June 2, 2021
It’s been fun searching for and writing about different music for the past semester, I hope you discovered something new, have a great summer! – Vincent
May 28, 2021
Paul & Linda McCartney – Ram (1971, Progressive Pop)
This collaboration album between Paul McCartney and his wife perfectly showcases his role in the band. While it is creative and fresh, it is catchy and simple at heart. The melodies and upbeat mood are nothing short of perfect. Recommended to fans of Paul’s contributions to the Beatles and people who like classic, happy pop rock.
May 25, 2021
Eno – Another Green World (1975, Art Electronic)
This is nothing short of incredible for 1975, if it was released in the late ’90s it would still be revolutionary. The music itself is is pretty minimalistic but the atmosphere is insane for tracks that only last a minute or two, they each feel like their own experience. Brian Eno doesn’t have the greatest voice in the world, but he knows exactly how to use it and how to create groundbreaking music. Recommended to fans of David Bowie’s late ’70s material, as he was hugely influence by Eno during that period.
May 24, 2021
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968, Acid Rock)
It’s easy to dismiss a holder of a “greatest of all time” title, but it’s nearly impossible to deny Hendrix’s talent in playing, style and producing. It’s very easy to hear both the influence of the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll style of the time, and the new styles that he was creating here. It is the perfect missing link from how we got from artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Recommended to fans of classic rock.
May 18, 2021
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1965, Spiritual Jazz)
While the previous jazz albums were either very repetitive and groovy or structurally traditional, this album goes in a completely different direction. Every second of it is packed full of the most inspired and skillful playing the genre has to offer. Recommended only to experienced jazz fans.
May 17, 2021
Motörhead – Ace of Spades (1980, Rock & Roll)
The band described themselves as purely “rock n roll”, but the beastly bass tone, mean vocals and blistering speed appeals to metal fans more than anything. The brilliance comes from the simplicity, aggression, and catchiness, just like punk rock. Similarly, there isn’t a ton of diversity among the tracks, but it is super consistent and a ton of fun the whole time. Recommended to metal fans looking for some simple, rock-oriented music.
May 14, 2021
Voivod – Nothingface (1989, Progressive Thrash Metal)
Progressive metal has a tendency to be very soft and operatic, and usually doesn’t focus on riffs. This album goes in the complete opposite direction, by using complex time signatures and creative song structures without losing the riff-oriented edge. Almost like Rush, but much heavier. Recommended to fans of progressive rock.
May 13, 2021
Quiet Riot – Metal Health (1983, Glam Metal)
While hair metal was never very noble, some of it hasn’t aged that bad. This one has some really catchy riffs and choruses. It’s dated incredibly hard to the ’80s but its still pretty fun and full of great songs like the title track and the Slade cover. Recommended to fans of catchier/simpler rock and metal.
May 12, 2021
Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side (1995, Power Metal)
Power metal as a genre takes everything that makes traditional heavy metal unique (the speed, the epic vocals and melodic choruses) and increases those aspects exponentially. Most people have probably heard DragonForce‘s hit single Through the Fire and the Flames, but this album combines both the classic legitimacy of the original style and the instant enjoyment of the modern hits. Everything important for an album like this is here: the great riffs and melodies, the incredibly skillful guitar soloing, and some of the catchiest choruses ever. Recommended to fans of fantasy and those looking for metal that doesn’t get too extreme.
May 11, 2021
Klaus Schulze – Timewind (1975, Progressive Electronic)
This one is another ambient album, but it’s more of a classic than a recent gem. Klaus worked in the same scene as Tangerine Dream did: creating revolutionary new music from Berlin with only electronics. This was made back before CDs, so they did as much as they could to build a deep and believable atmosphere within the 30-minute tracks that each side of a vinyl record allowed, and the result is as amazing as it could have been. The synthesizers once again sound like they are from another dimension and the perfect pacing makes the runtime fly by. It’s even more mind-blowing to consider that both of these very long pieces were finished on the first take. Recommended to fans of ambient music.
May 10, 2021
The Caretaker – Everywhere at the End of Time (2019, Turntable Music)
There really isn’t anything like this album. No matter what type of music you’re into, it’s going to be a really new and unique experience. It’s a horrifying seven-hour compilation of altered and edited instrumental music from a hundred years ago that simulates the development of dementia and its awful effects. It does a terrific job of raising awareness for how huge of a problem dementia is and how it can affect people deeply. Recommended only for those with a high emotional tolerance, as it does not downplay the intensity and pain of the condition.
