My final 1993 selection comes from an artist I’ve tried to like without much success. Bjork last made a Decades appearance with her 2001 album Vespertine, an avant-garde sonic experiment that did nothing for me.
Back in 1993, Bjork released her debut album, called (appropriately enough) Debut. This was her first solo effort following a stint with the band The Sugarcubes. The band’s music was more conventional than her muse, prompting her to branch off on her own.
Along with grunge, rap, and boy bands, the 90s music scene was notable for the emergence of Britpop. These bands drew on British influences from the 60s and 70s, blended those sounds with elements of American alternative rock, and dressed it all up with distinctly Anglocentric flavor.
Oasis was the most successful of these bands, with Pulp and Suede competing for their scraps along with Blur, today’s featured artist. I guess one-word band names was a thing for these guys.
Along with Kirsty MacColl, today’s band is my favorite discovery so far of my 1993 edition of the Decades series.
Madder Rose was an alt-rock band fronted by lead singer Mary Lorson, who co-wrote songs with guitarist Bill Cote. Their debut album, Bring it Down, was released in ’93, with three other albums following in the 90s. The band then went on hiatus for 20 years before reforming just last year to release a fifth album, titled To Be Beautiful.
This one was a disappointment. I don’t know much about the Ohio-based Afghan Whigs, but I have their 1998 album 1965 and really like it. It’s a muscular blend of soul and rock that hits on all cylinders.
So when I saw that 1993 was the release year of the band’s most celebrated album, Gentlemen, I was excited. Here was a chance to dive deeper into a band that had grabbed my interest already with a “lesser” work.
It seems there was a lot of band crossover in the early 90s. People jumping from one band to another, starting a new band while still playing in their first band, that kind of thing.
The Breeders is one such example. Formed in 1989 by Kim Deal (bassist for The Pixies), Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses guitarist), and Carrie Bradley (vocalist/violinist for Ed’s Redeeming Qualities), the band was initially called Boston Girl Super-Group. They changed their name to The Breeders and recorded a debut album, Pod, which was cited by Kurt Cobain as a big influence on Nirvana’s sound.