In need of some inspiration? Get back to the 90’s

ALBUMS ARE FOREVER!  The best of them form the soundtrack to our lives and have shaped the way we are and the way we feel.  The early 90’s threw up so many records of power, charm and beauty with the list of great bands long and glorious.  Sincere, innovative, exciting bands that were in it for the right reasons.  Bands who made records that were vital for Alternative Rock and uniquely influential to the decade that would follow.

poisonAT THE END OF THE 80’s greed was good….rockers were baaaaad and words like ‘honesty’, ‘integrity’, ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘reality’ weren’t on the agenda.  Then came along bands like Jane’s Addiction, Faith No More, Nirvana and the Manic Street Preachers to make music mean something again.  Albums appeared that spoke volumes, instead of just selling them and the best Rock music has always been informed by the world around it.

nirvana_90sSOMEONE ONCE SAID “music should just be the soundtrack to whatever else is going on in your life”.  Even the shoulder-padded dino-rockers of the 80’s reflected the times in their own way but by the 90’s, the OTT antics of Poison and Motley Crue began to look positively vulgar.  Metallica sticksman Lars Ulrich called it a sea change and you’d be hard pressed to disagree.  Some of the releases mentioned here are so far removed from the glittery bombast of Slippery When Wet or Open Up And Say Aah, it’s almost revolutionary.  Butch Vig once commented “when Nevermind went to no.1, that was the moment the 80’s ended and the 90’s began”.

What followed, none of us saw coming.

1987: GUNS N ROSES – Appetite For Destruction
1989: FAITH NO MORE – The Real Thing

1990:

janesaddiction_ritualJANE’S ADDICTION – Ritual de lo Habitual
Label: Warner Bros
Essential Tracks: Three Days, Stop, Been Caught Stealing, The She Did, Obvious
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Incomparable. Unique alternative rock music
Why You Must Own This:  So inventive, so monolithic, in Three Days it contains probably the best 11 minutes in Rock music

BlackCrowesShakeYourMoneymakerTHE BLACK CROWES – Shake Your Money Maker
Label: American Recordings
Essential Tracks: Hard To Handle, Jealous Again, Stare It Cold, She Talks To Angels
Headwarmer rating: 8
For fans of: Chris Robinson, Bad Company, Blackberry Smoke et al
Why You Must Own This:  Heartfelt classic rock with the blues deep in its veins

 1991: (as well as Nevermind 🙂 )

metallica blackMETALLICA – Metallica
Label: Vertigo
Essential Tracks: Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, The God That Failed, My Friend of Misery
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  err…..Metallica, Heavy Metal
Why You Must Own This:  It’s a monument in Metal history

pearl jam_tenPEARL JAM – Ten
Label:
Epic
Essential Tracks: Alive, Jeremy, Black, Garden
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  90’s Grunge, Alice In Chains, Temple of the Dog, Stone Temple pilots
Why You Must Own This:  This kicked off the grunge era almost single handedly.  Apart from Nevermind, easily the most influential

levitationLEVITATION – Need For Not
Label: Rough Trade
Essential Tracks: Against Nature, Resist, Pieces Of Mary, Smile
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Not easy to compare, perhaps an early Porcupine Tree?
Why You Must Own This: 
Illuminating and original, the very definition of ‘Indie’

Temple_Of_The_DogTEMPLE OF THE DOG – Temple of the Dog
Label: A&M
Essential Tracks: Say Hello To Heaven, Reach Down, Call Me A Dog, Four Walled World
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Neil Young
Why You Must Own This: 
One of the best side-projects to come out of the grung era.  And just downright good rock songs

mind funkMIND FUNK – Mind Funk
Label: Epic
Essential Tracks: Sugar Aint So Sweet, Big House Burning, Fire, Sister Blue
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Faith No More, Suicidal Tendencies, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rollins Band
Why You Must Own This: 
An absolute blast of hard rock essentialism

