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The most fabulous albums
February 1, 2013 10:08 AM   Subscribe

As a mini-resolution, I am going to take a month and listen to one new-to-me album every day. The genre is totally unimportant- I just want them to be good!

I'm not really much of a music listener. I tend to lean more towards podcasts when I'm listening to anything. But it's not that I don't LIKE music- I just don't bother to find new music that I like. My computer is full of the same bands I grew up listening to.

I'd like to change that, so I've put 'listen to one new album every day' on my list of month-long mini resolutions for the coming year. I want whole albums of a single artist, preferably. They don't necessarily have to be the type of album that tells a coherent story.

It would be a fabulous bonus if you listed albums available on Spotify, because I am cheap, but it's not strictly necessary.

I won't tell you what I currently listen to, because the whole point of this is to try all different types of music. Modern or 50 or 200 years old, any country, any type. Just make it good!
posted by showbiz_liz to Media & Arts (93 answers total) 125 users marked this as a favorite
 
The The - Dusk. Great album!
(Sorry, no Spotify where I live)
posted by Prof Iterole at 10:13 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bach Lute Suites by John Williams
posted by klausman at 10:17 AM on February 1, 2013


Sinatra at the Sands, the 1966 live album.

It's an entire show, it's an era, it's VEGAS, and it's a man at the pinnacle of his career all in one package. And you get Count Basie and Quincy Jones kicking ass too.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:18 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


This book and this book may be of interest. The commentary on each album is great; if you just want the list for the first one by itself, it's here.

Or, you could listen to all the albums from the 33-1/3 book series.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:18 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


And my only personal commentary is that if you have not yet heard the following albums:
Astral Weeks by Van Morrison
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan
Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys
Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, and Bone Machine, all by Tom Waits
Duke by Genesis
Peter Gabriel 3 (aka, "Melt"), So, Us, and Passion, by Peter Gabriel
Pink Moon by Nick Drake
Giant Step/De Old Folks at Home (a double album), by Taj Mahal
Night and Day by Joe Jackson
Kick and X by INXS
...hunt them down.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hm -- so basically, albums where pretty much every song is great? Here are a few that spring to mind:

Katrina and the Waves -- Katrina and the Waves. Surprising. Of course everyone's heard Walking on Sunshine, but seriously, this album sounds like a greatest hits album. Fantastic voice, fantastic guitar work, very catchy and memorable songs.

Carlene Carter -- both I Fell in Love and Little Love Letters. Another booming, joyous, infectious voice. Great, catchy songs.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice -- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The 1974 version). Really fun. Clever lyrics and super-catchy songs.

Emmylou Harris -- Pretty much anything. Someone once wrote that you could take all her albums, pull out 12 songs at random, and you'd have what for other artists would be a greatest-hits album. Right now I'm partial to The Ballad of Sally Rose, which is kind of a labor-of-love concept album based loosely on her relationship with Gram Parsons.
posted by Alaska Jack at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really liked N'Dea Davenport's self-titled album from the late 90s. The stuff she did with the Brand-New Heavies is fine, but that solo album was really good. Seems like I was the only one who thought so, though - it doesn't show up in iTunes.

Especially "Whatever You Want", "Getaway", and "Bullshittin"

Kind of a weird tempo and key R&B.
posted by Tchad at 10:26 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here are two I found via Metafilter. Boy they are good:


Shaken by a Low Sound (and any other Crooked Still album.)

Leave Your Sleep -- for which you want to read the poems included in the CD while listening.
posted by bearwife at 10:26 AM on February 1, 2013


Dusk is fine but its not even The The's best album and its not 100% quality tracks. I think you can make a case for both earlier albums fitting that description though: 'Soul Mining' and 'Infected'.
posted by biffa at 10:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mass Romantic by the New Pornographers.
posted by Chenko at 10:30 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sunrise on the Sufferbus by Masters of Reality is one of the best albums of the 1990s that nobody's ever heard. Ginger Baker was in the lineup.

Copper Blue by Sugar is another start-to-finish 90s classic.

Seconding Rain Dogs and Bone Machine by Tom Waits, and adding Mule Variations for good measure.
posted by usonian at 10:31 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you haven't sat down and listened to London Calling all the way through yet, now's a good time.

Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel is good too.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:31 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


'My Dark Twisted Fantasy' by Kanye West

'In Rainbows' and 'King of Limbs' by Radiohead
posted by Fig at 10:32 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I downloaded and installed Spotify specifically so I could check if "Heat Dust & Dreams" by Johnny Clegg and Savuka was on there. So if it is, you have to listen to it.

