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My Golden Age of Music

Believe it or not, this blog post has taken me years to do, and after such delicate care & attention, it’s still not as good as I’d like. If I was ever articulate, I’ve lost it of late, and plus I’m not a professional writer, but I’ve tried my best to present to you what are currently 34 fantastic records that I think everyone would enjoy immensely. A very wise women said to me recently that everyone goes through their own personal ‘golden age’ of music, when you search out new stuff and really get into music, and you end up finding music and artists that just stick with you and you end up following for years to come. When I thought about it, it really was true, and when seeing that most of these albums below are in the same 10 year span, it was a bit shocking. SHOCKING! So I started this list in 2003, and 4 years later a few new albums made the cut, and the list is complete (until a few new gems are added). These aren’t albums that I would ever claim to be the ‘best albums’ or whatever nonsense, they are just ones that stand out to me, are all so unique, and timeless in my view, and just think everyone should check them out! I showed a little extra attention to the top entry, but the other ones are more simpler. For most I included a video or two from YouTube. Not all videos show highlights of the album necessarily, but for some I couldn’t find a lot, or anything! Hope enjoy this labor of love, so have fun illegally downloading all of these somewhere! …..

1 | GUS GUS | Polydistortion | 4AD 1997

Ghostly melodies, rough spooky beats, soulful vocals and icy slick bass lines. The perfect groove filled soundtrack to a snowy winter’s night. Mysterious and beautiful, an amazing record from beginning to end.

Delirious melodies, voices from outer space, and a mother load of spooky beats.” – Details Magazine, April 1997

Gus Gus create a multi-vibe stir with Polydistortion. At times as cold and icy as their frosty homeland (Iceland), at other times a rumbling volcano of pyrotechnic rhythms, the CD is a study in the dynamics of the electronic. Atmospheric without ever being boring, Gus Gus rely on soul-filled or breathy vocals to turn their compositions into some of the more interesting and accessible aural amalgamations ever committed to disc. “Believe” is a rhythmic juggernaut, while “Gun” is a moody study of beats and texture. “Why” is particularly stunning, a sparse torch song carried along by a Fender Rhodes-style piano line. More eclectic than electronica, Gus Gus make aural sculptures out of rhythm.” — Steve Gdula

it bobs and weaves between chilly techno and sensuous bliss-hop…all topped off with a hefty dollop of machine-age art-school cool. Enough glacially beautiful excursions into glistening ambient space-pop to keep armies of bespectacled buffins arching their post-ironic eyebrows well into the next millennium. Spookily surreal.” – VOX Magazine, April 1997

 

聞きなさい
oh | gun | believe | polyesterday | barry (white pride) | cold breath ’79
why? | remembrance | is jesus your pal? | purple | polybackwards

Polymovie :

a

……………….

2 | DOVES | Lost Souls | Heavenly/Capitol 2000

A classic rock album full of jazzy torch songs, folk melodies, dark trip hop grooves, stadium anthems and various majestic and gorgeous sounds that conjures images of a crisp October evening. And I dont say it much, cause there aren’t many in my view, but beautiful male lead vocals by Jimi Goodwin. Atmospheric, natural, pastoral and organic. And ‘Rise’ just may be one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. It feels like being rocketed into space. Cause I would know what that’s like, of course. Well now I do. Beautiful stuff.

“Doves have produced an outstanding debut album in Lost Souls, alternately melancholy and uplifting, sparkling darkly with charged atmospherics.” –Mike Pattenden, Amazon.com

VIDEO – “The Cedar Room”

聞きなさい
firesuite | rise | the cedar room

3 | BJÖRK | Homogenic | One Little Indian 1997

Battlefield strings swell as a buildup of marching band electronic beats slowly creep under, a song that ushers in the beginning of ‘Homogenic’ with what sounds like a theme for the troops in the far off-future. An album mostly of classical strings and rock hard volcanic beats, and throw in a dash of a hybrid of hip-hop and Michael Jackson (‘Alarm Call’), and some hard barren techno (‘Pluto’), this is a unique and incredible album that will never be matched, possibly even by Björk herself. Many times labeled as being too weird in lyrics or sound, she stays true to herself, but is able to strike the right balance for a more mainstream audience, and its a knock-out. Considered her best by critics and fans, its truly unique and a perfect listen from beginning to end. She said she wanted to create an album that sounded like the Icelandic landscape, and make a modern Icelandic pop album, and she couldn’t have said it any better. Truly remarkable stuff that gets better on each listen, even 10 years on.

