Mixtape: (There Must Be) Some Alternative

This comp is a tribute to… well, compilations really. The ‘90s seemed marked by a proliferation of iconic compilations, no doubt inspired by many of the indie labels that had paved the way in the late ‘80s before them. While I’ve done a few tributes to the janglers out of Sarah and Subway, it seems that there’s been a particularly strong undercurrent of bands biting at the frayed ends of what was once lumped under the alternative tag. Having grown up just a touch too far from the college town about 25 minutes over to get a constant FM lock on the station, the local modern rock mill was often the only option. But as the nineties ebbed on, the local rock station would switch over to an alternative format after 11PM and I’d often listen late at night on a clock radio by my bedside, turned low, hoping to find something outside of the norm. This and 120 Minutes were the most a Midwestern kid could ask for outside of the used CD castoffs and comps that began to crop up and those proved essential as well.

Say what you will about their true impact, but the ubiquitous-ness of No Alternative, DGC Rarities, and the Singles Soundtrack in those spaces helped a few unfamiliar names squeeze into the rotation between tentpole favorites that propped those comps up. Plenty smaller stragglers would fit the bill as well, and I loved the toss it all at the wall nature of ‘90s A&R sensibilities. This mixtape is an attempt to rope in some new favorites that all seem to be circling some sense of the eclectic electricity of the early ‘90s (with probably a few sliding through the skids of the ’87, ’88, ’89 holdover that bled into discovery around the same time.

I always enjoyed the kind of imperfect puzzle of comps from this era and that’s reflected here with quite a few bands chewing on the familiar fuzz of the era, while Lavender Flu feel like they’re working their way through a Johnny Thunders discovery via Replacements singles. The Alt-country itch of Country Westerns echoes Meat Puppets’ proximity to fame while never quite grasping tightly. Lewsberg drag the Feelies’ A&M years into the mix and something like Mountain Movers’ “Way Back To The World” embraces the single that barely hints at the rest of the album. It’s the kind of hook that only expands your horizons further as you settle into their longer, more gnarled psychedelics. In the end, though, there’s not a minute of filler here. Each track is vital in its kinship and friction with the next and its all practically ready to be slipped into a 100 CD binder and stashed on the floor of a third hand Toyota.


1. Blades of Joy – Inside Out
2. Langkamer – Hatchet
3. Jim Nothing – Yellow House
4. Chronophage – Black Cluds
5. Lavender Flu – No One Remembers Your Name
6. Huevos II – My Time Is Gone
7. Country Westerns – Grapefruit
8. Flat Worms – Market Forces
9. Wireheads – Charlie Darwin
10. Possible Humans – Absent Swimmer
11. Wurld Series – Nap Gate
12. Whitney’s Playland – Mercy
13. Ostraaly – daddyswims
14. EggS – Local Hero
15. Lewsberg – Out For Milk
16. Stef Chura – Slow Motion
17. Podcasts – Summerland
18. Purling Hiss – Out Tonight
19. Cable Ties – Thoughts Back
20. Mountain Movers – Way Back To The World
21. Weak Signal – Voice Inside My Head
22. Wayne Rogers – Bad Idea
23. The Smashing Times – Candy Bar
24. Spice World – Mountain Pony 20
25. Magik Markers – Find You Ride

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