May 7, 2021
Artillery – By Inheritance (1990, Speed Metal)
This another great entry point for metal. The vocals are well done and uplifting, the music is varied and full of softer, acoustic interludes and solos, and the riffs are very catchy and consistently great. It feels very mature without taking itself too seriously, which is perfect for beginners who are turned off by metal’s tendency to be cheesy and self-important. This band has been around since the beginning of the genre and released this later in their career, which is apparent once one hears the phenomenal musicianship and experienced songwriting. Recommended to anyone looking to try out the softer side of metal without missing out on the speed and energy.
May 6, 2021
Dead Can Dance – Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987, Neoclassical Darkwave)
Everything about this album is over the top in the best possible way, from the title, to the cover, to the dramatic production and expressive, intricate vocals of both Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. The type of music itself is hard to describe, as it mixes many things such as gothic rock, dark electronic, and even classical music. However, all of it comes together to form a single tone that is epic, ominous and mysterious. It’s consistently relaxing but also very interesting. Recommended to fans of dramatic and weird music.
May 5, 2021
Depeche Mode – Violator (1990, Synth Pop)
Like The Cure, Depeche Mode were another monumental band that defined the 1980s. They also closed out the decade with their masterpiece that was both exciting and mature, both summative and innovative. This has some of the best pop songs ever written with some phenomenal production. The song tones even tiptoe into darkwave, making for some hauntingly catchy tracks. Recommended to fans of ’80s pop.
May 4, 2021
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998, Downtempo Electronic)
Trip-Hop and Downtempo are such strange genres; they are almost impossible to describe without just giving an example. Pioneers of the genre describe it as “electronic music and hip-hop blended together until neither are recognizable in the final product.” There is very little to the music itself audibly, but the genius comes from the atmosphere and mood it conveys. Perfect for relaxing ambient music at night. Recommended to anyone looking for music that is both relaxing and interesting.
May 3, 2021
Comus – First Utterance (1971, Progressive Folk)
This one is for those who are looking for the exceptionally weird. This mix of folk music and psychedelic experimentation sounds incredibly odd, and it is. However, it’s also unique and brilliant. The boring old physical instruments may sound goofy at first, but they all come together to form an eclectic and original sound. Recommended to anyone tired of always listening for the same styles of music, and wants something new.
April 30, 2021
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980, Anarcho-Punk)
Easily one of the most eclectic punk albums ever. Every aspect of it is perfect, from the aggressive riffs, unique vocals, technical playing, catchy songwriting, raw production and genius lyrics. Punk rock isn’t usually a complicated genre, but somehow they make it work here. They manage to bring in aspects from everything from hardcore punk to surf punk, and make their intense music really catchy and accessible. The best part has to be how it sounds simultaneously so original and inspired, yet so summative of punk in general. It has all of the best aspects of all types of punk and sounds like a love letter of respect to the genre, except it was actually pioneering those aspects. Recommended to anyone who likes punk or is looking to get into punk at all.
April 29, 2021
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (2020, Dance Pop)
A lot of people get annoyed with pop music because they think it’s too simple and basic, but that’s exactly the point. It isn’t supposed to be the most inventive thing ever, just really catchy and fun music. This recent release is full of great spacey electropop songs, and the focus on the electronic beats makes it sound pretty fresh. A very good entrance into modern pop music if you haven’t heard much. Recommended for anyone who hasn’t heard much pop music.
April 28, 2021
Minor Threat – Minor Threat (1981, Straight Edge Hardcore Punk)
This band only released a few EPs, all around ten minutes or less, but they were one of the most influential hardcore punk bands for their intensity, simplicity, and straight edge attitude. There’s not much to say about this, as you can instantly tell what they do, and that they are great at it. As always, the harsh vocals may filter some, but to people who already enjoy punk or metal shouldn’t have a problem with them.
April 27, 2021
GBH – City Baby Attacked by Rats (1982, UK82)
At the turn of the decade, both heavy metal and hardcore punk were popping up in the UK. We all know that during the ’80s, the two genres would collide with one another to create more extreme genres of both, such as thrash metal and crust punk. This is one of the first combinations of the genres, and while it’s definitely still punk both in structure and in attitude, it was the beginning of using metallic guitar riffs to make a more unique and extreme sound. Recommended to punk fans or metal fans looking for punk.
April 26, 2021
Depressive Silence – Depressive Silence II (1996, Dungeon Synth)
Definitely the most obscure release here so far, this was originally only released on a few hundred cassettes twenty five years ago and only resurfaced recently. The German album was made with nothing but an electronic keyboard, but the atmosphere and ambience is so distinct. Each track sounds exactly like what it tries to portray, whether it is walking up a winter mountainside, swimming in a peaceful lake at night or looking up at the sky and drifting to sleep. The fact that there is only one instrument might filter someone quickly, but everyone should try it just because of how much it is able to portray with so little. Recommended to people who already enjoy electronic or ambient music.
