Seattle has been a music city since the first settlers arrived in the mid nineteenth century. Nowadays, the city’s musical scene is supported by indie bands and by the legendary Sub Pop record label. Here’s our list of the 6 best albums from the Emerald City.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis Bold as Love (1967)
Everybody knows that Hendrix shaped modern rock, but not as many people know that Jimi was a Seattle native. He decided to play with his teeth after seeing Butch Snipes do it. In Seattle. His very first gig was with an acoustic guitar in the basement of the Temple de Hirsch. In Seattle. His first electric guitar was bought in Myers Music shop. In Seattle. He was given the keys to the city in 1968, and in 2006 the city named a park after him. Axis Bold As Love may have been recorded when he was living in England, but understandably, Seattleites aren’t exactly willing to give him up. Top Track: If 6 was 9
Various Artists – Seattle Syndrome Volume One (1981)
Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)
This is it. This is the album. Nirvana’s second release, their first commercial success, and the generator of Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, Lithium, and In Bloom. The first release to feature Dave Grohl on drums, this heavy, dissonant, grungy record set the tone (and the bar) for all nineties rock releases. The best known Seattle band for a reason, this is arguably Cobain and Co’s magnum opus. It feels as fresh today as it did back then (incredibly, at the time of writing, the baby on the iconic cover is 24 years old).Top Track: Lithium
Pearl Jam – Ten (1991)
Another single-spawner, this record beget Alive, Even Flow, and the mega-hit Jeremy. Pearl Jam were accused of jumping onto the grunge gravy train, but Ten went a long way to popularise alt-rock in the mainstream. Ignoring Eddie Vedder’s vocals is almost impossible, but next time you listen, give it a go. The album was written as a series of instrumentals before he joined the project, and the anthemic strains of the album make it easy to see that it would have worked. Without the vocals, the album would have been great, but with the vocals, it’s something a little more than that. Top Track: Jeremy
Alice in Chains – Dirt (1992)
Trending towards the metallic side of grunge, this sludgy, heavy album is the bridge over the grunge-metal canyon, embraced by connoisseurs from both sides. Establishing the signature Alice sound, the dark themes of the album (depression, drug abuse, war, et al) are hard to deal with, but important to the genre and to music as expression. If you haven’t heard this, check it out. It might be heavy, but there’s a lot of artistry to it, too, particularly in Staley and Cantrell’s harmonised vocals.Top Track: Them Bones
Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994)
You know Black Hole Sun, right? A nineties staple, the band’s most recognisable song, and still a popular tune on rock music TV and radio. It comes from this album. The surreal, armageddon-y music video (where the world is sucked into the eponymous Black Hole Sun) is iconic. The Seattle sound hits hard in Spoonman, the video for which features Artis the Spoonman, a well known Seattle street performer. The title of that song also comes from Jeff Ament, Pearl Jam‘s bassist. Seattle overlaps abound.Top Track: Spoonman By Niall McGrade
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.