Lazzarato – Jack White (2014)

Lazzarato - Jack White (2014)

Jack White is an eclectic person with an eclectic taste in music. Lazaretto is probably his most eclectic album. There’s a lot of songs in here that have an interesting juxtaposition of country rock and alternative rock. I don’t mean alternative country either. Jack White just kind of decided he wanted to make some songs with country rock and alternative rock influences and it worked. Jack White also keeps his Detroit blues-garage rock roots in his guitar playing. I don’t know how he manages to do all these things, but I guess when you’re Jack White, you just do it.

Choice Cut: High Ball Stepper
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Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker (2014)

Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker (2014)

Benjamin Booker’s debut album is a wonderful mix of blues rock and garage rock, which have become so closely intertwined recently. Booker is a lot like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. No, he shouldn’t rename his act to ‘Piano’ but that wouldn’t be an inaccurate statement. Booker has that rawness that The White Stripes held on their early stuff, and the complexity that The Black Keys brought to their later stuff. It’s hard for Booker to pull off rawness and complexity at the same time, and while Booker’s efforts aren’t exactly perfect, they’re far from mediocre.

Choice Cut: Violent Shiver
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Mule Variations – Tom Waits (1999)

Mule Variations - Tom Waits (1999)

Tom Waits has maintained a huge cult following since the ’70s despite never having had a hit, simply because he’s written a gigantic pile of great songs over the past forty years. And if you’re not part of the Tom Waits thing yet, here’s as good of a place as any to get on board. Those who want to hear his insane side will find it on What’s He Building? and Filipino Box Spring Hog, and those who are more into Tom as the jazzy singer-songwriter putting out his cigarette in the ashtray on top of the piano and taking a deep swig of whiskey will love Picture in a Frame.

Choice Cut: Come on Up to the House
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Bone Machine – Tom Waits (1992)

Bone Machine- Tom Waits (1992)

Tom Waits follows up his legendary ’80s trilogy with his twisted, demented vision of blues rock. Earth Died Screaming, In the Colosseum, and Goin’ Out West (which you might remember from Fight Club) not only reinvent the tired genre – it’s turned into the soundtrack to the apocalypse. Even the gospel song Jesus Gonna Be Here sounds like it came out of hell. We also get three of his greatest ballads, Who Are You, A Little Rain, and Whistle Down the Wind, as well the unclassifiable, undeniably moving I Don’t Wanna Grow Up. Tom at his most striking, most violent, and most tender.

Choice Cut: Whistle Down the Wind
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Elephant – The White Stripes (2003)

Elephant - The White Stripes (2003)

If I had to pick an album to describe what the spirit of rock music is, I would pick Elephant.  Its lack of bass is a little unorthodox, but isn’t the spirit of rock music supposed to be a little unorthodox?  Elephant exhibits the rawness and authenticity that I love about rock music.  This isn’t some over-produced bullshit that gets played a lot today.  This album is raw, authentic, dirty, simplistic, and I love it for those very reasons.  Sure, rock can have complexity to it, but something about the simplicity of Elephant just screams “ROCK AND ROLL, BITCH”.

Choice Cut: The Air Near My Fingers
Buy Album: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

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