The B List: Revisiting The Epic Summer of ’93

1. My Name Is MudPrimus


Newb alert: While Primus were the darlings of the underground press, and bass players who were in the know, they never crossed my radar until I caught the video for My Name Is Mud on MTV’s 120 Minutes. This bombastic tune starts off with a dark and dirty slap line from Les Claypool, which is augmented by a fine syncopated beat laid down by drummer Tim Alexander.

2. Someday I SupposeThe Mighty Mighty Bosstones


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones made a name for themselves thanks to their insane live performances, catchy ska-heavy tunes and the most rabid fanbase this side of Fugazi. After a number of successful albums for Boston’s Taang! Records, the Bosstones signed to a major label deal in 1993 and quickly released an EP called Ska Core, The Devil and More. While the majority of the EP contained covers it featured one brilliant new song, Someday I Suppose.

3. Cherub RockSmashing Pumpkins


After years of bubbling just below the surface of the mainstream, the Smashing Pumpkins released Siamese Dream in 1993 to instant success. Both Cherub Rock and Today quickly reached the top of the Modern Rock charts gaining airplay on MTV and every major rock radio station. Ironically, Cherub Rock was one of the last songs written for the album, and the lyrics relate to Corgan’s perception of the indie-rock community and larger media. While the Pumpkins have gone on to record a number of amazing songs none of them match the raw power and moxie of Cherub Rock.

4. PetsPorno For Pyros


If you watched MTV during the summer of 1993 for any considerable length of time you probably caught the video for Porno For Pyros’ Pets at least five times. This quirky, catchy tune showed that Perry Farrell could carry a band by himself. Of course, I don’t quite remember anything else they ever did. It’s tough to peak with your first single.

5. My SisterThe Juliana Hatfield 3


My sister Rebecca taught me everything I know about alternative music, so this particular tune has always held a special place in my heart. Rebecca was (is?) a huge Juliana Hatfield fan, which makes the connection that much sweeter. After leaving the Blake Babies Ms. Hatfield formed a solo band with Todd Phillips on drums and Dean Fisher on bass, and was the Queen of the Scene upon the release of 1993’s Become What You Are. Both My Sister and Spin The Bottle, a tune you might remember from Reality Bites, were big hits for one of the more talented female singer/songwriters to come from Boston. Yet Juliana never came up with another commercial hit after that crazy summer of 1993.

6. CannonballThe Breeders


While The Pixies never really appreciated Kim Deal’s songwriting the mainstream crowd sure did upon the release of the ultra-catchy Cannonball from 1993’s Last Splash. Kim teamed up with her sister Kelley to create an amazing album full of power pop anthems including Cannonball and Divine Hammer. The girls just released a new album, Mountain Battles, yet none of the tunes on that disc match the power of the songs on Last Splash.

7. Sister HavanaUrge Overkill


When Chicago’s Urge Overkill first broke in 1993 I’d thought they were destined for the big time. Oops! After releasing Saturation, which contained rockers Sister Havana and Positive Bleeding, they only released one more unsuccessful album before calling it quits. Of course the Urge dudes did get mad airplay for their cover of Neil Diamond’s Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon, which was featured on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

8. LowCracker


There haven’t been too many albums I’ve come across that contain all killer and no filler. You can count Cracker’s Kerosene Hat as one of those discs that I just can’t turn off once it starts. The commercial hit off Kerosene Hat was the dark and dreary Low. Low is a tune that’s aged well, and still gets plenty of play on rock radio fifteen years after it was released. Cracker’s put out a number of albums since Kerosene Hat, but haven’t matched the success they found in 1993.

9. Jimmy’s FantasyRedd Kross


Brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald formed Redd Kross in 1980 from the ashes of their first band together, The Tourists. While the video-era never held much allure for Redd Kross they finally made an all-out effort for commercial success upon the release of Phaseshifter in, you guessed it, 1993. The best tune on that album is the brazen tones of Jimmy’s Fantasy. Redd Kross’ video for the tune features a young Jason Lee. Check it out.

10. SodajerkBuffalo Tom


Another kickass band to come out of Boston in the ’80s was Buffalo Tom. These guys wrote emotional tunes that weren’t overly sappy and still rocked. My favorite Buffalo Tom tune has to be a song that was made famous by an episode of My So Called Life, Sodajerk. Unlike many of the other bands on this list Buffalo Tom still continues to tour with their original lineup. You can catch ’em at any of Peter Gammons’ Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concerts in Boston.

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4 Responses

  1. damn good job. 93 was the year i realized that music is more than something you can listen to. this alone has always put 93 on the top of my nostalgic warm fuzzy list. my grandmother died that summer and thats when i fell in love with music. its funny that you post this list now as my grandfather passed yesterday. and now i turn to music just as before.

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