Spin Alternative Record Guide

Spin Alternative Record Guide

Eric Weisbard and Craig Marks (editors)

United States


Alternative music, discography, music journalism, review

1995 by Vintage Books

Media type



Spin Alternative Record Guide is a musical reference book compiled by the American music magazine Spin and published in 1995 by Vintage Books. It was edited by rock critic Eric Weisbard and Craig Marks, who was the magazine’s editor-in-chief at the time. The book features essays and reviews from a number of prominent critics on albums, artists, and genres considered relevant to the alternative music movement. Contributors who were consulted for the book include Ann Powers, Rob Sheffield, Simon Reynolds, Michael Azerrad, and Robert Christgau.
When Spin Alternative Record Guide was published, it did not sell particularly well and received a mixed reaction from reviewers. The quality and relevance of the contributors’ writing were praised, while the editors’ concept and comprehensiveness of alternative music were seen as ill-defined. Nonetheless, it inspired a number of future music critics and helped revive the career of 1960s folk artist John Fahey, whose entry in the book helped renew interest in his music at the time of its publication.


1 Content and scope
2 Reception and impact
3 See also
4 References
5 Bibliography
6 External links

Content and scope[edit]

Music critics Robert Christgau (left) and Ann Powers (right) contributed to the book.

Spanning 468 pages, Spin Alternative Record Guide compiles essays by 64 music critics on recording artists and bands who either predated, were involved in, or developed from the alternative music movement. In the book, each artist’s entry is accompanied by their discography, with albums rated a score between one and ten.[1] The book’s editors, critic Eric Weisbard and Spin editor-in-chief Craig Marks, consulted journalists such as Simon Reynolds, Alex Ross, Charles Aaron, Michael Azerrad, Ann Powers, and Rob Sheffield, who wrote most of the complete discography reviews.[2] The artist entries are also accompanied by song lyrics and album artwork.[3]
Although “alternative” had been used as a catchall term for rock bands outside the mainstream, Spin Alternative Record Guide covers approximately 500 artists from a variety of genres considered relevant to alternative music’s development.[4] These include 1970s punk rock,