• Nirvana - In Utero (Album Review)

    Set 28 2012, 5h24

    NirvanaIn Utero (1993)

    Serve The Servants: first impression: I like this, I might like this a lot. Drumming is way more restrained here than on Nevermind (a good thing). Guitar’s a bit more jangly. A great noise and pop combination.

    Scentless Apprentice: before anything else, excellent song name. Okay, drumming is back to being a bit too much for me. Very rough and tumble, “heavy” power chords, trying to sound abrasive. Kurt screams a lot, seems angry but listless, the sound kinda wanders around. The screaming here doesn’t work for me, a little less vocal, a little more guitar (or something else…not drums).

    Heart Shaped Box: I'm sure you're familiar with this song if you consider yourself a Nirvana fan. More than anything, there is definitely a lot of anger and frustration here. This song is a great example of Kurt being channeling a lot of emotional subject material and focusing it into a laser. I guess you don’t have to like the style, but Heart Shaped Box is a Nirvana classic.

    Rape Me: the intro sounds intentionally like Smells Teen Spirit. Quiet/Loud dynamic here used to great effect. My occasional gripe with Nirvana is that they don’t (or didn’t have time to) realize that much of their best stuff is on the softer, more introspective pieces.

    Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle: It’s official, they figured out that simpler drumming helps their overall sound. Quiet/Loud again pretty heavily relied on. A lot of the riffs and fills on this album sound like interesting variations of stuff from Nevermind, and I can’t help but think it’s some sort of commentary on either their earlier work or their public perception.

    Dumb: Again, I’m really reminded of Nevermind, but then cello comes in?! If this song finishes as well as it starts it’s the best song on the album so far. Yep, really fucking good. I’m glad they held back here.

    Very Ape: I like the guitar and bass work here a lot. And drumming for that matter. This song has a bit of a swung rhythm that reminds me of Pixies a little bit.

    Milk It: definitely not a Nirvana feel at first, then it gets heavy and loud, but pretty bare bones actually. Very amelodic. Bass adds to general gloomy and dark feel of this song. 4 minutes is a bit long for a song like this.

    Pennyroyal Tea: most produced song, extra shine and fullness in the guitars, maybe just cleaner overall. Good song, reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. at times.

    Radio Friendly Unit Shifter: oh hey, this thing called feedback exists! General feeling so far: this album feels a bit scattershot. I really like some tracks, but this one and a few others have been a bit bland and boring. Maybe this is a conscious attempt at not being radio/MTV friendly? At times the impression is like, I dare you to listen to this.

    Tourette’s: sounds like a punk song so far. Just checked, 1:35 long, sounds about right. Pretty good.

    All Apologies: another fairly well-known song. More cello, too (which is used very effectively). This song also in contention for best song on the album. Guitar tone here is exceptional. “All we know is all we are” (I’ve thought this at times, not hard to believe Kurt thought so, too).

    Thoughts: this album is good, maybe great. This is my first time listening to this album in its entirety, and I’m familiar with maybe 3 tracks overall. I haven’t read much about this album, but I am aware that it was their final studio album.

    The bad: where’s the bass? Tracks like Lounge Act and Stay Away (off 1991's Nevermind) really demonstrated how fierce Nirvana could be with a bass melody; it set them apart from many of their contemporaries. Here it's sorely lacking. Again, my first listen, but I didn’t catch much. Also, the amp noise feels forced and uninspired sometimes. Nirvana are at their best, but maybe not most comfortable, writing pop songs. The trick is to play their aggressive and abrasive tendencies to their advantage. They do this much better overall on Nevermind.

    The good: drumming is thankfully kept under lid. One reason Nevermind isn’t a perfect album is the drumming. There are some seriously amazing songs on this album, too. Great tracks: the opener, Serve the Servants, the classic Heart Shaped Box, and the equally impressive Dumb and All Apologies. The best songs are interestingly the best sounding songs. I only wish we could have seen what a Nirvana album in 1998 might have sounded like.

