Poster Children, "Clock Street"
Unlike a lot of rock bands putting out records in the early 90s, the Poster Children were not signed in the wake of Nevermind. They found their way onto Sire for their 1990 album Daisychain Reaction, putting them ahead of that particular game. Nevertheless, Nirvana's success put them in a good spot for their followup album, Tool of the Man. It's more Pixies than Nirvana, with a bit too much brightness to really break through in that scene. But, listening 17 years on, this stuff sounds fresher than a lot of grunge does these days.
Marnie Stern, "Vibrational Match"
Lightning Bolt or Marnie Stern is genuinely challenging on some of these songs, at least until her vocals kick in. That's a very high complement, incidentally. Listen to her shred here!
Sicko, "Beam Me Up Denny"
There's nothing revolutionary about Sicko. They just write good tunes and play them with energy and charm. That's all it takes! This is from their first album, You Can Feel The Love In This Room (featuring a fun cover from Peter Bagge), and it's great.
Thou, "Wisdom In The Open Air"
If we draw up a two-dimensional graph, putting fast/slow on one axis and happy/angry on the other axis, Thou and Sicko end up about as far apart as you can get.
Notorious B.I.G., "Notorious Thugs"
We just had this song! Six songs today!
They Might Be Giants, "I Should Be Allowed To Think"
My most heretical TMBG opinion is probably that John Henry is better than Flood. This is a particularly difficult opinion to defend given that "Birdhouse In Your Soul" is my favorite TMBG song AND Flood is the record that really got me into them. However! The back half of Flood just isn't great. There are some decent tunes, but there's a severe dropoff after "Twisting". The first half of John Henry, the worst half, easily beats the pants off the back of Flood. "Why Must I Be Sad", "Subliminal", this song, these are all better than anything in the back half of Flood.
So, what about the first half of Flood? Sure, "Birdhouse In Your Soul", "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", and "Particle Man" are obviously all great. But "Destination Moon", "No One Knows My Plan", and "The End of The Tour" are close. And the rest of those sides? John Henry still has "Dirtbike", "Thermostat", and "Meet James Ensor", which are all better than the remaining tunes on Flood. Yes, Flood has the best single song from both records. But John Henry has more great tunes on it overall.