Polvo - Polvo
This compilation's nine tunes-the first seven from the Can I Ride double 7-inch EP (1990), the last two from the "Vibracobra" b/w "The Drill" 7-inch (1991)-are not quite the sound of a torch being passed, but they were a sign that Sonic Youth's weird tunings, the hardcore punk and proto-indie rock on SST Records, and R.E.M.'s hazy rock (three big influences on this era of Polvo) were changing lives.
Even back then, the impossibly catchy roar from Merge's flagship act Superchunk was known to outsiders as the sound of Chapel Hill. But Polvo was something different from the same region. While the band never cottoned to the "math rock" tag (and it's hard to disagree with them), there is no question that there was a distinct "how can we make guitar rock sound different from all the other guitar rock" vibe going on in the mid-Atlantic, from Richmond to North Carolina over to Louisville and down almost to Atlanta. (If the Mastodon dudes aren't fans I'll eat your shoe.)