Category: alternative rock

On this day in music history: October 22, 1991…

On this day in music history: October 22, 1991 – “Girlfriend”, the third album by Matthew Sweet is released. Produced by Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet, it is recorded at Axis Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1990. Inspired by the break up of Sweet’s marriage, the album features the musician with a number of guest musicians including guitarists Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd (Television), and The Indigo Girls. Released on RCA’s Zoo Records imprint, its sales are only modest, but receives significant support from college radio and commercial AAA format and Modern Rock stations. The album draws raves from critics and fans, and is regarded as one of the great power pop albums of all time. The album spins off two singles including the title track (#4 Mainstream Rock). The cover artwork features a photo of actress Tuesday Weld. The album is remastered and reissued in 2006, with live recordings, demos and acoustic versions of several songs included as bonus tracks. Initially released on only CD and cassette, the album is reissued on vinyl in 2014. The first LP release is a limited edition 180 gram vinyl pressing from audiophile label Classic Records in 1995,that quickly goes out of print, and becomes a pricey collectors item. The vinyl release is reissued again in 2017 by Music On Vinyl. An expanded edition of “Girlfriend"is released as a double 180 gram LP set, and as a hybrid SACD (to follow in December of 2018) by Intervention Records in September of 2018. "Girlfriend” peaks at number one hundred on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: October 10, 2007…

On this day in music history: October 10, 2007 – “In Rainbows”, the seventh album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, Tottenham House in Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK, Halswell House in Taunton, Somerset, UK and Hospital Studios in Covent Garden, Westminster, UK in from February 2005 – June 2007. Fulfilling their contract with EMI Records in 2003 with “Hail To The Thief”, Radiohead follow it with a world tour. The band then take an extended hiatus to rest and tend to their growing families. Re-grouping in early 2005, it is without their long time producer Nigel Godrich who is busy at the time working with Beck. The band then hire producer Mark “Spike” Stent, best known for his work with U2 and Björk. After a year in the studio, the producer goes over the material, and bluntly tells them the songs “aren’t good enough”. The band break ties with Stent and work on the project stops. They then embark on their first tour in over two years, also using the shows to test new material written during this time. In October of 2006, the band reconnect with Godrich and work resumes on their seventh album, quickly putting them back on the right path. Feeling that “Hail To The Thief” was over long, they pare the work in progress down to the best ten songs for the main release. When recording wraps in the late Spring of 2007, there comes the task of how to release their new album. Titled “In Rainbows”, Radiohead take the unprecedented step of issuing it as a “pay what your want” MP3 digital download for exactly two months prior to the physical release. Though receiving some criticism for the move, it is enthusiastically received by the public, selling over 1.2 million digital downloads. Along side the standard single CD and vinyl LP release, the album is made available as a mail order only limited box set that contains the standard ten song CD, a bonus CD with eight additional tracks, and enhanced content with artwork, photos and song lyrics. The lavish “discbox” package also includes a double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM. Issued in the UK through XL Recordings and in the US on TBD Records through Red Distribution in early December of 2007, It enters the UK and US album charts at #1, making it only the tenth indie distributed album to top the charts in the US. It receives seven Grammy nominations in 2009, winning two awards for Best Alternative Album and Best Special Limited Edition Package for the limited release. It makes history and proves to be a game changer, showing an album can be successfully marketed and promoted without major record label support. The Eagles also follow suit, issuing their album “Long Road Out Of Eden” through mass market retailer Wal-Mart, rather than through a major label with similar success. “In Rainbows” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 8, 1991 …