April 23, 2021
Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing (1982, D-Beat Hardcore Punk)
Extreme genres like death metal usually sound pretty far off from standard punk rock, so logically there must have been some link between them which made the jump. This is that album. It has tons of great controversial political lyrics, extreme drumming, and best of all, doomy, chaotic, crust-punk riffs that were heavy enough to inspire multiple punk and metal subgenres. Their genre (D-Beat) is even named after the band and their revolutionary drum patterns. One of the most extreme albums of its time and one of the most unique punk albums ever. Recommended to punk and metal fans alike.
April 22, 2021
Gojira – From Mars to Sirius (2005, Groove Metal)
This album is a really good entry point into the heavier side of metal. While the vocals aren’t soft, they’re definitely intelligible. As always, the most important aspect are the guitar riffs, which are great here. They’re complex, groovy, and heavy without being straight up abrasive. Instead, it sounds more “massive” than anything. It’s hard to describe but its almost like the guitars are some massive animal traveling through outer space. The fact that they were able to make something so intense without being so harsh makes this one of the most accessible releases that contains aspects of death metal. Recommended to people who like the more traditional side of metal looking to try the harsher side of it.
April 21, 2021
George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (1970, Singer/Songwriter)
Lennon and McCartney were definitely the best songwriting duo of all time, but they made their best material while taking their radically different ideas and come together to make something amazing. After breaking apart, their solo careers were very good but it wasn’t quite the same without the duality of each other. Harrison on the other hand, benefitted greatly from the freedom of working on his own. This is his first solo album and it is so easy to tell just by listening to it how much his songwriting was being restricted in The Beatles. He immediately comes out with this triple album spanning almost two hours full of simple, but incredible material. The musical style here also confirms that old saying: “John was the brains of the Beatles and Paul was the heart, but George was the soul.” The music is just overflowing with pure soul and emotion despite being so simple. Recommended to anyone obviously, as the Beatles were the biggest band ever, but in case the album length is putting anyone off, they should know that it’s definitely worth it.
April 20, 2021
Pentagram – Pentagram (1985, Doom Metal)
Doom metal as a genre is known for containing thousands of bands who’s purpose in life is recreating the style and sound of Sabbath, the greatest Sabbath-worship band was definitely the first: Pentagram. They started in the ’70s, which makes them the heaviest band of their time. You can still hear the hard rock influence seeping out in the guitar tone and sometimes the riffs, but the songwriting is just as heavy if not heavier than metal today. Recommended to anyone who wants to hear the missing link between Black Sabbath and modern metal of that genre.
April 19, 2021
Sir Lord Baltimore – Kingdom Come (1970, Heavy Psych)
It really is strange how rock was able to turn into pure heavy metal by the turn of the decade, however when you hear more releases right before the explosion of metal, it makes sense. This album in particular is an interesting one because it only has a bit of the blues and rock influence, but the vocals, guitar tone, and riff style is totally metal. They have a dirty, hard sound and heavy riffs like Sabbath, but they have the energy and style of Zeppelin. What really makes this unique is the monstrous tone and the epic, over the top vocals. They seem like they set the groundwork for the softer, dramatic metal vocals executed by other bands in the following years. Recommended for metal fans interested in the genre’s rocky roots.
April 16, 2021
Carnivore – Retaliation (1987, Crossover Thrash Metal)
Thrash metal itself was already a mix of traditional heavy metal, sped up and combined with aspects of hardcore punk. Crossover thrash adds in even more punk, which makes it sound like The Misfits trying to play like Metallica. This album is definitely one of the highlights of the genre. While it is really punky and aggressive, it has no shortage of complex writing, political lyrics and great guitar riffs. For an even simpler version of an already simple genre, it’s very clever, both in songwriting and in its lyrics. Multiple songs have different acts and structures, and the lyrics combat both the hypocrisy of people in power and people’s oversensitivity to speech by satirizing the extremist views the band themselves oppose. Recommended for punk fans trying to get into metal, or vice versa since this release has a solid mix of both.
