Help me make an awesome 90's alternative rock mixtape
December 19, 2013 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by the Cones Of Dunshire link on the blue wherein Letters To Cleo is invoked. Trying to make a 60 minute mix of vaguely obscure alternative rock from the 90's. Preferably early to mid 90's. Preferably of the one-hit-wonder-you-totally-forgot-about-until-hearing-that-again variety. No bands that are still together allowed. Or at least, no bands that you ever heard from again but quixotically still tour.
posted by mediocre to Media & Arts (87 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Behold Wikipedia's list of one-hit wonders of the 1990s.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:50 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Better Than Ezra, Good
Best Kissers in the World, Bleeder
The Connells, Slackjawed or 74-75
posted by scody at 12:52 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

... I think you just described, like, 1/4 of the stuff on my MP3 player. *shame!* Apologies for the lack of links; I may or may not be at my place of employment at present.

"Govinda" - Kula Shaker
"Alcohol" - Howling Maggie
"Soundtrack to Mary" - Soul Coughing
"Youth of America" - Birdbrain
"Needles" - Handsome
"Thursday Side of the Street" - Knapsack
"Super Sex" - Morphine
"Tesko Suicide" - Sneaker Pimps
"Stutter" - Elastica
"Scooby Snacks" - Fun Lovin' Criminals
"I've Got a Girl" - Tripping Daisy
"Not Today" - Rust
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:55 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

And let us not forget Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta".
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:57 PM on December 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

"Whoever You Are" by Geggy Tah.
posted by Turkey Glue at 1:00 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bohemian Like You-The Dandy Warhols
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:00 PM on December 19, 2013

James - Laid
primitive radio gods - "standing outside..."
the lemonheads (forget their big single)
matthew sweet band
the la's - there she goes
seven mary three - cumbersome
bodeans - closer to free
violent femmes - blister in the sun
meat puppets - backwater
fuel - shimmer

If you're feeling more college radioy, something by happy mondays, teenage fan club, long fin killie, buffalo tom, luscious jackson, trash can sinatras,
(on preview, things from julthumbscrew's list as well),
posted by fizzix at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Another one that I'd totally forgotten about until it turned up on a music swap mix from cortex recently: Primitive Radio Gods, Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand

There's also Veruca Salt, Seether, which reminds me of a few Chicago-centric ones, which may make them extra obscure to you, depending on where you were in the '90s:

Number One Cup, Divebomb
Triple Fast Action, Revved Up
Material Issue, Valerie Loves Me

I'm going to go home and dig out some old mixtapes tonight...I'm sure there's plenty more.
posted by scody at 1:03 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not everything on this Spotify playlist fits the bill, but most does.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:08 PM on December 19, 2013

"Tesko Suicide" - Sneaker Pimps

Not that song, but Sneaker Pimps "6 Underground" is absolutely going on it.

I guess I should also add that for the most part, I'm aiming for bands that also were never terribly respected or long lived. They just showed up, dropped a hit, and promptly disappeared. Like this gem. Which disqualifies a lot of stuff like Soul Coughing.
posted by mediocre at 1:08 PM on December 19, 2013

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH. "Natural One" by Folk Implosion. It's awesome. It is also my "stripper song" (you know, should that implausible situation ever arise).
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:11 PM on December 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Blister in the sun came out in 1983.

Sister Hazel - All For You
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:17 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I had "cannonball" on my Walkman while sneaking out of the house in 1994! It's special and needs to make this mix!!!!
posted by misspony at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2013

The Breeders - Cannonball
posted by lovableiago at 1:21 PM on December 19, 2013

One of my favorite obscure bands of the 90s is Catherine Wheel: Black Metallic
posted by ATX Peanut at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

If You Could Only See - Tonic
Counting Blue Cars - Dishwalla
Cumbersome - Seven Mary Three
posted by soy_renfield at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

"All I Want" - Toad the Wet Sprocket (4 hit wonder)
"Blue" - Eiffel 65 (late 90s)

I want to add something by Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls, but both are still together and making music that is no longer 90s. Alas.
posted by esoterrica at 1:24 PM on December 19, 2013