...It is. You owe me. :)
posted by themanwho at 10:33 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Steve Earle's "The Mountain" is a bluegrass album by a decidedly non-bluegrass musician, but it also features the Del McCoury Band and a series of well-written, incredibly singable in the shower or car kind of songs. How good? A couple of the tunes have been covered by Wanda Jackson and Levon Helm. I'm not a bluegrass fan, but love, love, love this record.

"M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-You got to put your hat on, boy. All right. You wanna be in the band, you have to put your hat on..." is the best damn intro to a train song you'll hear today.

Trains! Iris Dement! Mandolin! Fiddle! Outlaws! What's not to like?
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:34 AM on February 1, 2013


I made a similar resolution this year, but to spend a week listening to a new-to-me album. For me, the two high-points for January have been Faintly Blowing by Kaleidoscope and Wisconsin by The Crucifucks...
posted by anagrama at 10:34 AM on February 1, 2013


Here, listen to Blonde on Blonde.
posted by General Malaise at 10:35 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pitchfork recently (?) released their "Advanced"-feature, where you can prelisten upcoming albums. I especially liked Night Beds by Country Sleep (or the other way around; I'm not sure yet).
posted by KMB at 10:40 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Janelle Monae's Metropolis and ArchAndroid CDs are space operas, as is Copperwire's album. All three are delightfully epic, and really use SF to talk about race, oppression, and mental health in really intriguing ways. Plus they're beautiful music.

I'm also a huge fan of the Carolina Chocolate Drops -- they do this eerie, fun kinda Appalachian folk violin stuff.
posted by spunweb at 10:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
M. Ward - Post War
Andrew Bird - Weather Systems
Four Tet - There is Love in You
Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming
Aphex Twin - Drukqs

this is hard.
posted by breccia at 10:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


full albums:

Air -- "Moon Safari"
Coltrane - "Blue Train"
Lex Baxter - "Ritual of the Savage" (Quiet Village! - at 16:00)
posted by mrmarley at 10:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Random selections from my iphone. No idea if these are available via Spotify:

Freedy Johnston - This Perfect World
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
Hackberry Ramblers - Cajun Boogie
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
Cleveland Orchestra (George Szell, conductor) - Dvorak: Slavonic Dances
Muddy Waters - Hard Again
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell
Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York
ELO - A New World Record
The Louvin Brothers - Satan is Real
King's College Choir - Tallis: Spem in Alium
posted by plastic_animals at 10:47 AM on February 1, 2013


Pulp - Different Class
The Fucking Champs - III
Boards of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children
posted by par court at 10:48 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I Should Fall From Grace With God - The Pogues

Naked City - Naked City (John Zorn and buddies)
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:51 AM on February 1, 2013


I second London Calling, I never get tired of that album.

Three more (I can't access Spotify from the country but I imagine they're on there):

Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (perfect mix of dreamy pop, interesting instrumentals and a bit of experimental stuff)

Wilco: A Ghost is Born (Tweedy is a poet, damnit.)

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless. You might hate it/it's a "weird" album for many people, but it changed the way I felt about music. It just has so much texture.
posted by Paper rabies at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2013


Previously and previouslier.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2013


Charm of the Highway Strip by the Magnetic Fields
The Unseen by Quasimoto
Welcome Interstate Managers by Fountains of Wayne
Crazy Rhythms by the Feelies
posted by Chenko at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2013


Haven't seen Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Dark Side of the Moon yet. Too obvious. But if by some chance you haven't listened all the way through, do so because A) they both have full cohesive narratives from start to finish, and B) they're Important in the evolution of Rock.
posted by dry white toast at 11:04 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Haven't seen Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Dark Side of the Moon yet. Too obvious.

'Too obvious' is actually totally fine by me, there are a lot of canonical albums I haven't heard all the way through.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:07 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the East Coast of Canada, Joel Plaskett is almost universally loved - a little rock and roll, a lot of great melody and some great storytelling. La De Da is an album you won't regret listening to.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 11:09 AM on February 1, 2013


Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I
posted by downing street memo at 11:12 AM on February 1, 2013


Paper rabies and I seem to be doppelgangers, but I have some additions, all albums that I consider to be near flawless and could listen to just about anytime:

The Velvet Underground: Loaded
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
Wire: Pink Flag
The Flatlanders: More a Legend than a Band
Air: Moon Safari
The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street
American Analog Set: The Golden Band
Apples in Stereo: Fun Trick Noisemaker
Beachwood Sparks: Once We Were Trees
Belle and Sebastian: The Boy with the Arab Strap
Beck: Sea Change
Beta Band: Hot Shots II
Big Star: Radio City/#1 Record
Black Heart Procession: Amore del Tropico
Brian Eno: Another Green World
Broken Social Scene: You Forgot it in People
Cat Power: You Are Free
Gang of Four: Entertainment!
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Yanqui U.X.O.
Leo Kottke: 6 & 12 String Guitar
Low: The Great Destroyer
Massive Attack: Mezzanine
Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West
Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Nick Drake: Pink Moon
REM: Automatic for the People
Seekonk: Pinkwood
Spacemen 3: The Perfect Prescription
Spiritualized: Laser Guided Melodies
Spoon: Girls Can Tell
The Verve: A Storm in Heaven
The Warlocks: Heavy Devy Skull Lover
posted by LionIndex at 11:17 AM on February 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ritual de lo Habitual/Jane's Addiction
Grace/Jeff Buckley
Presents Author Unknown/Jason Falkner
Figure 8 (or XO, or Either Or)/Elliott Smith
Bee Thousand (or Alien Lanes)/Guided by Voices
The Stone Roses/The Stone Roses
posted by troywestfield at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Keane - Hopes and Fears
posted by waving at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2013


A few albums I love as whole albums, rather than picking and choosing favorites:

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel (Magnum was kind of obsessed with Anne Frank while making this album, it's interesting to follow how he works her in throughout it.)

Hospice by The Antlers (This album is a kind of completely emotionally devastating story about a dying abusive relationship and/or dying partner. It tells a complete story, and I actually recommend following along with the liner notes, which come with a great little prologue and are available here on Scribd.)

Basically any Sigur Ros album, they're all totally transporting.

The Joshua Tree by U2 (A classic for a reason!)
posted by yasaman at 11:24 AM on February 1, 2013


The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place - Explosions in the Sky
posted by dobi at 11:24 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think as this thread goes on, you'll find it will become a list of every album ever made, without a true consensus. As an alternative, I'd recommend perusing Billboards list of essential albums and picking out 30 that you haven't yet heard.
posted by grateful at 11:26 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


The criminally under-appreciated Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy by the Refreshments.
posted by ronofthedead at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


the zombies - odyssey and oracle.
posted by kerning at 11:34 AM on February 1, 2013


Why not throw some classical in there?

-Drive American, Heidi Louise Williams (playing a variety of contemporary compositions on piano)
-Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint, Steve Reich
-Four Thousand Holes, John Luther Adams
posted by troika at 11:37 AM on February 1, 2013


Lots of things come to mind, but one album I've been listening to a lot is Fiona Apple's new one, The Idler Wheel.... I tend to be 10 years behind on popular music, but this is the rare occasion where something current has really grabbed me. I think I listened four times back to back the day I bought it.
posted by Lorin at 11:50 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here are some albums that blow my mind:

Tall - Josh Small
The Cimarron Banks - Amy Annelle (Every time I listen to this I can't believe how good it is, and how unlike everything else she's done.)
Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now - Justin Townes Earle
Planet Waves - Bob Dylan (This is not Dylan's greatest album, but it's often overlooked, and worthy of multiple listens.)
Spine and You Do Not Live in this World Alone - Veda Hille (Veda is a goddess.)
posted by dearwassily at 11:57 AM on February 1, 2013


Josh Ritter. Either Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter or So Runs the World Away. Not positive their on Spotify, but I bet they are.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:02 PM on February 1, 2013


Shoot Out The Lights - Richard and Linda Thompson
Blazing Away - Marianne Faithfull
Copper Blue - Sugar (as above)
Dusty In Memphis - Dusty Springfield
posted by donpardo at 12:15 PM on February 1, 2013


Stevie Wonder: Innervisions

Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique

Foo Fighters: Foo Fighters

Hole: Live Through This
posted by tristeza at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Part of this is really, really how old were you when the album came out, and what memories you attach to the music.

For example, you're more wired to like the things you heard when you were between the ages of 12-22. Sure, you'll like other stuff, but for some reason, the emotional component of the music is hardwired to your brain in those ten years.

To that end, as a 50 year old person:

Running on Empty--Jackson Browne
Rumours-Fleetwood Mac
Frampton Comes Alive-Peter Frampton
Silk Degrees-Boz Scaggs
The Cars-The Cars


Also, some of these, you have to hear about 20 times before you fall completely in love with them.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2013


All available, I think, on Spotify:

Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson
Billy Joel: Glass Houses
Various Artists: Soundtrack to Lost In Translation
Sleater-Kinney: Dig Me Out
Wild Flag: Wild Flag
The Kinks: The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
They Might Be Giants: Severe Tire Damage
Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food OR
Talking Heads: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads
Magnetic Fields: Holiday (nobody ever listens to this one! It's so good!!)
Sufjan Stevens: Come on Feel the Illinoise
Blur: Parklife
posted by like_a_friend at 1:08 PM on February 1, 2013


