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Steve Albini Lists His Favourite “Earnest And Vulnerable” 90s Music

Musician and recording engineer Steve Albini is often seen as a figure of alt-rock authenticity. As an engineer/producer, Albini has worked with Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey, The Breeders, Laura Jane Grace, Jarvis Cocker and many dozens more. He’s also led a fruitful career as a musician, performing with the bands Shellac, Big Black and various others.

Albini recently got into a low-key Twitter stoush with ’00s alt-rockers Eve 6 regarding the Counting Crows. Eve 6 made a case for the overlooked greatness of Counting Crows, opining that ’90s critics despised the band for their earnestness and vulnerability.

Albini countered that Counting Crows were in fact “horseshit” and shared a number of his favourite records from the era that were “vulnerable and earnest, sans clip-on dreads.” Here are Albini’s selections:

Palace Music’s 1995 album Viva Last Blues. “[T]he middle shank of this album is as good as music about things ever gets,” said Albini.

The Breeders‘ Last Splash (1993): “Kim Deal is a fucking treasure.”

Honor Roll’s Album from 1997: “Even punk bands like Honor Role were making music that had clear through-lines to the heart.”

Metal band Neurosis’ Locust Star release from 1996: “[S]tarting in the mid-90s, Neurosis just let feeling pour out of them like lava,” said Albini.

Libertinethe 1994 album by indie rock band, Silkworm: “Silkworm wore their hearts on their sleeves and made fantastic records.”

Slint’s second album, Spiderland, from 1991: “Slint were literally little kids, teenagers when they made this magnificent record,” said Albini. “They wouldn’t have known how to cloak their vulnerability if they tried.”

This Is What It Is‘ by Nina Nastasia, from the album The Blackened Air (2002): “Nobody’s thing is deeper than Nina Nastasia’s.”

I’ll Be Your Angel‘ by P.W. Long’s Reelfoot (from We Didn’t See You on Sunday, 1997): “[P.W. Long] left the hatch open to his interior, banging like a screen door in the wind.”

Arcwelder’s Jacket Made In Canada (1991): “[T]heir high key/high energy was paired with a genuine and personal tone that made all the play-acting bands look stupid.”

Lungfish’s Talking Songs for Walking (1992): “no band leaves you feeling more like they’re one of us and going through the same shit.”

Waters by Uzeda from 1993: “I couldn’t list awesome, emotive performances from the 90s without including Uzeda,” said Albini.

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