The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s

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Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?

We’ve all got them.

You know, those tracks you absolute loved in the 90s, but that you never hear anywhere anymore? They never come on at parties, your friends just kinda shrug when you sing the chorus at them loudly after a couple of wines, and they’re barely ever on the radio.

They’re the overlooked songs from the 90s. The ones that might have had a bit of traction upon release, but have since completely vanished from the hearts and minds of so many.

This week, the Double J team got together and talked about the songs we loved that don’t get enough love anymore. Then we voted on the best ones, and somehow came up with this list.

LISTEN TO THE FULL COUNTDOWN HERE

Some of them might be staples in your weekly listening, but we reckon most of them will have fallen by the wayside. And that’s okay. But it’s nice to remember them.

Here are the 50 most overlooked tracks of the 90s. 

 

 
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50. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – ‘Patio Song’

This Welsh band’s core trio came together in high school in the early 90s. Along with Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci championed Welsh language music and brought it to mainstream British radio. They’re most simply described as a folk band, but it was never that simple with Gorky’s. They could tease folk out any number of ways, from the gentle, pastoral side all the way out to the whimsical, rocking psych-freak edge.

The wistful ‘Patio Song’, taken from 1997’s Barafundle, peaked at number 41 on the singles chart, the closest the band came to a hit. They split in 2006, but singer/songwriter Euros Childs is still wonderfully prolific (and DIY), releasing an album a year, including a project with Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake under the name Jonny. – Dorothy Markek

 

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49. Deadstar – ‘Don’t It Get You Down’

Melbourne’s Deadstar formed in 1995 as a collaboration between guitarist Barry Palmer (Hunters & Collectors), singer Caroline Kennedy (The Plums) and drummer Peter Jones (Crowded House).

‘Don’t It Get You Down’ kicks off their second album Milk and is built on their trademark jangly power pop vying with scuzzy garage riffs. Complementing both those conflicting guitar sounds, Kennedy’s delivery is passionate and sexy yet wholesome enough to imitate (as I may or may not have done) without cringing.

Lyrically it’s ambiguous. It confesses to bad choices that will inevitably be repeated: is it about love? Or does it hint at darker patterns of thought or behaviour? Perhaps I’m overthinking it, when I should hit repeat and return to head bobbing loon. – Dorothy Markek

 

 

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48. 808 State – ‘Ooops’ {Ft. Bjork}

This 1991 single was recorded in the period after Björk left The Sugarcubes, and prior to the release of her debut album. Given that Graham Massey from 808 State contributed to Björk’s early solo work, this delicious track is something of a prototype for the world-conquering records that were to follow.

Unfortunately, it ended 808 State’s run of UK Top 20 hits, falling outside of the Top 40, and hit the lofty heights of number 143 on the Australian chart. A true forgotten gem. – Stu Buchanan

 

 

 

 

 

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47. Def Wish Cast – ‘A.U.S.T.’

This track goes hard. Because Def Wish Cast believed in the battle they were fighting.

The whole track is a wake-up call to the industry, telling them that Aussie hip hop culture was strong. By this stage the Western Sydney group had been part of local B-Boy and graff circles for years. It was time for it to hit the next level.

Australia’s trying to breakout, it’s like a marathon, engaging yourself in a market takin’ the world on,’ Sereck concedes in the track. Def Wish Cast knew they were up against it, and it’s because of their hard work that we have such a thriving Aus hip hop scene today.

When the guys start shouting out Mount Druitt, Penrith, as well as their interstate mates, you know you gotta turn ‘A.U.S.T.’ up nice and loud. – Dan Condon

 

 

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46. Incursion – ‘Afterglow’

These lads from Benalla, Victoria kind of faded into obscurity after their third EP. The strongest memory I have of this track is lead singer Gus asking for more foldback on the triple j Live at The Wireless version. At 15, I had no idea what that meant, but I did know that this underrated act deserved more recognition and should have kept going. – Tatjana Clancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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45. The Beta Band – ‘Inner Meet Me’

By the late 90s, having done time with Britpop and Big Beat, it wasn’t a sound or a movement that excited me. One band was enough for me. Formed in Edinburgh, The Beta Band mixed folk with electronica, rock, pop, hip hop and almost everything else. No one sounded like them.