    I’m sympathetic to the cause.
  • Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me (Album Review)

    Set 28 2012, 5h06

    I kinda like the style of taking on the fly notes for albums. It also helps when I've heard an album dozens of times and I know what's coming. Anyway, You're Living All Over Me:

    Dinosaur Jr.You’re Living All Over Me (1987)

    Little Fury Things: first 30 seconds: holy shit. Mascis’ voice sounds positively emotional at first…then his normal just neutral delivery, which is fucking perfect. The guitar just drowns all sounds here. You can tell the drums and bass are trying really hard but the amp is just turned up and J is playing his ass off. His voice really does it on this song, the noise and fuzz and crazy are great, but it’s so delicate at parts. Fades into absolute chaos.

    Kracked: whoa hey bass! Guitar is really clean, but just so effortless and raw at the same time, it’s an amazing combo. Each song has a genuinely complex structure that holds together really well because everyone knows their role. J’s job is to slay. Just slay. Murph’s job is to do what J thinks will work best. Lou’s job is to provide a third dimension to the band, but still an incredibly important dimension. The bass lines on some of these songs are the reason they work, not J’s fireworks.

    Sludgefest: Yeah, we’re loud. Heavy metal sounding, slower tempo, but then all of a sudden this masterfully conceived noise high on the fretboard. Drumming is especially great here. A lot of instruments, little singing (seems to make sense given how loud this song is). I really love how not flashy this song is. They are all really, really good musicians, even at this age; they could just overplay the shit out of their ideas, but they don’t. Except then the last 0:45 when J decides he hasn’t made enough noise yet. Listen, guys, I just wanna shred for a little bit more, who cares.

    The Lung: so dirty, but so inviting. This is a good example where the bass holds everything down for the song. Without it, J’s chords and fills wouldn’t have the same edge or effect. Then after about a minute and a half, the song just starts, everything falls into place and you realize this is Dinosaur Jr. doing a pop song. Guitar solo comes free. The last 40 seconds is just a feedback storm.

    Raisans: There isn’t any messing around in this song. Pretty uptempo. Feels dark, lonely, sometimes bitter and regretful, especially lyrically. This album is really loud. That can’t be said enough.

    Tarpit: Along with Little Fury Things and In a Jar, Tarpit is one of the more incredible tracks on this spectacular record. If points can be awarded for just achieving certain sounds and tones, then Tarpit gets an A+. I feel like this is Dinosaur Jr. doing shoegaze, and doing it better than most.

    In a Jar: what more can really be said about this song? Barlow’s bass line completely makes this song. Thankfully J holds back on guitar here, drums are also pretty out of the way. “In a jar the scars are plain to see / I hope somehow you’ll know I understand”.

    Lose: turns down headphones. Barlow singing! For the most part this has the same feel as a J song. Pretty guitar/feedback driven. Barlow’s singing is definitely more impassioned. Not necessarily for better/worse.

    Poledo: another Barlow track. Um, who is this? What is the hand clapping and acoustic sound? For those who insist on album cohesiveness and consistency, Poledo might raise some red flags, but it’s more minor indulgence than major mistake.

    Just Like Heaven: this cover basically got me into The Cure. I figured if Dinosaur Jr. thought they were interesting, they were worth checking out. I might be biased, but I prefer this version to the original. Dinosaur Jr. achieve an understated level of delicateness and sensitivity because no matter how noisy or chaotic the surface is there is always a melody shifting around underneath.

  • Maroon 5 - Overexposed (Album Review)

    Set 28 2012, 4h56

    Maroon 5Overexposed (2012)

    One More Night = gets right to the sexual point lyrically, kinda bland.

    Payphone = annoyingly high vocals at beginning; subject matter is completely 2-dimensional. All of these words have been said countless time before. Worse than One More Night “I’m at a payphone” really? Romanticizing the past much? When was the last time you were at a payphone? This song is a very weak attempt at mass-market pop, the last minute is mercifully taken over by rap (Wiz Kalifa)

    Daylight = the lyrics are way too much, emphasis is consistently on singing, making the lyrics that much more noticeable. “Here I am staring at your perfection in my arms…” “this is way too hard…” wow, this is so bad. Perfect music for playing in stadiums, the drawn out “ooh, ooh” sing-along verses, the drawn out legato nature of the keyboards, guitar, drumming, etc.

    Lucky Strike = Guitar actually sounds good, they haven’t fucked up until…about 30 second in. it just gets too cheesily sexual, like what am I learning here? You stay up all night having sex with your lucky strike, good job!

