AP 300 featuring My Chemical Romance's first AP cover story reimagined by Gerard Way won't be on newsstands much longer, so we're giving you all the more incentive to go out and grab your copy with a preview of the issue's final page–our famed 10 Essential section in playlist form.
There have been plenty of changes in AP’s near three-decade history, but there are some things that still resonate. In our case, it’s the records we discovered while putting together issues during all hours of the day: Those times when one person played a disc, the whole office would hear it, and then proceed to love it (or hate it). Our love of digging for cool music made us quite wary of what other competing magazines were exalting at the time. (Do we gotta keep reminding you AP had been around seven years before Nevermind was released?) Unfortunately, the advent of personal iTunes libraries has completely eroded the idea of one employee dictating the tastes of others. Here’s a partial list of records we’ve kept close to our hearts and our boomboxes to this day, even if the rest of world submerged them into the ether. All this talk of “discs” and “boomboxes” sounds so quaint—even if our selections decidedly aren’t.
Selected by Christopher Benton and Jason Pettigrew
Hooray For Boobies
With regards to questionable albums turned popular by relentless (and ironic at first) inner-office plays, one of the most terribly essential examples of this has to be Hooray For Boobies. These obnoxious Pennsylvanian-come-Los Angeles doods’ songs wittily mashed nearly every existing non-PC subject (sex, drugs, people who are different, therefore funny), slathered them with an arsenal of mocking musical styles (’80s new wave, proto-punk, nü metal, ’90s techno) And sprinkled it all with raps tagging about 50 pop-culture references per song (“Buggin’ out like Tori Spelling’s eyes/Deader than the parents on Party Of Five”). The result was such pop-junk gems as “Mope” and “The Bad Touch.” Believe me, we all knew better, but just kept on playing it… (Geffen, 2000) [CB]
At the dawn of AP, we shared plenty of beautiful, ethereal music from the U.K. Coil were one of the smartest, freakiest and most unsettling imports we were exposed to at that time. While the industrial/art freakshow Horse Rotorvator was released in 1986, it became a passed-down, creepy classic whose sinister tracks continued to scare, corrupt and delight the young, freshly opened staffer's minds. (Trent Reznor’s too, as he offered them a deal on his nothing Records imprint.) Sonic terror collages like “The Anal Staircase” (with its laughing-then-pleading boy samples) only scratched the flesh of the schizophrenic barrage of songs, each as twisted as they were oddly listenable. (Some Bizarre, 1986) [CB]
Happy Days Sweetheart
Nine Inch Nails’ success opened the floodgates for a ton of opportunists to try their hand at the rhythm ’n’ noise vista of industrial rock—and we heard ’em all. But unlike most of the carpetbaggers in the Los Angeles rock scene, Ethyl Meatplow were sublime, powered by the half-human/half-machine drumming of Harold “Barefoot Biff” Sanders and the arty, charismatic, streetwise and occasionally scatological personas of singers Carla Bozulich and John Napier. Meatplow were onto something far more sinister (“For My Sleeping Lover”), sexier (“Ripened Peach”) and throbbing (“Devil’s Johnson”) than i-rock’s predictable clichés—which probably made the very thought of making a second record too fucking intense, even for them. (Dali, 1993) [JP]
GIRLS AGAINST BOYS
In the early ’90s, the dual-bass sex machine known as Girls Against Boys’ were adored for their LP, Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby. But it was Cruise Yourself that was far more propulsive, driving and conducive to our needs while proofing pages at 11 p.m. And when frontman/non-sequitur king Scott McCloud gave us a shout-out (“I wanna kill the Alternative Press staff”) during “Kill The Sexplayer” in 104-degree heat at our 10th anniversary show, our hearts expanded like Christina Hendricks’ bust line during puberty. Nineteen years later, and we still think Cruise blows away Venus, while many of our detractors are salad bar technicians at Ruby Tuesday. (Touch And Go, 1994) [JP]
THE GOD MACHINE
Scenes From The Second Storey
In the early ’90s, the best band from the U.K. were actually three stowaways from San Diego who melded indie/post-punk signifiers with epic, near-metal atmospheres. Sure, everyone knows about Isis, Neurosis and Explosions In The Sky; but the God Machine were champions of beguiling atmosphere (“The Desert Song”), dynamic range (“Purity”) and full-on rage (“Out”) 20 years prior. Tragically, bassist Jimmy Fernandez succumbed to a brain aneurysm during the making of their second album, thus ending the band. Scenes From The Second Storey is way out of print, so philosophically, you’re allowed to illegally download it. (Fiction/Polydor, 1993) [JP]
To read this full 10 Essential list, grab a copy of AP 300!