If you're a grunge fanatic and feel like learning everything you could possibly learn about the North-West scene that graced the world from the late 80s right through to the decline of the 90s, you should probably listen to 'No Seattle: Forgotten Sounds Of The North-West Grunge Era 1986-97'. This massive collection brings together and maps the bands that played in Washington and places them in history, featuring interviews and profiles on artists as well as their songs.
Vinyl Double LP £23.99 SJRLP286-1
2LP on Soul Jazz - VOLUME I inc. Vampire Lezbos , Crunchbird, Pod, Hitting Birth etc.
Vinyl Double LP £23.99 SJRLP286-2
2Lp on Soul Jazz - VOLUME II inc. Shug, Starfish, Attica, Treehouse, Saucer etc.
CD £12.49 SJRCD286
CD on Soul Jazz inc. Shug, Starfish, Attica, Treehouse, Saucer, Vampire Lezbos , Crunchbird, Pod, Hitting Birth etc.
As a child of the grunge generation myself, this compilation is very much relevant to my interests. The ever-reliable Soul Jazz have put together this expansive compilation which gives a little more context to the Pacific North-west's early '90s musical phenomenon with this compilation of non-Sub-Pop bands from the area in the years surrounding the runaway success of bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden.
As usual with this label there's a chunky (44 pages!) booklet full of information and photographs, explaining how the North-west was seldom visited by touring bands in the '80s, meaning that while more fashion-conscious cultural hubs threw hard rock out of the window when punk turned up, long-haired outsiders in Seattle, Olympia and the surrounding areas just wanted something loud, be it rock, metal or punk, and were forced to operate outside of the parameters of the established rock scene, an early manifestation of the now firmly-entrenched DIY mindset.
The quality here is pretty mixed (as with the 'Man Chest Hair' comp it's a snapshot of a time and place rather than a collection of flawless classics), as are the styles, with some bands like the thrashy Helltrout, the punky Vampire Lezbos and Bundle Of Hiss (who later became TAD) rocking the gnarly and noisy style you'd expect, while elsewhere there's the violin-soaked indie jangle of Medelicious and the REM/Husker Du-isms of Saucer offering a broader perspective than simply a who's-who of first wave punk bands you've never heard of. If you're interested in the grunge era, though, it's an enlightening glimpse at the scene all your favourite bands sprang from.
8/10 Tiger Stripes!! 20th September 2014
A friend of mine told me to buy this - he'll be pleased when I tell him he was right about it. I've never been sure what to make of the Sub Pop grunge thing - some of it I like, some of it leaves me cold - so a release about that scene that makes a big point of NOT being grunge...I had to look.
Always love how Soul Jazz releases tend to have a point or a story - this one gains a lot from being listened to with the booklet in hand. It's a pretty fun idea, all these people played with Nirvana, were all one step away from rock saints but they all vanished. Nervous trying to take in twenty something bands I've never even heard of but the geographic link, the tight musical circle, that eighties/nineties alt. rock vibe, looking for them online and seeing they all have some link into one of the bands I love the most (Nirvana) - it holds together pretty good. Plus Soul Jazz know how to sequence their thrills - two CDs and they both work as single discs or as the longer two hour ride. Oh! Forgot, the songs are mostly wicked too! Helps.
Young me loves the 'flex ya head' harder stuff on here - My Name chip in two songs and they're both awesome post-hardcore, Shug and Calamity Jane made me think about Sleater Kinney (and have some great riot moves of their own), Thrillhammer and Nubbin are mining that pop-meets-punk-meets hard rock riffage... Then old me likes Small Stars chamber-pop vibe (violin - smashing move!), Chemistry Set with all these psychedelic tones, Kill Sybil and the dream pop meditational thing, Hitting Birth and the industrial weirdness... Nah, screw it. It's all good. There's times you can see the grunge connections but all of it stands up on its own. Always damn funny what gets famous and what gets lost.
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