    The Man Who Never Lied = lots of “oooh, oooooh, ooooooh”; the lyrics keep trying to paint some detailed story, but it’s so banal and uninteresting and it’s foregrounded so much…really, we’re supposed to believe that you’re the man who “never lied till today” when you talk about your lucky strike on the previous track? Right…

    Love Somebody: are they kidding? Are they really serious? The music honestly isn’t always terrible, it’s just put together in a hap-hazard, poorly understood way. There isn’t that much difference (honestly) between some of the background stuff as on Kaputt, it’s just that here everything is much, much worse (Bejar’s lyricism vs. Maroon 5 is as big a mismatch as could be constructed).

    Ladykiller: best song so far, most relaxed and the lyrics are thankfully more subdued given the darker musical tone. Relatively short, under 3 minutes, guitars and voice sound decent.

    Fortune Teller: back to the terrible, awful, super focused lyrics and vocals, it just doesn’t make sense. They just wanna make music that people can stupidly sing along with? I mean, that can be done, but it can be done MUCH better than this.

    Sad: starts like a “sad” song might…piano and solo voice, good one. Themes: life is hard, the night was long, I have my regrets, you have yours, I’m (so) sad.

    Tickets: “I’m singin’ along like there’s no tomorrow’. Yup proof. Again with the sexual lyrics. Sex is a good topic for rock ‘n’ roll, but when you lauch at it so bluntly it comes across as gauche.

    Doin’ Dirt: Another club/dance song. “I know you like it when it hurts”. Please just hum or whistle, or anything else but sing.

    Beautiful Goodbye: “clever words can’t help me now, I grip you tight but you’re slipping out”. You gotta respect the artist who unashamedly praises his own awful wordplay.

    *Observation every single song so far is a love song, like, not in the slightest does it really address anything other than love, being loved, or making love. An important topic for sure, but a bit lofty for the likes of Maroon 5. Maybe they would be better just singing about their crazy circumstances as popular musicians.

    Wipe Your Eyes: I think I just hate his voice. 3 guesses what this song is about.

    Wasted Years: If they stuck with the fuzzy jazz stuff that occasionally pops up, this song wouldn’t be too bad. His delivery is anything but genuine, but at least the quasi-rap style works better stylistically. The drumming here is decent and this might be the best start to end track.

    Let’s Stay Together: Al Green cover. Wow, bold fucking choice. Honestly, it’s actually not bad. I can’t believe I typed that, but seriously, if you heard this just randomly playing you’d be like, well the original is better, but this ain’t bad.

  • Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky (Album Review)

    Set 21 2012, 23h10

    I was pretty excited leading up to the release of I Bet on Sky, Dinosaur Jr.’s 3rd post-reunion record. Considering the acclaim of 2009’s Farm, arguably their second greatest record ever, it wasn’t hard to entertain the possibility that Dinosaur Jr. were back for real. What might the lethal combination of J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph create in the wake of such a promising return to form? Before launching into the album, I think it’s important to set the stage for this band. First, with 10 LPs credited to Dinosaur Jr., it seems clear that Dinosaur Jr. do their best work best with the original line-up intact. Perhaps more importantly, J Mascis is as good a guitarist (and songwriter) as one can hear today. In the past (most notably, 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me) this has meant that his solos take center stage, or perhaps more accurately: the entire stage, for several minutes, on every song. But the year is 2012, not 1987, and we find that on their 10th studio release the tempos and solos have been tempered as much as the noise and production have been refined. For someone completely unfamiliar with Dinosaur Jr., this album still rocks pretty hard, but those drawn to J’s monolithic and dexterous noise attacks are left feeling a little flat. Don’t get me wrong, I Bet On Sky still boasts classic songwriting (Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know, Watch the Corners, What Was That), and yes, there are still guitar solos, but everything is just less immediate or in your face. This makes sense for a band that first released material 27 years ago; things are not so immediate when you have been around this long. Even Barlow’s contributions, the catchy Rude and well-crafted Recognition, fit more or less into place on this album. They don’t sound like 2 Sebadoh additions to an overwhelmingly Mascis inspired Dinosaur Jr. album. I’m confident that Dinosaur Jr. will continue to make good records until they call it quits, but a part of me wants greatness, not goodness. For example, there are times when I Bet On Sky crosses the line from effortless to lackadaisical. With the creativity and vision this band has shown, an effort like I Bet On Sky should take a year, not three. The slower pace and more modest delivery don’t impugn the band or the album, but sometimes a bit more screaming or screeching would be nice. They are its contemporary forefathers, after all.