Oh, just thought of Gus Gus, Ladyshave. Very late '90s, but oh-so-awesome.
posted by scody at 1:24 PM on December 19, 2013

"You Look Like a Movie Star, Honey" - Extra Fancy
"Angeline is Coming Home" - The Badlees
"Glow" - Alien Ant Farm
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:25 PM on December 19, 2013

Natural One by Folk Implosion
Water's Edge by Seven Mary Three
Lovefool by The Cardigans
Something by Third Eye Blind

Please update us with your final list. This is bringing me back to high school and I can't stop laughing. Good memories.
posted by teamnap at 1:31 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Rentals: Friends of P.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:32 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's by no means obscure, but Bitter Sweet Symphony -- The Verve?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:33 PM on December 19, 2013

This thread got me to drag out my old mixtapes - yes, mixtapes - from the 90s. Here's side A from one of my favorite tapes (titled "Alternative Mix") - enjoy?

Breed - Lauren Christy
Inside - Patti Rothberg
Queer - Garbage
Paraffin - Ruby
Doll Parts - Hole
6 Underground - Sneaker Pimps
Naked Eye - Luscious Jackson
Connection - Elastica
The One - Tracy Bonham
posted by k8lin at 1:35 PM on December 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Eric Matthews - Fanfare
Merrill Bainbridge - Mouth
posted by hyperfascinated at 1:40 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I Want It All - Eve's Plumb
posted by cazoo at 1:46 PM on December 19, 2013

They are still making music and are very well respected, but She Don't Use Jelly by The Flaming Lips is like the definition of "1990s hit song apparently dropped from space".
posted by Rock Steady at 1:50 PM on December 19, 2013

Oh man! This is probably my all-time favorite kind of music. Love it to the ends of the earth.

You might find this site useful: The 120 Minutes Archive, which is organized by year. My kingdom for an identical site for Alternative Nation.

Here are a few tunes that haven't been mentioned yet but immediately came to my mind:
+ Summercamp, Drawer
+ The Caulfields, Devil's Diary
+ sElf, So Low
+ For Squirrels, Mighty K.C.
+ Wax, California
+ Smoking Popes, Need You Around

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Nada Surf are still together, regularly releasing truly fantastic records and playing some of the best, most energetic rock shows of anyone out there. So good!
posted by divined by radio at 1:54 PM on December 19, 2013 [8 favorites]

"Cannon" - Self
posted by TheCavorter at 1:56 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bloodhound Gang - Fire Water Burn
posted by yeti at 1:58 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

This list is really taking me back. Most of mine have been named, but I do remember a song by Local H, Bound for the Floor.
posted by antonymous at 2:00 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Verve Pipe - The Freshman
posted by yeti at 2:01 PM on December 19, 2013

Shoutout to Boston!!!

"Overflow", O Positive
"Joyride", Tribe

These are really more "shoulda coulda woulda" than actual hits, but they are overlooked and great nonetheless.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:03 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Frente's cover of Bizarre Love Triangle was the first thing that came to mind reading your question.

(though I could not remember the name of the group or what song I liked that they covered or anything else for a few minutes)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:17 PM on December 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Superdrag-Sucked Out
posted by mmmbacon at 2:32 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Belly: Gepetto
posted by MoonOrb at 2:44 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sugar: If I Can't Change Your Mind.
posted by peteyjlawson at 2:47 PM on December 19, 2013

No one has mentioned Galaxie 500 yet?
posted by gyusan at 2:55 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Definitely Lightning Seeds -Pure
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:58 PM on December 19, 2013

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
Collective Soul - Shine
posted by scruss at 3:08 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Detachable Penis
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 3:09 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Yeastie Girls - You Suck
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 3:10 PM on December 19, 2013

Remember ska? Save Ferris, "Goodbye"
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 3:18 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

John Richards just did a 1993 themed show on Monday on KEXP (link to playlist starting at 6:00am).
posted by mamabear at 3:18 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dada: Dizz Knee Land
posted by Clustercuss at 3:20 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Lemonheads: Into My Arms gets so stuck in my head it brings tears to my eyes to even suggest it.
posted by mamabear at 3:26 PM on December 19, 2013

