Nevermind Nirvana...Here's the Pacific Northwest
It was the shot heard 'round the world.....
We just recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind album. If you were of a certain age in 1991, this album meant everything to you. I was 24 at the time, so it didn't quite have the impact on me as some other people. Don't get me wrong, I loved it but it didn't really have the sticking power for me as some other albums of the time. (That honor really belonged to Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, an album that I'm sure will be written about here at some point in the future).
Nevermind is certainly an album that popularized grunge, but it isn't really the innovator that it has been made out to be. The "Seattle Sound" was building for at least 6 or 7 years by that point, and really, the Washington area had been putting it's own spin on rock & roll since the early sixties, when bands like The Sonics and The Wailers were blowing people's minds and eardrums at house parties. There is a rich musical history from that area that is begging to be explored.
Which brings us to the album we are talking about this week, Hype! The Motion Picture Soundtrack. Released in 1996, this was the companion to the documentary of the same name (full disclosure: I've only seen about a third of this movie but I have been working on it - some kind soul has been good enough to upload the entire thing on youtube, so if you are inclined, go take a look. I'm really enjoying it so far). The tracklist on this album is stellar: Nirvana makes an appearance, along with Soundgarden, Tad, Gas Huffer, Green River, and The Fastbacks among others. Most of the tracks are live or demos, so if you aren't a novice to the scene there is still something here for you. As you delve into this soundtrack, you will notice that the so-called Seattle Sound was made up of lots of different styles of music mixed together - punk, garage, metal all make appearances in some form or another. I'm not sure how easy it is to find - I've had my copy since he early 2000s, but it is worth the effort to seek out.
Recommended listening: Tad Way Santa; Girl Trouble New American Shame; The Sonics Here Are The Sonics!!; Various Artists Sub Pop 200
About me: I am a long time music fanatic who is into almost all genres of music and feels that music feeds my soul. I don't know what I would do without it in my life, but at the same time, I don't play any instruments. I guess that makes me more akin to a music critic, but you will find that as this column moves along, some of my tastes are just too populist for that. Speaking of this column, this is my first time doing something like this, so any comments or suggestions are very much appreciated.