The major American record labels had a band signing feeding frenzy following the "alternative rock" break through in early 90's. A ton of bands were signed that weren't ever going to make it big but it all looked good for the image of the mainstream kingmakers not being out of touch.
A band that was signed and should've have made it much bigger in the United States was Halifax, Nova Scotia's Sloan.
Recorded for only $1,200, Sloan's debut album, Smeared, was released in the US on Geffen Records in January of 1993. Their power-pop rock musical template was one familiar one. They had hooks galore in their songs but there was also a lot of quirks that made them sound fresh and interesting. A common comparison rock crits made about the album was "the Beatles meet Sonic Youth."
The lead off single from the record, "Underwhelmed", did scratch the top 30 on the American modern rock charts and it was expected that their next album, 1994's Twice Removed, would be their big US splash. When that album came out though Geffen dropped the ball on promoting it citing "artistic disputes." It didn't stop them. They've released 9 albums as well as bunch of singles since then on their own label Murderecords. They built a strong cult following in the states and in their homeland of Canada they have been nominated for the Juno awards nine times and are considered one of the best and most successful bands ever from the country.
What are you listening to tonight?