With Steve Mason’s stream of conscious at times baffling lyrics, digital bleeps and kooky percussion, backward rhythms and sounds that bounce around your head, this is a song I never want to end. It’s daft. Perfectly daft. Like the soundtrack to a perfect trip. – Dorothy Markek

 

 

 

 

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44. Sandpit – 'Greater Expectations'

Sandpit were one of the first bands that made me explore open guitar tunings. ‘Greater Expectations’ hangs anxiously in the negative space, yet drives in equal measure. Brendan’s lilted delivery is a delight, especially when it follows his guitar lines, Steph Ashworth’s bass characteristically centres the discordance, and Greg Wales’ drums drive it all home. – Gemma Pike

 

 

 

 

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43. Angélique Kidjo – ‘Wombo Lombo’

The opening refrain of this vibrant 1996 single from Beninese tour de force Angélique Kidjo is one of the most infectious intros of the decade.

That energy isn’t maintained the whole way through, it quickly settles into a deep groove and allows Angélique to knock us dead with brilliant voice of hers.

The production has a little of that slinky 90s R&B feel to it and is a great example of how cross-cultural music really came into its own in the 90s. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

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42. Rebecca's Empire – ‘Atomic Electric’

I reckon this is one of the great debut singles of the ‘90s. After an eerie start, Rebecca Barnard’s vocal snags you, right from the first line. It’s a straight-ahead love song, but nothing feels clichéd about it. The hooks fly effortlessly as it goes along, and Shane O’Mara lets fly with a great guitar solo to match the ‘playing guitar really loud’ lyric.

Two albums between then and the end of the decade is what they left us with, but thankfully both Barnard and O’Mara have since continued to do great work on the Melbourne music scene, working with the likes of Paul Kelly, Tim Rogers and Stephen Cummings. – Richard Kingsmill

 

 

 

 

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41. Turnstyle – ‘Spray Water On The Stereo’

Bubble gum anarchy from the suburbs of Perth. Turnstyle made a lot of great music in their short but prolific initial career.

‘Spray Water On the Stereo’ wasn’t necessarily their best song, but it was their best, and most popular, of the ‘90s.

Admirably, they stuck to their guns, never giving way to more po-faced, ultimately cheerless adult pop like some contemporaries. It meant they never quite got the due they deserved, but they brought a lot of joy. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

 

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40. Digable Planets – ‘Where I'm From’

This Brooklyn hip hop trio have had an on again/off again career since the late-80s. They started strong, with their 1992 debut single ‘Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)’, hitting the top of the US rap charts.

This was a time when De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest were injecting a lightness into hip hop, using jazz samples and crisp rhythms to coax the listener into their openhearted worlds. Digable Planets were not overlooked, fitting perfectly into the times. However, a much darker second album killed the daisy age vibes of their debut.

This song also appeared on their first and nailed that early infectious sound. Ishmael Butler is still doing great hip hop today via Shabazz Palaces. – Richard Kingsmill

 

 

 

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39. Cibo Matto – ‘Sugar Water’

Formed by Japanese musicians Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, Cibo Matto became well known after the Michel Gondry-directed split-screen video for their early single ‘Sugar Water’ landed a high rotation spot on MTV.  They then cemented this fame by performing the song on an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (on stage at The Bronze of course).

They later swelled their ranks with the addition of none other than Sean Lennon, before splitting in 2002. – Stu Buchanan

 

 

 

 

 

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38. Rollerskate Skinny – ‘Miss Leader’

In the early 90s, I kept listening to this track - and the whole album as well – thinking, ‘eventually the world will twig to how good this is’. They never did. I still don’t know why, as it’s every bit as good now as I thought back then.

Formed in Dublin in 1991, three ex-members of a group called The Hippyshakes join up with Kevin Shields’ younger brother Jimi. Jimi comes up with their name from a line out of The Catcher In The Rye. They move to London, where the Beggars Banquet empire signs them. John Peel books them for a live session, the NME decrees them “one of the Top 10 New Bands of 1992”. Perry Farrell gets them onto Lollapalooza. But by 1996, as apathy greets their second album, they fall apart.

