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8 Essential Grunge Albums That You Should Know About

Portland Oregon group CHLORINE just dropped their new single “Thanks For Nothing”, and the band is gearing up for the upcoming release of their debut EP ‘The Bittersweet’. While the band stands out with big riffs, infectious choruses and an exciting alternative sound, there’s an undeniable influence that points outside of the usual early 2000’s revival sounds we’ve been hearing as of late. Guitarist/vocalist Jared Russell self-describes “Thanks For Nothing” and the band’s inspiration as leaning into a “grunge revival with pop-punk roots” approach. The band tracked the single and upcoming EP with producer and Four Year Strong vocalist Alan Day who also enlisted Jake Massucco of the band to handle drums.

Chlorine isn’t a band that appeared out of thin air, and Russell has been building up to this moment for years since he began playing in punk rock bands as a teenager. Ever since beginning his professional journey in music, he was mentored and taken under the wing of Brandon Carlisle (RIP) of Teenage Bottlerocket. Russell credits him as the person who inspired him not only as a best friend, but sealed his direction with pursuing music as a way of life. After a move to Portland, Russell spent time touring internationally supporting groups like Simple Plan and Waterparks and soon after formed Chlorine during the downtime of 2020. The group traveled East to Massachusetts to track with Alan Day, crafting a set of songs that will soon be released.

Comments guitarist and vocalist Jared Russell: “I founded Chlorine in 2021 and set out to do a grunge revival project while following my pop punk roots. I have been playing in punk rock bands since I was 12 years old and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. “Thanks For Nothing” is a song I’m proud to release and I hope everyone feels the intense energy of the track.”

Chlorine

So knowing Russell and the guys in Chlorine are huge fans of everything 90’s, including alt/rock and grunge, we sat down with him to get his favorite grunge albums that perhaps someone curious about the era may not know about.

To many musicians there is a clear path of influence that 90’s grunge had on many groups past and present, and the recent uptick in interest towards grunge is sure to have a big impact on the sound in rock, metal and beyond. He tells us more below about 8 albums that have rubbed off on at least a band or five that we all appreciate, and hopefully you’ll dig in a bit on these as well.

Nirvana – Bleach (1989)

I know, I know…it’s Nirvana, everyone knows it. And technically it’s not 90’s since this album was released in 1989. But, I don’t care. For anyone who may not know this masterpiece it was the debut album by Nirvana and showcased a few things that weren’t as present in Nevermind. Obviously it was a bit more raw and stripped down, but the grimey bass tones and metal/punk influence really stood out to me on this one and was what I believe to be the catalyst of the entire mainstream movement of grunge.

Green River – Dry as a Bone/Rehab Doll (1990)

We can’t talk about the conception of Grunge without talking about Green River. This album was actually a compilation of their debut EP Rehab Doll released in 1986 and Dry as a Bone following in 1987. This band was not only influential due to their mix of 70’s rock, Metal, and Hardcore Punk attitude but several of the members went on to form some of the most well known Grunge bands of all time. (Melvins, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Temple of the Dog)

Hammerbox – Numb (1993)

Talk about an album that did not get enough attention. Numb was a blender of sounds filled with heavy punk influenced guitars, infectious pop melodies, and Carrie Akre bringing her own style of vocals into the Alternative sound. Akre also fronted the band “Goodness” and “The Rockfords” which included Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. Needless to say, anything Carrie Akre touched played a big role in the Seattle Alternative scene and you should definitely listen for yourself.

Toadies – Rubberneck (1994)

You may recognize a song or 2 from this album due to their early commercial success, but this album as a whole does not get the attention it deserves. Rubberneck features some of the most unique guitar playing and song structures I’ve heard in the genre, which may be partially contributed by the fact that this is one of the few bands on this list not out of Seattle..But I would be willing to be Toadies sound and innovation definitely rubbed off on later alternative bands like Weezer. They released a documentary about the album circa 2014 which is definitely worth a watch.

Hum – You’d Prefer an Astronaut (1995)

If you don’t know Hum, leave this page right now and go listen through their entire discography! You’d Prefer an Astronaut may be one of the most underrated albums of all time. Though this was the bands 3rd release they had finally perfected their gigantic Dream Rock / Midwest Grunge sound, noticeably influenced by aspects of Smashing Pumpkins. But, still unique and driven enough to make a new tone that would resonate with heavier bands like Deftones later on.

Melvins – Houdini (1993)

There is plenty of discrepancy and drama behind this one. You have most likely heard Melvins or at least heard of them, but this album in particular plays a bigger role in the grunge alternative movement in the early 90’s. Though it is questionable how much involvement he actually had, Kurt Cobain is credited as Co-Producer of this album alongside the Melvins. I won’t get too much into that, but what I will say is “Houdini” does give me that same feeling “Bleach” did due to the sheer heaviness and looseness of it. Melvins influenced pretty much every kind of band across the board throughout their career and this album definitely was that for me.

Heatmiser – Cop and Speeder (1994)

When it comes to the early 90’s Alternative/Emo sound Heatmiser came with a force. Absolutely insane guitar parts and ruthless drums and you can definitely hear plenty of bands’ influences they picked up from this record such as Jimmy Eat World and The Get Ups Kids. This band was one of Elliot Smith’s first projects and of course went on to change music in his own way.

Mudhoney – Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (1991)

One of the most predominant bands out of Seattle in the 90’s, I credit Mudhoney with this being one if the best known/unknown records of this time. Not only did they come out swinging with heavy raw guitars and intelligent lyrics but even though having major label offers on the table they decided to stay with Sub Pop for this release to help them stay open. That choice alone helped so many bands get their music out which makes this album that musc more influential.

Chlorine

The Portland outfit Chlorine brings Grunge Revival into full force while instilling a classic Pop Punk foundation and infectious hooks. Their upcoming EP “The Bittersweet” was produced and engineered by Four Year Strong’s Alan Day and mastered by Jay Maas. The debut single “Thanks For Nothing” is live everywhere now.

Stream “Thanks For Nothing” by Chlorine online now on Youtube, Spotify and Apple Music.

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