April 15, 2021
The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out! (1966, Experimental Rock)
Before Frank Zappa started his own solo career, he first made music with a band even more hectic and strange than his own. This was their first album, and while it came out almost 60 years ago, its still incredibly interesting today. This was revolutionary to the humorous tone of music. This was one of the first big albums to actively make fun of music of the time and to almost never take themselves seriously. How dated it is actually adds to the charm, the ancient mono sound in addition to the psychedelic production comes together to sound like a strange fever dream. Mixing doo-wop and crazed psych rock created such an odd and terrifying sound, but the songs themselves are really great. Recommended to to anyone who liked the previous album but looking for something less heavy and more lighthearted.
April 14, 2021
The Velvet Underground – White Light / White Heat (1968, Noise Rock)
If everything here has been too standard and boring, this one is sure to be interesting. The Velvet Underground are famous for their debut album collaborating with Nico, which was absolutely groundbreaking for releasing music so strange and hardcore it would sound ahead of its time in the 90’s. The songs here were actually the first songs the band had written, and it shows. They are the epitome of noise and vulgarity. The production is abhorrent, it sounds like it was recorded it a cave with a bunch of Neanderthals who were given instruments, but that’s the appeal. It’s so crude and crushing, and the parts that make it so odd are what make it so great. The final song is absolutely infernal, with the 17-minute long jammy track which will leave your ears feeling assaulted with the most aggressive music of the time with the most obscene lyrics possible. Recommended to anyone who is curious to hear the strangest and most evil thing they could imagine.
April 13, 2021
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986, Jangle Pop)
This album is iconic and well-known, but it deserves its praise completely and should be given a try by anyone. The blend of soft, high vocals, jangly and acoustic guitars and groovy bass riffs is perfect. The sound is so amazingly unique that most never dare to try to replicate it. The songwriting is also phenomenal, from the post-punkish opener to the short poppy singles to the chilling There is a Light that Never Goes Out, with its somber lows to the soaring orchestral synths that carry the chorus. This album proves that pop music can be complex, skillful, interesting and deep all at once. Despite how important, refined and revolutionary it sounds, it doesn’t feel fake at all. It even has a kind of “home cooked” sound to it. Recommended to anyone looking for a more poppy version of post-punk, although their sound is so unique that it needs to be tried by all.
April 12, 2021
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971, Smooth Soul)
There are a few legendary soul albums that are still seen as the peak of the genre even five decades later, and this might be the best of them. In addition to the incredible message, the music is very complex too. Tons of vocal and orchestral arrangements come together to make a fluid wave of emotion. Despite being so catchy, you can hear how many hours of work it must’ve taken to write and perform. Recommended for anyone looking to get into 70’s soul.
April 9, 2021
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988, Alternative Rock)
Alternative rock as a genre may be incredibly broad and oversaturated, but bands that kickstarted its signature sound like The Pixies and Sonic Youth are fantastic and easy to get into. The best part of this album in particular is the combination of a deep sound. catchy songwriting, and an occasional abrasiveness. It’s over an hour long but it’s still so easy to sit down and get lost in the atmosphere. There’s a lot of variance here as well, combining some soft, slower songs focusing on atmosphere and the noisy aggression of their early style. It was also super ahead of it’s time; if you didn’t see the year it was made you would guess it was from 1994. Recommended to fans of alternative rock looking for its roots.
April 8, 2021
Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965, Folk Rock)
If you liked the Neil Young album, definitely try this out as well. They aren’t quite the same style, but you can hear a lot of Dylan’s sound in Young’s music. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this besides it being a great entryway into folk, as its still mostly rock structurally, but there is a definite folk style present. Each song is simply fantastic and has infinite replay value thanks to his cryptic and unique lyrics. Recommended to anyone looking to get into folk or folk rock.
April 7, 2021
Type O Negative – October Rust (1996, Gothic Metal)
At first it may seem odd for a gothic metal band to describe themselves as a “mix between Black Sabbath and The Beatles”, but once you understand their sound, it makes a lot of sense. The band incorporates both the slow, heavy riffs and imagery of Sabbath while adding in the soft, romantic themes and catchy songwriting of the Beatles. This album in particular is their most gothic and soft, making it the easiest to get into. Despite being metal, the music is very serene and ethereal, thanks to the atmospheric, dreamy keyboards and clean, baritone vocals over the crushing guitar riffs. Recommended to anyone who wants an easy entry point into gothic or metal music.
April 6, 2021
Neil Young – On the Beach (1974, Country Rock)
This is definitely “country music for people who don’t like country”. It’s more rock, with a bit of country tinge and playing. The usual gripes people have with country are stereotypical lyrics, southern accents in the vocals, and basic songwriting. None of these are a problem, as the lyrics are much more meaningful and cryptic (in the vein of Bob Dylan’s lyrics). The vocals are also quite understated anyway. The band pays much more mind to their playing, which is tonally loose and technically tight and makes the songs sound more like improvised jam sessions than throwaway country singles. This is what makes it very interesting and unique; it is very laid back, chill and jammy. Recommended to anyone who doesn’t really like country, especially people who already fans of psychedelic or progressive rock, as this is structurally similar to those genres.
