Help Me Make Some Lemonade!
June 24, 2010 2:43 PM   Subscribe

[Music Filter] I lost my whole library. Please introduce me to new artists by recommending an awesome (full) album.

So my laptop died a couple of weeks ago and I'm not particularly motivated to retrieve the same old music I've been carrying around since college. (Not yet, anyway.) I have a subscription but I like full albums, at least to begin with, and much prefer to get into artists than one-off great songs. Also I can listen to a whole CD when I'm out dog-walking in the mornings, and I'll try pretty much anything once.

So please recommend an entire album/record/CD that you think is really great and/or works as a great introduction to an artist you love.

Age / genre / popularity no bar - and many thanks in advance!

I've searched the archives but haven't found anything - links to similar threads would also be much appreciated.
posted by mondaygreens to Media & Arts (77 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
Is a triple album cheating, if not: 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields.
posted by griphus at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2010 [6 favorites]

Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
posted by backwards guitar at 2:49 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

(a sample)
posted by griphus at 2:51 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

1200 Micrograms, eponymous; Psy-trance. Excellent genre leader with many different styles and a great layered production. Start here and if it works for you there's an entire world of psy-trance, goa, and goa-delic that can be either a great dance experience, groove track, or just keep you going well past bedtime.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:53 PM on June 24, 2010

Arcade Fire - Funeral (I've listened to this album quite regularly for a few years now. Still not sick of it)

Weezer - Blue Album

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha, Mysterious Carton of Eggs, Noble Beast (I really love his music so I am listing a bunch of his albums - I love them all)
posted by littlesq at 2:54 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Multivolume works too! God that song is wonderful.

(Thank you for fixing the title, mods!)
posted by mondaygreens at 2:57 PM on June 24, 2010

Seu Jorge - The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions . Amazing acoustic guitar Bowie covers, sung in quiet Brazilain Portuguese; Seu Jorge played these within the scenes of the movie and later recorded them. Such a kickass album.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:59 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had these two folk/bluegrass albums in heavy rotation for the past few months:

Tony Rice Unit - Manzanita

Norman Blake - Whiskey Before Breakfast
posted by gnutron at 2:59 PM on June 24, 2010

You may well have already heard/heard of all or most of these but just in case....

Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
Nada Surf - Let Go
The Detroit Cobras - Life Love and Leaving
Tom Waits - Small Change
Tower of Power - Soul with a Capital "S"
Athlete - Vehicles and Animals
posted by Lotto at 3:01 PM on June 24, 2010

Beastie Boys - The In Sound From Way Out. Instrumental, and very un-beastie.

Afro Celt Sound System - Volume 1: Sound Magic. The album that brought this band fame.

Chuck Brown - We're About the Business. A recent release from the godfather of Go Go.
posted by toxic at 3:02 PM on June 24, 2010

Great albums-as-albums:

Eels - Electroshock Blues (fantastic concept album about death and moving on)
Nirvana - In Utero (great as a pure hunk of Nirvana's noise and angst)
King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King (classic, definitive prog rock)
Current 93 - Thunder Perfect Mind (hypnotic, idiosyncratic dark folk)
Arcade Fire - Funeral (indie classic)
Frank Turner - Love Ire & Song (Billy Bragg-esque, excellent)
Portugal. The Man - Waiter: "You Vultures" (difficult to categorize rock group from Alaska)
Pop Will Eat Itself - This is the Day, This is the Hour, This is This! (very creative British industrial rap-rock from the late 80s and 90s; one of the group's former members did the score to Requiem For A Dream)
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:06 PM on June 24, 2010

* Ninja Tune - UK "future jazz" / instrumental hip-hop type stuff, and a WHOLE lot more, plus their more hip-hop/"urban" music branch, Big Dada
* Hyde out Recordings, home to Japanese producer Nujabes (RIP) and friends.
* Mute, UK label and home to a diverse bunch from Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode, and Erasure to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, M83 and Goldfrapp
* Warp Records, UK label, where you can find Boards of Canada, Grizzly Bear, Autechre, Nightmares On Wax, (Chris) Clark, Squarepusher, Flying Lotus, etc.
* Rephlex, UK label and home to electronic wizards like Aphex Twin, Cylob, D'Arcangelo, and the many faces of Luke Vibert
* Carpark Records, US label and home to the Animal Collective (who have their own offshoot label, Paw Tracks), Beach House, Marumari, Casino Versus Japan
* Mush Records, US indie hip-hop / beat producer label, where you can find some of the work from Daedelus, cLOUDDEAD,Clue To Kalo, S.E.V.A., and more ....
* Antion is more US indie hip-hop stuff, with some Buck 65, Sole, 13 & God, Alias, Serengeti & Polyphonic, and more

If this is overwhelming, click around the albums and find things with higher ratings. I stand behind all the artists I've listed above, and won't recommend single albums as you might like something I passed up.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2010

My new favorite album is Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons. For some reason it reminds me of early REM crossed with The Church and it is just magical.

