Must Own Albums: American Alternative

surfer-rosaPixies – Surfer Rosa

In the same way that The Stone Roses acted as a catalyst for Britpop in the UK in the 90s, the Pixies kickstarted alternative rock in the US. Though their debut album had modest sales, most of the people who purchased it seemed to forever changed by the experience. They were on of the biggest influences on the exploding alternative scene and Kurt Cobain used this album as a template for Nirvana’s Nevermind.

SonicYouth-DaydreamNationSonic Youth – Daydream Nation

For their final album before signing on with a major label, Sonic Youth decided to give it their all. Writing and recording in long and often improvised jam sessions to try and capture their live sound, the end result was an innovative and enthralling double album. It stunned critics across the globe and was a revolutionary masterpiece that helped define a generation.

Mellon-Collie-and-the-Infinite-Sadness-by-the-Smashing-PumpkingsThe Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

One of the most ambitious albums in rock music; a double album (triple album in vinyl format) that lasts over 2 hours. With growing tensions in the band and everyone sensing the end, they tried to cram every single idea they had into one album. Rather than being almost solely written and recorded by frontman Billy Corgan like their previous albums, the band struggled to work together to create something special.

jeff-buckley-graceJeff Buckley – Grace

Even with such a short career spanning just this one album, Jeff Buckley is considered one of the greatest singers of all time. His rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ is one of the most famous pieces of music ever recorded. He tragically drowned before releasing a follow up, and so Grace remains his lasting legacy. One can only wonder what more amazing music he could have created if he was still with us.