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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Debaser Celebrates Three Years of '90s Love with Friday Party, Exclusive Free Mix

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Debaser's Jamie Jams behind the decks
  • Debaser's Jamie Jams behind the decks
On Friday, the popular '90s DJ night Debaser will celebrate its third anniversary with a mega-bash at 111 Minna Gallery. In advance of the party, Debaser DJs Jamie Jams and Stab Master Arson put together a full-length -- 27-song! -- '90s mix for All Shook Down. You can listen to the mix and download it after the jump. Also, check out their extensive notes, which give history and trivia about each song, and explain why it was selected. Now, we'll hand the mic over to the DJs to introduce their mix:

We like our parties to be extremely dated, and try to be period accurate wherever possible. So here it is, our ode to love and love lost in the '90s, themed around the classic Cameron Crowe film Singles. If you listen closely, you can hear some choice cuts from the film, but also the ringing, jangling sound of the fall of 1992 and spring of 1993.

A lot of the artists featured here had already been around for some time -- in many cases, since the 80's -- and they were really only starting to break in the mainstream as Seattle, grunge, and all things alternative were becoming the "Flavor of the Month," as the Posies say. So "Come on Feel the Lemonheads"! Not to mention Morrissey, James, Sonic Youth, Juliana Hatfield, Liz Phair, Gin Blossoms, and a host of others. We included some fun facts about each song in the article below to keep you entertained while you listen.

DEBASER | Singles by Debaser90s

The La's - "There She Goes"

Chris and I thought this song sounded so familiar,. as though we had heard it in some old TV show or movie. As it turns out, we have heard it in at least a half dozen different TV shows and films, including family favorites like the Parent Trap and So I Married an Axe Murderer. The best part? The song is about heroin!

Sugar - "Helpless"

Sugar was a '90s alternative project formed by ex-Husker Du guitarist and vocalist Bob Mould. Hardly anyone remembers it anymore, but its album Copper Blue spawned three alternative radio and MTV hits, including "If I Could Change Your Mind," "Good Idea," and our selection, "Helpless" It was also voted NME Album of the Year in 1992. Great album.

Morrissey - "Every Day is Like Sunday"

I know this song came out in the '80s, but there are some things that are just foundational to doing this right, and Morrissey is one of them. The influence of Morrissey and the Smiths can be felt throughout these tracks, so why not give a nod to the man himself? "Every Day is Like Sunday" was the second single from Morrissey's debut album, Viva Hate.

James - "Laid"

Speaking of Morrissey, James practically wanted to be Morrissey. Hailed as "the next Smiths" by the British music media, the band was publicly endorsed by Morrissey himself in 1983 and asked to open for the Smiths on tour. After a brief flirtation with the baggy Manchester style, James became famous for the hit "Sit Down," but the members grew quickly disillusioned when audiences knew them only for that one song. They returned in 1993 with the Brian Eno produced "Laid," which flopped in the U.K., but became a surprise runaway hit in the U.S. on the strength of its titular single. Ironically, James is now only famous in the U.S. for one song, too!

The Pixies - "Here Comes Your Man"

"Here Comes Your Man" was the second single released from the album Doolittle, but was actually one of the first songs the band recorded for its Purple Demo Tape in 1987. The song had been proposed for inclusion in both Come on Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa, but was summarily rejected by both the band and the label for being too overtly commercial. The Pixies used to call it their "Tom Petty song." The lyrics are about an earthquake in California. In an interview with NME, Black Francis reveals " It's about winos and hobos traveling on the trains, who die in the California earthquake. Before earthquakes, everything gets very calm -- animals stop talking and birds stop chirping, and there's no wind. It's very ominous. I've been through a few earthquakes, actually, 'cause I grew up in California. I was only in one big one, in 1971. I was very young and I slept through it. I've been awake through lots of small ones at school and at home. It's very exciting actually -- a very comical thing. It's like the earth is shaking, and what can you do? Nothing." Precisely.

Pavement - "Trigger Cut"

One of my favorite things about Pavement is that it's a great example of how things used to work, back in the day, long before the Internet. Pavement's breakthrough album, Slanted and Enchanted was actually recorded in 1990 and released to the press in 1991, even though it didn't see official release to the public until early 1992. If you knew about Pavement before that point, it was because someone had handed you a fifth generation dubbed tape, or you read about it in some obscure music fanzine. And that indeed is how Pavement got famous, through word of mouth and zines!

The Posies - "Definite Door"

The Posies were one of the most popular power-pop acts of the 1990's, and along with Matthew Sweet and Teenage Fanclub, brought British Invasion-style melodies into the alternative era. Originally sounding a lot more like Simon and Garfunkel, their debut album in 1988, Failure, earned them a contract with Geffen. The follow up, Dear 23 was a critically lauded pop masterpiece. By the time the Posies returned for their second major label album in 1993, the Seattle scene had blown wide open, and the Posies decided to toughen up their sound. The resulting Frosting on the Beater -- the album's title a reference to masturbation -- yielded a string of college radio hits, including "Dream All Day," "Flavor of the Month," and our selection, "Definite Door."

Nirvana - "Drain You"

I'll admit to having no idea what this song was about until reading up on it for this article, and if you look at the words, its about babies in the womb! The opening line "One baby to another says, I'm lucky to have met you" is quickly followed by lines like "Chew meat for you, pass it back and forth" "From my lips, to your lips" and so on. Kurt Cobain claims he made up most of the words to this album on the spot, but I think he was just being coy. Apparently it's also notable as being the track on Nevermind with the most gratuitous use of overdubs, which Kurt Cobain hated. Butch Vig had to trick him into doing multiple takes by telling him various things were wrong with the mix or out of tune. It's kind of funny to picture.

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Ian S. Port


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