If you still don’t like them after this, rest assured you’re not alone. – Richard Kingsmill

 

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37. Transglobal Underground – ‘Temple Head’

A British band whose singles never charted in the UK or Australia, Transglobal Underground were nonetheless responsible for a credible world music/electronica fusion in the early 90s, and for breaking the career of renowned Belgian vocalist Natacha Atlas.  

With its baggy, psychedelic electronics and global instrumentation, ‘Temple Head’ became something of a staple at alternative dance parties, with rave heads lapping up the obvious connection back to the hippy era of the 60s. – Stu Buchanan

 

 

 

 

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36. Pollyanna – ‘Lemonsuck’

Noisy guitar pop band Pollyanna cracked the mainstream charts with their lead single ‘Lemonsuck’ from their 1996 debut Long Player.

The track was their signature piece – with plenty of bittersweet vocals and melody to draw you in to later darker offerings in their career like the equally excellent single ‘Brittle then Broken’. – Tatjana Clancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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35. Lush – ‘De-Luxe’

Early on, this London four-piece was crowned as one of the leading shoegaze acts. But listening to this third single of theirs now, they really had more in common with the unearthly beauty of Cocteau Twins than the likes of Ride and My Bloody Valentine. Maybe it was the touch of Cocteau’s Robin Guthrie as producer that gave this and the whole Mad Love EP from which it came that sonic similarity.

Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson could never quite hit Liz Fraser’s heights as vocalists, but they combined to wonderful effect on so many songs throughout their near decade-long career. Twenty years on, a reformation in 2015 showed the world a few others had not forgotten their charm and abilities. – Richard Kingsmill

 

 

 

 

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34. Black Sheep – ‘The Choice Is Yours (Revisted)’

When gazing to the East Coast for hip hop, particularly through the golden age, you can get lost in a swathe of hard hitters. But in that, make sure you don’t overlook Queens duo Black Sheep

The group were delayed in putting out their debut album while clearing samples for its release. In that time, a post Low End Theory world, sound was shifting away from 808s to more jazzy samples. So, Black Sheep capitalised on the delay and reworked the original they no longer liked.

From those first fleeting notes of the upright bass through to Dres’ final verse, ‘The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)’ elevates the original from great to untouchable. – Gemma Pike

 

 

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33. Adam F – ‘Brand New Funk’

In 1998, long before anyone was banging on about ‘the drop’, this drum’n’bass monster came roaring off the dubplate like a freight train. 'Brand New Funk’ was just what it said on the box, a fusion of future D&B Beats, blasting horns, enough bass to collapse your rib cage, and even a spooky sample from Miles Davis' ‘Bitches Brew’. 

Nigh on 20 years old, this one takes me back to those nights when metallic fabrics seemed routine, 3am was early and the crowd was, umm, ecstatic. – Lance Ferguson

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32. The Paradise Motel – ‘Derwent River Star’

This Tasmanian band made bleak, dark, beautiful, atmospheric soundscapes, embedded with a dark, literary heart. I first came across them when they moved to the mainland in 1994 where they became a glorious oddity on the Melbourne music scene.

This track is The Paradise Motel at their peak. Merida Sussex’s breathy, understated vocals, the sweeping strings and lonesome guitar sounds, all swirl together to create a perfect mix. There was a wasn’t much like it at the time and it still sounds rather glorious today. – Myf Warhurst

 

 

 

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31. Glide – ‘Why You Asking’

Underrated Sydney indie band Glide showcased their lush guitar aesthetic on debut album Open Up And Croon.

Standout track ‘Why You Asking’ is the perfect lyrical response to things not going so well in life – a theme made more poignant by the band’s demise following the tragic death of frontman William Arthur in 1999. – Tatjana Clancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30. The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – ‘It's Grim Up North’

After a trio of rave-tastic ‘stadium house’ singles, The KLF promptly did what they did best - stuck a middle finger up at everyone’s expectations, and took a sharp left-turn into industrial techno territory with ‘It's Grim Up North’.  

Recorded under their pre-KLF alias of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, the track features Bill Drummond reciting a list of over seventy towns from Northern England, and ends with a long segue into the classical anthem ‘Jerusalem’. Beautifully mad. – Stu Buchanan

 

 

 

 

 

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29. Mansun – ‘Wide Open Space’

Mansun’s debut album Attack of the Grey Lantern came out in early 1997, soon after Blur’s self-titled album signalled a definitive rejection of Britpop.