It's for the best that I'm on the bus, else I'd lose a bunch of time to this project, but I'd like to toss in a couple of suggestions off the top of my head:

"Get Lucky," by Heatmiser
"When 3 is 2" by Hammerbox

Also, GusGus (mentioned above) is still together.
posted by baseballpajamas at 4:00 PM on December 19, 2013

Battle flag by the lo fidelity all stars.
posted by bfranklin at 4:03 PM on December 19, 2013

"Down" by 311
"You Get What You Give" by New Radicals
"Sick of Myself" by Matthew Sweet
"How's it Gonna Be" by Third Eye Blind
"Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 4:14 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Love spit Love - Am I Wrong?
Gerardo - Rico Suave
Midnight Oil broke up a few years back - a and their library is awesome beyond just the few songs you ear from Diesel and Dust and Scream in Blue. Blue Sky Mining is one of my favorite anthems.
Everybody knows Shane MacGowan and his former band the Pogues and sure they were 80's into 90s but nonetheless, it still didn't get the radio play outside New England. If I Should Fall from Grace of God.
It is a shame you don't go for bands that still exist because I consider The Tragically Hip the greatest band that still doesn't get radio play in the US. Ahead by a Century would be a great example of a song that puts most of REM's music to shame and yet... still no US respect.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:48 PM on December 19, 2013

Meryn Cadell - The Sweater
posted by chinston at 7:12 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

A lot of the bands on this thread are still together...

Definitely defunct, though, are the great Possum Dixon: their "hit," such as it was, was "Watch That Girl Destroy Me," but their whole first record is great, jerky 90s new wave, e.g. "Nerves".

If you're into the excellent Veruca Salt and the Belly tracks listed here, you're probably gonna want the Juliana Hatfield Three, e.g. "My Sister."

Oh, and maybe my favorite forgotten 90s act -- genial, smooth, yet somehow deeply weird Knoxville alt-rockers the Judybats, whose biggest track was probably "Native Son." "Convalescing in Spain" maybe their best though.

Sone, from Portland, recorded "High Frame Audio," which doesn't seem to be on YouTube anywhere -- of all the songs in the mid -90s that tried to sound something like Pavement, this was the very very best one.

I'm excited there are multiple people on this thread who remember Self!
posted by escabeche at 7:15 PM on December 19, 2013

Screaming Trees - "Nearly Lost You"
The Poster Children - "If You See Kay"
Whale - "Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe"
Jungle Brothers - "Done By The Forces Of Nature"
posted by hydrophonic at 7:47 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Ready To Go" -- Republica
I had that one on cassingle.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:13 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Flys - Got You Where I Want You
Reef - Place Your Hands
Fastball - The Way
posted by otolith at 9:52 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dog's Eye View - Everything Falls Apart
posted by otolith at 10:08 PM on December 19, 2013

So, to really give you ideas, you should look through the CMJ comps on Discogs (fer example). They were monthly CDs of college radio singles, so they're a mix of obscure and "Hey, I remember…"

Bands like Screaming Trees and Breeders had real careers; nobody's going to claim that Shootyz Groove is too popular to fit in.
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

And now I can't stop.

Medicine - Time Baby II
Q Lazarus - Goodbye Horses
Shakespears Sister - Stay
posted by otolith at 10:49 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Refreshments - Banditos

Canadian content:
Rusty - Misogyny
Doughboys - Shine
The Gandharvas - The First Day Of Spring
Pluto - Paste
Holly McNarland - Numb
Mary Jane Lamond - Horo Ghoid thu Nighean
Organized Rhyme - Check The OR
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:50 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dandelion - Weird Out

Grant Lee Buffalo - Mockingbirds (caution: might still be together — I can't tell from their Wikipedia)

(Counting Crows, the Breeders, Collective Soul, Soul Asylum, and Mazzy Star are still active. The OP asked for at least somewhat obscure bands that are not still together.)
posted by John Cohen at 4:39 AM on December 20, 2013

Oh, how could I forget:

Sugartooth - Sold My Fortune
posted by John Cohen at 4:42 AM on December 20, 2013

