38 Great Alt-Rock Songs You Haven’t Thought About In 20 Years

This is for anyone who ever got excited about something that came out of the bargain bin. Presented in the form of a “conversation” so it doesn’t feel impossibly random. What did we leave out?!

1. 1. Dig, “Believe”

Jack: What I want is songs, specifically, that maybe came out of the buzzbin or were actually good or at least fun to listen to, but then we all collectively forgot about them. Talking about that song by Dig, “Believe,” is what really started it. The world has completely erased it from its collective memory.
Julie: Dig NEVER 4get.
Matthew: I remember this being a thing, but when I try to get it in my head, the Lenny Kravitz song “Believe” is there instead. :(

3. 2. Ammonia, “Drugs”

Alex: OK, here’s a REAL rando. Buzz bin-y, totally lost to history. Dunno where in my brain I got this from.
Alex: This song is halfway Smashing Pumpkins, halfway Lit.
Julie: This video is so good already. Skateboarding IN THE HOUSE.
Matthew: Wow, that chord progression sounds like they’re trying to play “Summer Babe” but getting it wrong.

5. 3. The Darling Buds, “Spin”

Julie: How about the Darling Buds? I feel like they were totally forgotten.
Peggy: I was listening to the DB this morning!
Julie: I just rebought one of their records.

7. 4. Whale, “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe”

Peggy: What about Whale - “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe”? Not buzzbin but BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD.
Matthew: Oh man I know people who will take any opportunity to bring up “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe.” Did “Slobo” actually mean a thing?

9. 5. Catherine Wheel, “Waydown”

Jack: Does Catherine Wheel count for our purposes here?
Julie: No. Catherine Wheel transcends.
Jack: That is not a phrase that is often heard.
Matthew: I think so - that one hit they had anyway, what was the one that was always on 120 Minutes in like 1994?

11. 6. Green Apple Quick Step, “Los Vargos”

Matthew: OK, so when we started talking about this, this is the first thing that came to mind, though I never ever think of them. I really went in for a lot of faux-glam stuff in the ’90s. Like, I didn’t buy the Spacehog album with the hit on it, but I DID buy the followup.

13. 7. K’s Choice, “Not an Addict”

Jack: What is you guys’ favorite K’s Choice song?
Peggy: Ooohhh.
Matthew: Not an Addict.
Julie: Not an Addict.
Summer: Not an Addict. I was a big fan of some other song of theirs though… “Butterflies Instead.” LOL.

15. 8. Juliana Hatfield, “Universal Heart-Beat”

Matthew: Here is the MOST 1995 song of all.
Julie: Ehhh, she was already over by then.
Matthew: Yes, which is actually part of the point. This is the Major Label song.
(I do think it’s her best song though.)

17. 9. POE, “Angry Johnny”

Summer: What about POE?
Jack: Yes.
Peggy: Wowowowow POE. Legit have not thought of her in 20 years.
Summer: “Angry Johnny.”

19. 10. St. Johnny, “Scuba Diving”

Matthew: Here’s DGC’s attempt to clone Pavement.
Peggy: Ooh St. Johnny is a very good bargain bin example!!!
Summer: Wow, I’m listening to the K’s Choice song I remembered loving and it is baaaaad. It includes the line: “Stuffed animals are always right.”

21. 11. Joydrop, “Beautiful”

Summer: OK, here’s one I haven’t thought about in a v. v. v. v. long time
but was OBSESSED with. And, as I’m watching this, turns out I still remember all the lyrics. :(

23. 12. Frente, “Labor of Love”

Jack: The opening to that Joydrop song reminds me of Frente.
Peggy: FRENTE. I had that on cassette!
Jack: Best Frente song is “Labor of Love.”
Matthew: I remember a friend who put Frente’s cover of “Bizarre Love Triangle” on EVERY tape.

25. 13. Hum, “Stars”

Matthew: We talked about Hum a little bit before, but we would be seriously messing up if we don’t address this song.

