Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (1983)

Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes (1983)

This is one of those quirky, dry, self-conscious alternative rock albums that give me a reason to appreciate that the 1980s happened. It’s weird and, to some, unpalatable – but it’s also catchy at the same time. That’s a hard thing to pull off unless you’re the Pixies or maybe early 70s Brian Eno. My choice cut here does a great job explaining the feel of the album as a whole.

Now a non-sequitur: imagine my surprise when I found out Gone Daddy Gone from the first album we ever reviewed was a cover from this album.

Choice Cut: Blister in the Sun

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Sandinista! – The Clash (1980)

Sandinista! - The Clash (1980)

The common criticism of Sandinista! is that it would’ve been better pared down to a double or single album. The Clash’s best album is contained in here (check out Joe’s excellent rapping on The Magnificent Seven, or the breezy pop/protest song Washington Bullets – which turn the album’s title into something incredibly catchy) and even at its worst, it’s still really interesting. Most of the throwaway stuff is buried way deep on side 6, which consists largely of dub versions and remixes of earlier songs. Removing those weaker tracks may improve the overall quality, but then it wouldn’t be the same – the sprawl is part of the package! “I stand proud of it,” Joe Strummer once said of the album, “warts and all.”

Choice Cut: Police on My Back

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

In The Court Of The Crimson King- King Crimson (1969)

In The Court Of The Crimson King- King Crimson (1969)

ITCOTCK  is sort of a one hit wonder, but in album format instead of single format. To be fair to King Crimson, I’ve only listened to two of their other albums, but the rest of their stuff doesn’t seem to come close to ITCOTCK. That’s kind of why of why ITCOTCK is so amazing. The lineup that they had when they recorded ITCOTCK had some sort of chemistry that no other lineup could really come close to. ITCOTCK is a progressive rock masterpiece one hit wonder, but I couldn’t tell you an exact reason why.

Choice Cut: I Talk To The Wind

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Paranoid – Black Sabbath (1970)

Paranoid - Black Sabbath (1970)

The strongest Black Sabbath album by a mile if you ask me. They’ve got a lot of good albums, and this is coming from a guy who’s not a huge metal fan. Seldom does rock come with riffs on this level. I played the title track in my Camry with the volume all the way up and the car actually melted ($100% true story). I haven’t heard so much raw power in an album since Raw Power. Even the slower, quieter Planet Caravan works really well, advancing the dark atmosphere of the album as a whole.

Choice Cut: Iron Man

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Low – David Bowie (1977)

Low - David Bowie (1977)

“I’m gonna review Heroes. …Dammit, Ian! Okay… I’m gonna review Station to Station… Dammit, Ian!” T4B problems. The struggle is real.

This is a powerful testament to how much we like Bowie. He was always doing weird experimental stuff, switching up his style, and trying new things. We’re all about that. Low is essentially an album in two parts: the more “traditional” opening seven and the instrumental closing four. The opening seven are a mix of sounds appropriate for an arcade, 50s piano, rock riffs, and Bowie vocals. The instrumental tracks opened a rabbit hole to be discovered further later.

Choice Cut: What in the World

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

Agaetis Byrjun – Sigur Ros (1999)

Agaetis Byrjun - Sigur Ros (1999)

Translated from its native Icelandic tongue, “agaetis byrjun” becomes “a good beginning.” Appropriate! Want to talk stark, unfettered beauty? Want to talk rich instrumentation and incredible (if unintelligible to my English ears) vocals? This album is your conversation piece. The album art shows a picture of a fetus in the womb, and I have to wonder if that’s what they had in mind when making this album. I know I’m really grasping here, but I think if you got some decent headphones, sunk into a really big beanbag chair, and listened to this, you might just feel like the album art. Leave yourself an airhole if you try that, though.

Choice Cut: Svefn-g-englar

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button

OK Computer – Radiohead (1997)

OK Computer - Radiohead (1997)

It’s the classic “best album of the ’90s” pick, which means that any backlash it gets is pretty much inevitable. Sure, there are other ’90s albums that are as creative (Ágætis byrjun), as emotionally resonant (Automatic for the People), as influential (Loveless), or as melodic (Grace) as this one. But what makes OK Computer the greatest album of its generation is the the way all of those elements come together in one place – most notably on the crushing, sweeping Paranoid Android. Listen to how perfectly it moves from the unnerving first part to the second part’s explosive rock (complete with an incredible guitar solo), to the chilling Gothic finale. Better songs have been written, but there aren’t many. Among them is Let Down, my favorite. The riff rules, but the real high point is the climax, with an army of overdubbed Thom Yorkes doing their thing.

Choice Cut: Let Down

Support the Artist & T4B
Buy Album
: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

Share Button