RHCP blood sugarRED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Label: Warner Bros
Essential Tracks: Under The Bridge, Suck My Kiss, Breaking The Girl, I Could Have Lied, Sir Psycho Sexy
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Funk metal, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Why You Must Own This:  Amazing musicianship, crazy lyrics and genre defining tracks that still sound peerless nearly 25 years later

pixies_trompePIXIES – Trompe Le Monde
Label:
Essential Tracks: ‘Subbaculture’, ‘Planet of Sound’, ”
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of: Frank Black, Sonic Youth
Why You Must Own This:  It’s by one of the most influential American Indie bands ever.  Enigmatic, ageless and beloved

neds atomicNEDS ATOMIC DUSTBIN – God Fodder
Label:  SME
Essential Tracks: Kill Your Television, Grey Cell Green, Happy, Until You Find Out
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:
Why You Must Own This:  Granted, this one’s a bit of an oddity.  But we’ve got to have it in here purely because its just so damn good.  Proper Indie riffs and floopy quiffs from the earliest stages of Brit Pop.  British personality at its best

1992:

alice-in-chains-dirtALICE IN CHAINS – Dirt
Label: Colombia
Essential Tracks: Them Bones, Rooster, Down In A Hole, Would?
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Jerry Cantrell, Grunge, Stone Temple Pilots
Why You Must Own This: 
Haunting, ponderous and progressive, this is moddy riffery at its deepest and darkest

nin_brokenNINE INCH NAILS – Broken
Label: Island
Essential Tracks: Wish, Last, I Am In Hell, Suck
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Industrial Metal, Ministry, Marilyn Manson
Why You Must Own This: 
Taking Pretty Hate Machine to the next level, this is angry, amazing Metal built upon loss and remorse

panteraPANTERA – A Vulgar Display of Power
Label: Atco
Essential Tracks: Mouth For War, Walk, F***ing Hostile, This Love, No Good, Hollow
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of:  Thrash, Slayer, Sepultura, Black Sabbath
Why You Must Own This:  Eery and surging speed metal riffery, with Diamond’s defining moments, this album makes life worth living

megadeth_countdownMEGADETH – Countdown To Extinction
Label:
Essential Tracks: Skin O My Teeth, Countdown to Extinction, Symphony of Destruction, Ashes In Your Mouth
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Heavy Metal, Metallica, Trouble, Anthrax
Why You Must Own This:  A major shift in direcion for the band, this carved a new niche for speed metal bands looking for acceptance

faith no more_angelFAITH NO MORE – Angel Dust
Label: Epic
Essential Tracks: Land of Sunshine, Caffeine, Midlife Crisis, Jizzlobber
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Mike Patton, Mr Bungle, Tomahawk
Why You Must Own This:  Wildy claustrophobic and inventive, Angel Dust perfectly showcased the strength of a truly enigmatic band

Stone_Temple_Pilots_CoreSTONE TEMPLE PILOTS – Core
Label: Atlantic
Essential Tracks: Sex Type Thing, Wicked Garden, Naked Sunday, Creep, Plush
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains
Why You Must Own This:  Full of potency and huge hooks, Core belied it’s critics cynicism with ambitious and savvy grunge rock

1993:

thebeyond_chasmTHE BEYOND – Chasm
Label: Music For Nations
Essential Tracks: ‘Cypress Era’, ‘Sweat Tastes Sweeter’, ‘Sentimental Vultures’, ‘Onion’, ‘Grey’
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of:  Impossible to classify.
Why You Must Own This:  Like nothing on earth.  As debut Crawl, Chasm is smart, edgy and utterly unique

Tool_UndertowTOOL – Undertow
Label:
Essential Tracks: Intolerance, Sober, Bottom, Crawl Away, Undertow
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  A Perfect Circle, Depeche Mode, Black Sabbath, Deftones
Why You Must Own This:  Arguably their finest alongside Lateralus, Undertow is sophisticated and adventurous song writing that still has no equal

jellyfishJELLYFISH – Spilt Milk
Label: Virgin
Essential Tracks: New Mistake, Ghost At No.1, Bye Bye Bye, Russian Hill
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of: The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Beach Boys
Why You Must Own This:  Despite it’s obvious influences, Spilt Milk is hugely affecting, superbly played and just chock full of damn catchy tunes

mind funk_droppedMIND FUNK – Dropped
Label: Megaforce
Essential Tracks: Goddess, Drowning, Mama Moses And Me, Billygoat, 11 Ton Butterfly
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Soundgarden, Tool, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam
Why You Must Own This:  Having been ‘dropped’ by Epic after a superb debut, Mind Funk returned at war with themselves.  What resulted was a grunge influenced behemoth that made a personal as a well as  a professional statement to the industry

