Seattle's burgeoning alternative rock scene finally exploded into the mainstream in the early 1990's with the success of bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam among others.
In fact, it was popular enough at its height to spawn its own supergroup in the form of Temple of the Dog which featured members from Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. In 1991, the band released its only studio album, a self-titled effort that produced two Top 5 hits on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart - "Hunger Strike" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven." That album is your bonus pick of the day; then check out Chuck's selection below for a later effort from one of those Seattle bands.
- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb
CHUCK'S ALBUM OF THE DAY
No Code (1996)
Why I Love It
It might sound funny, but I wouldn't love this album nearly as much without a deep affection for the band's first three albums. No Code was such a radical left turn for Pearl Jam, which was largely known for hard-driving anthems like "Alive," "Even Flow" and "Corduroy." It's mostly a whisper of an album that is the perfect soundtrack for Sunday nights. This record never ceases to pull me back in. It also showed me that Pearl Jam, one of my all-time favorite bands, can do pretty much anything it sets it mind to.
"Sometimes," "Off He Goes" and "Present Tense"
Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day
Part of this exercise was about finding albums that pull us back in - even if they aren't universally acknowledged as an artist's best moment. That's what Chuck's doing here; he's right about those first three albums, and those are the three essential Pearl Jam albums. But this is an astute pick because it showcased Pearl Jam doing something new and unexpected; it showcased their artistic growth, and looking back, this album laid the groundwork for much of what they have accomplished in the studio since then. An under-the-radar gem, and one of the best picks by Chuck so far.
KENDALL'S ALBUM OF THE DAY
What's Been Did And What's Been Hid (1965)
Why I Love It
Like much rock music, I first discovered the artistry of Donovan via a cover by a country artist.
Buck Owens covered "Catch The Wind" on his "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album in 1971. The album was a showcase of songs by pop and rock artists that Owens translated for the country genre. His version of Donovan's signature tune is drenched in reverb and moves along at a much faster pace than the original.
The album sounded nothing like Owens' Bakersfield Sound, but what it did do was introduce a young East Texas hick (i.e., me) to the music of Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and, yes, Donovan. As much as I liked Buck's version, I fell in love with the original version, and this debut album by Donovan showcases the tune along with 11 other songs that remain one of the best documents of the singer-songwriter in his prime.
"Josie," "Catch The Wind" and "Ramblin' Boy"
Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day
It took me quite a while to know much of anything about Donovan. Now, I appreciate his greatness and his place in music history. This debut album is tough to beat. I'm a sucker for good acoustic music by a great singer/songwriter, and Donovan is right up there with the best of them. Also, super cool cover photo.