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The best records ever (and one cassette tape…)

Bailter Space – Vortura

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
For a few hundred dollars you can buy equipment more advanced than the equipment used to record this music…there goes your last excuse.

Belle and Sebastian – The Boy With the Arab Strap
I thought this was great even before I read the words.

Big Black – Atomizer
Steve Albini is a pretty little flower.

Birthday Party – Prayers on Fire
This was released in 1981? I was still stealing quarters from my mommy to play Galaxian. This album was a million light years ahead of its time.

Black Flag – Live ’84
For a heavy metal record, this music has a lot of fucking soul. It’s dark, not in the gothic sense, not scary or anything, it’s just that if you take an onion and start peeling layers of skin off, eventually you’re down to nothing. That’s all life is. That’s all this record is.

Broken Social Scene – S/T
So cool and calm and thunderously emotional all the same.

James Brown – Live at the Apollo
James Brown invented soul, disco, punk, rap, and atomic energy. He was the original model for ‘Luke’ from Dukes of Hazard. Plus he was into PCP when PCP wasn’t even cool.

The Butthole Surfers – Hairway to Steven
Everything you know is wrong.

Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
Shards of this record turn up everywhere……..

Johnny Cash – Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
All live albums should be made in prisons.

The Circle Jerks – Golden Shower of Hits
I don’t know what I liked about punk more when I was a kid, the nihilism or the way the guitar sounded.

The Clash – The Clash
First record I ever bought. A friend played it for me when I was 10 or so. Half way through the second song (‘I’m So Bored With the USA’) it was all over, I was a punk.

Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come
Usually reggae is as nauseating as Irish folk music, but this is pretty good.

Codeine – Frigid Stars LP
Some of the wisest words ever uttered on a rock album. ‘Things don’t last too long, but when they do they last TOO long……’

John Coltrane – Blue Train
No words.

The Cowboy Junkies – Whites Off Earth Now
No Sweet Jane cover here. Hey, it’s easy to do a cover that makes you want to listen to the Velvet Underground, try doing one that makes you want to listen to Bruce Springsteen.

DEVO – Are We Not Men?
My favorite on here is ‘Space Junk’, the way it builds up and explodes, it’s so emotional for a nonsense song.

Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me
This record is adolescent frustration made solid.

The Flaming Lips – Hit to Death in the Future Head
I remember in one of the shitholes I lived in in college, the whole neighborhood was tripping acid, and I walk into my friend’s room and there are 10 or 12 people in there sitting on the floor in the dark listening to the last “song” on the album….just white noise bouncing from speaker to speaker for what seems like hours even if you’re not fucked up.

Flipper – Generic Flipper
This record saved my life.

Fripp & Eno – Evening Star
Coming home from the factory job in July, coming home to an oven of an apartment in a neighborhood where you leave nothing open and never smile, up a flight of stairs, open the fridge, you grab a can of Olde English, shake the roaches off (yes, they even get in the refrigerator), pour it into the ice from the Big Gulp you half-drank, lay down on the thin mattress you call a bed, turn the stereo on, Evening Star, up all the way, you let it wash all over you and it mixes with the sirens and squealed tires and decay…

Husker Du – Candy Apple Grey
Conventional wisdom would say to include Zen Arcade, and New Day Rising is the best song they ever wrote, but this is my favorite over all. If Crystal doesn’t make you wanna go on another run, and if Too Far Down doesn’t make you laugh then you’ve lived a sane, safe, practical life, you pathetic piece of shit.

Godspeed You Black Emperor – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada
“he goes “you don’t need to get loud,” i said “don’t get loud?” i says “i’ve got every right to get loud.” i says “you can’t do a god damn thing about it”
And I’ll leave it at that.

The Gories – Outta Here
Intentionally primitive garage r&b. The best music is performed by people who don’t know how to play their instruments.

Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder
I never know what to say about the jazz ones. I mean am I going to pretend to know about music? But……fuck!

Neil Halstead – Sleeping on Roads
One of the few albums of consequence that I can sleep to. The best of the bunch on this one is an ode to Larry Lawn Chair, who one day in 1982 strapped 42 weather balloons full of helium to his Sears lawn chair and took off to Points Unknown, or rather, to the inbound traffic lanes of LAX and some electrical lines in Long Beach. So it’s surf music, in some weird sense…although there’s one song on here that wouldn’t sound out of place in the background of the original Star Trek credits….

David Holmes – Let’s Get Killed
Techno but brilliant. Story is David Holmes comes to New York from Ireland with an 8 track recorder and a bunch of acid – this is the results. Good story, better music.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
No, it doesn’t have as much distortion as Flipper, and no, they weren’t the next Sex Pistols, but hey, the Sex Pistols weren’t the next Eddie Cochran either. And the Beach Boys never made me wanna wreck my car.

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
I wanted to hear some depressing music so I had to go buy this album. The lead singer offed himself, listened to Iggy Pop and then put his neck in a noose, but he had his clothes on so it wasn’t one of those jerk off suicides.

Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
Just pop songs, by the dozen, or by the two dozen minus one. Simple catchy songs about love, or more usually, the loss of love one after the other.

Mercury Rev – Boces
Noisy trashy bad-ass flute solos. Fuck yeah.

Also, too, dog barking solos.

Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
This is sexy and sad.

The Minutemen – My First Bells
This only came out on cassette but that’s not my fault. It’s got their first couple albums, a bunch of EPs some singles and some compilation stuff all in one place. There’s not too much you can believe in when you’re fifteen years old.

