Over the years I’ve managed to whip up a shortlist of my favorite albums of the 80’s, as well as my individual lists of my favorite albums of each year of the 00’s (as written based off of old journal entries from those years), but somehow I’ve managed to miss the nineties. This needed some correction, so in my recent time away, I’ve pieced together a list to correct that absence. Truth be told, it was in no way easy, as the 90’s were my formative years. I was born in the 80’s, but came into my own throughout the 90’s, so it’s a decade of albums that I hold very dear. That being said, I did my damnedest to keep the list to a top ten, but ended up settling for a top 50, with a numbered top 20, and a back 30 of runner’s up that could just as easily be listed in the top 20 on any particular day. So, here is a simple list of things that have moved me over the years. I’ll keep my words light, so that you can see the list. Everything on this list is worth a look, so I’ve included links to stream the albums via Spotify. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, so feel free to let me know how badly I have botched this gig. Without further ado -
/// THE BEST OF THE REST (in alphabetical order)///
“Moon Safari” by AIR
“American Football” by American Football
“Selected Ambient Works 85-92” by Aphex Twin
“In Casino/Out” by At the Drive-In
“Three EPs” by The Beta Band
“Post” by Bjork
“13” by Blur
“Chrome” by Catherine Wheel
“Wish” by The Cure
“Voodoo” by D’Angelo
“ULTRA” by Depeche Mode
“Either/Or” by Elliott Smith
“Tidal” by Fiona Apple
“Polydistortion” by Gus Gus
“Clarity” by Jimmy Eat World
“The Buried Life” by Medicine
“The Lonesome Crowded West” by Modest Mouse
“Bona Drag” by Morrissey
“Dummy” by Portishead
“This is Hardcore” by Pulp
“Automatic for the People” by R.E.M.
“Since” by Richard Buckner
“Nowhere” by Ride
“Pisces Iscariot” by The Smashing Pumpkins
“Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized
“Blind” by The Sundays
“Dulcinea” by Toad the Wet Sprocket
“Little Earthquakes” by Tori Amos
“The Man Who” by Travis
“A Northern Soul” by Verve
“I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One” by Yo La Tengo
And there you have it - a long list that should be longer, but for my money, those those albums are all stunning achievements and beautiful listens. If you’ve never heard one or more, I would not lead you wrong. Check them out. Feel free to question my picks, but rest assured, I’ve spent plenty of time of each choice and none were made with an ounce of doubt. I love them all. Hope you enjoy them as well.
Three months in and we’re already inundated with a plethora of wonderful music. Surely it would already be enough to maintain a pretty spectacular year, but we’re only three months in and there are a couple of dozen stellar releases still on the horizon. With that being said, I thought that I’d slap together a quick list of my favorite albums so far in 2013. To celebrate the end of the first quarter, here are 13 for 2013.
* note: I’m trying to adhere to physical release dates and not leaks. there are currently several albums that have not been released in the first quarter of the year that belong on this list, but they’ll have to wait their turn.
FAVORITE 13 of the FIRST QUARTER of 2013 (In no particular order):
I decided against writing up descriptions of each band because I can’t exactly break down what makes each piece of art work in a few words, and my hope is that if you’ve liked my posts in the past that you might take a shot and jump at one or two in which you might not be familiar.
Suffice to say, 2013 is shaping up to be a special year for new and old artists. These 13 don’t even scratch the surface and surely, I’ve forgotten more than one along the way, but you get the point. I love these albums and hope that you might as well. Let me know know what you think. Who am I missing?
“Ingenue” by Atoms for Peace // Dir. Garth Jennings (2013)
“Amok” by Atoms for Peace has been spinning near me for past couple of weeks now, and the track that I find myself most drawn to is the subject of the band’s newest music video, “Ingenue”. Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow, Blur’s “Coffee & TV”, & many more) directs the video that features Thom Yorke and Fukiko Takase dancing on stage, as choreographed by Wayne McGregor (this is the same team behind Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower” video).
I have kept music and film journals for the past fifteen years or so - detailing my weekly, monthly, and yearly obsessions as they happen. Sometimes it’s just mixtape ideas, other times it’s essays on something that moved me about a movie that I caught on tv late one night, and other times, it’s just a series of notes to remind myself of what I was doing (and was into) at a particular time in my life. I’m going to be trying to transition some of that material over the blog, in case anyone cares to look in on some of the musical choices that I make outside of the daily song postings.
Here, I’m going to start picking the albums that of note that I’m currently spending time with - both new and old. The first list will be the recent releases and the second list will be older albums that have found their way back into recent rotations for whatever reason. The new list will be comprised of upcoming releases or albums that have been released in recent months. The old list, will just be any and everything that’s not currently on a new release wall in some record store somewhere.
These lists are merely for the curious and the bored. Enjoy.
