The Unscene Vol. 5 The No Seattle Compilation


With the last edition of The Unscene being posted in February of 2012 (featuring the only release from Calabros), I decided to get my tail in gear, especially after the arrival of a holiday gift from my brother.  In a little box came the double disc compilation “No Seattle: Forgotten Sounds of the North-West Grunge Era 1986 – 97.”  Normally, I’m wary about “grunge” compilations, especially those released after 1993 as they tend to layer in bands who had little or nothing to do with the sound, or, just feature the bands that everyone by now knows.  This is especially true when the compilation comes from a record label that in recent years has mostly pushed out compilations of everything from Cajun soul music, Disco, and German electronic music to various house projects.

Much to my surprise, when I looked at the track listing, I was stunned to find that out of the twenty-eight tracks, I had only heard of four bands and only had material from one of them.  So, understandably, my ears were pricked.  I popped in the first disc and went nose deep into the 36 page booklet it came with.  And much more to my growing surprise, it went in depth with each band, detailing t heir sound, their lineup, releases, where they came from and even interviewed members of the groups (briefly).  They even had a section where they described how many groups had ties with Nirvana, ranging from members shared, stages shared to who toured with the band, etc…

The sound on these discs ranges from grunge to alternative rock, experimental, garage, psyche and punk.  None of this stuff sounds dated, which is thrilling.  The complete band roster here features: Starfish, Vampire Lezbos, Nubbin, Saucer, Machine, Medelicious, Hitting Birth, Crunchbird, The Ones, Pod, Thrillhammer, Yellow Snow, Helltrout, Bundle of Hiss, Chemistry Set, My Name, Small Stars, Shug, Treehouse, Soylent Green, Kill Sybil, Calamity Jane, and Attica.  Of course now, I wish I had cash to dig around for original releases from some of these groups to get the full joy of their material but that will have to wait…

Should you get this collection?  I’d argue that you should.  If you’re a fan of the sound as a whole, any of the bands here or grew up in the time these folks jammed, this is for you.  Finally, we have something that reaches beyond the groups who “made it big” and can see who were the movers and shakers and sound creators who stayed small, released small and yet helped influence an entire generation of rockers. My only wish here was that a little bit of remastering was done.  In spots, the tracks are a little lo-fi, more because they sound pulled off the original vinyl.  It’s not a huge flaw by any means and it’s more of my own nitpick.  (4.9 out of 5)

This compilation comes to you via Soul Jazz Records, catalog number SJR CD286.  Vinyl versions are available but are released as volume one and two separately.

About Nick H.

I'm a geek for music whether it be on vinyl, CD, 78 or whatever. My goal is to sniff out the greated music on Earth, specializing in the obscure. I make music myself as well, mostly ambient and sound collage (1 album out and a few remixes so far). I work full time as a professional mascot (it pays the pills) but will soon retire, i hope.
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