March 26, 2021
Wire – Pink Flag (1977, Art Punk)
It’s always funny to see how the highest acclaimed punk albums are the kind that don’t follow the genre’s purpose: to trim down excess complexity for a more effective simplicity. Very odd and unique experimental punk albums usually get most of the praise, but this is one of the rare cases that truly combines both aspects. Sound-wise, there is little here that differentiates them from The Ramones, but the structure is ingenious. The average song length is under two minutes, in which the band show off tons of simple, but memorable and creative songs. They make you wonder how they came up with so many different ideas with such little to go off of. Definitely anthemic and simple, but never basic. Recommended to punk fans looking for something more artsy or beginners to punk.
March 25, 2021
Nas – Illmatic (1994, Boom Bap)
This album is so well known that people actually sometimes dismiss it as too overrated and not groundbreaking enough. However, it really is perfect. In addition to Nas’ impeccable lyrics delivered with authenticity, the beats are simple, but very creative and catchy. The best part is the soul though, despite being a hardcore, gangster rap album, both the music and the lyrics come from a place of real emotion, displayed in the tone of the lyrics, which is triumphant yet reminiscent, victorious yet humble. The beats also sound very legitimate, complimented by the smooth, but unclean production and the finishing touches like using jazzy sax performances as fade-outs. In terms of pure, old school hip-hop, this is pretty much undoubtedly the best of all time. Recommended to both people looking for beginner rap and rap enthusiasts who missed this one.
March 24, 2021
Megadeth – Rust in Peace (1990, Technical Thrash Metal)
The previous suggestions have been some metal albums very accessible due to their fantastic vocals. This pick is quite the opposite, as the vocals are admittedly pretty bad. Luckily, the guitar playing and songwriting is unreal. The pounding drums, technical riffs and fancy solos keep everything more than interesting. Tons of this is unbelievable, with several songs approaching 170 BPM and some songs including up to 11 individual guitar solos. It balances strong intensity with melodic themes. Recommended to anyone who enjoyed the previous metal releases and wants something even heavier.
March 23, 2021
Riot – ThunderSteel (1988, US Power Metal)
If the slow, doomy style of metal on the last metal album wasn’t up your alley, but you still aren’t a fan of too much harshness or intensity, this one is definitely worth a try. It’s blazing fast and full of energy, but it still retains the same epic and upbeat tone that makes some metal so fun. The on-point vocals carry the choruses soaring high, along with the fantastic riffs and speedy solos. The songwriting is also really inspired and original unlike much music in the genre, so it doesn’t feel disposable or derivative at all. Recommended to anyone who likes the speed and power of metal but isn’t a fan of the vigor and darkness.
March 22, 2021
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995, Britpop)
While those looking for more original and complex music may find the simplicity here boring, it sure is a lot of fun and has tons of catchy melodies. The vocals and lyrics are definitely basic but its strengths lie elsewhere, particularly in the uplifting choruses and the overall sound, which isn’t even off-putting or atmospheric, but still takes most of its form as a collage of the instruments. This sounds best during the long soloing songs which drift away and sweep back into the chorus. Definitely nothing groundbreaking, and possibly even basic, but it hasn’t aged that bad and it’s perfect for an easygoing, yet captivating listen. Recommended especially for anyone who wasn’t a fan of the previous albums.
March 19, 2021
Candlemass – Nightfall (1987, Traditional Doom Metal)
Doom metal as a genre somewhat stands out from others in metal, as it doesn’t rely on speed or intensity to be heavy. All it needs is a thick guitar tone and well written guitar riffs (very often in the style of Black Sabbath). None do it better than this band which mostly use slow tempos, dramatic vocals, and an epic atmosphere to execute their greatness. The operatic vocalist is pretty over-the-top, but he gives a fantastic performance for a 19-year-old. Overall, a very professional and polished album without any lack of excellent or original playing. Recommended to people who like epic, dramatic music or people looking to get into metal but don’t enjoy the harsh vocals.
March 18, 2021
Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004, Chamber Pop)
While the indie-rock-with-orchestral-accents style has been done to death in the past decade or two, there’s a reason it became so popular. This band was one of the most popular of the style, with their first album causing the initial explosion of it. Once you listen, it’ll seem obvious how it was able to influence so many: it mixes genuine inspiration and fresh songwriting while still packing in tons of catchy, memorable hooks and melodies. The lyrics and style may seem pretty dorky now, but it doesn’t overpower the interesting sound full of mild guitars and lush violins. Recommended to anyone looking for a pop/rock album that is accessible as well as interesting.