"Deep Breakfast" - Ray Lynch
"Opalescent" - Jon Hopkins
"FEZ" soundtrack - Disasterpeace
"Far Away Trains Passing By" and "A Strangely Isolated Place" - Ulrich Schnauss
"White Winds" - Andreas Vollenweider
"Caught in a Life" - Donkeyboy
"Yonnondio" - Peter Buffett
"Panorama" - Wayne Gratz
"In My Time" and "Dare to Dream" - Yanni
Sorry, don't know if any of these are on Spotify as I don't use it.
posted by tra at 1:25 PM on February 1, 2013


The Royal Scam- Steeley Dan
posted by Gungho at 1:43 PM on February 1, 2013


The Long Winters: Putting the Days To Bed

If you don't have time for the whole album, listen to the penultimate track, "It's a Departure." Then you will suddenly have time for the rest of the album.
posted by JDHarper at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2013


Get the Hype Machine app on Spotify. Listen to the playlists bloggers make.
The pitchfork and rolling stones app on Spotify have reviews of new records (Rolling Stone has recommendations for old albums too).
Or go to bandcamp and browse for whatever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:48 PM on February 1, 2013


Here are some scattershot great albums according to me:

Lou Reed - Berlin
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Mono - Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined
Guided By Voices - Under the Bushes Under the Stars
Swans - Swans Are Dead
The Residents - The Third Reich and Roll
Mogwai - Young Team
Bauhaus - The Sky's Gone Out
Dirty Three - Ocean Songs
Billy Bragg - Talking with the Taxman about Poetry
Belle & Sebastian - Tigermilk
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
Cowboy Junkies - Trinty Session
Velvet Underground & Nico
Lambchop - Is a Woman
Mercury Rev - Deserters' Songs
The National - Boxer
Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
Roxy Music - Avalon
Stereolab - Emperor Tomaton Ketchup
Tindersticks - Tindersticks
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Tender Prey
Willard Grant Conspiracy - Mojave
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
Mountain Goats - Sunset Tree
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:50 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Little Feat - Waiting for Columbus
posted by cmdnc0 at 2:01 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Cure - Disintegration
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Radiohead - OK Computer
The National - Alligator
Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed
Mountain Goats - All Hail West Texas
Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
The Who - Quadrophenia
Grimes - Visions
They Might Be Giants - Lincoln
They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Elvis Costello - My Aim is True
posted by kdern at 2:02 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seconding Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, An Awesome Wave by Alt-J, and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel, but some of my other faves are:

Deadringer by RJD2
Brothers by The Black Keys
Fear Fun by Father John Misty
In My Own Dream by The Butterfield Blues Band (link is to title track, but the whole album is awesome)
Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bayou Country by Creedence Clearwater Revival
and finally,
pretty much anything by My Morning Jacket.

Great thread. Happy listening!
posted by lettuce dance at 2:02 PM on February 1, 2013


And my desert island discs...

Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas
Herbie Hancock - Fat Albert Rotunda
Elvis Costello - Get Happy!!
David Bowie - Station to Station
Nico - Chelsea Girl
Nick Drake - Bryter Later
Aphex Twin - Richard D James
Orbital - Brown Album
the Beatles - White Album
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:16 PM on February 1, 2013


GusGus: 24/7
Yagya: The Rhythm of Snow
Matthew Herbert: Bodily Functions
Mountaineer: When The Air Is Bright They Shine
RJD2: Deadringer
Air: Moon Safari
The Cinematic Orchestra: Motion
posted by aubilenon at 2:35 PM on February 1, 2013


The Band - The Last Waltz
Richard Thompson - Watching the Dark (3 CD collection but all are fantastic)
posted by neilb449 at 2:49 PM on February 1, 2013


Blue by Double, if you can find a copy
Patience on Friday by Ryan Montbleau
Blaze of Glory by Joe Jackson, which for some reason isn't on Spotify, so you could do Live 1980-1986 instead
West Side Story - Original Broadway Cast
Wearing Someone Else's Clothes - Jason Robert Brown
Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris - Gershwin, Bernstein, NY Philharmonic
It's the Real Soul - Gene Harris
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 3:03 PM on February 1, 2013


Fat Freddy's Drop, Based on A True Story.
The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God.
Paul Simon, Graceland.
The Smiths, The Queen is Dead.
R.E.M., Document
Carbon Leaf, Indian Summer
David Gray, Life in Slow Motion
Midnight Oil, Blue Sky Mining
Fratellis, Costello Music
Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
Van Morrison, Moondance
The Violent Femmes
Ryan Adams, Gold
Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
K'Naan, Troubadour
Matisyahu, Youth
Steely Dan, Aja
posted by MoonOrb at 3:15 PM on February 1, 2013


Various music magazines have compiled their own respective lists of "best albums ever." Try looking at the wikipedia page on Albums considered the greatest ever, especially the footnotes.