- CURRENTLY ROTATING -
“Amok” by Atoms for Peace // I know that it sounds ridiculous to say, considering my outspoken adoration for all things Radiohead, but I was not expecting to find myself this floored by “Amok”. The album has a late night energy that lends it more to a hypnotic dance floor than any of Radiohead’s experiments of the past several years, making it feel like a thoroughly enjoyable separate experience. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Ingenue” & “Amok”.
“Push the Sky Away” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds // I’m always excited for Nick Cave’s music, but truth be told I was getting a little burnt out on the Grinderman material, so this return to the dark poetry of some of his mid-career albums is an absolute treat on every level. Some really shockingly good material here. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Push the Sky Away” & “Higgs Boson Blues”
“Torres” by Torres // Caught me completely off guard with it’s raw energy and wonderful songwriting. Some dark, haunted beauty pulled off with usually nothing more than a guitar and a voice. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Honey” & “Moon and Back”.
“The New Life” by Girls Names // One of the best albums I’ve heard so far this year. A staggeringly good blast of dark post punk sounds. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “The Olympia” & “Hypnotic Regression”
“Eight” by Radar Brothers // A great collection of orchestral, space rock tracks that remind me of how much I miss Grandaddy and ” The Soft Bulletin”-era Flaming Lips. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “House of Mirrors” & “Horse Down”
“Early Fragments” by Fear of Men // Just a lovely collection of dream pop beauties compiled from the bands singles and EPs. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Mosaic” & “Spirit House”
“Anxiety” by Autre Ne Veut // Holy shit, i was not expecting this album to be such a solid album. Every track hits the right notes and spins R&B into a strange new direction. A fantastic new sound from a fascinating artist. One of the best of the year so far. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Don’t Ever Look Back” & “A Lie”
“MBV” by My Bloody Valentine // I can’t possibly add anything new to the discussion of this brilliant return. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Who Sees You” & “New You”
“Optica” by Shout Out Louds // This album is so much better than the band’s past couple releases. Honestly, I’d almost grown bored of the band’s output, but here is a collection of 80’s indebted pop songs that sounds like The Cure one minute and New Order the next. It’s a great Spring time album, if only the fucking cold would take the hint. ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: “Chasing the Sinking Sun” & “Walking In Your Footsteps”.
There you have it. The new albums that I’ve been spinning the most as of late. The list of older favorites still to come. Hope you find something that you like.
“Judge Jury and Executioner” by Atoms for Peace // Amok (2013)
We’re getting closer to finally hearing that new Atoms for Peace full length and it would seem that Thom Yorke and the band can feel the eagerness so they’ve broke us off another tasty piece in the form of “Judge Jury and Executioner” from the forthcoming album, “Amok”. For my money, this is the best official track that I’ve heard from the band since they were officially christened, “Atoms for Peace”. I find it interesting that the name of the dark and haunting jam with glitchy- handclap beat is also the alternate-name for Radiohead’s “Myxomatosis”, which in hindsight sounds like a proto-Atoms for Peace track. Very good, and another reason to be excited. Highest recommendation.
“The Sea Beneath” by Night Shining // The Sea Beneath (Available Now via Bandcamp)
New York based electro pop musician, Mike Romeo, is the man behind Night Shining, a shimmering, electro bedroom pop project that’s recently released two excellent new tracks via Bandcamp. One of those track, “The Sea Beneath” is especially captivating. What starts out as an urgent, electro pulse beat shifts into a dreamy new wave / synth pop track with a killer hook. It sounds like an intimate confessional spliced with a late night, dance lullaby. Definitely something that needs to be heard and shared. Highest recommendation for fans of Chad Valley, Keep Shelly in Athens, and Thom Yorke (if he were making lo-fi electro)
“What the Eyeballs Did” by Atoms for Peace // Default 12” (Out 11.19.12 via XL)
Atoms for Peace are back with the B-side to recent single, “Default”. Thom Yorke and the boys bring the glitch beats and strings-like-synths to the party and the result is a killer bit of electro pop that primes the pump even further for that inevitable new full length in early 2013. Highest recommendation.
Criminally underrated dream pop/glo-fi band, Stumbleine have a knack for creating gorgeous, ethereal dream pop layered with glitch beats and warped vocal samples. They also do wonders with crafting killer mixtapes in the same vein. Recently, they’ve gone and posted a new mix featuring their own work peppered with tracks from Sigur Ros, Thom Yorke, Broken Social Scene, Burial, Holy Other, and many more (full tracklist below). It plays like an otherworldly lullaby,and makes for a lovely listen on any chilly late night, but especially under an autumn sky. Definitely check this one out.