March 17, 2021
The Tuss – Rushup Edge (2007, Acid Techno)
It’s very likely most fans of electronic are familiar with Aphex Twin, and they will definitely be interested in this release because it is a side project of the same Irish legend of electronic music. This album in particular is incredibly intense. It’s all instrumental and electronic, but the absolutely pummeling percussive arrangements and psychotic synths make it sound as if it was made by a schizophrenic. Recommended to listeners familiar with electronic, or fans of psychedelic music looking for something outside of the usual rock spectrum. Either way, trying this out is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 🙂
March 16, 2021
Fishmans – Long Season (1996, Neo-Psychedelic)
Many bands before have attempted to recreate the feeling of drifting to sleep (The Beatles’ I’m Only Sleeping, or Weezer’s Only in Dreams), but none of these can touch the accuracy of this. It’s a single track spanning over half an hour and not a minute is wasted, the sound is perfect but the melodies and instrumentation is by far the best part. It’s so hard to pin down a single aspect that makes it so perfect, but the looping melodies never get old, the immersion is on point, and it’s just as interesting all the way through. Recommended to anyone looking for mind-blowing psychedelic music.
March 15, 2021
The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed (1967, Baroque Pop)
This is like the missing link in rock history between The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and King Crimson’s Court of the Crimson King. It takes the symphonic orchestration and complex pop melodies of the former and hints towards the epic progressive structures of the latter. Despite this praise, it was going to be groundbreaking from the start, as it was a crossover effort between the psychedelic pop band and the London Festival Orchestra. The result may sound a bit dated, but it’s still very interesting. Definitely recommended to anyone looking for 60’s pop, the origins of progressive rock, or to fans of classical music.
March 12, 2021
The Misfits – Static Age (1978, Horror Punk)
The Misfits might’ve not had the most variance in their songwriting, but they had a fairly unique and revolutionary sound that was just as evil as metal almost before it even existed. This is the band in their most raw and angry state, and their signature blend of The Ramones with some of the power and punch of The Stooges is executed best. Recommended to metal fans looking for some punk of the same style.
March 11, 2021
Yes – Close to the Edge (1972, Symphonic Progressive Rock)
It’s really hard to describe this without using the word “perfect”, because it really does define it. It’s the epitome of both consistent and earth-shattering. Not a second is spared with anything flawed or derivative. It only has three tracks, but the tonal variation seems to encompass nearly every aspect of music, from thunderous catharsis to heavenly euphoria. It may be overly technical and intricate, but unlike most progressive rock, it doesn’t use this in place of original ideas and soul. Recommended to beginners to prog, such as fans of Pink Floyd, or to current prog fans looking for one of, if not the highest peak in the genre.
March 10, 2021
Soft Machine – Third (1970, Canterbury Scene)
This album is another long one; the four tracks clock in at nearly 80 minutes. However, that isn’t a problem and never feels like one, as the fresh mix of progressive rock and jazz is incredibly interesting, unique and vibey. From the soft and jazzy lows to the heavy, electric, and manic highs, it makes sure it isn’t missing any variety. Highly recommended to any fans of either progressive rock or jazz.
March 9, 2021
Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak (2008, Art Pop)
While Kanye’s long list of stunning projects is very well known, this album in particular deserves a second chance. Originally criticized on release for being too vulnerable and poppy, many younger fans have come back to it with praise. Looking it at from a newer eye, it was really daring for its time with its heavy use of synths and veering away from rapping. Additionally, it broke new ground for many modern rappers of today; even some artists like Juice WRLD cited the album as his favorite of all time. Highly recommended for Kanye fans who might’ve skipped over it and fans of Juice WRLD, Bladee, or other similar modern rappers.
March 8, 2021
Can – Tago Mago (1971, Krautrock)
While bands of a seemingly similar sound like King Crimson and Yes made their style of rock unique by adding in mind-boggling mathematical time signatures, this incredibly influential German band was able to make theirs even more odd and unusual entirely in standard time. The result sounds like a mix of twisted brilliance and lots of psychedelic experiences. With incomprehensible lyrics, sound collages, funky drums and hard hitting guitar grooves, this album is perfect for anyone who is sick of their music sounding the same. Recommended for people who like the idea of progressive rock but dislike the attitude and the reliance on time signatures to keep it interesting.
