range and a twisted way with words. The new frontman proved inspirational as evidenced on Faith No More’s third album, The Real Thing (1989). There(…)

Farm, The

Drummer Andy McVann died in a crash in December 1986. In October 1991, Keith Mullen was attacked and stabbed needing over 80 stitches. In the same year, the single All Together Now was used by the British Labour party in their General election campaign. Pete Hooten Vocals Steve Grimes Guitar John Melvin Guitar Philip Strongman Bass Andy(…)

Felt

Felt leader Lawrence (no surname was ever listed in press releases, interviews or on their album covers) was once described by fellow eccentric Momus as “one part Andy Warhol, one part your retarded cousin Kev”. Since Felt formed in Birmingham in 1979, Lawrence and his classically-trained chief collaborator, guitarist Maurice Deebank, shaped the band’s musical aesthetic(…)

Flaming Lips, The

From their obscure acid punk beginnings in Oklahoma City in 1983, through to critical acclaim in the 90s and mainstream success in the new millennium, The Flaming Lips consistently defied definition. For more than two decades they brought an uncompromising originality to the pop arena. The band spent the 80s and 90s striving to find(…)

Foo Fighters

Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994 left the rock world in shock. To his eternal credit, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl pulled himself together smartly to create a platform for his own considerable talents: Foo Fighters – named after the US military’s nickname for fighter planes dispatched to investigate UFO sightings. Their eponymous debut album (1995) was(…)

Garbage

One day producers Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson were in a studio remixing a track for Nine Inch Nails when a visiting friend commented that what they were recording sounded like “garbage”. The trashy sound they were producing became the basis for their new project and was christened after their friend’s remark. Scottish(…)

Gene

At the hedonistic peak of Britpop, Gene’s more melancholic, Smiths-influenced strains were a lad-free anomaly. The obviousness of their influences would ultimately be their downfall, but their first Top 20 single (and title track of their debut LP), Olympian (1995), injected genuine heart into a scene that was, at times, becoming a caricature of itself. Splitting on a relative(…)

Gorillaz

Rather than succumb to the usual solo-project indulgences, Blur frontman Damon Albarn teamed up with animator Jamie Hewlett in 1998 to create Gorillaz – a prefab cartoon virtual anti-boy band. The ‘band’ comprised the fictional characters 2-D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle, and their sound came courtesy of Albarn, producer Dan ‘the Automator’ Nakamura, rapper Del Tha Funkee(…)

Green Day

The formula was simple. Take a few power chords, a catchy tune, some tongue-in-cheek humour, and do it all fast so kids will want to jump up and down. It’s hardly revolutionary: Green Day’s sound and sense of irony was heavily borrowed from The Ramones and The Sex Pistols – lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong(…)

Gun Club

Originally named Creeping Ritual, The Gun Club channelled punk energy into a vivid exploration of American roots music, drawing on rockabilly, country and the Delta blues. The Los Angeles punk-blues quartet was fronted by hell raiser and former Blondie fan club president Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Fuelled by the feral slide guitar of Ward Dotson, their 1981 debut(…)

Happy Mondays

Manchester (UK) band Happy Mondays took their name from a New Order song but came last in a ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest at New Order’s Haçienda Club. The band released their debut album in May 1987. The album, Squirrel & G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out), was produced by John Cale and(…)

Hole

Hole’s debut LP Pretty On The Inside was hard work – and melody certainly took a beating on the album. In contrast, Live Through This (1994) was a shout-along sensation. Many of the songs on the album were composed in the Courtney/Cobain cocoon – hence lines like “I don’t do the dishes, I throw them in the crib” – that(…)

Hummingbirds, The

Formed in Sydney, Australia, in 1986, The Hummingbirds comprised singer/guitarist (and principal songwriter) Simon Holmes, singer/guitarist Alannah Russack, singer/bassist Robyn St Clare and drummer Mark Temple. Their debut LP, LoveBUZZ (1990), was produced by Let’s Active founder Mitch Easter, and featured a bumper crop of 14 melodic, hummable and deliciously abrasive original songs, most of them about soured friendships(…)

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