Walt Mink - Miss HappinessDuring 1991-92, the Caroline label released a pair of excellent debuts -- hard-rocking but hooky records with whiny-voiced but guitar-gifted frontmen. Each of them showed how Generation X had digested the independent ethos of '70s punk as well as a good deal of that decade's hard-rock pyrotechnics.

One of those groups went on to sell millions of records and top the charts, then quickly flame out artistically (and otherwise) when its lead singer started pulling glittery "Zero" t-shirts over his shaved-bald head. (Have a guess yet?) The other went on to virtually nothing -- not even a measly parking-lot stage at Lollapalooza.

One of those records was, of course, Smashing Pumpkins' Gish. The other was an excellent buried treasure, Walt Mink's Miss Happiness.

From listening to both, you'd be tempted to predict Walt Mink for success. While Smashing Pumpkins seemed trapped in a hazy psychedelia, Walt Mink was positively wired, with smart hooks and radiating energy -- the best of power-pop and punk in one.

Unfortunately, the band hasn't been active for years (check their website), although a few fans still keep the message board from descending into endless pharma-spams. Also, check out this link for details on an attempt to do Walt Mink justice with a film documentary.

As for the music, Miss Happiness fetches upwards of $7.88 on eBay, so it's still attainable.

  • "Miss Happiness"

  • "Love You Better"

  • "Pink Moon"