August 19, 2016

1993 Throwback Mix: Happy Birthday SQN!

Happy Birthday, Sine Qua Non Salons! August 18th, 2016 marked the 23rd anniversary to the day of SQN‘s arrival on the Chicago hair scene, and we couldn’t be more delighted to celebrate. To commemorate the wild and wonderful journey that the past 23 years have been, we are highlighting the very best of 1993 Chicago’s musical landscape in the latest edition of Music We Love.



SQN has come of age alongside some of the most quintessential pop, rock, and punk bands in Chicago. While hairstyle trends have morphed and grown, what hasn’t changed is our appreciation for the killer sounds that bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, the Verve, Sunny Day Real Estate, Morphine, Liz Phair, Blur, the Posies, Superchunk, and Tears for Fears have provided. SQN owner and founder Laura Boton recalls that these bands, and those like them, served as the perfect soundtrack for salon floor artistry back in the day, and many of them still continue to inspire!

Grunge Rock Breakouts

While Sine Qua Non was settling into its first home on Lincoln Avenue in 1993, the Smashing Pumpkins, perhaps Chicago’s best known shoegaze/grunge rock band, were releasing their second studio album, Siamese Dream. Akin to the trademark guitar-led, highly distorted alt-rock sounds we’ve come to associate with the 90’s, Siamese Dream embraced a layered, grungy introspection that would later become the Pumpkins’ calling card. This album helped fuel our creative juices in SQN’s early years, and even delivered the band’s infamous “Cherub Rock,” a hit that still finds its way onto Sine’s playlists from time to time.

Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream was released 23 years ago!

Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream was released 23 years ago!

Girly Sounds

And the 90’s were a pivotal time for women rock and rollers as well! Sine Qua Non’s throwback mix would be incomplete without the inimitable singer/songwriter Liz Phair, and the dulcet indie jams from her 1993 debut album Exile in Guyville. Another gem borne out of Chicago’s 90’s alt-rock scene, Phair’s work from this year is particularly dear to our hearts, and not just because of the folksy, angst-ridden soundtracks. Phair has stated that a large part of her inspiration for the critically acclaimed premier was the aesthetic experience of the times, and the differences in that for men and women. Widely criticized for being too rooted in sexual content, Guyville marks more than the beginning of this blonde bombshell’s career– it signifies a pioneering effort for sexual empowerment in music for ladies. Combined with the songstress’s effortless blonde tresses, what’s not to love?

Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville was a 1993 must.

Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville was a 1993 must.

Britpop Throwback 1993

Finally, our homage to the musical innovation of the early 1990’s absolutely demands a shout out to the endlessly kicky, psychedelic inspirations of the British pop/rock movement, and the alternatingly low-fi and new wave material that influenced artists of this era near and far. Stateside, alt-grunge and power-pop bands like the Posies took many a cue from post glam Britpop. While not quite as abstract as the English distortions of the Verve‘s ’93 contributions, or the synth driven hits brought by Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears on Elements, these artists found their niche in the English alternative rock sound, and many a jam sesh in the Sine community was fostered as a result.
For more info on what’s currently inspiring our ears and our minds, or to join in the anniversary celebration, head over to one of our three Chicago locations (Lakeview, Andersonville, or West Town). We’ll be doing hair and getting our 90’s on all day long!

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