    A Rough Guide to My Ratings:

    10.0 - A masterpiece; ingeniously conceived and/or perfectly executed. Likely had a strong influence on music in its time, music in the future, or both.
    9.5 - A seminal musical accomplishment. Everyone should hear this album at least once.
    9.0 - Incredible. Usually a classic exemplar of a particular sound or style, or an otherwise amazing collection of songs.
    8.5 - Excellent. Could be improved, but either inviting or rewarding enough to outweigh any flaws. Good enough to tolerate repeated listening over a long period of time.
    8.0 - Great. The flaws are usually tied to being either too ambitious, sloppy, awkward, or constrained. The ideas are there, but they aren't fully supported.
    7.5 - Very good. May have one or two legitimately bad tracks or slight lapses in judgment or focus. Okay to love, okay to ignore, more a matter of taste.
    7.0 - Good. Nothing amazing, just a generally decent work.
    6.5 - So-so. There are things to like, but there are things to dislike, too.
    6.0 - Mediocre. There are big enough missteps to undermine the character of the album. Flirts with banality, novelty, or self-indulgence to a great degree.
    5.0 - Crappy. Strongly lacking innovation, passion, attitude, or execution.
    4.0 - Bad. No one should really like or play this seriously.
    3.0 - Terrible. Bad enough that it may generate significant attention because of its lack of achievement or unintentional hilariousness.
    2.0 - Awful. Music you advise others to avoid.
    1.0 - Offensive. You question why it was done
    0.0 - Abysmal. You question how it was done.
  • Grizzly Bear - Shields (Album Review)

    Set 20 2012, 21h47

    Grizzly Bear’s fourth LP, Shields, is brilliant and audacious. The opening track, Sleeping Ute, trumpets Shields’ stunningly clear, immersive production, while simultaneously emboldening the potent Grizzly Beat combination of open chords and polyrhythms. As a whole, the album magnifies Grizzly Bear’s enviable skill of forging dense, baroque music that remains open, airy, and catchy (though this is definitely their most demanding record). The key here is patience; many of these songs are long and intricate, and only gradually do they reveal their full form and beauty. I recommend coming at this album with fresh ears and no distractions. The short, but excellent instrumental track Adelma sees Grizzly Bear exploring new ground entirely. I want more tracks like Adelma; it’s a relaxing change of pace and breaks up some of the longer works which simply require more focus. It’s also a well-chosen lead into Yet Again, a masterfully crafted 5 minute pop epic concluding with 30 seconds of amazing intensity and dynamism (this must be awesome live). The Hunt is hauntingly sparse and intimate, and certainly one of their sadder compositions. But it’s followed (upstaged?) by the upbeat and brassy A Simple Answer, another classic. It seems that the second half of the album is under-listened (understandably), but there are still some serious gems here. Gun-Shy and the monumental closer Sun in Your Eyes (the drumming!) are really good. Is 7 minutes too much to ask now and then? It’s clear that Grizzly Bear are on a new level with Shields, both collaboratively and musically. They haven’t perfected their sound, but they’re close.

  • Siouxsie and the Banshees - Juju (Album Review)

    Set 19 2012, 22h14

    The music on Juju is both insistent and immediate. It’s also a bit indulgent and meandering at times, but these wandering steps only rarely feel misplaced. After listening to the opening track, Spellbound, you’re left with a vibe somewhere between strange and spooky. Most of the album carries this general feel, characterized by the use of minor and chromatic harmonic structures, Siouxsie's powerful and sustained vocal contributions, and frequently upbeat tempos. The combination of the next two tracks is nothing short of stunning. Beginning modestly with a persistent and syncopated drum and bass duo, Into the Light intermittently bursts to life with haunting vocals and brilliant lead guitar. The strongest track, Arabian Knights, is an interesting mix of the macabre and uplifting. Lyrically, the situation is bleak: “Veiled behind screens / Kept as your baby machine / Whilst you conquer more orifices / Of boys, goats and things”; and musically, the tone is dark, but it embraces the mischievous and primal, rather than the depressing or angst-laden. This pop sensibility saves this album from being both too morose and too esoteric. Impressively, the rest of the album carries on at almost the same level. Sin In My Heart is a noise-pop masterpiece, while the closer, Voodoo Dolly, is another animal altogether. Dense and long (7 minutes), Voodoo Dolly is an audacious bookend to an unabashed and unassailable achievement from Siouxsie and the Banshees. For a 31-year-old album, the musical execution, experimentation, and ethos are strikingly forward-looking. A serious must for anyone even vaguely interested in music.