1994:

imotherearth_digI MOTHER EARTH – Dig
Label: Capitol
Essential Tracks: Rain Will Fall, No One, Undone, Lost My America
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of:  Jane’s Addiction, Candlebox, The Doors
Why You Must Own This:  For me, still probably the most influential album.  Amazing musicianship, amazing songs, not a duff moment on offer.  Criminally overlooked

manics the holy bibleMANIC STREET PREACHERS – The Holy Bible
Label: Epic
Essential Tracks: Yes, Revol, She Is Suffering, 4st 7lb, Archives of Pain, PCP
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of:  The Clash, Joy Division, The Cure
Why You Must Own This:  It’s an absolute landmark in British Rock history

mothertongueMOTHER TONGUE – Mother Tongue
Label: Sony
Essential Tracks: Broken, Burn Baby, The Seed, Damage, Venus Beach
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, The Beatles
Why You must Own This: 
Incredible art rock played with butcher like precision, from a band that completely passed under the radar

satchel edcSATCHEL – EDC
Label: Epic
Essential Tracks: Equilibrium, Trouble Come Down, O, Willow, Suffering
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of: Pigeonhed, Brad, Pearl Jam
Why You must Own This: 
Heartfelt and ethereal, Shawn Smith’s leading side project plays rock gems with moon age space ballads to stunning effect

soundgarden superunknownSOUNDGARDEN – Superunknown
Label: A&M
Essential Tracks: Fell On Black Days, The Day I Tried To Live, Spoonman, 4th of July, Like Suicide
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of:  Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Grunge, vast and epic rock
Why You Must Own This:  It’s just frikkin superb.  Like a meteorite collading with earth, the songs are huge hulking affairs that will stand tall for decades to come

headswimHEADSWIM – Flood
Label: Epic
Essential Tracks: Gone To Pot, Soup, Down, Dead, Safe Harvest, Stinkhorn
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of: Faith No More
Why You Must Own This:  Eclectic, heavy, adventurous and edgy.  Seriously something special

live throwing copperLIVE – Throwing Copper
Label: Radioactive
Essential Tracks: Iris, Shit Towne, Top, Stage, White Discussion
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of: Pearl Jam, REM
Why You Must Own This:  Resigning Michael Stipe to the budget bin, Throwing Copper pulled on personal loss to deliver a cathartic and fierce musical direction that still stands tall

kyuss sky valleyKYUSS – Sky Valley
Label: WEA / Elektra
Essential Tracks: Asteroid, Gardenia, Demon Cleaner, Space Cadet
Headwarmer rating: 10
For Fans Of:  QOTSA, Orange Goblin, Black Sabbath, Sleep
Why You Must Own This:  Unlike nothing on earth, this is huge space rock brought back from the mountains, awash with 70s nostalgia

marillion braveMARILLION – Brave
Label:
Essential Tracks: Living With The Big Lie, Runaway, Hard As Love
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of: Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Pink Floyd
Why You Must Own This:  Prog Rock with epic and personal proportions.  Beautifully played music.

1995:

mad seasonMAD SEASON – Above
Label: Colombia
Essential Tracks: Wake Up, Long Gone Day, River of Deceit, November Hotel
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam,
Why You Must Own This:  Another immense side project from Seattle that would mark the end, yet arguably most personal of Layne Staley’s productivity

RHCP_One HotRED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – One Hot Minute
Label: Warner Bros
Essential Tracks: Warped, Deep Kick, My Friends, Tearjerker
Headwarmer rating: 9
For Fans Of:  RHCP, Jane’s Addiction
Why You Must Own This:  It’s the Chili’s, only harder.  With Dave Navarro on geetar.  Hellooo?!!

1996:

failure_fantasticFAILURE – Fantastic Planet
Label: Warners/Slash
Essential Tracks: Sargeant Politeness, Pillowhead, Stuck On You
Headwarmer rating: 8
For Fans Of: Nirvana, Hum, Smashing Pumpkins
Why You Must Own This:  Driving riffs and alternative concepts, FP was totally overlooked by the public but hugely influential for some of the worlds biggest bands

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