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Old 05-19-2010, 11:04 PM   #1
uhh_me?
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Alt/Indie Essentials + Rec Thread - Volume 3

What Is This All About?

If you have to ask, you probably aren't cool enough to know But hey! Here are some things that it isn't about: Foo Fighters, that song you heard last week on the radio, that thing getting pumped by the NME.

It is about giving you a primer on everything from the essential post-punk albums to those German bands that John Peel adored.

You probably won't end up knowing everything right away, but where is the fun in that. If we don't exchange mixtapes anymore, we might as well exchange knowledge?


So You Didn't Actually Answer My Question...

Oh, yeah. That....Well, I guess that the whole "Alternative/Indie" tends to be kind of tough to define. It certainly has its roots in the 80s where college radio stations offered up an entirely new avenue for music to be heard that would have otherwise passed by unnoticed. Yet, most of those bands, as well as those that are popular in the circle today, have a rather disparate sound.

Indie did refer to record label status, at least at one point. If you weren't on one of the "Big ___" (the number that should be there has been decreasing since the mid-90s), you must have been on an independent. This made you indie. Chances are that you were doing a lot of your promotion, hauling, etc.

However, as time has gone on, that definition became cluttered, especially as those that were heralded as indie heroes signed on to the majors in the wake of the "Alternative Revolution" of the early mid-90s.

Now, it is kind of a sound/label-thing/something that gets slapped onto certain bands in order to appeal to certain people. It is all very messy and sort of tough to define, even for people that are deeply involved in the scene.

Essential Listening

Now, all of these albums may not fall under what you learned from that last section already knew, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worth your time. They are. Mostly.

And as our beloved Biles said, they are the "ones that'll last the test of time, not just stuff known about for a week and then forgotten"

Color Coding System:

Note: This is pretty loose and still taking form. There are some things that I have coupled that are don't always sound the same and there are some very broad categories. It should help give you some direction though.
Folk and related
Shoegaze/Dream-Pop/Etc
Post-Rock
Hip-Hop
Electronic and related
Avant/Krautrock/Etc
Punk/Proto/Post/Hardcore/New-Wave and related
College Rock
Stone Cold Classics are *ed


1965

*Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited


1966

*The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
*The Beatles - Revolver

1967

Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen
Love - Forever Changes
*The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico

1968

*The Beatles - The Beatles
*The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society
The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa) - We're Only In It For The Money
The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat

1969

The Band - The Band
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
MC5 - Kick out the Jams

1970

Amon Düül II - Yeti
Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman
The Stooges - Fun House
Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band

1971

*Can - Tago Mago

1972

*Big Star - #1 Record
David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars
Lou Reed - Transformer
Nick Drake - Pink Moon

1973
The Stooges - Raw Power

1974
Faust - Faust IV

1975

Brian Eno - Another Green World
Neil Young - Tonight's The Night
Neu! - Neu! '75
*Patti Smith - Horses

1977

The Clash - The Clash
*David Bowie - Low
Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
Television - Marquee Moon
Wire - Pink Flag


1978

*Elvis Costello - This Year's Model
Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo


1979

*The Clash - London Calling
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
The Pop Group - Y

Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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1980

*Joy Division - Closer
*Talking Heads - Remain in Light


1981

Black Flag - Damaged

1982

The Cure - Pornography
Mission of Burma - Vs

1983

*REM - Murmur
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

1984

*Husker Du - Zen Arcade
Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime

The Replacements - Let It Be
The Smiths - The Smiths


1985

The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy
*Tom Waits - Rain Dogs

1986

*The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
Sonic Youth - EVOL

XTC - Skylarking

1987

Big Black - Songs About ****ing
*Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me
Sonic Youth - Sister


1988

Dinosaur Jr - Bug
My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything
Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
*Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
Talk Talk - Spirit of Eden

1989

A.R.Kane - "i"
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
*The Cure - Disintegration
De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
Fugazi - 13 Songs
*Pixies - Doolittle
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