VIDEO – “All is Full of Love” (live at Riverside Church – NYC)

VIDEO – “All Neon Like” (live in Cambridge)

VIDEO – “Alarm Call” (live in Cambridge)

聞きなさい
joga | all neon like | immature | alarm call

4 | LUSH | Split | 4AD 1993

Sounds like heaven and hell and the road that leads you there. At one moment feeling like you’re floating in space with angels singing all around, the next moment being sucked into the waves of hell. If stars emitted music, it would sound like this album. Hypnotic, rippling trance inducing guitars overriding a deep bass line drive this perfect autumn influenced record. A simple, hip, art deco album. Call it art rock I guess.

VIDEO – “Hypocrite”

聞きなさい
light from a dead star | kiss chase | never-never | undertow | lit up

5 | LISA GERMANO | Slide | 4AD 1998

Like a young girl in an old musty attic creating songs and melodies with all the toys and instruments she encounters, surrounded by all the dust and spider webs of generations past. A diverse use of natural everyday sounds, gently overridden by the subtle uplifting groove and dream-like state of the music.

VIDEO – “From A Shell” (interesting fan video)

聞きなさい
way below the radio | tomorrowing | if i think of love | reptile

6 | THROWING MUSES | University | 4AD 1995

Fourteen short stories filled with vivid imagery backed by distorted pop melodies. Rough and smooth at the same time. Incredible grooves, both loud and soft, created by unique guitar work, fluid bass lines and simple, yet unpredictable drumming that takes you through the creepiness and beauty of ghost-town America.

VIDEO – “Bright Yellow Gun”

聞きなさい
shimmer | hazing | teller | flood

7 | TV ON THE RADIO | Return to Cookie Mountain | 4AD 2006

OK, yeah, wow, how do you describe this album. This may be the most unique sounding band I have ever heard. From the vocals, to the songwriting, to the lyrics, to the overall sound, there is simply no other band I can think of that remotely sounds like them. Its odd of course as they do wear obvious influences on their sleeves. From your basic indie rock, to trip hop, to doo-wop, to barbershop quartet, to Peter Gabriel, to My Bloody Valentine, to gospel and on and on. But somehow they wrap these influences up completely into their own sound. It takes awhile to pinpoint these influences, and this is in part their key to success. Their sound and songwriting is truly a stamp on the music scene that easily stands out amongst even the most independent and non-commercial of today’s music, while still keeping a strong pop element that can draw in the average listener. A psychedelic electro-gospel bible is what I like to think. Unique and utterly special, I cant recommend this enough, and neither can David Bowie. At the time this album came out last year, I compiled some rave reviews and posted about it, and you can see that here for further information, if you like.

VIDEO – “Wolf Like Me” (live on David Letterman)

聞きなさい
hours | a method | blues from down here | dirty whirl

8 | THE DANDY WARHOLS | The Dandy Warhols Come Down | 1997 Capitol

There are so many bands out there, old and new, who dabble in this sound of droning psychedelic ditties. Some quiet, some loud. Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, but to me their faults lay in their lack of humor. And that’s where the Dandy Warhols stepped up, and took the great style of psychedelic and shoegazer sounds and added a level of humor to it, while still keeping their own version of a rock and roll attitude (by celebrating and mocking at the same time). What does this have to do with the music? Well that’s what they sound like. Their songs are droning, but every note is pure pop and irresistibly catchy. Blending influences from the Rolling Stones, to ‘southern rock’ to bands like Ride and My Bloody Valentine, their music to me is just infectious, and pretty hard to dislike. I will fault them for the one song everyone seems to know them for, which will remain nameless, as I really don’t like it, but it is on this album. Anyway all their albums are fantastic, but this one is flawless, balancing hazy drugged up day breakers with wall of sound classic rock foot stompers. Haha.

