Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Top 5 Albums of My Miserable Life

I have some time, so I thought I'd blog about my top-5 albums of all time.
#5 - "This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About" by Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse has gained recent notoriety with their MTV(2) hit "Float On", but they were great almost ten years prior to this release. Isaac Brock's work is this ingenious melding of Daniel Johnston, The Pixies, Built to Spill, Calvin Johnson, and Archers of Loaf. They were so intense in a bagel 'n' beer basement joint in Columbus, Ohio circa 1996. And their sound was so weird and foreign for the time. This was at a time when they were still sneaking beers at the clubs and picking up teeny-boppers, but the music has way more staying power than chicks and beer. Common themes such as isolationism, boredom, angst, consumerism, etc. are explored and throttled. "This Is a Long Drive..." will weave itself through my consciousness for all of my miserable years on this planet.
#4 - "Electro-Pura" by Yo La Tengo
Organ freak-outs. Guitar antics. Soft melodies from a woman named Georgia. A record critic's wit. "Electro-Pura" was an instant hit for me and has stayed in or near my CD player ever since the mid-nineties. Not everyone gets it, but it's mine. The way it should be. From the opening backwards track that shifts into a level groove with long-winding guitar squeaks and Georgia's hurting voice to Ira's warped feedback and fingerless organ playing, this album bridges the gaps between indie art, emotion, and pop. Albums that feel (not sound) this personal just don't come along very often.
#3 - "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel
I came across Neutral Milk Hotel late in the game. A new girlfriend gave me a mixed CD after I had introduced her to my world with a CD of my own. Anyway, the stand-out track on the disc was "King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1". It wasn't long before I started to just hit "repeat" over and over. Soon after, I had the entire album playing constantly in my stereo. The schizophrenia that runs rampant through this weird indie gospel imagines the Talking Heads and violent Femmes as one folk band with a trumpet. Like that girlfriend, I am now wedded to this album and plan to be for a long time.
#2 - "Gentlemen" by The Afghan Whigs
I love "concept" albums that revolve around a single narrative. "Gentlemen" was a script to a movie that you never saw. I have always composed my own short story around this album and will someday for real. In the meantime, the white boy with the most soul in the indie rock world wrote the most soulful movie script ever. It's too bad that this was really the only the release by the Whigs that mattered, but how do you top perfection?
#1 - "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain" by Pavement
I first owned a dub of this record on cassette. I barely listened to it. In fact, it was buried amongst a pile of mixed tapes until I rediscovered it a year later after picking up Pavement's next release, "Wowee Zowee". Then, I saw Pavement in Cleveland and became a disciple ever since. Pavement will always be my favorite band. This, their second LP, will always be my favorite record.

1 comment:

comoprozac said...

It should be noted that this list would be greatly revised as I look at it in retrospect. Hind sight is always 20/20