I also feel like everyone should own Calexico's Hot Rail, especially in the summer.
posted by padraigin at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
posted by pwally at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Modern Lovers, "Modern Lovers"
Pavement, "Slanted & Enchanted"
the Clash, "London Calling"
Violent Femmes, "Violent Femmes"
Superchunk, "No Pocky For Kitty"
Cursive, "the Ugly Organ"
Centro-matic, "All the Falsest Hearts Can Try"
Ray Charles, "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music" vols 1&2
Dwight Yoakam, "Guitars Cadillacs Etc Etc"
Papas Fritas, "Papas Fritas"
AC/DC, "Back in Black"
Guns N Roses, "Appetite for Destruction"
Willie Nelson, "Red Headed Stranger"
Sammy, "Tales of Great Neck Glory"
Tom Waits, "Bone Machine"
Liz Phair, "Exile in Guyville"
Weezer, "Pinkerton"
the White Stripes, "De Stijl"
INXS, "Kick"
Screeching Weasel, "My Brain Hurts"
Bruce Springsteen, "Nebraska"
Cursive, "Happy Hollow"
Old Crow Medicine Show, "O.C.M.S."
Bob Dylan, "Highway 61 Revisited"
Metallica, "...And Justice for All"
Bran Van 3000, "Glee"
Ramones, "Ramones"
Minutemen, "Double Nickels on the Dime"
Centro-matic, "Redo the Stacks"
Cure, "Head on the Door"
the Raconteurs, "Consolers of the Lonely"
the Raconteurs, "Broken Boy Soldiers"
Brendan Benson, "One Mississippi"
Elvis Costello, "Get Happy" (really, any of the first 6 albums are amazing)
Promise Ring, "Nothing Feels Good"
Ned's Atomic Dustbin, "God Fodder"
Neil Young, "Harvest"

i could do this all day
posted by radiosilents at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
posted by doorsfan at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2010

Some of my favourite finds of the last few years:

Vampire Weekend - Contra
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
Great Lake Swimmers - Ongiara
posted by rocket88 at 3:11 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Astronautalis - Pomegranate
posted by nulledge at 3:12 PM on June 24, 2010

High Violet and Boxer by The National.
posted by changeling at 3:13 PM on June 24, 2010

Oh hey, Ketch Harbour Wolves is my friend's band. Do you know them too superiorchicken?

This is an amazingly broad question, but oh well. Here are some of my favourite albums over the past decade or so. I tried to remember the albums that I listened to so much that they defined a phase of my life. It's actually a pretty fun exercise.

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic (also Twin Cinema, also Electric Version)
Fleet Foxes - [self-titled]
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Daft Punk - Discovery
Gillian Welch - Time (the Revelator)
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Broken Social Scene - [self-titled]
The Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
The Strokes - Is this it
Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse
Tom Waits - Alice
Bran Van 3000 - Discosis

I'm sure there's more...
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:13 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
The Postal Service - Give Up
Mason Jennings - Mason Jennings
Ani DiFranco - Out of Range
Charles Mingus - Blues and Roots
Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings
Mississippi John Hurt - The Complete Studio Recordings (2 cd set)
Paul Simon - Graceland and/or Rhythm of the Saints
Gillian Welch - Soul Journey
Aimee Mann - @#%&*! Smilers
Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
posted by colfax at 3:13 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I could probably list 50 or so off the top of my head, but just a few stellar albums from a variety of artists/timeframes that immediately come to mind:

Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City (they're often sold together, but they're actually separate albums)
Paul Weller, Wild Wood
Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
Califone, Quicksand and Cradlesnakes
The Stone Roses, self-titled
The Clash, London Calling
The Jam, All Mod Cons
Johnny Cash, American Recordings
The Jim Carroll Band, Catholic Boy
David Bowie -- oh man, so many to choose from: Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Station to Station, and Low are probably my favorites, but it's fairly hard to go wrong with any of his '70s records.
John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
Curtis Mayfield, Superfly
posted by scody at 3:14 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Spock's Beard "Spock's Beard" - Prog rock with pop sensibilities (not super old school prog)
Porcupine Tree "In Absentia" - Heavy with elements of prog and psychedelic
Hanson "the Walk" - Upbeat pop rock with some interesting slower moments
The Velvet Teen "Elysium" - Great emotional piano, bass, drums, and strings
30 Seconds to Mars "A Beautiful Lie" Radio friendly hard rock with catchy melodies
posted by markblasco at 3:16 PM on June 24, 2010

Some More:
Xiu Xiu - Dear God I Hate Myself (sample)
The Magnetic Fields - Get Lost (sample)
The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee (sample)
Broadcast - Tender Buttons(sample)
Ladytron - Light and Magic(sample)
Jeffrey Lewis - It's The Ones Who've Cracked That The Light Shines Through(sample)
Parenthetical Girls - Unmentionables (sample)
Raveonettes - In And Out Of Control (sample)
Boards of Canada - Geogaddi (sample)
Anima Sound System - Hungarian Astronaut (sample)
Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (sample)