27. 14. Buffalo Tom, “Sodajerk”

Peggy:What about Buffalo Tom?
Matthew: Oh totally. I mostly remember their No Alternative song.
Peggy: “Sodajerk”? IDK.

29. 15. Grant Lee Buffalo, “Truly, Truly”

Jack: Buffalo Tom is great, but I always confuse them with Grant Lee Buffalo, tbh. The one GLB hit was “Truly, Truly.”

31. 16. The Murmurs, “You Suck”

Jack: And then there was … The Murmurs!
Peggy: OMG The Murmurs. This video is… IDK, I’m just dying.
Jack: I think this was their only song.

33. 17. Scarce, “All Sideways”

Matthew: OK, here is one of my all-time favorite “played once on 120 Minutes and that’s it” songs.

35. 18. The Posies, “Dream All Day”

Jack: The Posies I feel like were a band who were supposed to be this really big thing and then somehow weren’t.
Alex: Was Ken Stringfellow in The Posies?
Matthew: Yes, and also REM.

37. 19. Girls Against Boys, “Super Fire”

Matthew: GIRLS AGAINST BOYS. “Super-Fire.”
Jack: Yes GVSB!
Matthew: I found a copy of this GVSB album on vinyl a year or so ago randomly, bought it for like $4. I was thrilled.

39. 20. Bran Van 3000, “Drinking in L.A.”

Jack: Long shot, but were any of you guys into Bran Van 3000?
Summer: OMG JACK. I was. My Canadian friend put them on my first ever mix ~cd~
and I had a crush on him so I became obsessed with them.
Jack: That one album is so good. And they have a cover of “Come on Feel the Noise” as well that is pretty fantastic.

41. 21. Belly, “Now They’ll Sleep”

Matthew: Now people generally remember “Feed the Tree,” but this is the true great Belly single.
Jack: I remember EVERYTHING about Belly. I even have Tanya Donnelly solo albums.
Summer: Yeah, I still listen to Belly almost daily.
Matthew: Belly’s King is another album I somehow got dirt cheap on vinyl.
Jack: King is crazily underrated. “And Now They’ll Sleep” and “Superconnected.”
Summer: “Superconnected”!
Matthew: “Puberty” is my actual favorite.

43. 22. bis, “Starbright Boy”

Summer: My same Canadian boy introduced me to bis.
Matthew: Yes, BIS! “Tell It To The Kids.”

45. 23. Luscious Jackson, “Naked Eye”

Matthew: Guys, what about Luscious Jackson? “Naked Eye” is the jam of all their jams.
Jack: I saw Luscious Jackson play once. They had a very devoted fan base.
Peggy: Remember when Gabi was on Pete and Pete? Also she was working at Kate’s Joint when I came to NYC for CMJ in 2000, and I was like freakin’.

47. 24. The Sundays, “Here’s Where the Story Ends”

Summer: ANYWAY. What about this?
Matthew: YESSSSS. I love that song.
Peggy: I love everything Sundays. Both of the first two albums I listened to to death.
Matthew: I remember being at some fast food place maybe three years ago, really depressing day, and that song came on and I hadn’t heard it in forever and it was this really powerful thing. It was such a weird song to come out of nowhere.
Summer: I always envied Harriet Wheeler’s hair.
Peggy: So wispy.
Matthew: I wish the Sundays had the success the Cranberries had. Though I like “Dreams” and “Linger” just fine.
Summer: Harriet Wheeler is 51 years old, btw. *feels old*

49. 25. Sloan, “Underwhelmed”

Julie: What about Sloan?
Matthew: I feel like Sloan’s glory days are later on. I’m a big big Sloan fan.

51. 26. Civ, “Can’t Wait One Minute More”

Julie: This video is so good.
Alex: YES JULIE. No one remembers this song when I reference it.