The Monks – Black Monk Time
The missing link between 1963-era German proto-punk and 1965-era German proto-punk.

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
I only bought this cause Lester Bangs said it was good.

The Music Tapes – 1st Imaginary Symphony For Nomad
This band has about the same level of muscianship as Happy Flowers ( i.e. none ), so I like it. Any record with Song For the Death of Parents on it gets major bonus points.

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
One of the greatest ‘rock’ (as opposed to rock and roll) records of all time. The music is fractal, you can always go deeper into it and find more detail. Riffs and rhythms are repeated, but never exactly. This record is too good to even be copied (although the Lilys copied Isn’t Anything).

Neutral Milk Hotel – On Avery Island
Sad, hopeless music. Yey!

Olivia Tremor Control – Dusk at Cubist Castle
A Beatles rip-off band but good anyway.

The Pastels – Illumination

Charley Patton
This is square one. Delta blues from the 20’s. “I wanna go down and prowl,” he sings. “I wanna get sloppy drunk off the bottle and ball and walk the streets at night.”

Poison Idea – Pajama Party
All covers and they just owned every song on here. I mean sure it’s easy to top the Go-Gos, but the MC5? The Dolls? Motorhead? The Who? The Wipers? Owned.

Public Image Ltd. – Metal Box
You can call it Second Edition if you don’t have fifty bucks. Johnny Rotten says Poptones is the story of him being raped, but I don’t believe anything anyone says. Radio Four is positively lovely.

The Ramones – It’s Alive
500 years from now it’ll be simple. “What was rock and roll music?”…

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music
They lied and said it was just static. It’s wonderful.

Reigning Sound – Too Much Guitar
Good but not enough guitar.

The Replacements – Let It Be
Pissed off drunks going nowhere. The Bob Stinson-era Replacements always managed to walk the delicate line between major disaster and total catastrophe. As some guy wrote in a Spin article back in the day, “Night after night, they heckled themselves”.

The Revelators – We Told You Not to Cross Us
… These garage bands are all the same, their best songs are always covers and they always do them better than whoever did them first.

Rex – 3

The Rezillos – Can’t Stand the Rezillos
‘No’ is the best song ever written about being six years old.

The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
Just as long as the guitar plays

Royal Trux – Cats and Dogs
This guy I know thinks she has an ugly voice. Whatever.

Sly and the Family Stone – Stand!
And so on and so on

The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Duh.

Paul Simon – Graceland
Shut up, I like it.

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
Shut up, I like it.

Sonic Youth – Bad Moon Rising
Just look at the cover and you know: this is one bitch ass album. I saw it in the store when I was 15, I didn’t know anything about them, but that cover…I had to have it. Brave Men Run sends chills down my spine every time. They suck now though.

Spacemen 3 – Playing With Fire
Gospel music for vegetable minds.

Space Needle – Voyager

The Stooges – Raw Power
I read some article that said you’re a douchebag if you like Raw Power more than Funhouse. I’m a douchebag, and I’m OK with that.

Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies
Pretty much a perfect record. It must be hard to make a record the easy way because so few people ever do it. Nothing on this record is a difficult part for a musician, but it all adds up to more than you would expect. On later records Spiritualized gets away from the stunning soulful simplicity exhibited on this masterpiece, and that’s a shame, although it apparently sells Volkswagons.

The Sundays – Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic
Hanging out with this one girl who had a pet bunny and recycled everything and was halfway politically correct it always safer to listen to this than to open my mouth and risk getting even deeper in trouble.

The Supersuckers – The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers
Trailer trash music, and I mean that in the best sense of the phrase “trailer trash”.

Swans – Children of God
One hell of an acid trip, trust me.

Swervedriver – Raise
No, Rave Down is not their only good song. This album has a pretty nice flow to it for a singles collection. Plus it has words to live your life by: “build it right up, knock it right down” plus my all-time favorite: “he blasts flies with his gun because swatting’s no fun”. . . you can’t do much better than that.

Talking Heads – Remain in Light
Not Byrne, Eno.

T. Rex – the Slider
Catchy pop nonsense that slips under closed eyelids deep into the synapses that make you hum the same song for three weeks….

Unrest – Kustom Karnal Blackxploitation
A wild varied soulful record. Unrest was always one of those bands you couldn’t hang a label on except this one.

Unsane – Unsane
This record came out about the same time as Loveless and it uses the same template, only with a different mood. Charlie Ondras’ drumming on this record is incredible.

The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat

Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
What’s a rain dog? According to legend, dogs can follow a trail of smells to find their way home. But if it rains…well, the trail is gone and the dog is stuck god knows where with no money for the bus ride back home and no home to take the bus home to and he’s wet and cold and he’s hungry and getting old and there’s one thing he can’t lose….

The Wedding Present – Seamonsters
This dude is just not making it with the ladies, and he’s bummed about it big time. Not enough for a great album unless you’ve got Mr. Albini in charge of turning up the guitar all the way.

The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
Don’t you hate it when someone explains a band’s music by comparing it to other bands’ music? Good. This band is somewhere between Led Zeppelin and the Gories. But I love this record for at least two things, but Im not going to tell you what they are because then I would have to mention song names and that means I would have to get up and find the record cover. And I’d rather sit in the little room, working on something good.

X – Los Angeles
X wasn’t much of a punk band at all. Most of this stuff, kids woulda known how to dance to in 1958.

Written by geek

12/03/2013 at 11:58 am

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