1990

Fugazi - Repeater
Ride - Nowhere
Depeche Mode - Violator

1991

*My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Nirvana - Nevermind
Primal Scream - Screamadelica
Sebadoh - III
*Slint - Spiderland
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

1992

*Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted
Red House Painters - Down Colorful Hill

1993

Blur - Modern Life is Rubbish
Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
Nirvana - In Utero
Slowdive - Souvlaki
The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
Suede - Suede

1994

Beck - Mellow Gold
Blur - Parklife
Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Portishead - Dummy
Shellac - At Action Park
Suede - Dog Man Star
Weezer - The Blue Album

1995

Bjork - Post
Palace - Viva Last Blues
Pulp - Different Class
Scott Walker - Tilt
The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

1996

Beck - Odelay
Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing...
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die

1997

Bjork - Homogenic
Mogwai - Young Team
*Radiohead - OK Computer
*Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

1998

Air - Moon Safari
Cat Power - Moon Pix
Elliott Smith - X/O
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over the Sea
Unwound - Challenge For Civilised Society

1999

Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret
*Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I See A Darkness
The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
Sigur Ros - Ágætis Byrjun

2000

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antartica
*Radiohead - Kid A

2001

Daft Punk - Discovery
Low - Things We Lost In The Fire
The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2
Sparklehorse - It's A Wonderful Life
The Strokes - Is this it?

2002

Bright Eyes - Lifted, or the Story....
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it In People
The Decemberists - Castaways & Cutouts
The Libertines - Up the Bracket
The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee
Songs: Ohia - Didn't It Rain

*Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

2003

M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts
The Shins - Chutes too Narrow
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

2004

The Arcade Fire - Funeral
Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
Les Savy Fav - Inches
*Madvillain - Madvillainy
Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans

2005

Animal Collective - Feels
The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday
The National - Alligator

2006

Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
J Dilla - Donuts
Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain

2007

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
Panda Bear - Person Pitch

2008
Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:06 PM   #3
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Blogs/Websites/'Zines

Still not enough information for you? Needy.

Essential Reading

33 1/3 Series - Continuum International Publishing
A History of Rock Music: 1951-2000 - iUniverse.com
Japrocksampler - Julian Cope
Krautrocksampler - Julian Cope
Labels Unlimited Series - Black Dog Publishing
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From The American Indie Underground 1981-1991 - Michael Azerrad
Unknown Legends of Rock n Roll - Richie Unterberger

Essential Viewing

24 Hour Party People
The Devil & Daniel Johnston
Heima

Essential Links

Allmusic's Indie-rock definition
Wikipedia's definition of Indie music
Elbows Music Blog Aggregator
The Hype Machine
Free Indie
Gorilla vs. Bear
Tiny Mix Tapes
Brooklyn Vegan
KEXP
Pitchfork Media
Cokemachineglow
TinyMixTapes
Stereogum
Daytrotter Sessions


Essential Record Labels

4AD
Arts & Crafts
Barsuk
Constellation Records
Domino Records
French Kiss Records
Hush Records
Kill Rock Stars
Matador Records
Motive Sounds
Rough Trade Records
SST
Sub Pop
Temporary Residence
Touch And Go
Xtra Mile Recordings

Special thanks to Andrewbiles for putting together the versions before this one. I pretty much just jacked most of it from there.


If you have suggestions, go ahead and post them. They will all be taken into consideration. Do however note that albums have a two year waiting period to be added to the essentials.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:01 PM   #4
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I think Fleet Foxes' album should be added to 2008. Also, The Velvet Underground's self-titled is probably their most "indie"album. Also, how do you include Spirit of Eden without Laughing Stock?

Edit: Also, since there are no albums for 1973, I am supportive of adding Raw Power.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Why Domino Records aren't on the essencial record labels?
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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Negative
All right
Positive

This is pretty good, but I think there's a few too many albums on there. While a lot of albums there are good recommendations, they're not necessarily essential.