On this day in music history: October 8, 1991 – “Badmotorfinger”, the third album by Soundgarden is released. Produced Soundgarden and Terry Date, it is recorded at Studio D in Sausalito, CA, Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, WA, and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from March – April 1991. The Seattle based bands second major label album is the first to feature new bassist Ben Shepherd, replacing Jason Everman (who leaves to join Mind Funk). it spins off three singles including “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The album becomes their most successful to date and helps break the grunge rock movement from its cult underground following into mainstream popularity. When Soundgarden lands a slot on the second Lollapalooza Tour in 1992, the album adds a limited edition five song EP titled “Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas” (or SOMMS) featuring covers of rock and new wave classics. The album also receives a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1992, with their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Into The Void (Sealth)” on the “SOMMS” EP receiving a nomination in the same category in 1993. To commemorate the twenty fifth anniversary of the albums’ release, it is remastered and reissued in November of 2016. It is reissued as a standard single CD, a two disc deluxe edition and as an elaborate limited Super Deluxe box set edition. The box contains three CD’s with the first two consisting of the original twelve song album and sixteen bonus tracks. The third disc features a full live performance recorded at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA on March 6, 1992. The full concert is also included on a DVD packaged with the set, and a second DVD featuring the “Motorvision” home video release from 1992, originally issued only on VHS tape. It also includes additional live performances, with the original music videos for “Outshined”, “Rusty Cage” and “Jesus Christ Pose”. The final disc is a Blu-ray disc including the full album in high resolution audio and remixed into 5.1 surround sound. The lavish box also comes with a fifty two page booklet, fully annotated with rare photos and new artwork. Other collectible artifacts come with the set, which is housed in a 14" x 14" box that comes emblazoned with the album cover logo which is battery powered and spins when switched on. The album is also reissued as a double 180 gram vinyl LP set. “Badmotorfinger” peaks at number thirty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 6, 199…

On this day in music history: October 6, 1992 – “Automatic For The People”, the eighth album by R.E.M. is released. Produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M., it is recorded at Bearsville Studios in Bearsville, NY, Criteria Studios in Miami, FL, John Keane Studio in Athens, GA, Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA, and Bosstown Studios in Atlanta, GA, from Late 1991 – Mid 1992. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Out Of Time”, much like its predecessor, the overall mood of the album is quiet and subdued, though the lyrical tone of the songs are decidedly darker with many dealing with mortality. The band originally intend for it to be a “harder rocking album”, but does not come out that way, when they are unsatisfied with the thirty songs that are written and demoed. Instead, they take a more unorthodox approach to writing the songs. Instead of playing their usual instruments, drummer Bill Berry plays bass during the writing sessions, with bassist Mike Mills playing organ or piano, and guitarist Peter Buck playing mandolin. Composing songs without the presence of drums, has an overall affect on the feel of the finished product. The album takes its title from a phrase off of the sign of a soul food restaurant (Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods) located in the bands’ hometown of Athens, GA. The actual image pictured on the cover is from the sign in front of the Sinbad Motel in Miami, FL. It spins off five singles including “Drive” (#1 Modern Rock, #28 Pop), “Man On The Moon” (#4 Modern Rock) and “Everybody Hurts” (Modern Rock #21, #29 Pop). Written about late comedian Andy Kaufman, “Man On The Moon” also becomes the title of a biopic starring Jim Carrey as Kaufman, and directed by Miloš Forman. Some CD copies come in a limited edition wooden pine box. It also contains sixteen cards with artwork and photographs printed on vellum. In 2003, it is reissued as a hybrid DualDisc, and as a DVD-A disc, with the latter featuring DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mixes, and the original stereo mix in high resolution. For its twenty fifth anniversary in 2017, it is remastered and reissued as a three CD + Blu-ray box set. The extras include a live concert performance recorded at The 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA. Also previously unreleased demo recordings, many of songs not being re-recorded for the final album. The Blu-ray features a new remix in Dolby True-HD 7.1 sound, and with the standard stereo mix in high resolution sound (with one additional bonus track. The Blu-ray also contains seven music videos, as well as the original electronic press kit video. Initially issued on limited edition vinyl on its original 1992 release (with sides one and two titled “DRIVE” and “RIDE”), it is briefly reissued in Europe in 1999. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Automatic For The People” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 29, 19…

On this day in music history: September 29, 1992 – “Core”, the debut album by Stone Temple Pilots is released. Produced by Brendan O’Brien, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles, CA from Early – Mid 1992. Originally known as Mighty Joe Young when they form in 1986, the band are forced to change their name (right before signing with Atlantic Records) when their attorney informs them there is a blues musician billing himself as “Mighty Joe Young” had adapted the name first. Stone Temple Pilots name is inspired by STP motor oil logo that the members had seen growing up. They take those initials and devise a few different names before deciding on their final moniker. The first album by the Long Beach, CA based rock band at first are lambasted by critics as being “a rip off” of grunge bands such as Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. But it quickly spins off four singles including “Plush” (#1 Mainstream Rock) and “Wicked Garden” (#11 Mainstream Rock). The band win a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1993 for the single “Plush”. In  November of 2013, the album is reissued on LP for the first time in more than twenty years, as a numbered limited edition on clear gold vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Core” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 29, 19…

