Seattle is the city most co-continuous with the commercial memory of 90s rock, but for the alt-revisionists among us, the decade’s enduring soundtrack centers in Louisville and Chicago. The bands on this playlist all sprang in some way out of punk, but it’s how punk’s year-zero enthusiasm reinvigorates older forms—steel-string guitar picking, tight-wound jazz fusion and prog, high-lonesome folk—that made them such a rewarding listen two decades long. Even if you didn’t catch them the first time around, the fourteen acts collected here provide rich, recollective listening for discerning ears.
This playlist is arranged simply, alternating zip codes with each song. A cursory genealogy will reveal that many of the groups represented here share a few members (and some of those members jumping between both cities), all of whom had an extra band or two on the side. It’s a concise way to open up entire vistas of diverse music whose time may have finally come.