VIDEO – “Boys Better”

聞きなさい
be-in | minnesoter | good morning | cool as kim deal

9 | OASIS | Definitely Maybe | creation/Epic 1994

One of the few rock albums that transcends the age gap. Has that sound and energy that can make people of every age feel young again. Mixing the simplest guitar chords of the 60’s to the punk of the 70’s and 80’s and couple that with an extreme wall of sound (and don’t forget a few stolen melodies) and you’ve got the perfect mix of sound, attitude and ferocious melodies, that despise its simplicity, is so unique it can never be done in the same way again. Cocky as hell, and thank fuck for that.

VIDEO – “Columbia” (live @ Chicago Metro, 1994)

聞きなさい
live forever | columbia | slide away

10 | HOLE | Live Through This | Geffen 1994

‘it smells like girl, it smells like girl’

Not sure who wrote this album, nor do I care, cause it’s all about Courtney Love’s vocals. The songwriting is just superb obviously, with not one bad track on here, but Love’s ghostly, distant and gravely vocals give this entire album an eerie quality. Recorded before her husband’s death, released 4 days after his body was discovered, and the subsequent tour all gave the sound and release of this album a haunting aura around it. I remember seeing Hole on the Live Through This tour at the Orpheum in December of 94, and all the events surrounding the tour (the death of her bassist Kristen Pfaff a few months after the release of the album, her husbands death, Love’s fragile state) all made the messy racket of a show more creepy and exciting, and yes, quite powerful. Seeing her live on this tour made her sadness seem all the more real. Great rock album, through and through.

VIDEO – “Jennifer’s Body” (live in Washington DC 1994)

聞きなさい
asking for it | jennifer’s body | she walks on me | olympia

11 | SPIRITUALIZED® | Lazer Guided Melodies | Dedicated 1992

This is a really tough album to put into words, or to be able to accurately do justice to, as it really is incredibly beautiful. Over the course of their career Spiritualized has evoked space in the band imagery and even in some song titles/lyrics, and I really dont think it fits more perfectly than with this band. Their songs truly make you feel as if you are floating in space, in sound and voice (and ironically a lot more in this album than in one of their follow-ups called ‘Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space’). There’s also a gospel sound in it, and a lot of Pink Floyd, but never straying away from the idea that if space were to open up and reveal the great creator (not that I think there is one), this is the soundtrack for your trip up. As much as the sound of drugs seems to fill this album, its not a dirty sound, its clear bright and beautiful, and another word that I think describes them perfectly, tropical. There’s something in the sounds on this CD that sounds tropical to me, but it seems to match perfectly. Intrigued? I hope so, this album is very much worth the investment. Simply incredible stuff.

VIDEO – “Run”

聞きなさい
i want you | run | shine a light | sway

12 | BJÖRK | Debut | One Little Indian 1993

When The Sugarcubes disbanded I was quite devastated, as the idea that I would never hear her voice again, that voice, was truly terrifying. It was her voice that made me become obsessed with the thought of how adventurous music can be, as up until I discovered The Sugarcubes I was adrift in Top 40 Radio HELL. Foreign to me was the idea that she could go solo, and make music better and even more adventurous that the great stuff her former band had done. Yet she did it. As every album passes, a whole new terrain that no one else has touched or thought of is explored and conquered, while keeping it on a digestible level. ‘Debut’ sounded like nothing at the time else not just because of her voice, but also because of her songwriting. Incredibly these were songs written privately from being a child up until this came out, which shows her music skills, being able to take songs that are almost 20 years old and meld them with current sounds of the day, but taking it to her own level that’s ages ahead of the rest. This album is very bubbly and organic. From the jazzy torch song of ‘Like Someone in Love’, to the atmospheric club vibe of ‘One Day’, to the upbeat club vibe of ‘Violently Happy, to the folk of ‘The Anchor Song’, every song is perfect. Breezy, lush, and catchy as heck, just a perfect way for Björk to enter the world of pop. Fun, beautiful stuff.