March 5, 2021
A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory (1991, Jazz Rap)
While this album has a very specific sound, it has everything a great rap album needs: great lyrics, production, and music. Tribe are most known for Q-Tip and Phife’s wordplay that is both entertaining and thought provoking, especially on this album. The production is a brilliant mix of the classic, raw, dirty ’90s sound and a forward-thinking, slick, buttery style. It shows how they were both ahead of their time and masters of their era. Despite these strengths, the best part is definitely the beats, they sound very genuine, fit really well, and add a lot to the atmosphere of the album. The unique beats and phenomenal lyricism gives it tons of replayability. Recommended to fans of either rap or jazz, as both will love this.
March 4, 2021
Tangerine Dream – Phaedra (1974, Ambient)
One of the weirdest albums of its time for all the best reasons. It’s completely instrumental consisting of nothing but synths. It’s very hard to describe but it can’t be left unmentioned how much it’s able to make one feel using so little. The title track in particular is one of the greatest songs ever, listening to it is like staring at the edge of the universe as it stares right back at you. Recommended for anyone who likes psychedelic, progressive or electronic music.
March 2, 2021
Miles Davis – In a Silent Way (1969, Jazz Fusion)
It’s unlikely that there is a name in jazz more famous than Miles Davis, who first perfected jazz in its original state, and then pushed its boundaries as far as it would go. While his next album is chaotic and dense enough to give a 1920s jazz player nightmares, this is one of the most relaxing and easy-listening albums ever. It only has two tracks that evolve from peaceful silence to some of the grooviest, simple melodies ever written. If you’re wondering what something like this would sound like, the album cover and the album title couldn’t be more fitting. Recommended for anyone looking for relaxing, night music.
March 1, 2021
The Cure – Disintegration (1989, Gothic Rock)
Throughout their previous efforts, The Cure had cemented themselves as experts in creating dark and dreary atmospheres and also incredibly talented at making the catchiest of poppy new wave music. They finally combined both of these strengths with a decade of experience to create one of the most moving albums ever. The fast, pounding drums sound like heavy drops of rain and perfectly complement the lush bass, guitar and synths along with vocals that are just as genuine as they are precise. Recommended to anyone who liked the psychedelic/dreamy music from before, as the production and atmosphere on this are untouchable. However, everyone should try it as it has just as much accessibility as it has depth.
February 26, 2021
The Stooges – Fun House (1970, Proto-Punk)
Sometimes the first really is the best, and that’s certainly arguable in the case of The Stooges: the monstrous rock band that inspired all of the early punk bands. Their undisputed masterpiece is their second album, which is less of an album and more of a time machine directly to one of their concerts half a century ago. Everything about it sounds primal and raw: Iggy Pop’s howling ape-like vocals, the invincible guitar and bass riffs, the tribal drums, the dirty production and even the screaming saxophone which somehow flows into the album incredibly fluently and adds to the sound. Most bands to date are unable to recreate the aggression and ferocity displayed here in such a classy way. Recommended to fans of hardcore punk interested in the genre’s roots and classic rock fans looking for something particularly extreme.
February 25, 2021
Alice in Chains – Jar of Flies (1994, Grunge)
While everybody and their mom has heard of Nirvana, grunge had lots of other notable bands as well, Alice in Chains being one of the best. While they are known for their heavy and doomy guitar riffs and their expressive vocalist, their best album is arguably this short acoustic release. The power takes a backseat to the somberness, but the emotion displayed hits as hard as ever. Recommended to grunge fans or people who love acoustic rock.
February 24, 2021
Frank Zappa – Hot Rats (1969, Jazz-Rock)
Zappa adds the oddities and improvisation of jazz to his electric, funky style of rock to create a cornerstone of both genres. The album only has a few tracks, but it is filled with short rockers and 10 minute jazzy jams. Recommended especially for rock fans getting into jazz, as it is very easy to pick up.
February 23, 2021
Joy Division – Closer (1980, Post-Punk)
Joy Division’s lesser known and final album is more complex and just as good as its predecessor. While the first album had a heavier and darker tone, this uses more synths and has a tinge of goth rock. The first half is full of faster, punkier tracks while the second half is much slower and more depressing. Recommended for fans of New Order, as this band contains most of the original members, or fans of 80s synth-pop looking for the genre’s darker roots.
February 22, 2021
Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts (2018, Experimental Hip-Hop)
This short release is only a few years old yet it has already gained the respect of a classic. It’s actually the project of Kanye and Kid Cudi, and while Cudi has had wild experimental ideas, Kanye’s creative, yet cohesive mind grounds them perfectly and it sounds simultaneously groundbreaking and easy on the ears. As always, the album sounds phenomenal, but this time it sounds very psychedelic. Absolutely recommended to even people who aren’t fans of rap, maybe just people who love psychedelic music in general.