The Appleseed Cast - The Walking Of Pertelotte // A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears // XXYYXX - About You // Stumbleine - Colourvision // Hammock - I Can Almost See You // Broken Social Scene - Anthems For A 17yr Old Girl // Stumbleine - The Corner Of Her Eye // Stars Of The Lid - A Meaningful Moment Though A Meaning(less) Process // Sigur Ros - Fjogur Piano // Miracle Legion - All For The Best (Thom Yorke Cover) // Mum - Nightly Cares // Giraffage - Elysian // Burial - Night Bus // Stumbleine - Cherry Blossom // Lucky Paul - Elephant Island (Midland Remix) // Esmerine - Why She Swallows Bullets & Stones // Helios - Vargtimme // Stumbleine - Ember // Sparklehorse - Most Beautiful Widow In Town // Sun Glitters - Softly & Slowly ft Rob Boak // Jonsi & Alex - Danell In The Sea // Tycho - Hours (Teen Daze Remix) // Holy Other - Past Tension // This Will Destroy You - Villa Del Refugio // Apparat - Ash/Black Veil // Stumbleine - Honeycomb // Stars Of The Lid - Fac 21 // Scuba - Before //Flying Lotus - Aunties Lock/Infinitum Ft Laura Darlington // The Books - A Little Longing Goes A Long Way // Stumbleine - Catherine Wheel Ft Birds Of Passage
Sam Howard, the man behind Halls, just keeps getting better with each release. In a very short time, his production work has become more detailed and layered and cryptically beautiful. “Reverie” from the forthcoming debut full length, “Ark’, is one of Halls’ best releases yet - dark and intense, with a brooding atmosphere and delicate, melancholic vocals. The glitchy electronic beat and shaded delivery call to mind work by The XX and Thom Yorke (on The Eraser more than the Atoms for Peace material). It’s a fantastic single, and an exciting sign of what might be in store for us when “Ark” is released.
“All Your Gold” by Bat for Lashes // The Haunted Man (2012)
Another week, another new taste from the forthcoming Bat For Lashes album, “The Haunted Man”. This time around the taster is more upbeat and features what borders on a dance beat. The past two tracks featured more somber balladry, but here we get the taste of something more aggressive in synth pop jam with a driving beat and spaced out blip beats. It’s another great track and has me wondering if “The Haunted Man” has what it takes to be the best album yet, from Natasha Khan. Absolutely highest recommendation.
For the sixth installment of Dreaming in Waves (previous installments here) I thought that I would spread out into some more experimental places, as well as pull back and bring in some more acoustic tracks later in the show. Naturally, in between you can expect plenty of dream pop, shoegaze, post rock, post punk and all things in between. You can expect 120 minutes of sounds to remind you of the halcyon days of college radio where you could discover something spectacular nearly every time you turned on the dial, be it new or old. With a little hope you’ll find something new and old to be excited about while also finding a solid soundtrack for a late night drive, or come down, or whatever you need it for in those hours before sleep. Thanks for listening! Please feel free to share & reblog!
Please support the artists that you find and enjoy. Buy their music, merchandise and tickets to see their shows. Supporting them is the only purpose in doing this blog. Contrary to the opinions of some, music blogs are a great way to discover new music, but there will only be so much new music to go around if these artists can’t afford to support themselves through their art and commerce. Only use these mixtapes as a guide to find something to throw your (financial and emotional) support behind.
“Default” by Atoms for Peace // Default (single) (Out 9.11.12 via XL)
And an excellent year of music keeps getting better today with the release of the stellar new single from Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace. “Default” is a dark, blip-beat heavy bit of electro pop that floats on warped synth pulses and Yorke’s killer falsetto. I’m not above admitting that I drink the Thom Yorke/Radiohead kool-aid all day long, so for me, this is exciting and spectacular to hear. I look forward to the forthcoming singles/full length with great anticipation, but in the meantime, I’m happy to just live in this jam for a while.
“Morning Mr. Magpie” by Radiohead // Live on Austin City Limits (2012)
The PBS series, “Austin City Limits” will soon return with a series of excellent performances from a wide variety of bands, and included in this years line-up is a series performance by Radiohead. Now, everyone should love a good shot at seeing Radiohead do what they do best in lovely hi-def video shot by the always reliable team over at ACL, so here is a performance of “Morning Mr. Magpie” featuring Thom’s new pony.
* The Radiohead episode of ACL debuts on October 6th.
“Laura” by Bat for Lashes // The Haunted Man (2012)
“The Haunted Man” by Bat for Lashes is definitely one of my most eagerly anticipated albums of the second half of 2012, and finally there is an audible taster of the forthcoming album. It’s no big surprise that “Laura” is a stunning listen, sparse and dramatic, somber and haunting. It’s pretty safe to assume that we’re in for a great album when “The Haunted Man” comes out later this year (10.23.12 to be exact). You can also check out the video for “Laura” on VEVO. Wonderful stuff. Not to be missed.