VIDEO – “Human Behaviour” (live @ Royal Opera House London 2001)
(excellent climax with orchestra at the end)

VIDEO – “Big Time Sensuality” (live)
(beautiful rendition performed by Björk, Talvin Singh and Guy Sigsworth)

VIDEO – “Violently Happy” (live in London 1995)
(um, yeah, that looks like an orgasm at the end)

VIDEO – “The Anchor Song” (live in Cambridge 1996, in Icelandic)

聞きなさい
human behaviour | aeroplane | come to me | the anchor song

13 | SIGUR RÓS | Ágætis Byrjun | Fatcat 1999

I can now officially be a snob. In one of my 6 visits to Iceland I was reading the Atlantica in-flight magazine on my 5 hour Icelandair flight from Boston. In it was a blurb about the release of this album that had just come out in Iceland, and how it was breaking sales records in their small country by being able to appeal to people of all ages. The indie rock scene and their grandparents all adored his album equally. So I went out searching for it in Reykjavík center in the 3 or 4 record shops that existed back then. Every store had a space for it in their top 10 sections (it was in first place of course) but the spaces were empty. It was snowing outside, it was cold. Skífan didnt have it, so i walked across Laugevegur to a more local shop, and there it was, one copy left on the shelf. I had no idea what this was really going to sound like, but I put it on my CD player (no iPod’s yet, this was in 2001 maybe? or earlier?) and turned it up and started my walk back to my hotel. It clicked right away. Cliches aside, this album sounded exactly like Iceland, and it made perfect sense why all of Iceland loved it so much. It’s Iceland in CD format. Its the sound of a barren windswept landscape. It’s the sound of a nation waking up to their newly found independence, the sadness of sunless winters and the sound of a quiet village capital in the middle of the night. It’s the sound of blinding fierce snowstorms. Its the sound of volcanoes coming alive in pure pitch black darkness, waterfalls and hot springs. It was a beautiful walk that night, in an beautiful haunting place, with the perfect soundtrack.

VIDEO – “Viðrar vel til loftárása”
(really beautiful video)

聞きなさい
svefn-g-englar | ný batterí | viðrar vel til loftárása | olsen olsen

14 | THE THE | Soul Mining | Epic 1983

A band not really known for ‘beats’, but to me probably the best mix of beats and instruments ever recorded. A most underrated 80’s masterpiece mixing every style of 80’s music into one perfect pop album. As fresh and unique as the new day you’re listening to it. A very bright, sunny mid-summers’s day listening experience.

VIDEO – “This is the Day” (live 1983)

聞きなさい
i’ve been waiting for tommorow (all of my life) | this is the day | uncertain smile

15 | HELIUM | The Dirt of Luck | Matador 1995

One of Boston’s most original songwriters, Mary Timony has written a very catastrophic album full of simple yet loud guitars and choppy mid-tempo riot grrrl melodies. Sounds like a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter. Lyrics, melodies, and sounds put together by instruments and ideas left over from the destruction. Ms. Timony’s dry, monotone yet innocent sounding vocals balance the grinding guitars and marching drums perfectly. A weird, jilted rock album, completely unique and hard to shake. Fantastic.

VIDEO – “Pat’s Trick”

VIDEO – “Honeycomb”

聞きなさい
trixies star | oh the wind and rain | honeycomb

16 | COCTEAU TWINS | Heaven or Las Vegas | 4AD 1990

Cocteau Twins always had a knack for creating what people would describe as this majestic shimmering wall of sound. They helped create the shoegaze sound, where countless bands named them as influences, such as Lush and My Bloody Valentine, up to todays bands ranging from Sigur Rós to Interpol to the new sound of Blonde Redhead. All their albums and their accompanying artwork were just that indeed, pieces of art. They sound like paintings coming alive in a museum. Everything they put out was better than the last, and led by Elizabeth Fraser’s indecipherable lyrics and angelic vocal delivery, their music was groundbreaking, and still sounds as fresh as when they started 25 years ago. This album is my favorite, as it feels more like it came from a modern art museum, like a #1 pop album from a Blade Runner-esque future of the year 3000. Why does this album sound like surfing through space to me? ‘Fifty-Fifty Clown’ is one of the best songs ever written, and of the best vocal performances I have personally ever heard. Given me goose bumps each and every time to this day.

