Quick List: 4 Great Alternative Songwriters from the 90s Not Named Billy Corgan

Last month, Billy Corgan said he and Kurt Cobain were “the top two scribes [of the scene] and everyone else was a distant third.”  I’m assuming he was talking about alternative rock in the Seattle/Chicago sense.  Here are 4 other great 90s songwriters not usually lumped into the sub-genre Corgan is talking about.

1. Glen Philips.  The lead singer and primary songwriter for Toad the Wet Sprocket. I got to see the reunited Toad this past summer, and they were excellent.  Pick up their compilation of re-recorded greatest hits, All You Want, and be happy: it will be one of the best music purchases you make this year.

2. Jeff Mangum.  While the Smashing Pumpkins gave us The Aeroplane Flies High in 1996, Mangum’s Neutral Milk Hotel gave us In The Aeroplane Over the Sea and invented indie rock as we know it.

3. Stuart Murdoch.  The leader of Belle & Sebastian.  Pick up Push Barman to Open Old Wounds (which Blender called “25 charming tales of shy girls dabbling in photography and bookish boys dabbling in shy girls“) for an exquisite collection of Murdoch’s mid-to-late 90s oeuvre.

4. Noel Gallagher.  Oasis’ two finest, awesomest, greatest albums where recorded right in the middle of the epic mid-90s.  Bono says Noel’s new record, due March 2,  is amazing.




Noel Gallagher Rocks Little by Little, Bono Says A Lot

This really made me happy, so I wanted to share.

Also, Bono has kind words for Noel (N is Noel) in the New Year’s A to Z.

Speaking of his Central Park accident, Bono says “Edge says I look at my body as an inconvenience…The problem, as I see it, is that I think my head is harder than any other surface.”  That’s called saying a lot with a little.



Billy Corgan, Everyone

Billy Corgan

Billy Corgan (Photo credit: bfick)

This post only exists because someone came to the blog searching for “billy corgan + noel gallagher,” which got me thinking.

This article is a year old, but Billy Corgan has never stopped being Billy Corgan, and I say, good for him.  I don’t necessarily even agree about Soundgarden or Pavement or whatever, but the point is that here’s a man who just can’t seem to help himself.  There is something beautiful in that.

Now, look.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t work through things and mature and get better.  But here’s a guy having a very public fight with consensus.  I don’t know if he’s a mess.  I don’t know if the impulse that produces paeans to sincerity in the public square, so refreshing in that space, manifest in other, destructive ways in Corgan’s personal life.  I can’t assume.  If so, I take back some of what I’m saying.  Then again, if this is the release that keeps other things together, march on, Billy. March.

Four paragraphs down in this link, enjoy Noel Gallagher get at the quintessence of the problem with the music industry today, followed by Billy.  Says Noel:

“The consumer [says] ‘Where’s my free music on the internet? Is this a free download?’ Fuck off! It cost me a quarter of a million pounds to make it, you’re not getting it for nothing. I want my quarter of a million back, thank you very much. That’s why we’re rock stars.

“That’s why tours are becoming so long,” explained Gallagher. “By the time I finish this tour it’ll be a year and four months. Records don’t get any cheaper to make, they get more expensive to make. I say this as an independent artist. I’m on my own record label. It isn’t backed by anybody else. I pay for it all. Everything.”

English: Noel Gallagher performing in Belfast,...

English: Noel Gallagher performing in Belfast, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gallagher says the result has been for music to be made by committee and focus groups. “But as I understand it the consumer didn’t want Jimi Hendrix, but they got him – and it changed the world … Fuck the customer. He doesn’t know what he wants. You fucking give it to him and he likes it.”

That’s a brimful of Asha right there.

An Open Letter to My Blog on His Birthday

I’ve missed you these last two weeks.  You know I hate those “sorry I haven’t written in a while” posts as a rule.  So this isn’t that.  We’ve been talking.  I just haven’t paid you the kind of mind to which we’ve both grown accustomed.  It does feel like something’s missing.

I thought we should share this search list with the folks:


He-Man/Merman tops the list.  The Sands casino deep comes up because Sands wants to sell their Bethlehem operation, and because the deed prohibits public demonstrations on public land in the birthplace of the American labor movement.

My friend John Bengan brings more hits to you, blog, than Linda Perry.  His short story about Manny Pacquiao speaking to a butterfly in California is amazing, and given the frequency with which it’s searched, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already showing up on syllabi.

Desmond wears Euclids.

Axl Rose and Noel Gallagher should make a record together.

Blog, there’s a lot going on in Allentown and on the rest of God’s green Earth right now.  Thanks for being here, for indexing my tangents, and for collecting what would otherwise remain so much ephemera.  And thanks for connecting me to people.  This month marks seven years of our wanderings together.  Somewhere along the way, I realized neither of us were lost.

Chuck Klosterman on Noel Gallagher; Me and “Be Here Now”

Cover of "Be Here Now"


I somehow missed this Klosterman/Gallagher Grantland interview from last fall but Noel’s in great form as usual.  Timely for our purposes in the context of my recent suggestion, prompted by a Klosterman quote, that Axl Rose and Noel Gallagher cut some tracks together. A.V. Club’s Steven Hyden explores the place of Be Here Now in the Gallagher cannon given Noel’s suggestion that we play his career in reverse for an alternate narrative of artistic expectation.

Hyden gets close to saying what I’ve been saying for a while:  Be Here Now is going to be one of those albums that people come back to and say, it’s not the first two Oasis albums, but it’s pretty great.  It’s who they were then, and it’s who we, the people who loved it, were, too.  Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory were almost perfect.  Be Here Now was a victory lap that may have misfired, but it was a hell of a lot of fun, and it made sense that the biggest band in the world (“the first post-grunge band to be massive in every way,” as Klosterman says) act the part.  And they did.  And that record got me through my senior year of high school.  I’ll always love it.