    September 18, 2012
    Alex Ehrnstrom
  • Perfect Gig

    Mai 15 2010, 7h52

    List your top 15 artists. Come up with a setlist for them to make your perfect gig. The first 8 artists get a 5 song set list. The next 4 artists get an 8 song set list. The 3rd and 2nd artist get a 10 song set list. The top artist gets a 12 song set list with a 3 song encore

    *using my Top 15 in the last 12 months

    15. Madvillian
    All Caps
    America's Most Blunted
    Great Day Today

    14. The Millenium
    The Island
    5 A.M.
    Sing to Me
    I Just Want to Be Your Friend

    13. A.C. Newman
    On the Table
    There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve
    The Heartbreak Rides
    Miracle Drug
    Drink to Me, Babe, Then

    12. Deerhunter
    Cover Me (Slowly)
    Dot Gain
    Twilight at Carbon Lake

    11. The Flaming Lips
    Race for the Prize
    One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21
    Pilot Can at the Queer of God
    She Don't Use Jelly
    In the Morning of the Magicians

    10. Modest Mouse
    Cowboy Dan
    She Ionizes and Atomizes
    Teeth Like God's Shoeshine
    The Stars Are Projectors

    9. Neil Young
    Tell Me Why
    Out on the Weekend
    Walk On
    Southern Man
    The Needle and the Damage Done

    8. David Bowie
    Life on Mars?
    Moonage Daydream
    Cracked Actor

    7. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
    Purple Haze
    Castles Made of Sand
    Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
    Hey Joe
    The Wind Cries Mary
    All Along the Watchtower
    Little Wing
    Red House

    6. The Beatles
    Nowhere Man
    You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
    And Your Bird Can Sing
    If I Fell
    Tomorrow Never Knows

    5. Beach House
    Walk in the Park
    Heart of Chambers
    Silver Soul
    Master of None
    Used to Be
    Take Care

    4, T. Rex
    Mambo Sun
    Cosmic Dancer
    Metal Guru
    Life's a Gas
    Lean Woman Blues

    3. Elliot Smith
    Needle in the Hay
    Between the Bars
    Son of Sam
    The Biggest Lie
    Sweet Adeline
    Pictures of Me
    No Name No. 5
    Say Yes

    2. Grizzly Bear
    Southern Point
    Two Weeks
    On a Neck, on a Spit
    Ready, Able
    While You Wait for the Others
    All We Ask
    About Face

    1. The Velvet Underground
    Sunday Morning
    I'm Waiting for the Man
    Venus in Furs
    Who Loves the Sun
    Sweet Jane
    I'll Be Your Mirror
    Femme Fatale
    There She Goes Again
    Lady Godiva's Operation
    What Goes On
    Pale Blue Eyes

    Candy Says
    I'm Set Free
    After Hours
  • Top 35 Albums Since College

    Mai 10 2010, 2h30

    This is my list of my favorite 35 albums I've listened to, or been largely exposed to, since I started college. I limited each spot to a unique artist, so while there are some artists that would have potentially taken up several spots, I wanted this list to represent more artistic diversity than just specifically the albums themselves.

    35. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 2002

    While I'm not the biggest Wilco fan, this is my favorite album of theirs as their songwriting seems more mature and slightly darker than on Summerteeth. Wilco certainly doesn't lack in melodic hooks and excellent instrumentation.
    Favorite Track: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

    34. The Strange Boys - The Strange Boys and Girls Club 2009

    The Strange Boys don't really try to break new ground or blow you away with their technical prowess, but they do represent the power of a few chords and an electric guitar. This album is just a great example of garage rock sounding blues with only the longest tracks going over 3 minutes.
    Favorite Track: This Girls Taught Me a Dance

    33. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted 1992

    I've only listened to this album all the way through once, but one listen is enough to indicate that Pavement puts their music before anything else. A lack of true compositional ability is made up by their passion and their earnest ability to rock out. I'm sure that with further listens, Pavement would move farther up the list.
    Favorite Track: Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at: 17