I'm spent.
posted by griphus at 3:17 PM on June 24, 2010

Bishop Allen - The Broken String
Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Imogen Heap - I Megaphone
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Dulcinea
Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits 1974 - 78
Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
posted by mrsshotglass at 3:18 PM on June 24, 2010

Nick Gallant he is indie but if you have ever played tap tap revolution you know who he is.
posted by majortom1981 at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2010

David McCormacks's Little Murders. Very excellent.
posted by dantodd at 3:29 PM on June 24, 2010

Oh, and if you want recent stuff (SELF LINK ALERT): Here's my best of '09, Part 1 and Part 2
posted by griphus at 3:47 PM on June 24, 2010

Sunn0))) -- Monoliths and Dimensions
Earth -- The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull

Earth is an old band (Kurt Cobain was a roadie for them way back when) that, along with St. Vitus Dance and the Melvins, practically invented the genre of doom/drone metal. They play excruciatingly slow guitar-based instrumentals that sound like the soundtrack to a space Western. Their earlier stuff relied on sonic overload and feedback. The newest record is kind of shockingly gorgeous. Really clean production, lots of space and emptiness for individual notes to hang and glimmer. It's one of my favorite records to read by: it doesn't demand attention like jazz, nor does it disappear into the ether like ambient music. Though they are undoubtedly a "metal band", they're not exactly something you rock out to. There's really no other band that sounds like Earth.

Sunn0))) named themselves after the brand of amplifiers preferred by the band Earth. At first listen they sound like nothing but a wall of low-pitched sustained notes, with single notes extending minutes at a time. Some (most) Sunn0))) songs are ten-minute long feedback-fests, dark burbles of noise rising from inky depths. They play so slowly they count off their songs in geologic time. Best listened to as loudly as possible, because the microtonality of the extended feedback is the whole point. It's like listening to cosmic background radiation. Dark, dense, meditative art-noise that exists somewhere between metal and ambient music.

I picked these two records because I see so much indie rock in this thread (NTTAWWT) that I wanted to point you in a different direction.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:49 PM on June 24, 2010

Nine INch Nails - The Downward Spiral just in case you have never heard this industrialized, sometimes odd-meter noise pop masterpiece. Well, it is.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Fruit You want a funky new dance party you can carry around with you? Here ya go. Led by the indefatigable Mette & Lars out of Copenhagen, they will get you to get your groove thing on. A new party album fave of mine.

Silver Sun - self titled (UK) - the Pickups stole their name 'cause they were too lame to Google. For that I'll never forgive them, 'cause Googling for existent band names of even mildly popular bands is freakin' easy. Plus I think they pretty much suck. Sorry, Pickups fans. But that pettiness aside, if you've even asked yourself, "What if Weezer was forced to play most of their songs at a more Green-Day-like tempo, but were possessed by the Beach Boys?" then these guys are for you.

Amon Tobin - Supermodified - the master of all dj's who mix up samples, pretty much of all time, if ya ask me. Everyone tells me I ought to do acid while listening to this record, but I don't think it's necessary. Uncertain how your dog-walking will go while you check this out. You may just wander into shrubs and walls and things.

Neko Case and Her Boyfriends - Furnace Room Lullaby - everyone talks about Neko's voice. They are not lying. Neko can sing anything and make it great. However this critically acclaimed record of hers is her best. Alt-y country-ish with the washes of reverb echoing on her voice, all good, all the time.

Firewater - The Golden Hour - run by former Cop Shoot Cop singer Tod A out of NYC, this catchy world punk pop masterpiece is the result of Tod having toured the middle east on his own for several years after 9/11, playing with locals there and recording some of their material for collaborative use on his record when he got back to the states; now on Bloodshot Records. Way more accessible that Gogol Bordello. Also great live.

Billy Joel - Glass Houses - Sure, the Joel fans out there who grew up wherever all cite "The Stranger" as his masterpiece, but I prefer the Houses. Every one a pop gem from start to finish, includes several of his major hits of the time. Back when he was big with at least us former Long Island kids and the Top 40 charts, he was knocked for being a 'stylist'. I think that's actually a honorable "disparaging" title to have. What, so he's good at affecting an Elvis-y voice? Or sounding Beatlesque? All on the same record, and it all works? I salute you, Mr. Joel.
posted by bitterkitten at 4:03 PM on June 24, 2010

The Afghan Whigs - 1965

Nineties indie rock combined with New Orleans sultry blues.
I love the shit out of this album, take a listen to "Omerta" to sample it.

Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

Lyrical story-telling, midwest hip-hop. I really love his early raw stuff, but this album is more polished and likely to draw someone in. "Guarantees" is my favorite track.
posted by elleyebeebeewhy at 4:10 PM on June 24, 2010

The Sundays - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
The Scientist - King Tubby Meets the Scientist at Dub Station
International Observer - Heard
Pop Will Eat Itself - This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This Is This (glad to see I'm not the first to recommend this)
Lab 4 - Neurocide
posted by pompomtom at 4:26 PM on June 24, 2010

Wow, it's so hard to choose, but here's a very selective, haphazard list to get started. I'm not trying to go for obscurity or hipness points -- these are honestly what I'd want to get first if I lost my whole library:

Must-haves from the '60s-'80s:
The Beatles' box set (or if you must start with one album, Revolver)
The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (plus a greatest hits collection)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced
Stevie Wonder's albums from 1971 to 1976 (especially Innervisions and Talking Book)
Prince's albums from 1982 to 1988 (especially Purple Rain)
Talking Heads - The Name of this Band is Talking Heads
The Essential Michael Jackson
Joni Mitchell - Blue

Albums from the '90s that have held up well:
Bjork - Homogenic
Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies
Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual
Nirvana - Nevermind, In Utero, Unplugged
Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink
Ben Folds Five - self-titled
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger, Superunknown
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power (definitely not for everyone!)
Leo Kottke - One Guitar No Vocals
Radiohead - The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A (well, that's from 2000)
The Breeders - Last Splash
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Sonic Youth - Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star (that's one album)

From the past decade or so:
Owen Pallett - Heartland
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
The Postal Service - Give Up
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans, Transatlanticism
Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch, Begin to Hope
St. Vincent - Marry Me
The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (a.k.a. Come on! Feel the Illinoise!)
The Dodos - Visiter
Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins
The New Pornographers - Electric Version, Twin Cinema
Franz Ferdinand - self-titled
Spoon - Gimme Fiction, Girls Can Tell
Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza
Imogen Heap - Speak for Yourself
Lenka - self-titled
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Decoder Ring - Fractions

A few essential classical albums:
Beethoven's 9 symphonies conducted by John Eliot Gardiner
Mozart's piano concertos by Uchida & Tate
Schubert's 8 symphonies conducted by Claudio Abbado
Kurt Rodarmer's multi-guitar version of Bach's Goldberg Variations (amazing rendition)
Bach's Cello Suites played by Rostropovich
Debussy's piano music played by Pascal Roge
Enrico Pieranunzi Plays Domenico Scarlatti

Amazing jazz albums:
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue, In a Silent Way
Sonny Rollins - The Bridge
Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (best jazz I've ever heard)
Charlie Christian - The Genius of the Electric Guitar (he more-or-less invented electric guitar playing and the music is delightful)
Brad Mehldau - The Art of the Trio Vol. 4

It's painful to leave it there, but that'll have to do...
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:35 PM on June 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

Sorry, that Prince link should go to his discography here.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:37 PM on June 24, 2010

I'll recommend a few albums for you:

Laura Marling, "Alas I Cannot Swim" and "I Speak Because I Can"
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, "Pershing" and "Broom"
Jukebox the Ghost, "Live and Let Ghosts"
Wolfmother, "Cosmic Egg"
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Baby 81"
Emmylou Harris, "All I Intended to Be"

I'll come back later and leave some more albums :-D
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 4:50 PM on June 24, 2010

In chronological order:

- Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (one of the best albums of all time)
- Elvis Costello: King of America (brilliant)
- Fleet Foxes: Self titled (best album of the last 5 years)
posted by crapples at 4:51 PM on June 24, 2010

In no particular order:

Jane Siberry - "When I Was A Boy"
Sigur Ros - either "( )" or "Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust"
Jonsi - "Go"
Afro-Celt Sound System - mentioned above by someone else, however I'd choose a different album, "Anatomic."
Joni Mitchell - "Hejira"
Swing Out Sister - "Where Our Love Grows"
Pink Martini - "Hey Eugene"
Scissor Sisters - "Scissor Sisters"
Sufjan Stevens - "Illinois"
Phoenix - "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"
M83 - "Saturdays = Youth"
Matt Alber - "Hide Nothing"
Kurt Elling - "This Time It's Love"
Kate Bush - "Aerial" disc #2 only, aka "A Sky of Honey"
Duncan Sheik - "White Limousine"
Death Cab For Cutie - "Plans"
Carbon Leaf - "Indian Summer"
Bruce Cockburn - "Anything Anytime Anywhere (Singles 1979-2002)"
Stuart Davis - "Bell"
posted by dnash at 4:53 PM on June 24, 2010

I love them, even though I don't listen to them all that much right now, but you should really give Morphine's Cure for Pain a listen. Absolutely amazing band, solid albums.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:02 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Here's a few that I have recently purchased and fell in love with pretty quickly:

Avett Brothers - I And Love And You
Robbie Fulks - Happy (all Michael Jackson covers)
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight

And a few past faves:

Lyle Lovett - Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
Elvis Costello - King of America - or - Blood & Chocolate
Beatles - Abbey Road (no collection should be without it)
Squeeze - East Side Story
posted by stennieville at 5:29 PM on June 24, 2010

