Thursday, November 15, 2012

The REAL Top Ten Grunge Records

If you didn't see the Rolling Stone readers poll (and frankly, I wouldn't have seen it if it wasn't on my Twitter feed. I only read RS for Matt Taibbi at this point because anything they cover regarding music would continually give me a stroke) on the "The Best Grunge Albums of All Time" then I envy you. It's a dreadful list of absolutely horrid albums that are ranked mainly because of their staying power in the consciousness of people so musically illiterate they've already forgotten that Limp Bizkit (sadly enough) was once the biggest band on the planet. Plus, I'm convinced these fuckers are why Kid Rock is still, somehow, relevant.
I'm not gonna dig into the list but instead offer an alternative of the ten greatest "Grunge" albums. By, the way, how come NO ONE consulted Everett True before this shit went to press?

10. Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans

Yeah, I know some people are gonna bitch about me including a band that's not from the late 80's/early 90's but I don't give a shit. Pissed Jeans are great and continue the tradition of sludgy, antipathetic punk rock from whence the genre arose. Please listen to this and tell me if it came out in 1993 and you were decked out in flannel and Doc Martens this wouldn't have been one of your favorite bands.

9. L7 - Bricks are Heavy

This album is a pretty big departure from their self titled debut and Smell the Magic (which boasts my favorite album artwork behind the Dwarves Blood, Guts and Pussy). It is absolutely one of the defining albums of the grunge era primarily because of this single. Pretty much every female band (I used the word band purposely here) who rose to prominence after this record came out lived in their shadow. Babes in Toyland were fucking awesome but they were waaay more on the Riot Grrrl spectrum than L7. Allison Best and myself need to go back to New Orleans and drain bottles of whiskey while clogging the jukebox of the Abbey with L7 until we get kicked out. Again.

8. Dinosaur Jr. - Where You Been

They'd already established themselves as rock GODS with You're Living All Over Me and Green Mind but the video era brought greater prominence to Dinosaur Jr. and J. Mascis with "Start Choppin'". Those albums were so noisye they were pretty much non accessible but with Where You Been, the band had cleaned everything up to focus on Mascis' warbly, fealty laden vocals and roaring guitar solos. I've always said that man has spoken more through his guitar than any other musician in the modern age and this album, especially tracks like "What Else is New" and "Get Me" definitely confirm that.

7. Quicksand - Slip

I faked being sick in middle school so I could stay home and learn every note of this album on my guitar. Quicksand will always be one of the best post-hardcore bands of all time because they had the BALLS to make hardcore more accessible.Slip is undeniably their masterpiece. Unfortunately, a bunch of dickheads didn't get what Walter Schreifels was doing and formed this as their basis for "rap-rock" and the early aughts fake hardcore bullshit like Crazy Town. It pains me that Sergro Vega is playing with the Deftones. (Rival Schools, United by Fate could be included here because that is the logical extension of this band).

6. Helmet - Meantime

Along with Quicksand, Helmet pretty much started the whole "alternative metal" thing in the early 90's.Unfortunately, the kids that dug albums like Meantime completely lost what the band was doing: taking hardcore music to a more technical and deconstructed level to make way for more confluent influences. Quick summation, you don't get something like Converge or Botch without these cats.  Page Hamilton being a jazz trained guitarist (who worked with Glenn Branca, the genius that trained and inspired people like Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth) made people wise up to the technical greatness and actual brainstorming that went into these seemingly simple songs. Seriously, read an interview with Page and tell me your head didn't explode.

5. P.J. Harvey - Rid of Me

Man, this album is a fucking monster. I really don't know what else to write about it. Polly Jean Harvey is my generations Patti Smith. In the pantheon of grunge, this woman was able to instantly make apathetic overtures towards feminism by people like Juliana Hatfield (who I still adore, Only Everything is a fantastic album!) seem extremely simplistic and farcical.

4, Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville

This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I adore Liz Phair and have defended her throughout her gradual decline into rancid mediocrity but holy fucking shit is this woman not firing on all cylinders here? This record changed the game for women in rock 'n' roll in the 90's. You don't get the TON of female artists (good or bad, for the good, see above) unleashed to the mainstream without this album. Also, Nash Kato is a twatmuffin.

3. Nirvana  - Bleach

Sure, "Drain You" is the best song Cobain ever wrote but shut up about Nevermind. It vastly PALES IN COMPARISON to Bleach. This is a truly fantastic album that got lost in the mire of post-punk MTV friendly bullshit.

2. Melvins - Houdini

If it weren't for King Buzzo, Kurt would've never gotten into punk or metal so, THANKS KING BUZZO! The Melvins benefited as much as anyone with Nirvana blowing up. They got gobbled up by a major label and released their definitive album (Houdini) followed up by Stoner Witch (my mom bought that for me on Valentine's Day) and continue to slay even though my King golfs with this dickhead.

1, Mudhoney - Superfuzzbigmuff

There is no "grunge" without these guys. These are the architects of what is considered "grunge" today and indelibly influenced a generation of bands. Geniuses who took classic bands like the Sonics, the Wipers and Feed Time and twisted them into new realms of sonic awesomeness. Pearl Jam are ancillary characters to the whole grunge scene and while they might be cool guys (they took the Murder City Devils on tour and Eddie Vedder's got awesome taste in music, even if doesn't show in his shit band), they still will never have the effect on that city or subculture that a band like Mudhoney has had.  So, FUCK YOU ROLLING STONE VOTERS!

Ten is your fucking top "grunge" album and not this? And VS. was on there as well? Dirt, while cool, got ranked and Facelift was left off? I'm pretty sure your editors said no to the Singles Soundtrack being voted in (cause it would've made your job easier) which blows my mind as much as (thankfully) no Smashing Pumpkins albums showing up on that list.