1. Beat Happening/The Vaselines - Live In London 1988 Cassette - Twee pop live is pretty cool. These guys are playing louder and gnarlier, but you still can't help but love them. This rare cassette contains such gems as Eugene Kelly yelling in thick Scottish brogue, Calvin Johnson telling fans to leave their recess voices outside, and fantastic versions of songs like 'Teenage Jesus Superstar' and 'Dying For It' (The Vaselines) and 'I Love You' and 'Bad Seeds' (Beat Happening). Live in London is certainly an interesting look into two great bands who, in mid-tour, were ruling their tiny respective worlds.
  2. Mools - Dub Narcotic Session - Perhaps even more rare, mools are one of the lost gems, discovered by Calvin cohort Phil Elvrium, who recorded them at Johnson's Dub Narcotic basement in Olympia. This album might just be perfect, they are Japanese Smiths or something....even though I can't understand what they're saying.
  3. Heavenly - Le Jardin de Heavenly - Jardin might be the most critical acclaimed twee pop album ever. Heavenly was one of the best K groups to really hit that sound Cobain liked before he stopped washing his hair. Lead singer Amelia Fletcher proved to us she wasn't afraid of boys...or sex...or of starting the Riot Grrl movement...or that she just could write 'Tool' and 'C is the Heavenly Option'.
  4. The Halo Benders - Rebels Not In - Holy fuck, as far as individual K songs go 'Virginia Reel Around the Fountain' may have the number one spot. Calvin Johnson, long time low-end crooner, would collide with Doug Martsch's Built to Spill dream-pop-indie highs in 1994. The result leads to some strange, stream-of-conciousness duets with the backing of music that literally combines stripped down Beat Happening with trudgy, drawn out Built to Spill guitars. "You're a glass eyed tiger, you're a rusty fire hydrant."
  5. Beat Happening - Jamboree/Dreamy/You Turn Me On - Forgetting twee, indie pop, and tons of other monikers this band seems to incite, Beat Happening were doing something new. Post-punk took off as something smarter during this time, but Calvin Johnson just decided to fuck you in a different way. Once again remembering indie, this groups focus had turned from yelling at Reagan and Washington to facing the big wig music industry, Beat Happening went hand-in-hand with K and was definable indie rock with critical acclaim. Let us not forget it was 1980 when UK coined the "Indie Chart" because of guys like these across the pond...
  6. The Make Up - Sound Verite - The Make-Up were a late addition to the K roster as far as its 80s roots go, but 1997's Sound Verite is an example of a label still going strong. The jacket cover, a homage to Love's Forever Changes, queues them up perfectly for your senses: a band that is incredibly unique. After a short stint with Ian Mckaye's Dischord Records, The Make-Up took thier funk-punk gospel screeching attacks to K, and heralded this mix of Roky Erikson, Gang of Four, and Nick Drake.
  7. Modest Mouse - Sad Sappy Sucker - Modest Mouse's watershed albums weren't on K, but the label was where they came from. 2001's Sucker was K's reminder to fans of the excellent Moon and Antartica that Modest Mouse had a lo-fi past. The album ranges from small snippets of hear-incoherence like 'BMX Crash', 'Sucker Betru', and 'Austral Opithecus' to obscure, swampy folk jangles ('Secret Agent X-9' or 'Race Car Grin You Ain't No Landmark'), and finally gems forgotten by time which are highlights on the album like 'Dukes Up', 'Every Penney Fed Car', or 'Four Fingered Fisherman'.
  8. Beck - One Foot in Yer Grave - So far you may have noticed alot of newer stuff all got its start the same way. Beck, again, is no exception and the same year he injected Mellow Gold and 'Loser' into the 90s, he released an album over at K with Johnson on backing vocals. Songs like 'Cyanide Breath Mint' helped One Foot in Yer Grave and Beck keep some indie street cred...and two years later: enter Odelay.


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