    32. The National - Alligator 2005

    I confess that my first impression of The National was not great. I thought that the band was a little too pretentious and didn't have many interesting qualities. Well, at this point I've reversed my position and realized that although The National can be a little quirky with lyrics and such, they are definitely great musicians capable performing and writing a surprisingly wide range of material. Alligator is certainly worth the time it takes to listen to and more.
    Favorite Track: Abel

    31. The Millenium - Begin 1968

    Don't be caught too off guard listening to this album for the first time, you might think that the release date of 1968 might be off by 30 years (really, it's only about the first half of the first track). This album represents pop at its 1960s best. Infectious tunes without too much sugary sweetness, Begin is a great album when you're just in a mood to relax and listen to track after track of simple, well-written music.
    Favorite Track: I Just Want to Be Your Friend

    30. A.C. Newman - The Slow Wonder 2004

    Power pop genius A.C. Newman really triumphed with his first album, The Slow Wonder. The best part of this album is A.C. Newman's vast lyrical repertoire, which he incorporates quite sucessfully. A.C. Newman is modest enough to make you think that you could potentially emulate his style, but I think he's actually far more talented than his songs initially reveal.
    Favorite Track: Drink To Me, Babe, Then

    29. Destroyer - Streethawk: A Seduction 2001

    Dan Bejar led Destroyer offers very original music while still being relatively accessible and melodic. Dan Bejar and A.C. Newman both being members of The New Pornographers reminds me a little of John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles. In many ways, each member of both pairs brings out the best in the other, at least in the sense that there is frequently quite a strong contrast. A.C. Newman and Paul McCartney often achieve great success with their lighter, more engaging material. In contrast, Bejar and Lennon stand out for their subtlety and irony. Streethawk may take a few listens to fully enjoy, but each listen demonstrates Bejar's supreme ability to craft a diverse range of material.
    Favorite Track: The Sublimation Hour

    28. The Flaming Lips - Transmissions From the Satellite Heart 1993

    To many people, the fact that The Flaming Lips have done albums other than Yoshimi might seem surprising. The most rewarding part of listening to their earlier works is noticing the progression that has occurred. Transmissions is certainly more raw, though vintage Flaming Lips songwriting is still obvious. Arguably not quite as good as Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi, Transmissions still stands high in its own class and is a very solid record.
    Favorite Track: Pilot Can at the Queer of God

    27. Japandroids - Post-Nothing 2009

    Seeing Japandroids in concert really helped cement this album in the top 30 simply because of the ridiculous energy Japandroids have at their shows and on their album. If you are a fan of loud, fast, intense, or any combination of those 3, this album will probably live up to your expectations. I look forward to their future endeavors.
    Favorite Track: Wet Hair

    26. The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic 2000

    I listened to some New Pornographers prior to college, but had my full introduction to them during my freshman year. Choosing a particular album from their selection was difficult because I'm not as familiar with all of them, but Mass Romantic certainly highlights all of their strengths as a band, particularly catchy hooks, great lyricism and vocals in general, as well as being a great change of pace from styles I typically prefer.
    Favorite Track: Execution Day

    25. The Avalanches - Since I Left You 2000

    Frontier Psychiatrist was my introduction to this album so I had high hopes for the other tracks. The Avalanches are masters at sampling and some of the transitions between songs are just awesome. Describing this album is difficult as you don't really listen to it as much as you experience it. Just go find it and listen to it now if you haven't; you won't be disappointed.
    Favorite Track: Frontier Psychiatrist

    24. The Arcade Fire - Funeral 2004

    Epic is proabably the best way to describe Arcade Fire's sound in general, but it works especially well to describe Funeral. Diehards might think Funeral only being at 24 is low, and while I admit that it is an excellent record, I don't love it the way I love other records. That being said, finding a flaw with this record is hard as Funeral is brilliantly produced and written. This album will certainly be highly regarded for quite a while.
    Favorite Track: Crown of Love

    23. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion 2009

    This is another album I've only listened to once all the way through, but Animal Collective have already proven to me that they are masters of sonic space and studio perfection. Some criticize them for being overly indulgent in the way of experimentation, but I don't really find their willingness to challenge convention to be that detracting from their appeal. As with Slanted and Enchanted, I could only expect this album to be higher if I had 15 more listens invested in it.
    Favorite Track: Summertime Clothes

