Blur, Oasis’s greatest rivals during the 1990s, has already released two double-disc hits compilations. With the double-disc “Time Flies…1994-2009”, a 27-track singles collection (Big Brother/Columbia), Oasis catches up with Blur. Although not in chronological order, the anthology definitely strikes the right chords, with essential cuts from the band’s superb first two albums, such as “Supersonic,” “Live Forever” and “Wonderwall.” The rest of the set celebrates both the sensitive (“Stop Crying Your Heart Out,” “Champagne Supernova”) and raucous (“D’You Know What I Mean,” “Cigarettes & Alcohol”) sides of the brawling Gallagher brothers.
Dar Williams released three amazing studio albums during the 1990s, and four more in the 2000s. The double-disc set “Many Great Companions” (Razor and Tie) refers to the fine musicians with whom Williams has worked over the years. The first disc, “Songs Revisited with Guitar and a Few Friends,” consists of a dozen acoustic renditions of Williams favorites re-recorded with guest musicians, including sister/brother duo Sara and Sean Watkins, out singer/songwriter Patty Larkin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Songs include Williams’ favorites, such as “When I Was A Boy,” “The Christians and The Pagans” and “What Do You Hear In These Sounds.” The second disc, “The Best of Dar Williams,” draws from her seven albums and includes “It’s Alright,” “Teens For God” and much more.
If Dar Williams had a male equivalent in the alt-folk world, it was the late Elliott Smith. The Oscar-nominee’s tragic death in 2003 remains an unsolved mystery, but his musical legacy lives on. The 14-track disc “An Introduction to…Elliott Smith” (Kill Rock Stars) includes an early version of his Academy Award-nominated “Miss Misery” (from “Good Will Hunting”), as well as songs from his independent and major label releases, such as “Needle In The Hay,” “Pretty (Ugly Before)” and “Happiness.”
At the beginning of the 1990s, it seemed like the decade might belong to Nirvana, Pearl Jam and other Seattle bands. But lo-fi hero Pavement arrived with its distinctive, warped melodies and changed the scene forever. Like the Elliott Smith collection, the 23-track single disc collection “Quarantine The Past” (Matador) draws on the band’s independent and major label recordings and provides a thorough overview. You can find everything from Pavement’s hit single “Cut Your Hair” to early tracks such as “Debris Slide” and “Frontwards,” as well as fan favorites (“Here” and “Unfair”) and later standouts (“Fight This Generation” and “Spit On A Stranger”).
The 2000 hit single “Bohemian Like You,” from Dandy Warhols’ third album, was inescapable and introduced us to the band from Portland, Ore., with the clever name. But is it fair to call The Dandy Warhols a one-hit wonder? Nothing from their prior albums or those that followed captured the energy of “Bohemian.” Nevertheless, the band has released the15-track compilation “The Capitol Years 1995-2007” (Capitol), which includes “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth,” “We Used To Be Friends,” “Holding Me Up” and more to remind us of its contributions.
In 1991, Gerald LeVert released his first solo album, featuring the hit singles “Private Line” and “Baby Hold On To Me.” Like Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis, the late Gerald LeVert was part of a brother act (with brother Sean and friend Marc Gordon) beginning in the mid-1980s. “The Best of Gerald LeVert” (Atlantic/Rhino) compiles 16 of his classics, such as “Thinkin’ Bout It,” “Taking Everything” and the previously unreleased “Can It Stay.”
Minneapolis’ The Jayhawks reached its creative peak in the mid-1990s with a pair of unforgettable albums, “Hollywood Town Hall” and “Tomorrow The Green Grass” (American Recordings). Both have been reissued in expanded editions. Former Jayhawk Mark Olson’s newest solo disc “Many Colored Kite” (Ryko) also deserves your attention.