On this day in music history: September 29, 1992 – “Dirt”, the second album by Alice In Chains is released. Produced by Dave Jerden and Alice In Chains, it is recorded at Eldorado Recording Studios in Burbank, CA, One On One Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA, and London Bridge Studios in Seattle, WA from March – May 1992. Issued as the follow up to their 2x Platinum selling debut “Facelift”, the dark and heavy tone of the album is influenced by the band members problems with depression, alcohol and substance abuse, especially present in lead singer Layne Staley’s lyrics. In rehab when the sessions begin, Staley relapses and begins using heroin and oxycodone, which complicates his relationships with his band mates and producer Jerden. In spite of the behind the scenes drama, the sessions are successfully completed. The album is very well received upon its release and is regarded as one of the best rock albums of the 90’s. It spins off five singles including “Them Bones” (#24 Mainstream Rock), “Rooster” (#7 Mainstream Rock) and “Would?” (#5 Mainstream Rock), the latter also being featured in the film and soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s “Singles”.  In Europe, the album is packaged with a limited edition bonus CD with four bonus tracks, including the single edit and LP versions of “Down In A Hole”, “Rooster” and “What The Hell I Have”. Originally released only on CD and cassette in the US, and on vinyl on a very limited basis internationally, it is remastered and reissued by Music On Vinyl in 2009. The reissue is pressed on standard black vinyl, and a limited edition pressing on dark red marbled vinyl.  "Dirt" peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 27, …

On this day in music history: September 27, 1994 – “American Thighs”, the debut album by Veruca Salt is released. Produced by Brad Wood, it is recorded at Idful Studios in Chicago, IL from Early – Mid 1994. Formed in their hometown of Chicago, IL in 1992 by musicians Nina Gordon (guitar, vocals) and Louise Post (guitar, vocals), they name themselves after the ultra spoiled rich girl in Roald Dahl’s children’s book “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory”. The pair decide to form the band after being introduced to each other by actress Lili Taylor (“Say Anything”, “Mystic Pizza”, “Short Cuts”, “I Shot Andy Warhol)”, who is a mutual friend of both. Post and Gordon begin writing songs together, though the rest of the band does not come together another year and a half. They are then joined by Nina’s brother Jim Shapiro (drums) and Steve Lack (bass). Being fronted by two women, Veruca Salt stand out as much for their unique line up as much for their infectious, grunge laced power pop sound. Playing gigs in and around Chicago, the band are only together for a short time before Jim Powers of local indie label Minty Fresh Records (The Cardigans, Liz Phair) offers to sign them. They record their debut album “American Thighs” through 1994, with the title making reference to a lyric in AC/DC’s hard rock classic “You Shook Me All Night Long”. The infectious hard rocking “Seether” (#8 Modern Rock), quickly created a buzz around the band. They are soon picked up Geffen distributed DGC Records, the home of grunge and alternative rock pillars like Nirvana and Sonic Youth. The video for “Seether” quickly becomes a hit on MTV, and is picked up on modern rock radio. Veruca Salt also gain additional exposure as the opening act for label mates Hole, who are on their first major tour after the release of their album “Live Through This”. “American Thighs” spins off two other singles including “Number One Blind” and “Victrola”. The band follow it up with the EP “Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt”, working with engineer and producer Steve Albini. Veruca Salt finally follow up their debut album with the Bob Rock produced (Metallica, Motley Crue) “Eight Arms To Hold You” (the original working title of The Beatles’ film “Help!”) in 1997. Though it spins off a hit single with “Volcano”, it falls noticeably short of its predecessor, as musical tastes shift more toward the pure pop of groups like The Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. Inner band drama between its members lead to Nina Gordon’s departure in 1998, to pursue a solo career. After being dropped by Geffen, the band release two more albums and two EP’s before taking an extended hiatus in 2007. The original line up of Veruca Salt reunite in 2012, and release their most recent album “Ghost Notes” in 2015. “American Thighs” peaks at number sixty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 27, 19…

