Why weren’t Grant Lee Buffalo more successful? Listening to the title track of their 1993 debut album Fuzzy, one can only rejoice Grant Lee Phillips’ vocals and his bandmates’ glorious melodies. “I would have like to/Now I’m fuzzy/Fuzzy now!”
The notion of records that kick off with swagger has got me thinking… a few years earlier, The Smashing Pumpkins’ released their 1993 album Siamese Dream. ‘Cherub Rock’ opens the LP with drum-rolls, a grungy guitar riffs, fuzz and Billy Corgan’s lamenting vocals. They were destined for the rock pantheon from that moment on.
‘Venus As A Boy’ was one of the last songs Björk recorded for her Debut album. It was 1993, and the song offered a touch of Kate Bush, when the latter wouldn’t. It wasn’t just the vocals, the experimental use of synthesisers, strings and sitahs were not out of place. Björk was her own woman, but I am sure she would forgive me the musical reference.
From the gated drums of Phil Collins to the oh-so-very fat snare sound The Cure’s Boris Williams on ‘Lullaby’. The drums may have been all 1980s, but this is a track that sounds as it was produced in another decade. Well it was 1989, which saw the release of the band’s much-loved album ‘Disintegration’.
William LaTour was better known for his stage name LaTour and his deep house composition ‘Blue’ – it featured in the movie Basic Instinct. But he was also a founding member of the cult punk band The Squids. That type of dexterity was a draw and in 1993, the in-demand producers Danny Harrison and Danny Matlock gave ‘Blue’ a complete makeover. The result was dance floor magic.
Like much of the rest of 1991’s God Shuffled His Feet, the Dummies treatment of ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm’ has a sense of dark humour despite the lyrics. The song features great piano, harmonica and guitar arrangements, but all is dominated Brad Roberts’ particularly singular crooning. Have a great week.
And while all that was going on, Oasis were releasing their first pressing ‘Columbia’ – a single that would eventually feature on their acclaimed debut LP Definitely Maybe. It clearly reveals how they started out as a continuation of the Madchester scene; The Stone Roses groove is evident. Menacing and self confident, Oasis had their label Creation Records betting big on their success. You can understand why.
First released on the Strictly Rhythm label, Hardrive’s ‘Deep Inside’ was in fact written and produced by the one and only Luis Fernando Vager, aka “Little” Louie Vega. Deep, dark and broody, I can almost smell the sweat of the dance floor. As Hardrive, Vega had created a club staple, with a little help from Barbara Tucker on vocals. This was 1993, but the track would be remixed countless times in the years that followed.
The duo Erick and Parrish Making Dollars (EPMD) split in 1993 and Erick Sermon duly struck out on his own. ‘Hostile’ featured on Green-Eyed Bandit’s debut solo album ‘No Pressure’, and he had the great sense to feature the razor sharp lyrics of Keith Murray. And Murray took the opportunity to say those immortal words: “The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World”.
There has been a lot of nostalgia about the 1990s in recent days. Twenty years later and it strikes me how many strong and seemingly fragmented scenes were all happening in parallel. A creative melting pot into which The Smashing Pumpkins threw their mettle. In 1993, the band established itself as alt rock poster kids with the release of ‘Today’, the second single off the band’s sophomore album, Siamese Dream. Have a great week.
Well I don’t have a category for the baroque, so let’s call it alternative. The Tindersticks’ eponymous debut was released in 1993. The album received critical acclaim and was eventually named album of the year by the now defunct Melody Maker. And quite rightly so. Take ‘Marbles’ – the song is full of chamber reverb and lyrical certitude.
“I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?” Oh no you’re not. Beck’s debut long player Mellow Gold was a genre-blending explosion that would set a high bar for his own prolific work. With its acoustic slide hook and the Johnny Jenkins drum sample, ‘Loser’ was borne out of Beck’s ambition to emulate hip hop legend Chuck D. He failed brilliantly and created the definitive slacker anthem.
A Bowie track from the early 1990s… “April Fools’?” I hear you ask. Not at all. Inspired by his recent marriage to Iman, ‘The Wedding’ was the heartening instrumental start to Black Tie White Noise. It both marked the start of creative revival for Bowie (certainly after the disappointing Never Let Me Down and ever-so average Tin Machine records) and an echo of his Berlin output.
I noticed that Wu-Tang Clan had used Bob James’s bell and drum break on 2007’s 8 Diagrams. When the Wu-Tang hit my consciousness in mid 1990s, I was already familiar (and done) with the early gangsta sound of BDP and Schoolly D and the controversy of Ice-T and NWA. But Wu-Tang were something else altogether. Listening to their debut single ‘Protect Ya Neck’, all the interplay and rhyme of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Ol’ Dirty Bastard detracts nothing from the intended darkness. This was a new dusk that would spread far beyond Shaolin Island.