February 19, 2021
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991, Noise Pop)
Combining simple pop songs with a groundbreaking, ethereal, soundscape that cost half a million dollars to produce created one of the greatest pieces of dreamy, noisy music ever. It may be very hard to get into as the listener’s ears are drowned in the excess noise, feedback and heavily altered vocals, but finding the melody in all of the chaos strengthens it tenfold. Fans of the King Gizzard album would be sure to love this as well.
February 18, 2021
Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980, New Wave)
The most influential album of the ’80s also happens to be one of the most consistent and diverse albums of all time. It combined music from white and black culture, mixing new wave and post-punk with funk and afrobeat. The incredible production and interesting polyrhythms make the album sound futuristic and almost as if it was made by aliens. Recommended to anyone looking for incredibly weird and fast-paced music.
February 17, 2021
Kraftwerk – The Man-Machine (1978, Electronic)
Early electronic music can be very intimidating for new listeners with droning, ambient tracks that can last up to a half hour. Luckily, Kraftwerk popularized it by mixing it with synth pop and made it accessible while retaining all of the atmosphere and sound that made it interesting. Definitely the first recommendation for anyone who has never heard electronic music and is looking to get into it.
February 16, 2021
The Clash – London Calling (1979, Punk)
Many double-albums feel too dragged out or bloated, but The Clash avoid this by adding a variety of different styles to their artsy and catchy flavor of punk rock, including New Wave, Ska and even Reggae. The diversity of the tracks makes the running time fly by, and makes it feel much more digestible. Recommended for people looking to get into old school punk rock.
February 12, 2021
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972, Glam Rock)
An undeniable classic from start to finish. While the overly eloquent style, theme, and lyrics may make the album seem very complex and esoteric, under the surface are some of the best simple pop tracks ever. Anyone of any age could have a ton of fun with this album. Recommended to anyone, especially good for an entry point to Bowie’s vast variety of music.
February 11, 2021
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – I’m in Your Mind Fuzz (2014, Psychedelic Rock)
One of the best albums from the popular experimental rock band, and extremely accessible. The entire albums flows together extremely well and the reverb-drenched instrumentation makes for one of the most simultaneously relaxing and exciting releases in recent times. Recommended for people that love rock and are looking for more tripped-out atmospheres, maybe fans of Pink Floyd and Tame Impala.
February 10, 2021
Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963, Post-Bop Jazz)
If jazz ever seemed too standard or boring, this is a must-listen. Mingus and his crew provide flawless performances of these deranged, avant-garde pieces that transcend being timeless. Recommended especially for people who can’t get into jazz, as this is a phenomenal introduction that is simultaneously accessible and abstract.
February 9, 2021
Tyler, the Creator – IGOR (2019, Neo-Soul)
Easily one of the most notable and unique albums of the last couple years, Tyler takes off from his previous style of comical, aggressive rap to experimental hip hop, taking aspects from soul, alternative, psychedelic and funk music to craft his most diverse release by far. The storytelling and production are outstanding enough to mix desires to pay attention to the lyrics and to have the beats blasting from your loudest speakers. Recommended for anyone who hasn’t heard his earlier material or anyone looking for catchy pop/rap.
February 8, 2021
Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1972, Folk)
This tiny, quiet, minimalist folk record is surprisingly memorable and emotional. There is nothing to it besides a soft voice and a guitar, but the music itself is incredibly relaxing, lush, and calm. Recommended for really, anyone; it’s just as accessible as it is deep.
February 5, 2021
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970, Heavy Metal)
The legendary debut album by Black Sabbath takes the jump from the bluesy hard rock of the 60s to the creation of metal. Paranoid may have all the hits, but definitely check this one out if you are looking for some less traditional songs like the haunting title track or the 11-minute-long jam-out track, Warning. Recommended for fans of hard rock looking to get into heavy metal.
February 4, 2021
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012, Hip Hop)
This modern masterpiece tells a cohesive and meaningful story in half the runtime most films do. Kendrick’s clever lyricism, infectious beats and engrossing plot are guaranteed to captivate the listener. Recommended for those just getting into rap or those who love concept albums.
February 3, 2021
King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969, Progressive Rock)
It may be an obvious classic, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that the album is timeless and still sounds as groundbreaking today as it was on its release over half a century ago. Recommended for rock fans looking to get into progressive rock.