Listomania: Ranking the 10 Best Seattle Grunge Bands of the '90s

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On December 31, 2009, when Chris Cornell tweeted that the "Knights of the Soundtable" would "ride again," fans assumed 2010 would become known as the year of Soundgarden, finding the '90s grunge legends reforming and regaining their once dominant form.

Disappointingly, they were only half right; the rockers did ultimately regroup, but only ended up making a handful of select live performances, and an appearance on Conan. As the year winded down, the whole thing began feeling more and more like a ruse cobbled together to hawk copies of their new greatest hits album -- or copies of Guitar Hero, depending on who is being asked.

Then, this week, seemingly from out of the blue, the band made a somewhat surprising  announcement on their website and posted a black-and-white image of themselves jamming in a studio. Said the statement:
Over the past few months, we've been busy jamming, writing and hanging out together -- exploring the creative aspect of being Soundgarden. It feels great. We have some cool new songs that we are going to record very soon. Thank you for all of the support!
After a lackluster 2010 from the band, we won't blame anyone for treating this news with a we'll-believe-it-when-we-see-it attitude. But, despite our doubts, we're still pretty darned jazzed.

Enough so to rank our top 10 bands from the 1990s Seattle grunge scene, anyway.


10. Screaming Trees
After a batch of albums recorded for SST, Screaming Trees became one of the first of the Seattle bands to earn a major label deal when they signed with Epic in 1990. Their subsequent album, Uncle Anesthesia, produced by Chris Cornell, never managed to sell a ton of copies, but still served as a sign of things to come from the burgeoning scene.

9. 7 Year Bitch
Somewhat prophetically, the band lasted just seven years. In that time, though, they were some of the most aggressive and dominating punk rocker chicks in the grunge scene. Eat your heart out, Courtney.

8. Mother Love Bone
Mother Love Bone featured Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament -- but this is more than just a way to shoehorn some Pearl Jam-ers onto this list twice. Though the band's short-lived career was largely overshadowed by the death of frontman Andy Wood just days before the release of their debut album, Apple is still considered one of the biggest catalysts to bringing national attention to the then still-underground Seattle grunge scene.


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21 comments
Liles
Liles

Hmm. No love for Love Battery. And they were badass.

W.A. Fite
W.A. Fite

It's simple. Start at Yield in '98 and go back to '91, but keep them in their backwards sequential order.

1. Yield2. No Code3. Vitalogy4. Vs5. Ten

just sayin'
just sayin'

All these years later and we still have dipshits that think every band that made it from Seattle was grunge. You realize that those guys wore flannel because its cheap and warm, right?

NoahWBailey
NoahWBailey

Also:

1. Vitalogy2. Whatever single had "Yellow Ledbetter" on it3. The rest

MBM
MBM

AIC should be #1 for the mere fact that they are only one's still relevant, still making music, and even kept it going strong with their new album with William Duvall. Love me some Nirvana and Soundgarden, but AIC is still going strong. Maybe revisit later this year if Soundgarden's new one is worth a damn.

And no love for Temple of the Dog?!?!?

Lance_Lester
Lance_Lester

It's easy to write off Pearl Jam when you haven't listened to them since Ten. But, they had a good seven album run of solid records. Their last good album was Riot Act and the boys have been slipping a little bit since then.

1. Binaural2. Yield3. No Code4. Vitalogy5. Riot Act6. Vs.7. Ten8. Pearl Jam9. Backspacer

Just Wonderin'
Just Wonderin'

I'm interested to read a write up of The Listener's ranking of the Pearl Jam albums

Noah Bailey
Noah Bailey

I haven't really been that into Pearl Jam since high school, but I agree with The Listener 100%. Ten is their Jock Jams album.

The Listener
The Listener

I'd wager that a large portion of the people that have actually paid attention to Pearl Jam's career would probably rate Ten as their third or fourth best album.

Just Wonderin'
Just Wonderin'

Ya that explains why the poor/cold grungy northern kids were wearing it, but all us warm/well-to-do southerners were totally just doing it to look cool

Gonzo
Gonzo

B side of the Jeremy import

Noah Bailey
Noah Bailey

Not sure I'd call Alice in Chains relevant at this point, but I do give Jerry Cantrell credit for keeping Layne Staley's cat even after it ate his frontman's face off.

JLR
JLR

I would put yield at top. then vitalogy.. then no code.. then not listen to anything else.

ALL THE STATIC IN MY ATTIC

The Listener
The Listener

1. No Code2. Vitalogy3. Vs.4. Yield5. Ten6. ... the rest in no particular order.

Personally, No Code is #1 by a long shot.

Veddie Edder
Veddie Edder

1. Vitalogy2. Vs.3. Yield4. No Code5. Backspacer

TreeofWoe
TreeofWoe

Not in my personal opinion. I could hardly stomach their 2nd release let alone the ones that followed. Vitology was one of the most atrocious disappointments I have ever experienced in listening to a release.

MBM
MBM

You obviously haven't heard the new one, it holds up with the rest of their stuff just fine. Duvall will never be Stahley, but they still make kick ass tunes and put on good live shows. Plus a little extra love for Cantrell's solo stuff should put it over the top.

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