Monday, 13 August 2012

10 Obscure Songs From The 90's

If you're around the same age as me then you remember the 90's as a period where you could switch on the radio or tv and be bombarded by countless great songs. They'd find you, you wouldn't have to find them. If you're younger than me than you probably wish you were coming into your music loving years in the 90's. Sure there were terrible songs released in that decade, but for the most part looking back is filled with fondness. Here's 10 songs that maybe got passed your radar or maybe they didn't, but they definitely weren't being featured on Much Music's hit list. Yes, they once played music...

1. REM - "E-Bow The Letter"

I know what you're saying. "REM are not an obscure band" No they are not, but they are one of those quasi popular groups who had many many great songs and relatively few singles. New Adventures In Hi-Fi is probably their one album that produced the fewest marketable tracks, but it's fantastic. "E-Bow The Letter" is said to be portions of a letter that Michael Stipe was writing to River Phoenix before he died. Sadly River never did get to hear the song, thankfully we all can.

2. Guano Apes - "Open Your Eyes"

The first track from Proud Like A God, Germany's Guano Apes' debut record, comes out of the blocks on full blitzkrieg mode and buries itself into the listener's head. Guano Apes formed in the late 90's and released a few more successful albums in the 2000s. Though their popularity never really caught on in North America, their songs are worth a listen. Especially for those thirsty for new (old) songs.

3. Dig - "Believe"

Dig came from the rock scene that took off in LA in the early 90's. There's not much else to know about Dig sadly. In the 90's it wasn't as easy to get info on a band like it is these days. "Believe" did get airplay and charted, but unless you noticed it immediately, it probably got buried in your past. Maybe this will awake some ghosts in your head. Apparently Dig are working on a new record! Let's hope it maintains the mentality of their first effort!

4. They Might Be Giants - "Birdhouse In Your Soul"

Most people know They Might Be Giants from their song "Boss Of Me" which was used in the opening of tv's Malcolm In The Middle. "Birdhouse In Your Soul" is a wonderful pop offering that was released in 1990. Before the whole Alternative Rock thing took off and TMBG were still wrestling to get noticed among hair bands and hangers-on to the 80's techno pop crowd.

5. Del Amitri - "Always The Last To Know"

Typically thought of as only a one hit wonder from the 90's for the pretty little ditty "Roll To Me" Del Amitri also play this i-know-it-but-who-sings it track "Always The Last To Know". It may not have charted very high in the US, but in their native Scotland their fans are very aware of Del Amitri's back catalog. It's a great song and I sympathize with him.....right until the very end of the song...not sure you have much of a case anymore pally.

6. Ween - "Voodoo Lady"

Dean and Gene Ween. Either you get themo or you don't. Ween are another one of those groups with a large following and many fans. A long history of songs and albums, but very little mainstream attention. Their music could be called experimental, brilliant or it could be called ludicrous, depending on who you ask. "Voodoo Lady" might be one of their most radio friendly tracks, but even then it stands out in a crowd. I used to own a Ween shirt....what ever happened to that..

7. The Rheostatics - "Bad Time To Be Poor"

Maybe not obscure to Canadian music fans, but im not sure how far the tales of the Rheostatics reached across the world. A power house of songwriting ability and talent, "Bad Time To Be Poor" is almost 90's music in a perfect peanut shell. Many Canadian groups borne in the 90's site The Rheostatics as a main source of inspiration and wonder. Take a listen, you'll see why.

8. Forest For The Trees - "Dream"

Perhaps Forest For The Trees' tenure was merely a dream. They released one album in 1997 with the single "Dream" getting it's video played in both US and Canada, then they vanished. Perhaps their scattered trip-hop/trance/acid rock blend was a little too much even for the post grunge world in the late 90's. Either way we have "Dream".

9. Artificial Joy Club - "Sick & Beautiful"

Anyone who watched Much Music all the time in about 1997-1998 will remember Canada's Artificial Joy Club. Another short lived alt rock combo who's singer had roots in the girl group pop scene. This is again what 90's rock was all about though...high energy, ambiguous sexuality and catchy, quirky hooks and lyrics. Almost completely randomized. But delightful!

10. King Cobb Steelie - "Rational"

I remember the video for this song had it called "Rationale" but on the back of the CD it's spelled as such, with no E. Kind of changes the tone of the song slightly, but either way what an opus. It's industrial rock, with a bluesy bass riff. Political and social lyrics. It's dream-like, ethereal and ubiquitous. Even once it's over you seem to carry a piece of it with you.

Couldn't get that video to work properly, but check it out anyway. Well worth it!

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1 comment:

  1. TMBG was our roadtrip album in the 90's... it's the only one my brother and I had that didn't offend the rest of the family...

    Ween.... weeeeeeeeeeeeeen....