Slanted & Enchanted – Pavement (1992)

Slanted & Enchanted - Pavement (1992)

I hated this album when I first heard it. With a few years and added musical maturity, I’ve recently listened to it again. The jagged, uneven hooks and desperate vocals (“I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’…”) push away casual listeners. Summer Babe is a perfectly amicable radio hit, but by the time you get to No Life Singed Her, you know what you’re in for. If you can handle that, you’re in for ugly beauty. To anyone who’s intimidated by this album, I suggest listening to it three times. I think it takes three listens to truly start appreciating a complex album.

Choice Cut: Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era

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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
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Psychocandy – Jesus and Mary Chain (1985)

Psychocandy – Jesus and Mary Chain (1985)

Is distortion an instrument? These guys say yes. A fair warning to all potential listeners: this is a tough album to sit through, even more so than Tobacco. Do not let this discourage you. There are moments of intense beauty on this album, coming from ghost-like vocals floating above the harsh, yet melodic wall-to-wall feedback. There’s a primal, satisfying je ne sais quoi in the music. It’s something like how babies can fall asleep to the sound of a vacuum cleaner, which this album kind of sounds like. The loud parts rock so hard and the quiet parts are beautiful.

Choice CutJust Like Honey
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Maniac Meat – Tobacco (2010)

Maniac Meat – Tobacco (2010)

Genres
Electronic

Choice Cut
Constellation Dirtbike Head

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This album is vulgarity personified, but not in the same way as Velvet Underground or gangster rap. Tobacco, as part of an artistic vision, makes the grossest, sickest, brashest music possible. It’s art in the sense that a photograph of wet ashes outside a nightclub in Atlanta is art. It may seem like I’m insulting this album rather than recommending it, but give it a shot. It’s a convoluted aural spectacle that takes the EDM rule book, throws it out the window, and gives it the middle finger while remaining strangely danceable and listenable.

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