1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

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Sugar, 'File Under Easy Listening'
Courtesy of Rykodisc Records27/40

27. Sugar, 'File Under Easy Listening'

Many indie trailblazers of the Eighties grew embittered as Nineties alt-rock youngsters eclipsed them commercially. But Bob Mould was inspired by these newer bands, particularly My Bloody Valentine, and he formed a new power trio dedicated to yoking the transcendent noise of their Loveless to the concise pop-punk he pioneered with Hüsker Dü. Mould's obsessive attention to detail (he scrapped the initial sessions and started from scratch) paid off in the enormous yet nimble guitar sound he captured, all muscular jangle, hydraulic pulls and a reminder that you can only call them "hooks" when they draw blood. We'd heard the power and thrust of Mould's guitar before, but not its three-dimensional electronic nature. This time we got not just the burst of the bottle rocket, but the vast twinkling of its afterglow. The results made Hüsker Dü LPs sound like field recordings. Keith Harris

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