I like full albums, too. I used to listen to a lot of them. I used to work in an independent record store with a diverse group of honest-to-God music experts (we had a jazz guy, a rap guy, a pop girl, etc.) and the store music consisted of employee "picks" (instead of corporate-mandated playlists), so everybody took turns playing full albums. In three years of watching these opinionated people play their music, I saw very few albums that everybody agreed on. I can only think of three offhand. Those aren't my favorite albums. And they are not tremendously varied as to genre. But they are some of the only albums I ever heard that were unanimously approved by a bunch of people who hated each other's music.
posted by cribcage at 5:33 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Mezzanine by Massive Attack
posted by backwards guitar at 6:52 PM on June 24, 2010

For most of my teens and early twenties, I was really into what is unfortunately labeled "World Music." The genre--well, there's the problem, it's not a single genre at all--has a reputation of being easy listening for new agers, but this isn't really fair. Here are some that I think are good introductions to artists I love:

Garmarna - "Vedergällningen"
Slices across the different styles that this band uses. Emma Härdelin, the vocalist, is one of my favorite singers of all time. They mix traditional Swedish ballads with rock and electronica.

Susheela Raman - "Love Trap"
Another of my favorite singers. This is her second album. She mixes Indian tradition with other influences--on this album, Mongolian/Tuvan is a big element. "Amba" is one of my favorite songs of all time. Her first album, "Salt Rain," also has some great songs, but I don't think it's as consistent.

Ali Farka Touré & Ry Cooder - "Talking Timbuktu"
Explores the similarities between American Blues and Malian music. Considered a classic among fans of Malian music and among fans of Blues, I think.

DJ Cheb I Sabbah - "Shri Durga" and "La Kahena"
DJ Cheb I Sabbah mixes traditional vocals with electronic music--in "Shri Durga", Indian, and in "La Kahena", Middle Eastern. What makes it stand out from all of the new age bullcrap out there is that it's really, really good, and, I think, treats the music he's mixing with respect.

DJ Krush - "Jaku"
DJ Krush is one of the figureheads of Japanese trip-hop/hip-hop. He's been around a long time. "Jaku" uses traditional Japanese music, hip-hop, and his own style to make something really different. It's a little more hit-and-miss than the albums I've mentioned so far, but there's only one song on it that I actually dislike, and I would gladly have paid three times as much for the rest of them, considering how much listening they've gotten.

Federico Aubele - "Gran Hotel Buenos Aires"
It's inevitable that you come across "lounge music" while hunting for music in this genre. A lot of lounge music is soulless and derivative, but Aubele is one of the masters. Sounds warm and cool at the same time.

Madredeus - "Movimento"
Madredeus blends Portuguese fado with folk and electronica influences. Teresa Salgueiro, the lead singer on this album (and the lead singer during their best years) simply has an angelic voice. It's beautiful music. If you're a fado purist you probably hate Madredeus, but I think that despite the blending of genres, they still retain the profound sense of suadade.

Ojos de Brujo - "Techari"
Flamenco and hip-hop mashed up together into something that is both awesomely cool and awesomely pretty. This album also has some bhangra influences, such as in the track "Todo Tiende." I used to play this at the coffee shop where I worked and I got tons of comments on it.

Sevara Nazarkhan - "Yol Bolsin"
Sevara Nazarkhan is an Uzbek singer; this is her first solo album, IIRC. It blends traditional Uzbek and Middle Eastern songs with electronic music. There is a lot of doutar. It's a fairly "quiet" album. "Orik Gullaganda," one of the tracks, is consistently on my list of must-listens.

Byungki Hwang - "The Best of Korean Gayageum Music"
The gayageum is a Korean zither. This is probably my favorite collection of Korean classical music. It's mostly instrumental, but has a few gorgeous vocal tracks as well. I believe that it should be fairly accessible even to people who aren't used to Asian classical music.

Rokia Traoré - "Bowmboï"
A Malian singer-songwriter who has a distinctive, but still beautiful, voice. There is something infinitely sad about it. I'm not sure I could pick a favorite album, but this one has my favorite cover, so there.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:54 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also two classical recommendations:

Franz Liszt - "The Complete Etudes" (Phillips recording)
Pianists Claudio Arrau and Nikita Magaloff. A good quality recording as well. I have no idea what kind of exposure to classical music you have, but this is the album I usually recommend to people who have had none, who think classical piano music is "boring."

Arvo Pärt / Hilliard Ensemble - "De Profundis"
A good introduction to Pärt's choral compositions. I'm an atheist, so it's not as if I have an emotional connection to the religious subject matter, but the beauty of them transcends that for me. If you want one with no added organ, then "Beatus" is a good choice. It has many of the same compositions, plus--and this is a bonus in my book--one in Church Slavonic.

Lui Pui-Yen - "China: Music of the Pipa"
An entire album of solo pipa music. Now, I understand that not everyone shares my love of the pipa, but if your exposure to Chinese classical music has been limited to what you hear in Chinese restaurants, this is a good place to try expanding on that. The pipa is a very elegant instrument, and this album showcases a variety of styles.