53. 27. Stereo MC’s, “Connected”

Jack: Which is the best Stereo MC’s song?
Matt: “Connected”?
Jack: It could also be “Step It Up.”
Julie: “Connected.” I love the Stereo MC’s fashion. I bet Peggy does too.
Peggy: Is it like Gabbercore/Baggy? Then yes.

55. 28. The Farm, “Groovy Train”

Peggy: Here’s one.
Julie: I love this song. I associate this band with late era Soup Dragons.
Peggy: It was kinda Madchestery.
Jack: LOL Soup Dragons.

57. 29. Lightning Seeds, “Pure”

Peggy: I recently rediscovered this song and it made me really happy.
Jack: “Pure” is one of the best songs ever. That is real talk.

59. 30. Our Lady Peace, “4am”

Summer: Speaking of beautiful songs…

61. 31. Veruca Salt, “Number One Blind”

Matthew: People generally remember “Seether” but what about this, the ULTIMATE SPECIMEN OF A 90s ALT ROCK SONG?
Jack: Is this the one where they reference “Seether.”?
Matthew: I am….really excited to see them in a few weeks.
Jack: They had two songs. One was “Seether” … and the other is the one where they reference “Seether.”
Matthew: No, that’s “Volcano Girls.” This is one of the hits from the first one. Also, “All Hail Me.”
Jack: “Hits.”

63. 32. Letters to Cleo, “Here and Now”

Julie: What about this one?
Summer: Ugh, I love Letters to Cleo.

65. 33. The Rentals, “Friends of P”

Julie: What about that “boy named P” song?
Jack: Rentals? “Friends of P.” That whole album, Return of the Rentals is still really good.
Peggy: The Rentals made me want to get a Moog but then I found out they were like a thousand dollars.

67. 34. Neds Atomic Dustbin, “All I Ask of Myself Is That I Hold Together”

Matthew: Here’s an obscure one.
Julie: Ned’s isn’t obscure, but they are SO GOOD.
Peggy: Yes, I still listen to Ned’s!
Jack: No British band is obscure. They never forget about any of their bands over there. Like, everyone in England still listens to Ned’s. That’s how it works in the UK.

69. 35. Ben Lee, “I Wish I Was Him”

Summer: Is this just me?
Matthew: Oh my God Summer.
Julie: Don’t even with Ben Lee.
Summer: This is actually technically Noise Addict.
Summer: He is singing a love song to Evan Dando, as a child.
Julie: A sarcastic love song. As a child.
Julie: Remember when he dated Claire Danes for a million years?
Summer: He wrote a song for her 16th birthday party.
Matthew: That is something very unique to that time. Ben Lee is just this weird Australian guy who is completely defined by his relationships with more famous people.
Julie: Whatever, Matthew.

71. 36. The Geraldine Fibbers, “California Tuffy”

Matthew: Do you guys remember The Geraldine Fibbers?
Peggy: Yes! I saw them at Lollapalooza. They had violins and shit.
Matthew: Their cover of Can’s “Yoo Doo Right” is PERFECT.

73. 37. Meat Puppets, “Backwater”

Matthew: What was that song the Meat Puppets pushed as a single after people knew who they were post-Nirvana Unplugged?
Jack: I don’t remember, but I do remember that The Meat Puppets started a band with Krist Novoselic, and they had one single. Eyes Adrift, was the name of the band.
Matthew: Well that’s definitely Krist playing bass.
Julie: Sounds like dad rock to me.
Matthew: Anyway, “Backwater” is a jam.
Jack: Oh yeah! That song was huge. I had literally erased it from my memory banks. It is way better than this Eyes Adrift song.

75. 38. Suddenly Tammy, “Hard Lesson”

Julie: There was this band called Suddenly Tammy.
Peggy: OMG yes, I was going to mention them earlier!
Julie: They had a song called “Lamp.”
Matthew: But this is the truly amazing Suddenly Tammy song.
Julie: I remember this video! Because I always wanted to make a music video on a school bus.

77. The end.

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