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

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pom pom – Ariel Pink (2014)

pom pom - Ariel Pink (2014)

Ariel Pink does an amazing job at harkening back to the days of Frank Zappa, lo-fi, and new wave all while keeping pom pom new and exciting. Not that Zappa, lo-fi, or new wave aren’t exciting to begin with, but those styles kind of get old after awhile. Maybe it’s the synthesis of these genres, or maybe it’s just how weird this album is, but whatever it is pom pom is most definitely worth a listen.

Choice Cut: Put Your Number In My Phone

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Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise? – Art of Noise (1984)

Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise? - Art of Noise (1984)

Well, I’m not afraid of the Art of Noise, but I can see how you could be intimidated. I can’t really pin it down as clearly ambient or experimental. It’s a bit aggressive to be ambient, but it’s not regular enough to be dance. AllMusic calls it dance-rock, but I don’t even think that’s quite right. Two things are for sure: it’s interesting and it’s good. Art of Noise is exactly that, art made out of odd sounds – vaguely industrial, vaguely dreamy, vaguely dancey, vaguely rocky.

Choice Cut: Moments in Love
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Black Sun – Gold Fields (2013)

Black Sun - Gold Fields (2013)

The synthpop sub-genre had intrigued me for a while so I decided to expand my tastes. I found the album Black Sun through an iTunes recommendation and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Throughout the album lie many strong points such as Dark Again, Treehouse, and You’re Still Gone. People looking for a break from their normal tastes in music will be able to find enjoyment in Black Sun, as I did. The album covers material from pop to alternative rock and is incredibly easy to get into.

Choice Cut: Dark Again
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Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Phoenix (2009)

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix (2009)

When I first heard 1901, it was unlike anything I’d ever listened to before. I caught onto the song quickly and decided to listen to the album it came from. After giving Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix a few listens, I was hooked on the entire album, and it opened the door for me to alternative rock in general. Many things are done on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix that simply can’t be found on any other album. The vocals are mixed perfectly with the instrumentals on all tracks and elements of alternative rock and synthpop are blended to make Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix a true one-of-a-kind album.

Choice Cut1901
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Synchronicity – The Police (1983)

Synchronicity - The Police (1983)

For anyone looking to expand their tastes in rock, look no further than The Police: most notably their fifth and most popular album, Synchronicity. One strong aspect of Synchronicity is how flawlessly The Police manage to fuse elements of reggae and rock music together, creating a true one-of-a-kind sound. Many people will recognize songs on the album such as Every Breath You Take and Synchronicity II due to their radio airplay. I’d recommend this album to even the most casual fans of reggae or rock music.

Choice Cut: King of Pain
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