07 December 2005

Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #9

Harmacy by Sebadoh

I could pick any Sebadoh album and be pleased with the fact that I'd be suggesting something great that not enough people know about. Bubble and Scrape and Bakesale have some truly perfect moments on them and III is perhaps just as essential to 90's indie rock as Slanted and Enchanted. The thing about Harmacy, though, is that this record flew right in the face of Sebadoh's trusted low-fi sound and delivered a perfect studio sound, something most fans of the band didn't really like a whole lot. Screw that I say.

I first bought the album on the day it came out in 1996 (August 20th) and it went into heavy rotation at my house. Soon after, my hometown was struck by a hurricane and we were left without power for TWO weeks. During that time it was just me, a boombox, and Sebadoh's Harmacy (okay, there were other things but this isn't about them). I listened and listened and when I was finally able to venture out of the house to go to the local Kmart I was amazed to see that the hurricane had knocked the "P" off of the front of the store. Harmacy was indeed everywhere.

Harmacy was Lou Barlow's first release after the surprise smash-hit success of "Natural One", off of the soundtrack to the film Kids. Clearly the taste of commercial success had an impact on Barlow, and this record, as it's Sebadoh's most "accessible" but don't let that turn you away from it. In my opinion there's no good reason why Harmacy didn't help Sebadoh find a spot somewhere between REM and Nirvana among the elite bands of the 90's.

Read what AllMusic had to say about Harmacy.
Read what Pitchfork had to say about Harmacy.

"Willing to Wait"

Previous Overlooked Albums from the 90's:
#1 - Saturnalia by The Wedding Present
#2 - The Inevitable by Squirrel Nut Zippers
#3 - This is Our Music by Galaxie 500
#4 - Dusk by The The
#5 - Fantasma by Cornelius
#6 - New Wave by The Auteurs
#7 - I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman
#8 - Futureworld by Trans Am

if you'd like...
Pitchfork's top albums of the 90's
1st version of their list

Also, it appears another blog is onto this "Overlooked of the 90's" idea:
Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s