“And this is safe, flowing, love, soul and light”

VIDEO – “Iceblink Luck”

聞きなさい
fifty-fifty clown | pitch the baby | road river and rail

17 | CRANES | Loved | Dedicated 1994

A dark, raw-sounding pop album often lumped in with many goth bands because of their slight hint of gloom. Every song feels like it belongs in the background of a film, due to the widescreen feel and scope of the songs. Erratic drumming, odd uses of the guitar to evoke the feeling of landscapes and the child-like vocals of Alison Shaw. Her voice is not for everyone and can annoy some, but the range of emotions and bravery to sing using her natural voice is not to be overlooked.

VIDEO – “Shining Road”

VIDEO – “Beautiful Friend”

聞きなさい
lillies | beautiful friend | shining road | bewildered

18 | JOY DIVISION | Closer | Factory/Warner 1980

What hasn’t been said about this album almost 25 years later? If you’re going to kill yourself why not go out with a good gothic beat and a little inovation? Very modern band in 1980 with a different edge on a musical style that really hadn’t even happened yet. Gothic guitars, 80’s dance music (yet to exist), a ‘post-punk’ style bass, medieval drumming, and some of the saddest bleakest lyrics in music. Interesting and irrisistable combination. Cold and icy indeed.

VIDEO – “Digital” (live in the Netherlands)
(they were never able to tour this album, so heres another great live clip)

聞きなさい
isolation | heart and soul | decades

19 | THE WOLFGANG PRESS | Funky Little Demons | 4AD 1994

A smooth, soulful, southern-tinged, gothic funk dance album. Very little known band who were around for 15 years creating the perfect mix of many many styles of music. So utterly unique its hard to describe. Deep soulful vocals, backed occasionally with some gospel choirs, guiding lyrically by stories of history and the present. Every style and instrument is represented. Samples, guitars, keyboards, bass, techno beats, drum machines, horns, trumpets, drums, percussion and piano amongst others used to create a gothic-tinged soulful groove-drenched dance album. Just when you think you have an idea what this sounds like, you realize there’s no way to describe it.

VIDEO – “Kansas”
(not on this album, but only good video i can find!)

聞きなさい
christianity | she’s so soft | fallen not broken | chains | going south

20 | TRICKY | Angels With Dirty Faces | Island 1998

This album seems to be Tricky’s first with a complete vision, a concept album if you will. A very manic collection with indecipherable rambling and rapping about the music industry. All this against a backdrop of music that sounds like a gothic trip-hop voyage through the deep south bayous and swamplands of the delta. Very raw and tense album with frenzied drumming and slow torturous melodies full of rage just waiting to burst. A glowing gospel-tinged gothic rap album.

VIDEO – “Broken Homes” (with PJ Harvey live on David Letterman)

聞きなさい
carriage for two | broken homes | record companies

21 | TARNATION | Mirador | 4AD 1997

Lumped in frequently with the pathetically named ‘alternative country’ scene, Tarnation has definite country influences and sounds. This album however brings to life the most gothic images of midwest America circa the 1800’s. Images of saloons, dusty prairies and rolling sagebush echo throughout. Founding member Paula Frazer has a lilting country-tinged voice that is treated so well as to sound like a distant voice in the back of that very saloon. Coupled with great songwriting, echoey twangy guitar work and great artwork from 4AD to enhance the recordings, this an incredible package. Can’t recommend enough.