Half a world away, this Anglophile was eager to hang the Britpop tag on every new band discovered on my weekly visit to Red Eye Records. Mansun ticked enough of the boxes: typically British characters, a love of the Beatles and a decent amount of la-la-las.

The song featured on the soundtrack for the video game Gran Turismo, leading to some success in the States. Back home, the song made little impact beyond indie clubs and angsty teens’ stereos. – Dorothy Markek

 

 

 

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28. Rail – ‘Immune Deficiency’

‘I spent yesterday, smoking drugs and getting drunk…and scratching my sores’. That’s where this little tale of woe starts, and from there it didn’t get much cheerier for the lead character of the 1995 single. But as they say, from pain comes great art.

Melbourne band Rail began in the early 90s as Sleeper, then changed to Fragment, before hitting the name Rail by 1994. Singer/guitarist Dan Vertessy led the band, but he had plenty of backup with the likes of Ash Naylor (Even) alongside him. Rail toured the States, played the Big Day Out, and worked with acclaimed US producer Don Fleming on their second LP.

Thankfully the group was rewarded with a Hottest 100 entry for this song, before dissolution awaited them in 1998. – Richard Kingsmill

 

 

 

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27. Me’Shell NdegéOcello – ‘If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)’

As a modern guy, I’m probably supposed to say how refreshing it was to have an empowered, talented woman brought to the fore. But, at the time, this song snaked out of my speakers scarier and sexier than anything else of that decade.

Me’Shell NdegéOcello was terrifying and alluring. So dangerous. The kind of girl you never marry but you never forget. She’d snap you like a twig and set fire to your life, then, come 2am on a Saturday night, you’d still find you thumb hovering over her number in your phone tempting you to call. – Chit Chat von Loopin Stab

 

 

 

 

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26. Trans Am – 'Futureworld'

Oh, the hours that I’ve spent pouring over this album. The crisp white and neon green gatefold of the vinyl particularly.

As those drums swirl in at the start, my heart races. It’s precise, sharp, punk electro that took the ethos of bands like Shellac and fused them with Kraftwerk. – Gemma Pike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25. The Herbaliser – ‘The Missing Suitcase’

Reading like a Hitchcock movie and sounding like a 70s cop movie, it could only have been created by an uber cool London based pair of beatmakers and released on the uber cool Ninja Tune label.

Creating that downright funky groove and bouncy jazz feel was near genius. They did it by sampling old records and blending them with new parts recorded by their own extended band of musicians.

This is from the duo’s third album, 1999’s Very Mercenary. But check out 2000’s Session One for the full, live band version and prepare to really lose it.

 

 

 

 

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24. Clouds – ‘4pm’

It’s very hard to discern what this song is about, but for a band who were inspired by visual imagery, that’s probably understandable.

The oft repeated lyric ‘I got your blood on my hands, so much blood on my hands’ is evocative and sounds kinda guilt-ridden listen. It leaves you scratching your head, while you’re humming along and tapping your toes, and its presence lingers long after its gone. – Caz Tran

 

 

 

 

 

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23. Snout – ‘Circle High & Wide’

Melbourne’s Snout had a bevy of killer tracks across their decade-long career, but their sound coalesced into something particularly impressive on album number three, Circle High & Wide.

The album’s title track was among their best work. A great example of how they made intelligent pop songwriting sound so effortless. After a gentle beginning, it quickly turns into a rollicking, kinda rowdy tune, but never strays too far from its generally laidback feel.

Flawless songwriting, tasteless execution and just one example of the power of this hugely underrated band. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

 

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22. Definition of Sound – ‘Wear Your Love Like Heaven’

From the opening religious sermon about the temptations of Eve, swiftly followed by a raspberry, you know you're in for a fun few minutes on this 1991 hip-house track from UK dance duo Definition of Sound.

It's a sample-rich, psychedelic and ecstatic reinvigoration of Donovan's classic '67 song of the same name, with 'Let It All Hang Out' by the Hombres sampled all over it.

