My favorite bands to highlight here are those that haven been largely forgotten, maybe because they were on the periphery of their scenes, and never really left the kind of critical mark that makes future listeners discover them among the thousands of bands of the past. Portland's Pond is a great example of that. Pond began making records for Sub Pop during the height of grunge, with their first album coming out in 1993. It was a great time to get discovered, yes, but it was also a hard time to stand out among all the bands chasing fame. Like Flop, Pond just got lost in the suffle, and they deserved better. Their first, self-titled album was, yes, pretty grungy, but it was also tuneful in ways that hinted something greater to come. And their second album, The Practice of Joy Before Death, fulfilled that promise. Fantastic songs, great, jagged guitars, just an amazing record. One of my very favorites to come out of the entire grunge scene. They recorded one more fantastic record, Rock Collection, for a major label before breaking up. All three albums are worth your time.
Tame Impala, "Canyons Surprise Reprise"
I got all excited for this song when I first heard it, but it kind of doesn't really go anywhere in particular, and if I'm going to listen to an extended psychedelic song, I usually prefer it to be a lot noisier. I mean, it gets pretty wank-tastic towards the end, but it's not quite enough of a payoff.
Stuntman, "Wax Pattern"
The mighty Treepeople split up into two bands: the legendary Built To Spill, responsible for a couple of the greatest underground rock records ever, and the basically totally forgotten Stuntman. That's mostly because Stuntman only put out one record. That one record is probably better than the first Built to Spill record (Ultimate Alternative Wavers), but much like the Son Volt/Wilco comparison, it didn't take long for Built to Spill to take over. Not hard to do when the competition is gone. Anyway, if you're a fan of the other two bands, it's worth looking up this album, it's very good. Look, you can even get it on Bandcamp!
The Wedding Present, "Kennedy"
This comes from the Wedding Present's great second album, Bizarro. Love the part where the guitars lay out and let David Gedge just sing with the drums for a bit. Damn, this is good stuff.
Boards of Canada, "Turquoise Hexagon Sun"
The first Boards of Canada album, Music Has The Right To Children, is considered one of the landmark records of electronic music. While it's a little bit of a challenge to capture exactly what makes it so great, I think it's because it feels like such a human record. In a genre that can often feel really cold, Boards of Canada stood out for having a spirit and warmth to their music that makes it really easy to listen to.