Moment of blinding insight: a looooooooot of the videos shows on "Beavis and Butt-head" fit the bill. All songs are listed on this Wikipedia page.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:22 AM on December 20, 2013

Ratcat - That Ain't Bad
Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Kill Your Television (I was both delighted and dismayed to see Ned's already represented. This is their other "hit")
Ocean Blue - Drifting Falling (I think this dropped in '89, but it is SO good, in an alty, arty, tender, wuss rock kind of way)
posted by dirtdirt at 6:56 AM on December 20, 2013

As noted above, a lot of the bands in this thread are still together--I'd add: a lot of stuff I see linked in this thread does not strike me as even remotely obscure to anyone over the age of 38 who lived in the US between 1988 and 1999.

Die Monster Die and Eve's Plum (first album is grunge-y, second is poppy. Singer went on to become Vitamin C, was Debbie Harry's daughter in Hairspray) are the two bands I'm always surprised to learn that other people never heard of.

Die Monster Die--Swallowed was the only one I ever heard on the radio.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:11 AM on December 20, 2013

Dink - Green Mind

I had totally forgot about this song, and then I was watching old clips of Beavis and Butt-Head and this came on. I listened to it for about 1 year straight :)
posted by getawaysticks at 10:34 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Leave it alone by Mary's Danish
This is how it feels by Inspiral Carpets
posted by gyusan at 11:26 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, start asking people for recommendations on music and you are likely to get some people naming their faves whether or not it fits the criteria. Still whittling things down, but lots of good stuff here. I was definitely thinking stuff in the area of Belly/Throwing Muses/Screaming Trees when trying to come up with an overall mood.

Eve's Plum is pretty much that sweet spot of obscurity I was talking about. Not memorable enough to.. um.. be remembered.. and not terribly successful but at the same time not obscure enough to *not* have been introduced to them on MTV.
posted by mediocre at 12:02 PM on December 20, 2013

Curve, Horror Head.
Helium, XXX.
Straitjacket Fits, Down in Splendour.
Blind Mr Jones, Delores.
Lush, Sweetness and Light. [OK: not that obscure but bear with me here]
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Walk on the Ocean. [Mentioned above, but legitimately one-hit-wonderish]
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:08 PM on December 20, 2013

So, since I was listening to Gandharvas yesterday when I made my comment, I figured I'd come back, especially since folks are dropping, like, random pop industrial (I was as big a Stabbing Westward fan as anybody, but c'mon) and lay some more out:

The Underdogs — Punkrocker
Eric's Trip — Viewmaster
Archers of Loaf — Plumb Line
Guided by Voices — Game of Pricks (Guided By Voices is still around, but is — outside of Bob Pollard — a bit of a Ship of Theseus.)
Unrest — Make Out Club
Papas Fritas — Hey Hey You Say
Menthol — USA Capable (One of the greatest power pop singles of the '90s; part of the big surge of turn-and-burn indie signings. They put out one great record, got dropped, tried to come back as electro-pop, were terrible, and disappeared.)
Pavement — Cut Your Hair (or Stereo, or Summer Girl.)
Versus — Shooting Star
Sincola — One Hit Wonder
Tuscadero — Heat Lightning
Apples in Stereo — Seems So
Chisel — Do Go On
Polvo — Thermal Treasure
Beat Happening — Teenage Caveman
Luna — Indian Summer (Beat Happening cover.)
Ed's Redeeming Qualities — Lawn Dart
Happy Mondays — God's Cop
Laughing Hyenas — Life of Crime
Big Chief — One Born Every Minute (from Iggy Pop's 120 Minutes guest host)
Getaway Cruiser — Not Yet Gone
Sun City Girls — The Shining Path
The Terminals — Frozen Car
Drive Like Jehu — Caress
Gallon Drunk — Ruby (Silver Apples cover.)
Machines of Loving Grace — Burn Like Brilliant Trash
Nation of Ulysses — Look Out! Soul is Back!
Thee Headcoatees — First Plane Home
Throwing Muses — Graffiti
Golden Palominos — Alive and Living Now (Featuring Michael Stipe.)
Jesus and Mary Chain — Reverence
Renegade Soundwave — Renegade Soundwave
Kyuss — Green Machine
Prong — Snap Your Fingers
Majesty Crush — Number One Fan
Dog Faced Hermans — Hear the Dogs
Possum Dixon — Pharmaceutical Itch
Slowdive — Souvlaki Space Station
Bark Psychosis — Big Shot
Blumfeld — Verstärker
Disco Inferno — In Sharky Water
The Gories — Charm Bag
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — Bellbottoms
Killdozer — Knuckles the Dog
Laika — If You Miss
Ween — Freedom of '76
Ciccone Youth — Into the Groove(y)
RL Burnside — Snake Drive
Comet Gain — Footstompers
Flying Saucer Attack — For Silence
Six Finger Satellite — Rabies
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments — You Can't Kill Stupid
U.S. Maple — State is Bad
Brainiac — Hot Metal Dobermans
Cibo Matto — Sugar Water
Magnapop — Open the Door (or even better, Cherry Bomb.)
The Make Up — Make Up Is Lies
The Promise Ring — Anne Will You Sing
Verbena — Shaped Like A Gun (their first album, Hearts for Sale, was amazing. They did one more that was kinda blah, produced by Dave Grohl, then disappeared.)
Elevator to Hell — Veins/Green
Bantam Rooster — Watch Me Burn
Dismemberment Plan — Ice of Boston
Owlsely — Oh No The Radio
The Crabs — Love & Hate
Deerhoof — Polly Bee
Z-Rock Hawaii — In The Garden
Alaska y Los Pegamoides — Vertigo
The Fletcher Pratt — Million Miles
The Yummy Fur — Colonel Blimp
Black Tambourine — Throw Aggie Off the Bridge
The Flashing Lights — Half the Time
Oneida — Salad Days

Whew. That's it for now.
posted by klangklangston at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

Also, I had no clue that the singer from Eve's Plum went on to become Vitamin C. When that damn Graduation song of hers was giving me night terror flashbacks to middle school orchestra class I remember thinking she was like 17 tops, and not damn near 30.
posted by mediocre at 1:06 PM on December 20, 2013

Jesus Christ.. klangklangston wins on sheer volume (as in mass) alone. That and the fact that most of it is genuinely semi-obscure bands that are no longer together.
posted by mediocre at 1:12 PM on December 20, 2013

DAMN YOU, klangklangston - I'd just spent the day listening to each and every one of these (and acquiring a few new favorites - I have NO idea why Triple Fast Action's "Cheap Trick by way of Nirvana" sound didn't catch on), and now I have a whole new pile to sift through!

(They all look awesome, actually. This thread has made me so happy I could explode.)

Also: Extra Fancy's "You Look Like a Movie Star, Honey".
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:17 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Came in to suggest the Catherine Wheel's Black Metallic, but ATX Peanut beat me to it.
posted by cnc at 4:12 PM on December 20, 2013

Klangklangston I keep thinking I remember a better cover of Indian Summer than the Luna version; what was it?
posted by baseballpajamas at 6:28 PM on December 20, 2013

Other folks who covered Indian Summer: REM, Ben Gibbard. Some other folks I don't remember.

As a side note, way back when I posted an FPP about Sardina, an Indiana band that was the whole b-side of a mix tape I got in an AOL swap (how's that for '90s?), where the a-side had some of the stuff above (Papas Fritas, Verbena, along with a bunch of Champaign-Urbana bands like Hum, Kill Hannah and Poster Children). The link's long dead, but the music is back up here: Sardina. "He's On Drugs Again" is the stand-out, but "Ding Dong the Liberty Horse" sticks with you too.

Another random one is Hugh. Now largely un-googleable, the only place they seem to exist at all is on a Hugh page.

And since no one else mentioned Kill Hannah, I feel like I should, though they're at the younger bound of your question.
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 PM on December 20, 2013

Your Woman - White Town
Malibu - Chick
Sodajerk - Buffalo Tom
Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog
Female of the Species - Space
Metal Mickey - Suede
posted by SisterHavana at 10:14 PM on December 21, 2013

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