    22. Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me 1987

    Dinosaur Jr. really turn up the volume on this album dating from the late 80s. This album is not super accessible as noise is part of Dinosaur Jr.'s agenda, but beneath the surface layer of in-your-face electric amplification, Dinosaur Jr. displays the capacity for musical complexity and beauty. Not often do you find such disparate qualities in one band.
    Favorite Track: Little Fury Things

    21. Elliott Smith - Either/Or 1997

    Elliott Smith really comes into his own on this album. Either/Or displays Smith's profoundly stunning, yet saddening, ability to share his emotion in the form of guitar strums accompanied by his mournful voice. An album to be appreciated more than enjoyed given how depressing it is.
    Favorite Track: Say Yes

    20. RJD2 - deadringer 2002

    Probably one of the top 2 shows I went to last year, adding to the ambiance of the performance were concert-goers asking me for ecstasy mid-show. Deadringer is full of ridiculously good beats and some of the highest levels of production you can ask for. This is music for all times and seasons: parties, background music, or just playing it as loud as possible. A very intelligent and well-recorded album that everyone should check out at least once.
    Favorite Track: Final Frontier Ft. Blueprint

    19. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People 2002

    Broken Social Scene quickly became one of my favorite bands last year after hearing a few tracks and later exploring their full albums. BBS is able to cover a good amount of material resulting in a very unique, enjoyable sound. For me, they are a band that get better with every listen.
    Favorite Track: Cause=Time

    18. TV on the Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain 2006

    TV on the Radio are easily one of the top 10 most talented bands currently making music. I think it's very hard to overrate this band simply given how ridiculously incredible both Dear Science and Return to Cookie Mountain are. This album really blew me away the first time I heard it. They are a band that know how good they are, know what good music is, and then go into the studio and make good music.
    Favorite Track: Wolf Like Me

    17. Beach House - Teen Dream 2010

    I chose Teen Dream over their self-titled because Teen Dream was the album that really got me into Beach House and caused me to explore their other stuff. Teen Dream are able to create a very mellow, atmospheric type experience for their songs. This album isn't for parties or blasting through speakers; enjoy this when you really have time to listen to every song carefully.
    Favorite Track: Walk in the Park

    16. Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villain 2003

    It was Madvilliany that inspired me to hear Vaudeville Villain, with Daniel Dumile's antagonistic aliases: MF Doom and Viktor Vaughn performing on Madvillainy and Vaudeville Villain, respectively. Vaudeville Villain's greatest asset is its amazing lyricism and turns of phrase obvious on every track. Production is also very high and as a whole, the album flows quite smoothly.
    Favorite Track:Saliva

    15. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions 1973

    Innervisions is Stevie Wonder at his creative best. While most of these songs are catchy and accessible, you never really get the impression that Stevie was trying to sell a ton of records; he just wanted to write his music. Stevie's voice and the wide array of instruments used on this album are the highlights.
    Favorite Track: Too High

    14. The Kinks - The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society 1968

    I'd listened to Kinka Kinks (1965) quite a bit before college, but only a few months ago had I heard Village Green. Village Green is my favorite Kinks' album because it's more ambitious than their earlier works, but still has the classic Kinks' sound that their later albums seem to lose. If you are a fan of British Rock, you will appreciate Village Green's distinct British feel.
    Favorite Track:
    Animal Farm

    13. George Harrison - All Things Must Pass 1970

    Anyone who has listened to The Beatles' album Revolver should know that by 1966, George Harrison had already established himself as equally talented to both Lennon and McCartney in songwriting ability. It's no surprise that in 1970, the year The Beatles disbanded, Harrison released the TRIPLE album All Things Must Pass. If you wish that the Beatles had featured more Harrison, just listen to this album; your wish has been granted. Also, just look at the album cover: he's a fucking badass.
    Favorite Track: Wah-Wah

    12. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless 1991

    Certainly one of the most innovative albums in the past 20 years, Loveless achieves original melodies in very unconventional ways. The album itself is not particularly broad in terms of different sound, but the sound it does strive for is quite consistent and should be interesting enough for an enjoyable listen.
    Favorite Track: Sometimes