With lyrics like, 'I'm the 1 to your 2, A to your B' it still stands up as a joyous dance floor ode to love and being just a bit silly. – Meagan Loader

 

 

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21. Pendulum – ‘Coma’

It’s around 6.30am on a Saturday morning in August of 1997. It’s cold and dark outside. I switch on rage. Pendulum’s ‘Coma’ comes on and I’m instantly rattled. The song is terrifying, the video even more so. I wish I’d stayed in bed.

Two weeks, I’m in the car. ‘Coma’ comes on and it’s almost as scary in broad daylight without the visual component. The announcer suggests we might want to vote for it in the Hottest 100. I pray no one does.

It takes a powerful song to evoke memories that vivid. Twenty years on, the song holds up. It’s as terrifying today as ever. Only difference now is that I embrace it. It’s an incredible piece of understated ambient electronic music and deserves all the plaudits it gets. – Dan Condon

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20. Whale – ‘Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe’

This slamming track drove the energy levels skyward at many an indie club in the mid-90s. Whale came together more by chance than a grand masterplan. Two Swedish guys met while making a TV commercial, discovered a love of music and decided to collaborate. One of their girlfriends joined them to sing this bizarre, and potentially annoying, 1993 debut single.

It was certainly hard to ignore, with its screaming chorus juxtaposed with Cia Berg’s otherworldly and childlike vocals. It became a European hit, thanks to MTV flogging the video there, and eventually the single was re-issued around the world in 1995. They would tour supporting the likes of Blur and Placebo, but, by 1999, Whale disappeared beneath the surface, leaving behind this raucous sonic blast. – Richard Kingsmill

 

 

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19. Built To Spill – ‘Big Dipper’

If you love 90s indie rock, this song will hook you from the first five seconds. That jangly-but-forceful guitar burst and Doug Martsch’s distinctive vocal are like a slap in the face.

Once you’re hooked, you get a perfect singalong chorus, kinda kooky but totally relatable lyrics and, as Built To Spill do so well, some brilliant, off the wall guitar work. This should have been one of the biggest indie rock songs of the ‘90s. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

 

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18. Pop! feat. Angie Hart – ‘Tingly’

Angie Hart was a big deal in 1995. Melbourne studio project Pop!’s one and only single ‘Tingly’ was just further proof that the praise was justified. This infectious, whimsical slice of synth pop injected so much joy into so many hearts.

The simple, clever pop progression and that relentless snare drum gave it a real classic feel, helped by Hart’s gorgeously warm voice. The synth dates it a little, but there’s a certain charm to that as well. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17. Barry Adamson – ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Pelvis’

How can a song be both so tasteful and so filthy at once? A big gospel choir, sweeping strings, understated wah-wah guitar and even some smooth vibraphone all set up a pretty classy bed. Then we hear the voice of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, and he defiles the whole thing.

There are plenty of songs about masturbation, but none of them sound like this. In a career full of highs – Magazine, The Bad Seeds, a hefty solo career just a few of them – Barry Adamson can count this as one of his most perplexing and clever. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

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16. Augie March – ‘Asleep In Perfection’

Right at the end of the ‘90s, Augie March dropped their Waltz EP, an early indication of the exquisite brilliance the band would contribute to Australian music through the next decade. ‘Asleep In Perfection’ opened that release and remains a meticulously crafted piece of refined, literate pop.

Glenn Richards’ voice is so full of character and his lyrics, whatever your interpretation of them might be, is a brilliant snapshot of true love – perhaps lost, perhaps not. There’s certainly a strong sense of yearning. Behind him, the band sways so elegantly, slowly building to a crescendo that’ll stir the strongest of you. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

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15. Throwing Muses – ‘Counting Backwards’

In the late 80s, two American bands were championed by the uber-cool UK label 4AD. We all know what became of Pixies, but fellow Boston band Throwing Muses should also be revered for their leftfield contributions to alt-rock.

Led by two huge talents in Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly, they were up to album number four when this single was released. It’s typical of the band’s twisted time signatures – thanks also to the original style of drummer David Narcizo – and Hersh’s dark metaphors.