聞きなさい
wait | your thoughts and mine | idly

22 | PALE SAINTS | In Ribbons | 4AD 1992

An extremely unique rock album, fronted by two angelic voiced singers, one male, one female. Because of this, and when this album came out, I think it was easy for critics to place them in the shoegaze scene of the early 90’s. On top of that their sound on this album, to me, sounds very airy. It sounds like when Ferris Bueller woke up and saw the perfect day, bright blue skies and a few perfect clouds in the sky. This album sounds like his morning. Every sound, every note, is airy, and light to the touch. The song titles, the vocals, the melodies, every hit of the drums and every plucked guitar string, its all very gentle, but its a ROCK album. It ROCKS OUT. Bright beautiful atmospheric and lots of rich texture to every song, undeniably unique stuff.

VIDEO – “Throwing Back the Apple”

VIDEO – “Blue Flower”

聞きなさい
hunted | babymaker | liquid | featherframe | throwing back the apple | a thousand stars burst open

23 | SLOWDIVE | Souvlaki | creation/SBK 1994

This album is about air, ocean and space. Sounds of clouds, tidal waves, the surf of the ocean, shooting stars and choruses of angels singing laid-back drugged-up melodies. Mellow album yet loud and as expansive as the galaxies themselves. Reverb drenched guitars and beautiful male and female vocals lull you to sleep and simply drift away to the catchy melodies buried underneath. OCEANIC! A TSUNAMI OF MELODY! But seriously, excellent.

VIDEO – “Allison”

VIDEO – “When the Sun Hits” (live in Toronto 1994)
(definitely a bit distorted, but you get the idea they are able to pull their sound off live, which i think it so great as it sounds like its all keyboards, but its their guitars, with lots of effects)

聞きなさい
sing | when the sun hits | souvlaki space station

24 | HIS NAME IS ALIVE | Ft. Lake | 4AD 1998

A very hard album to describe its uniqueness as it’s a hybrid of various musical styles. Gospel music, 60’s psychedelia, 80’s pop, electronic beats, hippie jams, Motown soul, punk and straight-forward rock and roll are all glazed over with a gloss of basic indie pop.

聞きなさい
spirit needs a spirit tool | always turn me on | cant always be loved | the waitress | last american blues

25 | RADIOHEAD | OK Computer | Capitol 1997

Instantly praised as one of the greatest albums ever recorded, not just in Britain but across the globe. It took me literally over a hundred listens (being force fed this working at a record store) to really enjoy this album. From the first time it was clear the originality and utter uniqueness, but it took awhile for the very straight forward melodies to connect. Clearly a rock album but blends standard instruments with electronic instrumentation that hasn’t been heard in a long time and coupled with the abstract lyricisms about the marriage of nature and technology, and you’ve got one of the most accessible art rock albums around. Well done, chaps!

VIDEO – “Karma Police”

聞きなさい
airbag | subterranean homesick alien | karma police

26 | MASSIVE ATTACK | Mezzanine | Virgin 1998

Very dark and moody rock/trip-hop/dub/reggae album. Repetitive dub-like bass lines keep the mood rumbling and the atmosphere mellow until loud metal guitars come crashing in. All the while vocals from Horace Andy with his reggae/dub singing style and former Cocteau Twins chanteuse Elizabeth Fraser providing her ethereal incomprehensibles. Touches of 80’s British rock, shoegaze bands, various trip-hop and smooth soul combine for a darkly beautiful groove. Great album for releasing tension as quietly as possible.

VIDEO – “Teardrop”

聞きなさい
inertia creeps | angel | man next door | black milk | group four

27 | CURVE | Doppelganger | Anxious/Capitol 1992

Taking the ethereal qualities of bands like Ride, Slowdive and Lush and adding a bit of attitude and stomp to the sound is what Curve is all about. Basically sporting a slight industrial tone and letting the buried bass lines carry the melody and this album becomes quite a rollercoaster ride. Equally balanced with the tough, sexy, icy, gothic vocals of Toni Halliday, this album will stick in your head all day.

