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Heartbroken and Attractive, A Sad, Sloppy Mess

Shellac at Lounge Ax in Chicago

SubPop, Matador, Kill Rock Stars, Merge Records…  During the early ’90s, these independent record labels were amongst indie rock royalty.  From these labels, low-fi, noise and sludge rock pioneers like Sonic Youth, Guided By Voices, Slint, Six Finger Satellite, Pavement, Bikini Kill and many more emerged. Their songs were gloomy, angst-ridden, distorted masterpieces that resonated with me and countless others. I was exposed to a lot of these bands as they hit the scene because my work-study was at our college radio station. Addionally, fellow music-addict friends loaned me CDs or made mix tapes filled with Superchunk, Spinanes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Sugar, Nirvana, Liz Phair and Girls Against Boys. I filled my head with as many bands as possible. I lived for this music. I could listen to it and/or discuss it for hours. I wanted to see every single show that came through the Midwest, where I’m originally from. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Twenty years later, my tastes have broadened, and my collection has greatly increased. But I still have much love for these bands. Recently, I’ve been on an early ‘90s indie rock kick. I’ve found myself digging through boxes of old CDs and looking up various songs on YouTube. After perusing my mental library of ‘90s indie rock, here are my six favorite songs from this time:

License To Confuse – Sebadoh 

Dissect – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Summer Babe (Winter Version) – Pavement

Fuck and Run – Liz Phair

Swimsuit Issue – Sonic Youth 

Watch Me Jumpstart – Guided By Voices

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