    11. Lou Reed - Transformer 1972

    I listened to Transformer before I listened to any of the Velvet Undeground, but the transition was not difficult. Lou Reed is not quite as revolutionary on this album as he was with the VU, but this is still a seminal work in music history. Transformer demonstrates Lou Reed's ability to write and succeed with nearly any subject matter.
    Favorite Track: Walk on the Wild Side

    10. King Crimson - Red 1974

    This album only has 5 songs, but that's all it needed to make it into my top 10 favorite albums since I started college. Red is full of crazy twists and turns, especially on the first and last songs. This album is about as cool as they come.
    Favorite Track: Red

    9. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House 2006

    Yellow House, Grizzly Bear's second album, seems to play second fiddle to their most recent album Veckatimest. When I first listened to Grizzly Bear I thought Veckatimest was clearly better, but now I give a slight edge to Yellow House. While Veckatimest seems to have greater intensity and better production, Yellow House's charm is that it's a little softer and a little more intimate. Yellow House makes you work a little bit to appreciate it's warmth.
    Favorite Track: On a Neck, On a Spit

    8. David Bowie - Hunky Dory 1971

    Hunky Dory is probably my favorite Bowie album I've listened to so far. While not as experimental as his later albums, Hunky Dory succeeds because of how consistently great every track is. To put it bluntly, David Bowie is just an amazing musician who has a really interesting musical style that you can't help but admire.
    Favorite Track: Life On Mars?

    7. Neil Young - On the Beach 1974

    I've been a huge fan on Neil Young for most of my life. I listened to and loved After the Gold Rush and Harvest for a while before I'd listened to On the Beach. This 1974 classic from Young might be is best accomplishment. It's difficult to compare certain albums, but On the Beach is certainly Neil digging deep into his guitar for as authentic a sound as possible. The only negative part of this album is that it only has 8 tracks (compared to 11 for After the Gold Rush).
    Favorite Track: Walk On

    6. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced 1967

    For me there has never been an individual who has the same feel for the guitar that Hendrix had. Are You Experienced shows Hendrix before his legendary performance at Woodstock, but still indicates the ridiculous ability he had for seemlessly playing the most intricate blues with no effort at all. Listen to this and get experienced.
    Favorite Track: Red House

    5. Deerhunter - Microcastle 2008

    Deerhunter are my favorite band currently making music. I became an immediate fan after hearing Agoraphobia the first time, and my first experience with Microcastle was just as rewarding. Deerhunter has an uncanny ability to have smooth transitions, strong melody, and still have time to throw in quite a bit of their own twists to things. Microcastle is easily one of my favorite albums from the 2000s.
    Favorite Track: Agoraphobia

    4. Madvillian - Madvilliany 2004

    My introduction to Madvilliany was prefaced by two of my friends claiming that this was the best rap album they'd ever heard. As a general rule I don't really like people to hype an album that much because my expectations aren't usually met. On this occasion, my expectations were exceeded. Madvilliany is the work of Daniel Dumile's alias MF Doom working with producer Madlib. The album also features appearances by Viktor Vaughn and Quasimoto (Dumile and Madlib's aliases, respectively). Virtually every track is a gem and there are even a few really cool instrumental tracks.
    Favorite Track: Figaro

    3. The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle 1968

    Odessey and Oracle stands out as one of the best albums of the Sixties. Beautifully written and masterfully performed, this album, aside from the fact that it has a distinct Sixties feel, sounds like it could've been made yesterday. Lyrically complex and compositionally original, Odessey and Oracle represents the true genius that the Zombies possessed.
    Favorite Track: Care of Cell 44

    2. T. Rex - Electric Warrior 1971

    It was a tough decision between T. Rex and The Zombies for the top 2 and 3 spots. Electric Warrior gets the nod because it's a little more upbeat and has a little more replay value. I've listened to Electric Warrior probably 50 times or more since the first time I heard it over a year ago. Along with Bowie, this album represents some excellent glam rock that is sure not to disappoint.
    Favorite Track: Monolith

    1. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground 1969

    The Velvet Underground's first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, was my original favorite (and it is definitely an awesome record), but lately their self-titled has been climbing up the ladder to replace it. My honest opinion is that there is no band I've heard that approaches The Velvet Underground's range of ability. Describing this album won't really do it justice so I won't try. Listen and enjoy.
    Favorite Track: I'm Set Free