And two non-classical recommendations:

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Murder Ballads"
The Pogues - "The Very Best of the Pogues"
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:15 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Wilco - either Being There or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (bonus: they're very different)
Arcade Fire - Funeral
Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender
Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances
Pulp - Different Class
Old 97's - Too Far to Care
Love - Forever Changes
Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
Future Bible Heroes - Memories of Love
Laura Cantrell - Not the Tremblin' Kind
Shins - Oh Inverted World
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Van Morrison - Saint Dominic's Preview
Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
His Name is Alive - Stars on ESP
Red House Painters - Songs for a Blue Guitar
The XX - xx
posted by willpie at 7:23 PM on June 24, 2010

If you're open to extreme metal, I'd strongly recommend Lunar Aurora's "Andacht", which might be the best black metal album I've ever heard. An intensely eerie, atmospheric sound married to some incredible guitar riffs, excellent songwriting, and a startling degree of emotional power that transcends the usual black metal cliches. It might not be the easiest album to get into if you're new to music like this, but IMO it's a masterpiece of the genre.

Probably more accessible (it's not a bad introduction to extreme metal as a whole, IMO, though not much else sounds like it) is Sigh's "Imaginary Sonicscape", which is a very eclectic quasi-black metal (the only really "black metal" thing about it is the vocals) album with a heavy psychedelic sound. Despite the avant-garde oddness of it all, it's actually a very accessible album- every song on the album is incredibly catchy and memorable. Both of these are very cohesive as albums, and neither has a weak song, IMO.

For lighter material, I'd second the recommendation of Current 93's "Thunder Perfect Mind", though I think I might rate their "All the Pretty Little Horses" a bit higher. Also I'd second Garmarna's "Vedergällningen", and in the same Nordic folk/rock vein I'd recommend Hedningarna's "Trä", which is one of the most joyous, primal-sounding albums I've ever heard.
posted by a louis wain cat at 7:26 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies
Nuggets box set
The Flamin Groovies - Teenage Head, Shake Some Action
posted by rfs at 8:27 PM on June 24, 2010

Passion Pit - Manners
Japandroids - Post-Nothing
Temper Trap - Conditions
Neon Trees - Habits
Gaslight Anthem - '59 Sound

All are from within the last couple of years and surprised me by how much I loved them. I also hardcore second the above-mentioned albums by The Postal Service, Grizzly Bear, The National, Arcade Fire and Death Cab for Cutie. There are too many other great albums listed above for me to second them all - this is an awesome thread.
posted by gatorae at 8:51 PM on June 24, 2010

The Weepies - Say I Am You Wistfully wistful kind of cute stuff.
Fantastic Plastic Machine Uhh, Shibuya-kei I think? All sorts of stuff mixed to make a light boppy sample-music thing.
Sea Shanties by the Robert Shaw Chorale. Everyone needs more sea shanties in their lives.
George Enescu Rhapsodies and Suites This is one of my favorite ever ever classical CD(s). The Villageoise suite makes me particularly happy. This CD may not be currently available, but find some other one with the suites and it will be good for you.
posted by that girl at 9:04 PM on June 24, 2010

My recent discovery is 'George Best' by the Wedding Present. Lots and lots of loud and fast guitars, northern accents, super listenable yet thoughtful too. Some tracks with backing vocals by the lovely Amelia Fletcher. This is a good example of what to expect.

And speaking of Amelia Fletcher, I love Heavenly's first album, 'Heavenly vs Satan.' (All of their albums have excellent titles.) They usually get categorized as twee but I don't like twee and I love this. I think it has something to do with the not-particularly-cheerful lyrics and Peter Momtchiloff's excellent jangly guitar work. Check out this song and see what you think.

The Nirvana Unplugged album got me into Nirvana. Great stuff the whole way through.

I'm pleased to see someone's recommended Appetite for Destruction already. That album was a revelation for me. It truly never occurred to me to give it a try as I just assumed I didn't like metal. But this is just great stuff, very accessible, stunning guitar work. It took me a few listens to get into but man, I love it so much now.

Er, to go in a completely opposite direction, I love and adore Bach's Musical Offering. This isn't generally the kind of classical stuff I go for (I'm more of a Rachmaninoff type of girl) but this just drew me in the more I listened to it. I think of it as being very logical and intelligent. The crab canon is brilliant -- the piece is played, then played again backwards. I lack the vocabulary to describe this properly, but the Musical Offering is just so obviously a work of genius that it's a pleasure to listen to.

I'll have to have a think and add some more albums later, as these are just a few off the top of my head. Do check back in and tell us what you liked! I intend to look into some of these albums myself.
posted by Put the kettle on at 9:41 PM on June 24, 2010

*Patty Griffin's debut album, LIVING WITH GHOSTS. Literally, the only instruments used are her voice, her guitar, and her soul. I've enjoyed almost all of Griffin's work, but nothing she has done since LIVING WITH GHOSTS has been as emotionally raw and liberating. Buy the album: spend about a week with it. I promise, it will speak to you.