Some personal suggestions:
Arcade Fire - Funeral
Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen
Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia - Friday Night in San Francisco
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 3:24 PM on February 1, 2013


I have listened to all of these records so often that putting them on feels like wrapping myself in a warm blanket made of comfort and safety, which I feel is a pretty decent benchmark for "fabulous." YMMV.

The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I
Cursive - Cursive's Domestica
Elliott Smith - Roman Candle
Dessa - A Badly Broken Code
The Wrens - The Meadowlands
The National - Boxer
The Promise Ring - Nothing Feels Good
Bad Books - II
Clem Snide - Your Favorite Music
Cage - Hell's Winter
Pedro the Lion - Control
Brother Ali - Shadows on the Sun
Songs:Ohia - The Lioness or The Magnolia Electric Co.
Fountains of Wayne - Fountains of Wayne
Lullaby for the Working Class - I Never Even Asked For Light
Engine 88 - Snowman
Sweep the Leg Johnny - 4.9.21.30 or Tomorrow We Will Run Faster
Nada Surf - Lucky
Semisonic - Great Divide
Swearing At Motorists - Last Night Becomes This Morning

I am still confused as to what Spotify actually is, but I was pretty amazed that it appears to have all of these records available for instant streaming except the one that's been out of print since 2002 or so.
posted by divined by radio at 4:08 PM on February 1, 2013


In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel (Magnum was kind of obsessed with Anne Frank while making this album, it's interesting to follow how he works her in throughout it.)

This is the best answer. I'll just add some favorite albums (most are on Spotify, and I could make a Spotify playlist for you on Monday):

Rain Dogs - Tom Waits
Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
Midnight at the Movies - Justin Townes Earle
Separation Sunday - The Hold Steady
High Violet - The National
The Monitor - Titus Andronicus
The 59 Sound - Gaslight Anthem
Milo Goes To College - Decendents
Darkness at the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen
Southern Rock Opera - Drive By Truckers
Nuggets - Various Artists (compilation that invented the modern idea of garage rock)
On The Impossible Past - the Menzingers
69 Love Songs - Magnetic Fields
Murder Ballads - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Spike - Elvis Costello
Pet Sounds - the Beach Boys
White Blood Cells - the White Stripes
Born Sandy Devotional - The Triffids
LoveBUZZ - The Hummingbirds
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:38 PM on February 1, 2013


I'm doing something like this, only chronological, going from Sgt. Pepper's to Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, which I haven't see mentioned yet and is definitely worth listening to as an album.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:52 PM on February 1, 2013


Adding votes for In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, An Awesome Wave, Funeral, and anything Sigur Rós (Agætis Byrjun is a good place to start).

I'm going to throw out some delightful non-Anglophone stuff. Because this thread looks good but could stand to be a little more OUT THERE. These are all on Rdio, hopefully they'll be on Spotify as well.

Gemini Trip by Gemini Trip (两个人的旅行)
A one-off collaboration between a Chinese electronica musician and a folk singer. The vocal work is incredible and the music sounds like something that would play in chill lounge in the future. It has only been played 60-something times on rdio, and a significant portion of that is by me.

Solar by Rubik
Finnish indie rock, sung in English, with a proggy edge. Catchy as hell.

1977 by Ana Tijoux
Chilean hip hop. In Spanish, female vocalist. The title track is so damn cool.

Queen Sea Big Shark by Queen Sea Big Shark (后海大鲨鱼)
Fast and fun and noisy and retro Chinese rock. Female vocalist. They sort of remind me of the 5678s (of Kill Bill tea house fame), but they've got more going on.

I could go on all day long so I'll stop here.
posted by zjacreman at 5:24 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


All of my selections are at least 25 years old, but if that doesn't scare you, give them a try.

if you want some of the best of the hippie music from long ago please try:

Janis Joplin - Cheap Thrills - Actual name of the band was Big Brother and the Holding Company, but will probably be filed under Janis Joplin at this point,

The Grateful Dead - American Beauty. Possibly their best and most loved studio album.

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced? Trippy, revolutionary at the time. A loud and noisy flower child.

Also:

John Lennon - Plasic Ono Band

The Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed

The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols

Neil Young - After The Goldrush

Rye Cooder - Chicken Skin Music

Aztec Camera - High Land Hard Rain

And don't laugh, but
ZZ Top - Eliminator

Jazz:

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme. Most critics will say that Knd of Blue is the best jazz album, ever. But A Love Supreme is right up there, and for my money, even better.

Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder
posted by freakazoid at 6:11 PM on February 1, 2013


There are a lot of records recommended here that I truly love, but the artist I'd like to single out is Big Star, as seen on LionIndex's list.

Big Star is the music that plays in my heart when I close my eyes. I wish I could say it in a way that was less poncy, but there it is.

I might recommend Third/Sister Lovers myself, but any Big Star is good Big Star.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:33 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Forgot The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats.
From last year, Celebration Rock by Japandroids.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:54 PM on February 1, 2013


Lately I have been listening to The Evens just about non-stop on Spotify. I like all three of their albums, but why not start with the first? So listen to Get Evens. It's definitely on Spotify.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:40 PM on February 1, 2013


So many good lists above. Astral weeks is number one for me.

No one mentioned What's the story morning glory.
posted by chrismc at 8:55 PM on February 1, 2013


Franz Ferdinand's self titled debut album is one of my favourites. Strong the whole way through and lots of catchy tunes including their hit "Take Me Out"
posted by trialex at 9:50 PM on February 1, 2013


Already mentioned;

Massive Attack - Mezzanine
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street

Not yet mentioned;

Chris Whitley - Living With the Law
ACDC - Highway to Hell
Dead Boys - Young Loud and Snotty
Bill Laswell - Hear No Evil
Cheap Trick - Live at Budokon
Prince - Sign O’ the Times
Aphex Twin - Richard D. James
Pretenders - Pretenders
Aerosmith - Rocks
Mott the Hoople - Mott
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Dwight Yoakum - The Very Best of
Ohio Players - Gold
Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust
Tinariwen - Aman Iman: Water is Life
You Am I - #4 Record
posted by bongo_x at 11:27 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


No vouching for my taste, but the only album I've been 100% obsessed with through and through was

Jawbreaker - Dear You

and considering how many albums I love, that means something.
posted by evilbeck at 12:04 AM on February 2, 2013


Richard Buckner's Bloomed
posted by littleredwagon at 5:46 AM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some randoms:
Anything by Lowlife, Dead Can Dance or the Cocteau Twins. Really, anything.
Japan (I'd go for Gentlemen Take Polaroids or Tin Drum)
Anything by KMFDM if you like to work out/do mindless tasks. Retro is the best of.
Horrorpops - Kiss Kiss, Kill, Kill.
posted by Mezentian at 5:53 AM on February 2, 2013


I started a similar project last year, working off Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Their list leans heavily towards famous classics, and I'm sure there are better lists, but I figured at the very least, I would hit a lot of canonical cultural touchstones.

For what it's worth, some notes on my experience:

- For me, it takes several listens (4+) and some studying for an album to sink in. I think of it as "listening like a 14 year old," trying to approximate a bit of that teenage-level curiosity/obsession. Most albums bounce right off my brain on the first listen.
- One album a day hasn't worked well for me. First, some days I don't have time to really get into an album. Second, the albums seem to take root in my brain better if I listen to them across multiple days.

With that in mind, this routine for each album has worked pretty well:

1. Listen to the album cold.
2. Read an article about the album (Wikipedia is the quickest option, but if you can find something better, that's great).
3. Listen to the album
4. Listen to the album and read the lyrics (I read one song's lyrics, then listen to the song, then repeat with the next song.)
5. Talk to somebody about the album (this isn't an official step, but when it happens naturally, it's great).
6. Listen to the album
7. Listen to the album
8. Note your favorite track that you didn't already know well.

I keep track of where I am in a Google docs spreadsheet.

I originally wanted to work in one listen while drawing, as this helps me really focus on what I'm hearing, but I listen to the albums mainly while working, so I didn't make that part of the routine.

Cheap bastard's tip: When you can't find something on Spotify, look for it on YouTube. Just search the name of the album and "full album." A lot of the classics are there.

Adding a few to the already-mentioned albums:

Remain in Light -- Talking Heads
Stop Making Sense -- Talking Heads
Doolittle -- Pixies
Surfer Rosa -- Pixies
Led Zeppelin II -- Led Zeppelin
Thriller -- Michael Jackson
What's Going On -- Marvin Gaye
Ill Communication -- Beastie Boys
Superfly -- Curtis Mayfield
Revolver -- The Beatles
Rubber Soul -- The Beatles
posted by Mr. Harris at 7:49 AM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find that listening to my local freeform radio station leads me to more artists and albums that I never would have given a second look.

Some recent discoveries that I find myself going back to:

Ralph's Last Show - Fred Eaglesmith
OC DC - OC DC
Solidarity - The Souljazz Orchestra
The Sitting Room - Stromba
posted by highway40 at 10:30 AM on February 2, 2013


I love this idea!

