Debut – Bjork (1993)

Debut - Bjork (1993)

Take a cup of clever lyrics, four tablespoons of vaguely rave-inspired beats, and pour on creative, lush ambiance and – boom – you’ve got a Bjork salad. This is my favorite album by this outlandish Icelandic singer-songwriter. Seriously, can you name an artist do you know that recorded part of their song in the restroom of a bar? (If you have a non-Bjork answer to that, comment below). Bjork has a knack for taking a different angle on concepts such as Human Behaviour (told from a non-human perspective) and Venus As A Boy, a rule 63-ish take on mythology.

Choice Cut: There’s More to Life Than This (Recorded Live at the Milk Bar Toilets)
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Easy Beat – Dr. Dog (2005)

Easy Beat - Dr. Dog (2005)

Music, or art in general, is a trophy for things humankind has done right. Without technological innovations like agriculture that freed up time for people, no one would have time to foster their artistic side. Because of that, art should be celebrated! Dr. Dog gets this and responds with one of the sweetest-feeling jam albums to grace my ears. It’s sloppy, unpolished, and it egregiously borrows from other music. Who cares, though? They’re celebrating music for its own sake! This is a snapshot of the musician’s soul.

Choice Cut: The World May Never Know
Buy Album: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

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St. Vincent – St. Vincent (2014)

St. Vincent - St. Vincent (2014)

Like a billion other albums, Alex introduced me to this. St. Vincent is what happens when you combine futurism, poetic lyrics, fantastic vocals, and selectively heavy beats. This is not really a “hard” album…but it can rattle the car when it has a point to make! I also have to say that it is refreshing to hear such confidence in female vocals: power sans machismo. An attitude of “I know I’m cool; I run this show” permeates this album and it’s all I can do to meekly agree. Highly recommended.

Choice Cut: Huey Newton
Buy Album: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

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Surfer Rosa – Pixies (1988)

Surfer Rosa - Pixies (1988)
Note: We used the SFW album art. The real NSFW deal can be found here.

How did we get to week 10 without talking about the Pixies? This is easily one of the bands I can gush about, and Surfer Rosa and Doolittle would be the main objects of my overabundant (but sincere) praise. The Pixies combine jagged, dramatic guitar riffs with lyrics about mythology and religion. Black Francis desperately yells his lines to the mic and this somehow mixes melodically with Kim Deal’s smooth back-up vocals. It’s a great dynamic. Amazingly, the Pixies are still relatively distant from common knowledge despite inspiring Kurt Cobain and, by proxy, much of music from then on.

Choice Cut: River Euphrates
Buy Album: Amazon (MP3 · CD · Vinyl) · iTunes MP3

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Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective (2009)

Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective (2009)

When this album initially came out in 2009, I was 16 years old and I simply didn’t “get” it. Can you blame me, though? This album paints a complicated soundscape and it’s easy to become disoriented. Like standing on top of a mountain on a sunny day, there is so much to see (or hear) that it’s hard to know where to look (or listen). Merriweather runs on trippy energy – let the bass and the bells take over.

Choice Cut: Summertime Clothes
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LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005)

LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005)

If someone asked me to pick one album that can defuse the pretentiousness of annoying musos, I’d remark on the odd specificity of that question and then recommend this album. This is music about music. The deeper you are into music culture, the more you know the tropes, and the more history you know, the better this album will be. The tunes are musically strong and surprisingly danceable mixes of electronic, rock, and a billion other things. It’s good even if you don’t get the jokes, but great if you do.

Choice Cut: Movement
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Peace, Love, Death Metal – Eagles of Death Metal (2004)

Peace, Love, Death Metal – Eagles of Death Metal (2004)

If we sent Red Bull back in time to Canned Heat, told them to make something with a sense of humor, and they acquiesced, the resultant album would be a lot like this. So…it’s a gimmick? Hell yes, it’s a gimmick. It’s one of Josh Homme’s side projects, but he goes by the name Carlo Von Sexron for this band. This album is a vulgar Tarantino-like pastiche of bluesy dad rock. It’s rife with unsubtle metaphors about sexscapades, drugs, and the Devil over crunchy riffs. This is the stereotype that parents and grandparents from the 1960s feared in rock music.

Choice Cut: Speaking in Tongues
Buy Album: Amazon MP3 · Amazon CD · iTunes MP3

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