“It’s just a little too late
it’s never enough to swallow those pills
Now I’m sick and always will be”

VIDEO – “Fait Accompli”

VIDEO – “Coast is Clear” (live)
(ahh nice to kids rocking out to the sweet sounds of Curve)

聞きなさい
lillies dying | fait accompli | wish you were dead | split into fractions

28 | THIEVERY CORPORATION | The Mirror Conspiracy | ESL/4AD 2000

The perfect chillout album ever, hands down. As their name suggests they blend a mix of musical styles including Indian sitar, French 60’s pop, bossa nova, Middle Eastern, Brazilian, reggae and dub. Add smooth beats and an airy cinematic elegance and just sit back with bottle of wine, some Cuban cigars and close your eyes. Not that I’ve done that, but it sounds about right, hehe.

VIDEO – “Lebanese Blonde”

聞きなさい
indra | lebanese blonde | air batacuda

29 | COLDPLAY | Parachutes | Parlophone/Capitol 2000

This one is truly hard to describe without describing the feeling of having the coziest evening in a tiny town called Denmark in the state of Western Australia with the most wonderful person ever, then driving in the middle of the night through the most peaceful and beautiful landscape full of hills and odd trees. This was the album I heard for the first time during that drive and now every time I hear it, every sound from voice and instrument is just as delicately beautiful as my surroundings that evening. An incredible subtle rock album.

VIDEO – “Trouble”

聞きなさい
spies | trouble | don’t panic | high speed

30 | KRISTIN HERSH | Sky Motel | 4AD 1999

Ms. Hersh’s knack beyond creating haunting moods with her fancy guitar work is her beautifully abstract lyrics that always paint a picture from beauty to insanity. A truly panoramic album of white trash backyards, humid hot southern nights, midwestern star-gazing, cheap dates, serenades, indie foot stompers and smoky drunken evenings at the local cocktail lounge. Slow rockers, sing song melodies and clearly one of the best songwriters in the past 20 years, its impossible for her to ever let you down.

VIDEO – “Echo”

VIDEO – “Your Dirty Answer” (live @ Borders, DC, 2001)

聞きなさい
echo | cathedral heat | spring | clay feet

31 | SING-SING | The Joy of Sing-Sing | Poptones 2001

Melodies that are absolutely impossible to get out of your head driven by deep bass lines and thoughts of train rides through Europe. Vocals that infect and give you goose bumps. 60’s horns and techno beats that get your feet tapping and your head nodding. Sounds of nature and echoes of distant beats and rain-drenched guitars keep summer buzzing in your head. The perfect soundtrack for your vacation, whatever kind of vacation that might be.

VIDEO – “Feels Like Summer”

聞きなさい
me and my friend | feels like summer | panda eyes | far away from love | you don’t know

32 | CUBA | Leap of Faith | 4AD 1999

Gritty urban cinematic instrumentals, fist-pumping stadium big beats, ethereal brit-pop guitar solos, cheeky repetitive rap vocals and big brand bass. Sunny, windswept road songs, chunky bass lines, haunting piano ballads and summery guitar/trip-hop combos. Featuring vocals from former singers of Massive Attack and Slowdive, as well as Fidel Castro! The sound of the city at 3am.

聞きなさい
urban light | winter hill | cross the line | fiery cross | starshine

33 | DEAD CAN DANCE | Spiritchaser | 4AD 1996

This last album by Dead Can Dance was a bit of a departure in a sense from their previous albums, which was tagged most often as gothic that was rooted in renaissance elements, but at their core was what you could call a world sound. It was just the balance of their music slanted more towards the darker elements of their songs. All fantastic stuff. But depending on what you preferred, the earlier ‘work’ might not have been some people’s cup of tea. But then came this album, which shifted the balance more towards a world/global music sound, but still with the darker tones intact. At the core was always the vocals of Australia’s Lisa Gerrard (now an Academy Award winning soundtrack composer) and Brendan Perry, and seeing them live is truly an amazing near mystical experience, walking away feeling you’ve seen the most passionate musicians in music. Using electronic elements and more traditional instruments, this album is filled with hypnotic repetitive songs that take you through the sounds of Africa, the Amazon, the Middle East, South America and much more. It’s the sound of ancient nature coming alive, resulting in a remarkable and completely enjoyable album from start to finish. A hard album to describe for me, and nothing I can think of to say does it proper justice, you just have to hear it for yourself.