On this day in music history: September 27, 1994 – “Monster”, the ninth album by R.E.M. is released. Produced by Scott Litt and R. E.M., it is recorded at Kingsway Studios in New Orleans, LA, Crossover Soundstage in Atlanta, GA, Criteria Studios in Miami, FL, Ocean Way Recording in Los Angeles, CA from April – May 1994. Marking a dramatic shift away from the quieter tone of the bands two previous albums, “Monster” features more loud, aggressive guitar driven material. The band experiences numerous set backs during the recording sessions, with drummer Bill Berry and bassist Mike Mills becoming ill on different occasions, bringing a halt to recording. Once recording starts again in Miami, sessions are stopped once again when lead singer Michael Stipe has to have emergency dental surgery. These events put the band way behind schedule in completing the album, leading to tensions that nearly cause R.E.M. to break up. The first single “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” (#21 Pop, #1 Modern Rock, #2 Mainstream Rock), whose title is inspired by an incident in which CBS news anchor Dan Rather is victim of an unprovoked attack by two mentally disturbed men shouting the phrase at him. The album spins off three more singles including “Bang And Blame” (#19 Pop, #1 Modern Rock, #3 Mainstream Rock) and “Crush With Eyeliner” (#33 Modern Rock, #20 Mainstream Rock). “Monster” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 26, 19…

On this day in music history: September 26, 1995 – “Outside”, the nineteenth album by David Bowie is released. Produced by David Bowie, Brian Eno and David Richards, it is recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland from Late 1994 – Early 1995.  David Bowie reconnects with his former collaborator Brian Eno when Bowie marries Somalian supermodel Iman in 1992. At the wedding, Bowie and Eno talk about working together again (for the first time since “Lodger” in 1979), but at first is unsure what musical direction they will take. Unlike their previous projects, they enter the studio without any material prepared ahead of time.  What they come up with is a concept album based on a short story by Bowie entitled “The Diary of Nathan Adler” which revolves around a dystopian world on the eve of the twenty first century.Bowie and Eno write many of the albums songs along with Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels.  It spins off three singles including “Hallo Spaceboy” and “The Hearts Filthy Lesson” (#92 Pop), the latter of which is heard over the end credits of David Fincher’s film “Se7en”. “Outside” peaks at number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200.

On this day in music history: September 24, 19…

On this day in music history: September 24, 1991 – “Nevermind”, the second album by Nirvana is released. Produced by Butch Vig, it is recorded at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, Smart Studios in Madison, WI and Devonshire Studios in North Hollywood, CA from April 1990, May – June 1991. Releasing their debut album “Bleach” on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop in 1989, Nirvana are disappointed when it sells only 40,000 copies initially. Deciding that the only way to reach a wider audience is to sign with a major label, the band are courted by several labels, but eventually sign with Geffen Records subsidiary DGC Records. Working previously with engineer and producer Butch Vig in 1990, he is chosen to produced their second album. With exception of the track “Polly” (recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, WI in April 1990), the bulk of Nirvana’s major label debut is recorded in Southern California during the Spring of 1991. When the album is originally mastered, engineer Howie Weinberg accidentally leaves off the final track “Endless, Nameless”, which was tacked on the end of the master tape, proceeded by ten minutes of blank leader tape in between. The mistake isn’t caught until after the first press run of CD’s and cassettes are manufactured. The first 20,000 copies of “Nevermind” exclude the hidden track, but is corrected on all future pressings. When it is released, initial expectations are low with only 46,251 copies being shipped. Thanks to the breakout success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (#6 Pop), the album reaches gold status in under thirty days, and platinum two weeks after that. It spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 on January 11, 1992. The massive and unexpected success of the album affects a major sea change in not only the music industry, but in popular culture with the rise of the grunge music phenomenon of the early to mid 90’s. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its release in 2011, “Nevermind” is remastered and reissued as a four CD + DVD deluxe edition. Disc one features the original thirteen track album, with nine additional bonus tracks. Disc two features the previously unreleased “Smart Studios Sessions” recordings, and two tracks from a BBC in-studio appearance on DJ John Peel’s radio show. Disc three contains the original unreleased Devonshire Studios mixes. Disc four features a complete live concert recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA on October 31, 1991. The DVD features the complete film of the concert, and all four original music videos from the album. The box set also comes in a slip case, with a ninety page hardbound book, and a double sided poster. Reissued on vinyl numerous times since its initial limited release in 1991, it is most recently remastered and released as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Nevermind” is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.