A disclaimer if you're searching on YouTube— many songs are slightly slowed, sped up, or pitch shifted in order to avoid automated copyright takedowns, if that sort of thing is important to you.

Boards of Canada - Geogaddi
posted by yaymukund at 1:15 PM on February 2, 2013


Morimur is an amazing, amazing creation. Be sure to read the info about it.
posted by Cygnet at 1:18 PM on February 2, 2013


Yet another list:

African Head Charge - Off the Beaten Track
Belle and Sebastian - Tigermilk
Brian Eno - Another Green World
Cat Power - The Greatest
Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
Cowboy Junkies - Trinty Session
Dead Can Dance - Aion
Fela Kuti - Zombie
Fred Frith - Gravity
Galaxie 500 - On Fire
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F♯ A♯ ∞
Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle
Jonas Hellborg - The Word
Joy Division - Closer
Low - The Great Destroyer
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
Mogwai - Young Team
Rachid Taha - Diwan
Richard and Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights
Robert Wyatt - Shleep
Talking Heads - Remain in Light
The Mekons - So Good it Hurts
Tinariwen - Aman Iman: Water is Life
Tindersticks - Tindersticks
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
Toumani Diabaté - New Ancient Strings
Weekend - La Varieté
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
Zoviet France - Shouting at the Ground

I'm sure that if I sat down again tomorrow to make a list like this, it'd be totally different, but these are the ones that occurred to me today. I don't know which of them are on Spotify.
posted by klausness at 3:00 PM on February 2, 2013


Cool points for bongo_x for bringing up "Living with the Law." That's a criminally underrated album.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:34 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Arcade Fire - Funeral
The Avalanches - Since I Left You
The Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
Beth Orton - Trailer Park
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
Calexico - Feast of Wire
De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
The Decemberists - Castaways and Cutouts
Dinosaur Jr - Green Mind
Echo And The Bunnymen - Songs To Learn And Sing
Elliot Smith - Figure 8
The House of Love - House of Love
Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison
Mazzy Star - So Tonight I Might See
The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee
New Order - Substance 1&2
The Pixies - Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim
Portishead - Dummy
Sigur Ros - Agaetis Bryjun
The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
Talvin Singh - O.K.
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Sorry, I'm not on spotify so don't know if they are on there.
posted by piyushnz at 5:51 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


By the way, cool question. I'm going to play along...
posted by piyushnz at 5:53 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indeed, piyushnz. I'm grateful for being given a reason to install Spotify. It looks pretty cool.
posted by themanwho at 7:52 PM on February 2, 2013


Another vote for this epic album:
Arcade Fire - Funeral
posted by flomo at 9:16 PM on February 2, 2013


Pink Flag - Wire
The Dirt of Luck - Helium
Deceit - This Heat
Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
Manos - The Spinanes
Call The Doctor - Sleater-Kinney
Gentlemen - Afghan Whigs
Ocean Beach - Red House Painters
Frigid Stars - Codeine
Rid Of Me - PJ Harvey
Heart and Crime - Julie Doiron
Another Green World - Brian Eno
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
Juvenilia - Liz Phair (kinda cheating as it's a collection of her early taped works)
Always Stay Sweet - His Name Is Alive (also cheating a bit)
Where'd You Learn to Kiss That Way? - The Field Mice (also cheating)
The Rich Man's Eight-Track Tape - Big Black (still more cheating)
Anarchy in Paris! - Metal Urbain (and more)
Y Pants - Y Pants
Return of the Frog Queen - Jeremy Enigk
Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror - Brian Eno and Harold Budd
Third/Sister Lovers - Big Star
Whatever You Love, You Are - Dirty Three
One Word Extinguisher - Prefuse 73
Massachusetts - Scud Mountain Boys
No Depression - Uncle Tupelo
Songs in a Northern Key - Varnaline
Time (The Revelator) - Gillian Welch
Faithless Street - Whiskeytown
Lost Son - Richmond Fontaine
Flightsafety - Shannon Wright
Dreamette - Crowsdell
All the Nations Airports - Archers of Loaf
Colossal Youth - Young Marble Giants
Fake Train - Unwound
The Hill - Richard Buckner
Space is the Place - Sun Ra
Sun Ship - John Coltrane
Today - Galaxie 500
Faith - The Cure
Silent 88 - Hood
He's Drunk/Plus, Also, Too - Scrawl
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space - Spiritualized
Playing With Fire - Spacemen 3
Secret Name - Low
Low - David Bowie
'77 Live - Les Rallizes Denudes
Labradford - Labradford
The Power Out - Electrelane
Cut - The Slits
The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull - Earth
Signals, Calls, and Marches - Mission Of Burma
Entertainment! - Gang Of Four
You're Living All Over Me - Dinosaur Jr.
Jeapordy - The Sound
Waiting for a Miracle - The Comsat Angels
Tago Mago - Can
Impala - Songs: Ohia
Hips and Makers - Kristin Hersh
Amanita - Bardo Pond
Kidnapped by Neptune - Scout Niblett
Horses - Patti Smith
I Am Sitting in a Room - Alvin Lucier
The Disintegration Loops - William Basinski
The Golden Band - American Analog Set
Small Change - Tom Waits
Exmilitary - Death Grips
Visions - Grimes
The 5 EPs - Disco Inferno
MNML - S PRCSS
Bee Thousand - Guided By Voices
Half Machine Lip Moves - Chrome
Fun House - The Stooges
Gyrate - Pylon
Jiaolong - Daphni
Everything I Long For - Hayden
The Flowers of Romance - Public Image Ltd.
I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One - Yo La Tengo
the soundtrack to Suspiria - Goblin
The Glow Pt. 2 - Microphones
Surfer Rosa - The Pixies
What Would the Community Think - Cat Power
The Diane Perry Tape - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Sister - Sonic Youth
Kid A - Radiohead
Blacklisted - Neko Case
posted by ifjuly at 11:27 PM on February 2, 2013