*Emmylou Harris' mid-1990s masterpiece, WRECKING BALL. I vividly remember being floored the first time I listened to this album all the way through. It's unlike anything I've ever heard. It's not the twangy, folksy Harris of the '70s (although those roots still show). WRECKING BALL endorses a musical style that's much more transcendent, which makes it difficult to classify as "rock" or "country" or "folk." It's none of these, all of these, and much more than any of these. What's truly amazing is that Harris was 48(!) when this album was recorded. I cannot think of any other artist who has released such an important piece of their discography so far along in their career.

Those two should get you started. ;-)
posted by fignewton at 10:24 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might find some useful suggestions in this thread:

What album is so good that you never skip a song?
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:54 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

jesu - conquerer
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:25 PM on June 24, 2010

LastFM says that you and I are medium-compatible, so maybe these will be winners for you:

Django Reinhardt : Paris & London, 1937 - 1948
Ella Fitzgerald ... for the sake of argument, begin with her 2 disc Cole Porter Songbook collection.
Joseph Spence : Good Morning, Mr. Walker
Noël Coward : The Noël Coward Album
Various Artists : London is the Place for Me, Vol I
Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim : Elis & Tom
The Kinks : Village Green Preservation Society
The Muffs : The Muffs
Morcheeba : Big Calm / Fragments of Freedom
Mellow : CQ
The Brothers Cazimero : Ho'ala
The Kleptones : A Night at the Hip-Hopera
Emiliana Torrini : Me and Armini

Plus everything ever recorded by Mississippi John Hurt. And a whole lot more.
posted by mumkin at 1:52 AM on June 25, 2010

Oh, and T.Rex. Gotta have some of that. 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection looks like a good introduction.

And Sly... can't be without Sly. This 2-disc Essential collection should do for starters.
posted by mumkin at 2:20 AM on June 25, 2010

Matthew Good/Matthew Good Band is largely unknown outside of Canada, but still amazing. I'd recommend starting with Beautiful Midnight, probably their most commercially successful album.
posted by litnerd at 5:09 AM on June 25, 2010

The 23rd Century
posted by citizngkar at 6:43 AM on June 25, 2010

Many albums by the Mountain Goats. I think of them as more of an album band than single-song band. Particularly The Coroner's Gambit, All Hail West Texas, (seconding) Tallahassee, and The Sunset Tree. (That was a lot, sorry! Got carried away.)

Tom Waits, Frank's Wild Years (and seconding Rain Dogs)
Leonard Cohen, The Future
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
Sonic Youth, Washing Machine
Junior Wells, Hoodoo Man Blues
Joni Mitchell, Hejira or Blue
Etta James, Blues to the Bone
Eva Cassidy, Live at Blues Alley
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
John Hartford, Aereo-Plain
Jeff Buckley, Grace
Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, & Max Roach, Money Jungle
U2, The Joshua Tree
Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind, Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on the Tracks, etc.
ooh, seconding Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball and Patty Griffin, Living with Ghosts
Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain and Kind of Blue
posted by aka burlap at 7:59 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's a similar, not exact, question that was asked before:

You'll get more there (although you have enough here to last a few years).
posted by crapples at 8:22 AM on June 25, 2010

blitz - second empire justice - Old school british oi band discovers joy division, rips them off. I might be alone in this, but I'm calling it a forgotten classic.
posted by yeoldefortran at 8:40 AM on June 25, 2010

Tripping Daisy - Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb
posted by owtytrof at 10:34 AM on June 25, 2010

a few more that occured to me belatedly, thanks to Ye Olde iPod Shuffle this morning:

Sugar, Copper Blue
George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
Paul Weller, 22 Dreams
Nick Lowe, Jesus of Cool (aka Pure Pop for Now People) and Labour of Lust
Crowded House, Woodface
posted by scody at 2:01 PM on June 25, 2010

On post-view, I second these and wish I had included them in my list:

Duke Ellington (w/ Charles Mingus & Max Roach) - Money Jungle
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly
The Arcade Fire - Funeral
Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (actually, I like the songs on Pretty Hate Machine better, but TDS is the more magnificent work of art)

If you like the Beatles albums and want more from them as individuals, I'd recommend Paul McCartney's Ram, The John Lennon Collection, and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. But only after going through the complete Beatles catalogue.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:51 PM on June 25, 2010

I like how everyone who recommended Tom Waits listed a different album. My favourite is Mule Variations, but I guess the lesson here is that you should get them all.
posted by rocket88 at 8:23 AM on June 26, 2010

mondaygreens, you probably have more than plenty now, but I couldn't resist adding a few that haven't been mentioned yet, as far as I can tell. Here are some of my favorite favorites that come to mind:

Folk/rock/alt-country and/or singer-songwriter (within the past 20 years):

