Favorite Albums of 1996?


An off year somewhat, which allows for my indie favorities to really shine through.

Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die
Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Introducing....
Olivia Tremor Control - Dusk At Cubist Castle
Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island
Cibo Matto - Viva La Women
Belle And Sebastian - Tigermilk/If You're Feeling Sinister (who can choose?)
Guided By Voices - Under the Bush, Under the Stars
Cat Power - What Would the Community Think?
Nick Cave - Murder Ballads
Maxwell - Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite
Low - The Curtain Hits the Cast
Outkast - ATLiens
Trans Am - s/t
Beck - Odelay
Gastr del Sol - Upgrade and Afterlife
Dirty Three - Horse Stories
Bjork - Telegram
Smog - The Doctor Came At Dawn
Ghost - Lama Rabi Rabi
Kool Keith - Dr. Octogonecologist
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
Ween - 12 Golden Country Greats
Fiona Apple - Tidal
Digital Underground - Future Rhythm
Me'shell Ndegeocello - Peace Beyond Passion
Built to Spill - The Normal Years
The Lilys - Better Can't Make Your Life Better
De La Soul - Stakes Are High
The Melvins - Stag
Neil Young - Dead Man (st)

What I listened to in high school:

Amorphis - Elegy
Future Sound of London - Dead Cities
Orbital - In Sides
Underworld - Second Toughest in the Infants

Discoveries I made as an adult:

Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta I
dEUS - In a Bar, Under the Sea
Einsturzende Neubauten - Ende Neu
Porcupine Tree - Signify
Type O Negative - October Rust
Last Great Movie Seen
Mad God (Tippett, 2021)

Probably my favorite year of the '90s. Many solid pieces of work.

Ænima - Tool
Tidal - Fiona Apple
Beautiful Freak - Eels
Call the Doctor - Sleater-Kenny
Evil Empire - Rage Against the Machine
Boys For Pele - Tori Amos
Hot - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Revival - Gilliam Welch
Richard D, James Album - Aphex Twin
Trailer Park - Beth Orton
Electriclarryland - Butthole Surfers
A Ass Pocket of Whiskey - R. L. Burnside
Nine Objects of Desire - Suzanne Vega
Becoming X - Sneaker Pimps

Probably my favorite year of the '90s.
Definitely my least favorite year of the 90s. Awful. It can be deceiving when you see so many great albums on my list, but only a half dozen of them sold much. I chose 1996 originally because I thought it'd be a pretty simple year to compile considering that it's stuck in a weird crack between eras. The period between 1987-1994 is a monster project to undertake, given the massive amount of stellar groundbreaking music there, marking the golden age of both what was called alternative rock (or indie, college, underground, etc) and hip-hop, the mingling of "happy rap" and conscious rap which evolved that genre into a major format. After 1996, neo-soul emerged to fill the conscious gap that gangster rap abandoned, and more abstract stuff like post-rock and electronica superceded the tepid gristle of what they were telling us was "modern rock". 1996 is the year that Lollapalooza finally became irrelevant. Ticketmaster and Clear Channel won. The rest of us had to shelter in place with our nascent noises still coming up from the underground, waiting out the Matchboxes and Bushes of the humorless, imagination-bereft fleets flying overhead.

I swear, if it wasn't for CMJ and the at-that-time still-running college radio station, I may have lost all hope. But obviously I love the music I listed, and I wish more people were listening to it. Actually I may have chosen 1996 because some of these artists (Gorky's, B&S, NHM) have a habit of coming to mind on rainy autumn afternoons.

There is one other silver lining, which I should probably mention before Stu shows up. If you grind up Nu Metal CDs into a fine enough powder, they make pretty good ruffage for liberty caps.

dEUS - In a Bar, Under the Sea
That's one on my stand-by list. Very cool and interesting band. "Theme From Turnpike" is the ****e.

That's one on my stand-by list. Very cool and interesting band. "Theme From Turnpike" is the ****e.
One of the best discoveries I've made thanks to Beavis and Butthead, of all things (they parodied the "Suds & Soda" video). The album for that song, Worst Case Scenario, is also one I've listened to repeatedly.

I struggled a bit with this year, but I feel like I'd struggle even more with '97 and '98. Thanks, Fred Durst and Lou Pearlman.

I struggled a bit with this year, but I feel like I'd struggle even more with '97 and '98. Thanks, Fred Durst and Lou Pearlman.
I think with all of the late 90s, if you steer clear of the mainstream playlists, you'll be alright. There was an adjustment period, because after Nirvana, the big labels were signing just about everybody (Mr. Bungle, Ween and Boredoms had nothing in common with anyone else.) I think that was what was so special about those early 91-94 years, the eclecticism of what you could see on something like MTV was pretty extraordinary. I think by 1996, MTV wasn't even showing videos anymore, or rarely. And by then, all of those grunge bands were exhausted, but (again because of Nirvana) that's what the industry had put all their chips on.

Actually, I may dislike 1995 even more, come to think about it. It was all a pretty dry period for awhile. At least it gave me a chance to shore up my jazz collection. In my old RT jazz thread, I mentioned how Tortoise was the only logical heir of the jazz tradition in the 90s. And kosmische as well. No wonder they topped my list.

seemed like an off year but then I look at my list and there is a lot of hell yes for me. still have about half of them on vinyl

1 Neurosis -Through Silver In Blood
2 Unwound - Repetition
3 Harvey Milk - Courtesy and Good Will
4 Country Teasers - Satan Is Real Again
5 Oblivians - Popular Favorites
6 Arcwelder - Entropy
7 Nick Cave-Murder ballads
8 Brainbombs-Obey
9 Fishbone - Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge-completely underrated and awesome
10 Godflesh - Songs Of Love And Hate
11 peter jefferies-Elevator Madness
12 Girls Against Boys ‎– **House Of GVSB
13 Avail-4am friday
14 Bloodthirsty Butchers-s/t
15 godheadSilo - Skyward In Triumph
16 The Showcase Showdown - Appetite Of Kings
17. 16-dropout
18 Six Finger Satellite - Paranormalized
19 Belle And Sebastian ‎– If You're Feeling Sinister

9 Fishbone - Chim Chim's Bad Ass Revenge-completely underrated and awesome
It's not bad, but they lost something with the contributions of Kendall Jones and Chris Dowd. It's just not on the level of the great run between Truth & Soul, Reality of My Surroundings and Give a Monkey a Brain because all of the handful of songwriters they had brought a unique blend to the proceedings. Chim Chim is all Angelo, for better or worse.

Man, I missed a whole bunch of post-rock stuff because I just don't have my music organized in any kind of chronological sense. These are well worth considering...

Cul De Sac - China Gate

Quickspace - s/t

Rasputina - Thanks For the Ether

Magnog - s/t

Flying Saucer Attack - In Search of Spaces

Bowery Electric - Beat

Critters Buggin - Host

Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island
Tragically Hip - Trouble at the Henhouse
Soundgarden - Down on the Upside
Porno For Pyros - Good God's Urge
Sloan - One Chord To Another
Beck - Odelay
Screaming Trees - Dust
REM - New Adventures in HiFi
Weezer - Pinkerton
Lemonheads - Car Button Cloth
Wilco - Being There
Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
Smashing Pumpkins - The Aeroplane Flies High

Not a great year.

Tragically Hip - Trouble at the Henhouse
Don't, man. Not like this.

If any of you like podcasts, you should check out The Album Years. Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness pick a year and geek out over their favorite albums from it.

I'm not ashamed to admit my love for First Band on the Moon by The Cardigans
"Lovefool" is very cute, nice Blondie pastiche.