I could just as easily referred to my 1994 mix as “The Dying of Alternative,” at least in my world at that time. A fad that I had so completely submerged myself in was beginning to lose its appeal, as most fads do after just a few years. Part of it was the fact that the mainstream was now hyping up incredibly bad bands with the “alternative” label, so the genre itself was getting watered down (as my brother once said, “alternative to what?”). The other part was that I discovered independent labels and, more specifically, the wide wonderful world of the Washington, DC music scene.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that the band that got me into Discord Records and all the various smaller labels associated with wasn’t Minor Threat or even Fugazi, it was Jawbox. Sure, I knew who Fugazi was and I was even growing to enjoy their music, but Jawbox was much more my style of music. They were far less abrasive (although I do generally like abrasive), their lyrics were weirder, and they had a chick bass player — I was sold. I don’t even remember why I bought the cassette of their second album, Novelty, but I did, and I practically wore it before buying the CD version, simply because it had two extra songs on it.
Still, while there are glimpses of what people would call punk or post-hardcore or indie music on this music, there was still a healthy heaping of mainstream, alternative rock, probably the most that would end up on any of my mixes going forward.
Oh, and after a disappearance from the last mix, R.E.M. makes their triumphant return, making them 4 for 5 on mixes.
“Work For Food” by Dramarama
“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” by R.E.M.
“Sick of Myself” by Matthew Sweet
“Waiting Room” by Fugazi
“Static” by Jawbox
“Unfulfilled” by Quicksand
“Seven” by Sunny Day Real Estate
“Fountain and Fairfax” by the Afghan Whigs
“Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots
“Right Turn” by Alice In Chains
“Get It Together” by the Beastie Boys
“Cut Your Hair” by Pavement
“Basketcase” by Green Day
“My Name Is Jonas” by Weezer
“Milktoast” by Helmet
“March of the Pigs” by Nine Inch Nails
“All Apologies (unplugged)” by Nirvana
“Big Empty” by Stone Temple Pilots
“Corduroy” by Pearl Jam
“My World Is Empty/I Hear A Symphony (live)” by the Afghan Whigs
There are some interesting songs on this list. Even though Fugazi had a number of albums out by this point, I dutifully bought their music in chronological order, although for the life of me I don’t know why.
The aforementioned Oral Groove covered a Green Day song, although it was “Longview,” not “Basketcase.” My friends Matt and Rob (also of Oral Groove) and I discovered Quicksand because of an episode of Beavis and Butthead. I bought two CDs before going to college that I considered essential: “God Fodder,” by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (I’d been listening to a copy I got from Matt or Rob) and the “What Jail Is Like” EP by the Afghan Whigs, specifically because it had live tracks on it, and I thought they were the greatest live band I’d ever seen.
It’s also interesting that Sunny Day Real Estate snuck their way onto this list, given how huge they would become in my life.