Donelly, who played on The Breeders’ first album, would leave soon after this to form Belly. Hersh continued as Throwing Muses’ sole songwriter, as well as simultaneously launching some gripping solo albums. – Richard Kingsmill

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14. Bomb The Bass – ‘Bug Powder Dust’

English producer Tim Simenon established Bomb The Bass in the late 80s. After working on some big hits for Neneh Cherry and Seal, he made this killer single with American vocalist Justin Warfield, of She Wants Revenge fame.

Bomb The Bass soon got lost amongst the likes of The Chemical Brothers, who ironically remixed ‘Bug Powder Dust’ very early in their career. Kudos to jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson, famed for his work with the likes of Weather Report and Santana, for providing the sampled bassline that drives the song’s compelling rhythm.

David Cronenberg’s 1991 adaptation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch also inspired, not just the opening and closing quotes on the track, but other lyrical references within it. – Richard Kingsmill

 

 

 

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13. GusGus – ‘Ladyshave’

GusGus were often dubbed Iceland’s next big hope, tipped to follow in the global footsteps of their fellow countryfolk The Sugarcubes. Their Polydistortion album blended warm, soulful tones with glacial electronics, and for a brief moment it looked like it might actually happen for GusGus.

Their more organic follow up album This Is Normal produced the hook-laden ‘Ladyshave’ single which made the US Billboard Dance Chart, but wasn’t enough to give them their much-deserved crossover. – Stu Buchanan

 

 

 

 

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12. Screamfeeder – Hi Cs

This is Screamfeeder at their all-guns-blazing best. From the furious down-strums of Tim Steward that open the track, to Dean Shwereb’s furious drumming that closes it out, it’s a relentless ride through a ton of great indie-rock ideas in just a few short minutes.

The way Steward and bassist Kellie Lloyd’s voices intermingle in the chorus and the way that second verse bursts forth from the chorus will still stun and delight you, no matter how many hundreds of times you’ve played this perfect pop gem.

It also has one of the great low-budget 90s film clips, directed by Lloyd and undoubtedly confusing the local convenience store clerk no end. – Dan Condon

 

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11. Drugstore – El President

Can you imagine what would happen if this song were released today? Twitter would go into meltdown.

The song, written in tribute to former Chilean president Salvador Allende, remains breathtaking. The combination of Drugstore’s Isabel Monteiro and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke’s voices is perfect. The similarities in their register means they go back and forth seamlessly, while the difference in their tone keeps the song sounding fresh.

It is also a brilliant example of high-budget late-90s record production done right. Big, booming cellos and pianos vanish as quickly as they appear, allowing the two vocalists plenty of space to steal the show. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

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10. Hieroglyphics – ‘You Never Knew’

Founded by Del the Funky Homosapien, Bay Area hip hop collective Hieroglyphics gave us an instant classic in the form of ‘You Never Knew’, the single taken from their 1998 album debut, 3rd Eye Vision.

Grafting seven nimble verses onto a rubbery bassline and a sublime, sped-up sample cribbed from Patrice Rushen’s ‘Didn’t You Know’, ‘You Never Knew’ epitomises the Oakland nine-piece’s intricate internal rhymes and jazz-infused production. It remains a vacuum-sealed time capsule of West Coast underground rap. – Sam Wicks

 

 

 

 

 

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9. Jacknife Lee – ‘Cookies’

Dare I say this is the Big Beat version of ‘Tequila’? (The song, not the spirit). Released in 1999 the Irish musician went to town with a sink-full of funk and soul based loops.

While his voice reminds me of another self-confessed non-singer, Mark Ronson, he delivers the lines with a charmingly naive swagger. It had clubbers belting out ‘With Jacknife Lee, don’t worry your head about it. With Jacknife Lee, don’t worry your head... Cookies!

Garret Lee released two albums as Jacknife Lee before a more lucrative calling as producer to a diverse range of artists, among them U2, R.E.M... and Taylor Swift. – Dorothy Markek

 

 

 

 

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8. Fini Scad – ‘Coppertone’

Sydney’s Fini Scad were not a band for very long, releasing just one album and one EP in the mid-‘90s. But they managed to squeeze out a stone-cold classic in that short time.

‘Coppertone’ is one of those songs that will sound great in a thousand years’ time. It’s a little bit classic rock, with its clever little snaking guitar riff and expansive organ and guitar sounds, but also had enough of that dirty, underground rock feel to keep it exciting.

