As We Remember 1995: Playlist Overload

Justin Spicer / October 30, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Robert Matheu (www.robertmatheu.com)

Examining every nook and cranny of 1995 would take more than a month of weekly articles (which is why an extra article discussing the The Social Satire of Mallrats was written). Any criticism you have about your favorite band, genre or label being ignored is relevant. This last look at 1995 won’t aim to rectify the many oversights, but hopefully the amount of music offered will sooth the soul. This is the home of unrealized article ideas. The comprehensive playlist below is broken into categories; scattered ideas that remain but unfinished thoughts due to time constraints but within these fragments is a lot of history that must be addressed.

The Forgotten Few discusses some of the lesser albums and songs to grace 1995. Intricate details concerning Scott Walker’s Tilt or Thurston Moore’s Psychic Hearts deserve to be divulged but 1995 was such a rich year. Mining it all is worthy of a novel.

Perhaps a celebration of labels would be in order. Little has been mentioned of Kranky which was central to the emerging trends in sounds we now label as math rock, post-rock and ambient.

A summary of reunification would also make fair article content. Discussing how pivotal albums from Pavement, Garbage, and Archers of Loaf have helped shaped recent reunions. How one song from Everclear rekindled interest in 90s alternative and christened a recent summer festival.

An entire article was spent discussing the role of women and British music on 1995’s musical history. But other movements and scenes emerged throughout the year. It was a fleeting moment but the genre branded alt-country found a wider audience due to the break-up of Uncle Tupelo. Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy quickly formed new bands, released albums and took their old sound in two distinctly different directions—-a trend that continues to have reverberations.The immediate impact came in the first album from alt-country amalgamate Golden Smog, a collection of members including Tweedy, Gary Louris of The Jayhawks, Dave Murphy of Soul Asylum and a rotating cast that included members of Run Westy Run.

What about the hits!? The songs that defined the seasons and fortified the year, they deserve praise and dissection. And what about albums that continue to imbue new fans (Liquid Swords from GZA, for example)? Where is the talk concerning hip-hop’s emergence on the pop charts thanks to instant hits by Montell Jordan (“This is How We Do It”) and Adina Howard (“Freak Like Me”)? All are legitimate topics that deserve their due. Where’s the ink concerning the Johnny Depp/Gibby Haynes hype machine P, their one and only album, and stories about The Viper Room and River Phoenix?

The most glaring omission is unappreciated and overlooked albums of the year but if you’ve paid close attention those are fairly obvious. I Am an Elastic Firecracker from Tripping Daisy, Example by For Squirrels and You’d Prefer an Astronaut (an all-time favorite of mine) are just some of the highlights of 1995.

This finale is but a small token of appreciation and acknowledgement. Enjoy the playlist below for some of the odds and sods of 1995 that didn’t materialize into full-fledged articles. Spotify users are also welcome to subscribe to a playlist including many of the songs and bands mentioned throughout the month as well as music left by the wayside on our limited journey.

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: AWR Companion: 1995

DO YOU REMEMBER?
Well, do you!?

Scott Walker“Farmer in the City” [Tilt; Drag City] “
Thirty Ought Six – “Adamantine” [Hag Seed; Mute]
Helium“Pat’s Trick” [The Dirt of Luck; Matador]
Spookey Ruben – ”Wendy McDonald” [Modes of Transportation; TVT Records]
Whale – “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe” [We Care; Virgin]
Royal Trux“Ray O Vac” [Thank You; Virgin]
Sun 60“C’mon and Kiss Me” [Headjoy; Epic/Sony]
Sun City Girls“Gurnam” [Jack’s Creek; Abduction]

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Reunited bands (and one that has already broken back up) circa ‘95

Pavement“Rattled by the Rush” [Wowee Zowee; Matador]
Archers of Loaf“Underachievers March & Fight Song” [Vee Vee; Alias]
No Doubt – “Sunday Morning” [Tragic Kingdom; Interscope]
Garbage – “Vow” [Garbage; Almo Sounds]
Everclear – ”Summerland” [Sparkle & Fade; Capitol]
Ben Folds Five“Underground” [Ben Folds Five; Passenger Records]

A KRANKY CELEBRATION
Kranky had a stellar 1995

Jessamine“Cellophane” [Jessamine; Kranky]
Magnog“Learning Forgetfulness” [Magnog; Kranky]
Roy Montgomery“Clear Night Port Hills” [Scenes from the South Island; Kranky]
Labradford”El Lago” [A Stable Reference; Kranky]

ALT-COUNTRY NATION
Rural music delivery

Son Volt“Drown” [Trace; Warner Bros.]
Wilco”I Must Be High” [A.M.; Reprise]
The Jayhawks“Blue” [Tomorrow the Green Grass; American]
Freakwater“Gravity” [Old Paint; Thrill Jockey]
Golden Smog“V” [Down By the Old Mainstream; Rykodisc]

LEFT OF THE DIAL
Forgotten and lost gems

Hum“Stars” [You’d Prefer an Astronaut; RCA]
Thurston Moore – “Ono Soul” [Psychic Hearts; Geffen]
The Nixons“Happy Song” [Foma; MCA]
Mike Watt“Piss Bottle Man” [Ball-Hog or Tugboat; Sony]
Our Lady Peace“Starseed” [Naveed; Sony]
Tripping Daisy“I Got a Girl” [I am an Elastic Firecracker; Island]
Wax“California” [13 Unlucky Numbers; Atlantic]
P“Michael Stipe” [P; Caroline]
The Rentals“Friends of P” [Return of The Rentals; Maverick]
Matthew Sweet“Sick of Myself” [100% Fun; Zoo]
Primus“Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” [Tales from the Punchbowl; Interscope]
The Flaming Lips“Bad Days” [Clouds Taste Metallic; Warner Bros.]
Hayden“Bad As They Seem” [Everything I Long For; Outpost]

MAINSTREAMED
Popular songs and videos during the year

Red Hot Chili Peppers“Warped” [One Hot Minute; Warner Bros.]
Collective Soul“December” [Collective Soul; Atlantic]
Smashing Pumpkins“Tonight Tonight” [Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; Virgin]
Soul Asylum“Misery” [Let Your Dim Light Shine; Columbia]
Better than Ezra”Good” [Deluxe; Elektra]

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