2 - The Black Heart Procession
I See A Darkness - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
The Marble Index - Nico
posted by ifjuly at 11:32 PM on February 2, 2013


Tempting - Jenny Toomey
posted by ifjuly at 11:33 PM on February 2, 2013


Elephant Shoe - Arab Strap
Last Rites - Skinny Puppy
Hotel Opera - La Lengua Asesina
Songs of Leonard Cohen
More Songs About Buildings and Food - Talking Heads
The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
Low Birth Weight - Piano Magic
Contact - Silver Apples (really the S/T debut is probably better overall but "You and I" is their best song for sure, even better than "Oscillations")
Frozen Pool - Christina Rosenvinge
Third - Portishead
Red Line - Trans Am
Computer World - Kraftwerk
Spiderland - Slint
Jesu - Jesu
Love Bites - Buzzcocks
Boys For Pele - Tori Amos
Come Away With ESG - ESG (even though it doesn't have "UFO")
EP+6 - Mogwai (Come On Die Young is a good runner up)
Damaged - Black Flag
The Smile Sessions - The Beach Boys
Souvlaki - Slowdive (so I lose my cred for not choosing Pygmalion, sue me!)
Blanket Warm - Lullaby For The Working Class
Restless Faithful Desperate - Kath Bloom with Loren Mazzacane Connors
Transaction de Novo - Bedhead
Roomsound - Califone
Hee Haw - The Birthday Party
Sextant - Herbie Hancock
The Tennesee Fire - My Morning Jacket
Hope and Adams - Wheat
Sympathique - Pink Martini
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
A Crimson Grail - Rhys Chatham
Grab That Gun - The Organ
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! - Devo
Blood and Chocolate - Elvis Costello
Roforofo Fight - Fela Kuti
Music for Egon Schiele - Rachel's
1990 - Daniel Johnston
Dongs of Sevotion - Smog
Hounds of Love - Kate Bush
Calling Over Time - Edith Frost
Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen
posted by ifjuly at 1:38 AM on February 3, 2013


Kiko- Los Lobos
The Birth of Soul (Vols 1, 2 & 3) - Ray Charles
The High Lonesome Sound - Roscoe Holcomb
Devil Got My Woman - Skip James
Hoodoo Man Blues - Buddy Guy/Junior Wells
Time Out of Mind - Bob Dylan
Bee Thousand - Guided By Voices
Rain Dogs - Tom Waits
Time (the Revelator) - Gillian Wech
Call Me - Al Green
Queen of Soul: the Atlantic Recordings - Aretha Franklin
Check Yr Head - Beastie Boys
Muse Sick 'n Our Mess Age - Public Enemy
Fresh - Sly and the Family Stone
Latin Playboys - Latin Playboys
Philosophy of the World - the Shaggs
Dust My Broom - (essential collection of Delta blues masterpieces, various artists)
I Will Not Be Sad in This World - Djivan Gasparyan
Little Criminals - Randy Newman
Mirror Blue - Richard Thompson
Mad Dogs and Englishmen - Joe Cocker
Noir et Blanc - Zazou/Bikaye/CY1
Nonsuch - XTC
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just sayin'
posted by grateful at 5:18 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


De-Loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta
posted by _Seeker_ at 5:49 PM on February 5, 2013


Epic albums by Rick Wakeman on Spotify
*The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
*Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
*The Six Wives of Henri VIII
posted by Kerasia at 8:34 PM on February 5, 2013


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