Veruca Salt / Nina Gordon

From: Chicago, Illinois

Active: Veruca Salt (original lineup), 1994-1997, 2014-present; Nina Gordon, 2000-2006

I first heard them: when Live 105 started playing "Seether"

Sound: "Rock on with your frock on" was something Nina said during her first stint with Veruca Salt. It applies to the band more than to her solo work, a lot of which is more in the "rock on with your Sarah Maclachlan records on" vein.

So this is the band page I've had to update the most since the last edition of my /chart/ section, because Veruca Salt has since reformed and put out an album with a different philosophy from that of the band's first incarnation. Back in the day Nina wrote and sang half the songs and Louise wrote and sang the other half. I didn't hate Louise's half of Eight Arms to Hold You, but I was a bigger fan of Nina's songwriting and vocals by orders of magnitude. Then they split up, and Nina tried to become a Soft Rock Star while Louise churned out yowling embarrassments. The better part of two decades later, they finally put the band back together, as all '90s bands with living members have been doing — but this time, they did not split up the songwriting chores. All fourteen songs on their 2015 album Ghost Notes are co-written and co-sung. Louise is still not much of a vocalist, but the second half of that album is good enough that (to my surprise!) it managed to crack my little pantheon. (Also, while I normally don't care about lyrics, the lyrics of the second half of this record speak to me in a big way and almost certainly made the difference in landing Ghost Notes its spot.)

Further listening: Here are three songs from that album, plus the song that put Veruca Salt on the map.

"Empty Bottle" (2015)
"I'm Telling You Now" (2015)
"Lost to Me" (2015)
"Seether" (1994)