“It could have been played around bonfires by African tribesmen before the dawn of our civilization. It could have come from European mystics in the time of the Renaissance, South American cultures in the middle ages, goths in a dark underground club in modern America.. maybe even by tribal cavemen scattered through Gondwana before our continents of today were even made” – Amazon.com reviewer

The following videos are not from songs on this album, but show how great this band is live, especially both vocalists :

VIDEO – “Cantara” (live 1994)

VIDEO – “Rakim” (live 1994)

聞きなさい
indus | the snake and the moon | song of the nile | niehika

34 | THE SUGARCUBES | Stick Around for Joy | One Little Indian 1992

There was one strange moment when this album really hit me, ‘like a ton of bricks’, and that was in high school. I had just gotten into The Sugarcubes thanks to the vocals of Björk and just the sheer silly nature of the band. I really don’t remember what it was for, but there was a school trip where we had to go out onto a boat, me and a bunch of other classmates. Maybe it was a whale watch or something, I can’t remember, but it was in either Boston or Plymouth Harbor. I brought my tape Walkman with me, and listened to this album while avoiding everyone else. I was leaning on the wooden railing of the boat, as it moved quickly through the water, and it was cloudy and very cool as it was autumn, and very misty. It was just a perfect cozy atmosphere for the day, and for the music for some reason. Im not sure if I thought that maybe this is what weather was like in Iceland (where they were from, and I had not been there yet). Maybe it was the windy, care-free full of life vocals coming from Björk that matched the moment, or the drums that sounded to me very ‘Caribbean’ (there’s that ocean connection again). Maybe it was just feeling like the music was tearing me away from the hell of a high school outing. I just remember more than anything just feeling happier than ever during the freak-out in “Lucky Night” and during the happy lazy-day vibe in all of “Leash Called Love”. The mix of everything just hit me so hard I have never forgotten that trip, and now every time I listen to this fantastic album, its all that comes to mind. A fun breezy upbeat album with the always incredible vocals of Björk, who shows she can sing anything from electronica, to rock, to jazz, and to acapella, and she makes it all her own. A truly joyful album that simply can’t fail to put a smile on your face.

VIDEO – “Walkabout”

VIDEO – “Hit” (live on the Arsenio Hall Show, 1992)

VIDEO – “Birthday” (live on Saturday Night Live, 1988)

聞きなさい
leash called love | lucky night | i’m hungry | gold | hetero scum

____________________

MORE PERFECT ALBUMS FROM BEGINNING TO END (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

!!! : Myth Takes

50 Foot Wave : Golden Ocean

Barry Adamson : Oedipus Schmoedipus

Björk : Vespertine

Björk : Volta

The Breeders : Pod

Broker/Dealer : Initial Public Offering

Chapterhouse : Blood Music

Cocteau Twins : Treasure

Cranes : Wings of Joy

Cranes : Forever

Doves : Some Cities

Echo and the Bunnymen : Heaven Up Here

Echo and the Bunnymen : Ocean Rain

Galaxie 500 : This Is Our Music

Laika : Lost in Space

Lush : Gala

Mojave 3 : Out of Tune

My Bloody Valentine : Loveless

Portishead : Portishead

Prolapse : The Italian Flag

Public Image Limited : Metal Box (also known as Second Edition)

Rage Against The Machine : Rage Against The Machine

Red House Painters : Red House Painters 1

Ride : Nowhere

Scheer : Infliction

Spritualized® : Pure Phase

The Sugarcubes : Life’s Too Good

Talk Talk : The Colour of Spring

Thom Yorke : The Eraser

Throwing Muses : The Real Ramona

Tribe : Abort

Tribe Called Quest : Anthology

Tricky : Maxinquaye

Ulrich Schnauss : …far away trains passing by

Ultramarine : United Kingdoms

Underworld : Beaucoup Fish

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