- Richard Buckner - Devotion + Doubt. Each of Buckner's albums really has its own distinct sound -- this is what I'd recommend as an introduction, with perhaps Since close behind.
- Son Volt - Trace
- Kris Delmhorst - Songs for a Hurricane
- Hem - Rabbit Songs
- Redbird. So far there's only one album from this trio, which is comprised of singer-songwriters Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey.
- Danny Schmidt - Make Right the Time
- Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning
- David Gray - White Ladder (second recommendation would be Lost Songs which sounds much more folk/rock/acoustic)
- Gillian Welch - Revival (Adding to the other Gillian Welch suggestions above)

...not folk/rock/alt-country/singer-songwriter:

- New Order - Technique. (The 2008 re-release apparently has all sorts of audio problems with it, so try to track down an older or newer copy)
- Morelenbaum²/Sakamoto - Casa. Wonderful tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim that's also a great introduction to bossa nova/Jobim, but I also recommend this to people who are already fans of Jobim.
- Oscar Peterson Trio - West Side Story
- Chet Baker - Chet is Back! (Also released as The Italian Sessions but without the last four bonus tracks)


- Jacqueline du Pré - A Lasting Inspiration. This is a two-disc set that's a fantastic collection and introduction to the cellist, and it's a great deal, too. It has a variety of music, including two of her most essential recordings: the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Daniel Barenboim, and the Elgar Cello Concerto with John Barbirolli.
- Chopin: Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra with Claudio Arrau and the London Philharmonic led by Eliahu Inbal. Another two-disc set that's a good deal and includes both Chopin piano concertos and more. When I started converting my discs to FLAC, this was one of the first ones I ripped.

Also, nth-ing Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball, Stevie Wonder's Talking Book and Crowded House's Woodface (and many others mentioned earlier).
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 2:56 PM on June 27, 2010

Skalpel (their self titled album).
posted by juv3nal at 11:02 AM on June 28, 2010

Nthing 69 Love Songs, but my suggestion preys on your saying genre is no barrier and heads you into bluegrassy folk: This Is Me, by Eddie From Ohio, and Passion Train, by Salamander Crossing.
posted by kostia at 4:59 PM on June 28, 2010

Firewater - The Golden Hour - run by former Cop Shoot Cop singer Tod A out of NYC, this catchy world punk pop masterpiece is the result of Tod having toured the middle east on his own for several years after 9/11, playing with locals there and recording some of their material for collaborative use on his record when he got back to the states; now on Bloodshot Records. Way more accessible that Gogol Bordello. Also great live.

I just wanted to second this. You may also wish to check out Firewater's equally excellent albums Get Off The Cross...We Need The Wood For The Fire and The Ponzi Scheme.

I would also like to say that I am one of those people who prefers Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots to The Soft Bulletin.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:24 PM on June 28, 2010

DJ Shadow - Entroducing...

To quote from Wikipedia:
Endtroducing..... is the debut studio album by hip hop artist DJ Shadow. It was first released on November 19, 1996 by Mo' Wax Records, and later reissued on June 7, 2005 by Island Records. It is noted by Guinness World Records for being one of the first instrumental albums created entirely from samples of other records.

It is also, amazing and stands as a whole piece together as well as seperately.

Also can't believe no one mentioned Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon - a classical whole-album performance.
posted by olya at 9:36 AM on June 29, 2010

Fantasies by Metric rarely leaves my car's CD player.
posted by Twicketface at 10:28 AM on June 29, 2010

I would say Grandaddy's last album Just Like the Fambly Cat is probably the best introduction to this band I really love. Multiple listens are encouraged.

Pink Floyd's Animals is often overlooked.

In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson is another classic prog-rock staple.

And no mention of Sabbath yet? We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll is a decent compilation.

Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks only gets better with age.

Oh, and Camel's The Snow Goose! OK no more classic prog after this one, but this is some of the best instrumental modern stuff I've listened to.

Cold War Kids' Robbers and Cowards is some recent-ish stuff that rocks quite a bit.

Godspeed You Black Emperor's Lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven! is another indie post-rock favorite. Great for chilling.

I've loved Kings of Leon's first album, Youth and Young Manhood, ever since it came out. Earnest rockin' country-pop.. or something like it.

Also Stereolab! Emperor Tomato Ketchup would be a good place to start, but all are accessible. Alt-pop with beautiful vocals. Think Philip Glass-y stuff with 60's synths.

I can't believe I almost forgot the Beta Band. I still play The Three EPs every now and then. (the album namedropped by John Cusack in High Fidelity, but you shouldn't hold that against it)

Has anyone mentioned Portishead's Dummy yet? Maybe because it's practically their only decent effort..

Finally, for some seriously awesome Latin American 80s/90s rock-en-español, try some Soda Stereo. You don't need to speak Spanish to appreciate Comfort y música para volar as the fantastic unplugged album it is.

And I'll second Arcade Fire, the Shins, Wilco.. and many others. Great recommendations here!
posted by papafrita at 3:40 PM on June 30, 2010

Calvin Harris - Ready for the Weekend

it's been my summertime jam.
posted by talldean at 6:55 AM on July 4, 2010

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