The Underground Scene of '90s Austin. Paperback book.
A twisting path through Austin’s underground music scene in the twentieth century’s last decade, narrated by the people who were there.
It’s 1990 in Austin, Texas. The next decade will be a tipping point in the city's metamorphosis from sleepy college town to major city. Beneath the increasingly slick exterior, though, a group of like-minded contrarians were reimagining an underground music scene. Embracing a do-it-yourself ethos, record labels emerged to release local music, zines cheered and jeered acts beneath the radar of mainstream media outlets, and upstart clubs provided a home venue for new bands to build their sound.
This vibrant scene valued expression over erudition, from the razor-sharp songcraft of Spoon to the fuzzed-out poptones of Sixteen Deluxe, and blurred the boundaries between observer and participant. Evolving in tandem with the city’s emergence on the national stage via the film Slacker and the SXSW conference and festivals, Austin’s musical underground became a spiritual crucible for the uneasy balance between commercial success and cultural authenticity, a tension that still resonates today.
The first book about Austin underground music in the ’90s, A Curious Mix of People is an oral history that tells the story of this transformative decade through the eyes of the musicians, writers, DJs, club owners, record-store employees, and other key figures who were there.