It feels like a strong cup of coffee every time you hear it. Which, sadly, isn’t all that often these days. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

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7. The Dambuilders – ‘Teenage Loser Anthem’

Electric violin and that cracking guitar riff elevate this song from what might have been an otherwise straight-up meat-and-three-veg indie track, to a corker of an ode to teenage disaffection.

The band features the amazing Joan Wasser on violin, who went on to perform as Joan as Police Woman and who famously dated Jeff Buckley around the time this track came out in 1995. I always find myself cracking out some air-violin every time I hear this song. – Meagan Loader

 

 

 

 

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6. Gary Clail & On U Sound System – ‘Human Nature’

Francis Leach got me hooked on Gary Clail and the On-U Sound System. I recorded a live set he presented on triple j (on cassette of course) and played this song on repeat in my car until the tape broke.

I was at that point in life when I was wide eyed and eager to learn about club culture, its many fascinating inhabitants and the hedonistic lifestyle that came with it.

It also was my gateway drug to the burgeoning Bristol scene and its pulsating beat still speaks to me of those heady days (and nights). – Myf Warhurst

 

 

 

 

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5. Cordrazine – ‘Crazy’

The instant appeal of Cordrazine was that voice of frontman Hamish Cowan. It was like no one else we had heard come out of Australia at the time. The jazzy lilt and those unbelievable high notes were reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, but there was someone utterly unique about his delivery. It was one of those voices that could not be replicated.

But the beauty of ‘Crazy’ extends well beyond that. It is a perfectly produced song, with tasteful lashings of strings, pattering Rhodes piano and a snare drum that cracks through the beauty of the arrangement and adds a bit of grit to the tragic beauty that abounds. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

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4. Sebadoh – ‘Rebound’

No Lou Barlow fan was happy to see him dumped from Dinosaur Jr in the late-80s. But if that hadn’t have happened, we might not have got all that fantastic Sebadoh material in the early-mid-90s (and there was a lot of it), so perhaps it was for the best.

Of all the Sebadoh records, Bakesale looms largest. And ‘Rebound’ stands alone as one of the truly genius indie-rock tracks of the 90s.

It’s a two-minute smasher that combines the propulsive rhythm section of Jason Loewenstein and Bob Fay with Barlow’s spiky guitar and perfectly apathetic croon. It’s not that he didn’t care, he just knew there was no point in going over the top. – Dan Condon

 

 

 

 

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3. Strawpeople – ‘Trick With A Knife’

It’s a jungle out there...’ those five words swirled around my brain most mornings as I struggled with a long commute to a soulless job.

Back in 1995, buying a 30-dollar CD off the back of hearing one song on triple j was a risk. That song was by the New Zealand duo of Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney (with Fiona McDonald from Headless Chickens on vocals). It matched anything coming out of trip hop’s birthplace... and still does. 

The reverberant guitar chords towards the end make the hairs stand on end. Fast forward to 2017 and the song (and film noir-like video) is thankfully a few left clicks away.  – Dorothy Markek

 

 

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2. Dream Warriors – ‘Wash Your Face In My Sink’

Canada isn’t the first place that comes to mind when thinking of hip hop, but this Canadian duo had a firm hand in contributing to the genre of the jazz rap movement of the early 1990s. 

This song came from their debut album, And Now The Legacy Begins and it’s chock full of samples and good vibes. A great exponent of the alternative hip hop movement that was spearheaded by more popular groups like De La Soul. – Myf Warhurst

 

 

 

 

 

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1. Not From There – ‘Sich Offnen’

An Austrian meets two Australians in London and they go on to make one of the greatest, largely unsung records of the decade.

Not From There’s debut album Sand On Seven is packed with brilliant songs – it’s among the best releases of the entire alt-rock movement of the time, hell, it even won an ARIA – but it was ‘Sich Offnen’ that got the most attention.

But it doesn’t get nearly enough attention anymore.

The way that brash guitar and melodic bass interact, the way that unforgettable chorus sticks in your head and the fervour with which frontman Heinz Riegler delivers the German verses are all perfect.

It’s not a complex song, and it’s full of familiar tropes, but it’s quite unlike anything else that was around at the time, or has come since. – Dan Condon

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