On 20th October, Mint 400 Records is slated to drop a massive compilation of ’90s covers from their eclectic roster. Dubbed ‘Flannel Dreams’, the record features a whopping 32 (!) songs originally performed by notable artists like Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana to deeper cut artists like Folk Implosion and Lemonheads. Simply put: it’s a nostalgist’s wet dream. Today, The Rodeo exclusively premieres three songs from the compilation, which can be found below alongside commentary from each of the artists.
Renee, on the decision to cover Radiohead: It’s bold to cover Radiohead. They’re so distinct, and why would anyone want or need to touch ‘Karma Police’? But ‘Let Down’ is beautiful, with a lot of open space to work with, and obviously not their most ubiquitous song. I figured it was safe to reimagine it. I’m sure it’s been said that Radiohead is the Pink Floyd of my generation; they’re obviously important to a lot of people. I found them in my late teens, which was such a formative time in the way I thought about art and the world and where I might fit into it. They were part of my personal soundtrack.
Renee, on the ’90s era of music: The music and art of the 90’s was reflective of an uncertain, rapidly changing world, full of growing pains. In those ways, it was not so unlike the world we’re living in now decades later. Which is probably why the music of that era still resonates so profoundly now.
Reese, on the decision to cover Alice in Chains: After being obsessed with Alice In Chains early in my career, ‘Would’ was one of my favourites. Layne Staley’s range being showcased on a song he felt so strongly about made it something really special. I’m glad we got to do this one and I feel we did it justice. The band was a huge influence to me growing up as a musician: their sludgy riffs, Layne’s croning vocals and Jerry’s harmonies made them a band I wanted to emulate. Layne was a huge inspiration to me not only as a singer but as a teenager. His lyrics spoke to me and helped me through some of the hardest times in my life.
Reese, on the ’90s era of music: While record labels were raking in the cash off of hair metal’s silicone gimmicks in the ’80’s, the ’90’s saw a resurgence of real emotion and musical talent in the scene. Whether it be the flood of flannel droning from Seattle or the musical minds of university students in Athens, the ’90’s had an abundance of musical magic.
Fair Panic, on the decision to cover the Cocteau Twins: I was inspired by the illusive nature of Elizabeth Fraser’s pronunciation and “invention of languages.” Like Kubrick, she hid herself behind this and is notorious for lyrics that don’t sound like words. So much so that there are some “???” in their song lyrics on Lyrics.com! So, we wanted to pull back the curtain and expose lyrical vulnerability in a way that hasn’t been done before. The Cocteau Twins’ music is so unique that it transcended trends and carried itself from the 80’s into the 90’s. Their music sat radio comfortable alongside grunge, the decade’s musical transitions, and was ultimately covered by Deftones. The band was also a forerunner of shoegaze and did this all from a modest Scottish town. I find them exceptionally free in their tone and melody choices.
Fair Panic, on the ’90s era of music: The ’90’s music scene was magical because it was a playground of ’80’s musicianship and digital accessibility without the burden of cell phones. The early half of the ’90’s still relied on tape recording. The latter half saw the introduction of AutoTune and more accessibility to digital recording. I think the technical aspect of raw instrumental musicianship was still strong but there were new toys for those skills to play with. Some may say it was the beginning of the end for musicianship, but it depends on your perspective of AutoTune. With the use of vocal editing and more accessibility to digital sound manipulation, the 90’s are the seed that spawned a new genre of technical ‘production’ musicianship.