Wednesday, April 6, 2011

20 years on: April 6, 1991

As modern rock enters its (gulp) third decade, we're taking a look back at the charts of two decades ago.

This week in 1991:  The #1 song was, again, REM's "Losing My Religion." Jesus Jones finally dropped out of the top 10, and Sting returned to it with the fourth and final single off his Soul Cages album.

1. REM, "Losing My Religion"
2. Morrissey, "Our Frank"

3. Material Issue, "Valerie Loves Me"
4. Divinyls, "I Touch Myself"
5. Simple Minds, "See the Lights"
6. EMF, "Unbelievable"
7. The Godfathers, "Unreal World"
8. Havana 3 a.m., "Reach the Rock"
9. Sting, "The Soul Cages"

Few remember this now, because of the last 20 years of his career, but Sting dominated the early modern rock charts, due in no small part to his association with the Police (the early modern-rock stations loved the Police and the Clash... see also Havana 3 a.m.). This is his last Top 10 modern-rock hit, though, and he only appeared on the modern rock charts one more time, with "It's Probably Me" off the Lethal Weapon 3 soundtrack in 1992.

10. The Judybats, "Native Son"
The Judybats were a band of kids from the University of Tennessee who played the type of folky college-rock that dominated the modern rock charts pre-Nevermind. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers won't let me embed the video, but it's a decent song. This is their first hit, and they managed to put out four albums in total for Sire before breaking up in 1994.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Deal of the week... 99-cent greatest hits EPs

If you've been in a Best Buy recently, you know they've made some mistakes in the last few years in regard to exclusive CDs. Guns 'n Roses' Chinese Democracy is the biggest example, but you can still find minimum 6 or 7 copies of Scott Weiland's Happy in Galoshes in any Best Buy as well.

For Black Friday 2008, Best Buy sold six-song EPs of greatest hits from Stone Temple Pilots, Counting Crows, Weezer, the Cars, Three Doors Down, and Linkin Park. They cost $5.99 and were placed in prominent positions for people to buy as stocking stuffers. The Weezer one contains "Buddy Holly" and "Say it Ain't So" (but nothing from Pinkerton), while the STP one has "Sex Type Thing," "Wicked Garden," "Big Empty," etc.  Not a terrible idea, and they probably sold quite a few to clueless parents who were just looking for something their kid would like.

The problem is, Best Buy manufactured waaaay more than they sold. And now, two and a half years later, their mistake is your gain. Happened to be in Best Buy yesterday, and I saw that all of the six-pack CDs are now on sale for 99 cents. And there were a lot: I counted roughly 30 STPs, 20 or so Weezers, 25 Three Doors Downs. I already own STP's greatest hits and the Blue Album, but I did pick up the Cars one. Chances are these things will be on blowout prices until they're gone, so if you're interested, swing by and pick one up.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Name that song!

From the Tied to the '90s inbox, we have a request from reader "Drew."

"I'm trying to find out the name of a song and the band who sings it.  I can't seem to find it on the net except on YouTube.  It is on a show called Austin Stories on MTV circa 1997."
The song in question begins at 6:13 of the video below.

 Alright, '90s fans, any ideas? I have honestly no clue.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

20 years on: March 30, 1991

As modern rock enters its (gulp) third decade, we're taking a look back at the charts of two decades ago.

This week in 1991: The #1 song in modern rock for the 3rd straight week was R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion." The charts for March are interesting to me because they contain four songs that are destined to turn up on pretty much any "best of the '90s" boxset in the future: "Losing My Religion," "I Touch Myself," "Unbelievable," and "Right Here, Right Now." But arguably, none of those songs reflect the direction modern rock radio would take in less than a year.

The top 10:

1. REM, "Losing My Religion"
2. Divinyls, "I Touch Myself"
3. EMF, "Unbelievable"
4. Material Issue, "Valerie Loves Me"

5. Morrissey, "Our Frank"
6. Havana 3 a.m., "Reach the Rock"
7. Daniel Ash, "This Love"
8. Simple Minds, "See the Lights"
Bet you didn't realize Simple Minds had a career beyond the Breakfast Club soundtrack, did you?
9. Jesus Jones, "Right Here, Right Now"
10. The Godfathers, "Unreal World"
Here's another band I'd never heard of. A British group whose sound was somewhat of a bridge between U2 and INXS and the later Britpop groups, this was the third (and final) charting single of their careers. They broke up not long after, though various members would use the Godfathers name to record throughout the '90s, with little success.

Don't you love the John Lennon sunglasses and mullet look that drummer's rocking?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This week in reunions... A Perfect Circle!

* A Perfect Circle, featuring members of the Smashing Pumpkins and Tool, are back together and on tour this summer.

* If you see Beady Eye on one of their few North American dates this year, don't expect to hear any Oasis songs, Gem Archer says. Not even the ones that Liam wrote?

* The Blink-182 reunion album could be out by summer, according to Rolling Stone.

* Lou Barlow just got Sebadoh back together, and a deluxe reissue of their 1994 album Bakesale comes out in June.

*And, the news you've all been waiting with baited breath for... thank your lucky stars, because after 6 long years, we finally have new Limp Bizkit music to look forward to. Gold Cobra, their first full-length album since 2003, comes out June 7.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

This week in solo albums: Travis Barker?!?

* New this week: ex-Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft has a new solo album, recorded with several hip-hop producers. This probably isn't as terrible a move as Chris Cornell's album with Timbaland, just because Ashcroft's other solo work has been so soporific.

* Speaking of Chris Cornell, Soundgarden just put out a live album and are supposedly working in the studio, but Cornell is taking a break this spring to do some solo acoustic shows.  The one in my area sold out very quickly.

* Also new and in stores this week: Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker's solo album. Based on the performance I saw on Conan and the clips available online, Barker is just drumming and producing, not singing.

* Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis has a new solo album. It's supposed to be a bit "folky."

* While not a solo album per se, erstwhile Blur / Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn is working on a new opera about an Elizabethan-era astrologer which will premiere this summer in Manchester. That Damon, always out-Britishing everybody else.

*And my favorite solo album news of the week comes from Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, whose second solo album will come out this summer and was recorded exclusively using ukuleles. Ukulele Songs comes out May 31. Check out the sounds of Hawaii on Vedder's solo tour; get dates here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

20 years on: March 23, 1991

As modern rock enters its (gulp) third decade, we're going to be taking a look back at the charts of two decades ago.

This week in 1991: The #1 song in modern rock for the 2nd straight week was R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion."

The top 10:

1. REM, "Losing My Religion"
2. Divinyls, "I Touch Myself"
3. EMF, "Unbelievable"
4. Jesus Jones, "Right Here, Right Now"
5. Daniel Ash, "This Love"
Allmusic says this is the Love and Rockets lead singer's only solo hit. In retrospect, it seems evident that this song rode so high on the modern rock charts because of who sang it, because it's a little generic.

6. Material Issue, "Valerie Loves Me"
7. The Replacements, "When it Began"
8. Havana 3 a.m., "Reach the Rock"
9. Morrissey, "Our Frank"
The lead single from Morrissey''s second solo album creeps into the top 10.
10. Enigma, "Sadeness Pt. 1"