Sebadoh – Bakesale Sub Pop sp260b (1994)
Here’s a real classic of the grunge/alternative rock period. There is a clear affinity for rough, almost garage rock-ish fuzz, but overall there is much purpose and effort put into establishing a clear and consistent perspective in the recordings. The songwriting retains the emotionally bare confessional tone of much of Sebadoh’s work, while also having rhythmic drive, strong riffs, and a stylistic connection to current genre trends. Balancing — and indeed synthesizing — those sorts of seemingly contradictory impulses is what carries the album. Refreshingly, though, Bakesale avoids the self-pitying mopeyness (and vague graininess) that was the bane of much lo-fi music. Joey Ramone once gave an interview in which he said quite directly that rock ‘n roll was music for outsiders. Bakesale honors that tradition while at the same time serves to rally the freaks (gabba gabba!). Looking back, this album really highlights the best of what the entire grunge/alternative/indie rock scene had to offer.