I think like the idea with the color coding, though.

Goodbye.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:30 PM   #7
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good man
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RawPower218
I think Fleet Foxes' album should be added to 2008. Also, The Velvet Underground's self-titled is probably their most "indie"album. Also, how do you include Spirit of Eden without Laughing Stock?

Edit: Also, since there are no albums for 1973, I am supportive of adding Raw Power.

will add Raw Power. Spirit of Eden is better, at least to me, solely because of The Rainbow. Fleet Foxes is one that i am still up in the air about adding. if two other people suggest it, i will add it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desmond-hume
Why Domino Records aren't on the essencial record labels?

done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trackmind
Negative
All right
Positive

This is pretty good, but I think there's a few too many albums on there. While a lot of albums there are good recommendations, they're not necessarily essential.

I think like the idea with the color coding, though.

Goodbye.

what would you suggest dropping? i know that i already have a list and the number one thing on it is Death Cab.
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhh_me?
will add Raw Power. Spirit of Eden is better, at least to me, solely because of The Rainbow. Fleet Foxes is one that i am still up in the air about adding. if two other people suggest it, i will add it.
I concur with the addition of Fleet Foxes.

Quote:
what would you suggest dropping? i know that i already have a list and the number one thing on it is Death Cab.
Well, for example Emoh by Lou Barlow. I don't know exactly what or how good an album needs to be in order to qualify for this list, but in terms of influence, I don't think Emoh is "important" enough. I mean sure, it's a good album, but I would never go as far as to call it "essential". Same can be said for Tallahassee by The Mountain Goats. And At Action Park isn't influential enough to be called essential.

I don't know, maybe it's just the word "essential" itself that's the problem. "Essential" gives me the feeling that it's something you have to listen to in order to understand the sound and origins of alternative and indie music, and there's a lot of albums on there which I'd never place in that category. To me, essential records are e.g. The Velvet Underground & Nico, Marquee Moon, The Queen Is Dead, Crooked Rain or OK Computer. Only the absolute best, so to speak. And not e.g. Vs, Violent Femmes or At Action Park. I would call those albums maybe... pseudo-classic or something, but not more. Don't get my wrong, those albums are very good, but not essential.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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perhaps you should add a color coding for psychedelic and related ... or something similar.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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What's this thread's take on poptimism? I think shit like Justin Timberlake is worth listing here, but he's definitely not alternative. In that, i mean, are we purely talking about alt/indie music here, or is this thread more accurately attempting to describe albums which have received critical acclaim foremost over popular acclaim (and as such, it may align itself well with those who enjoy alt and indie)?

just a quick definition of poptimism -- i think it's going to define the next generation of independent music critics (as opposed to the thumb-nosed hipster standard today).

"The poptimist critique of rockism squares with my sense of musical history and resonates with my taste. I love hip-hop and commercial R&B and Nashville country and teen pop, and have spent much of my professional life listening to and writing about pre-rock Tin Pan Alley pop, a genre that rockists insult by ignoring completely. I’m not so crazy about most indie rock, never cared much for Neil Young, and will listen to the new Pearl Jam album only out of a sense of professional obligation. I think Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is one of the greatest songs of the new century, that the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” was one of the great ones of the last, and that R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” is as transcendent as any Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown classic I’ve ever heard—and what’s more, most other critics I know agree. In fact, arguably today’s two most influential pop critics, Sanneh and The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones (who was also Slate’s music critic), are firmly in the poptimist camp."

- Jody Rosen, Slate Magazine.


lastly -- my thoughts on which albums should be removed from the list:

- David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (ain't no 'alternative' classic)
- The Smiths - The Smiths (can we agree that just one smiths album on this list is sufficient?)
- Nirvana - Nevermind (yeah, okay. whatever.)
- Nirvana - In Utero (seriously?)
- Oasis - Definitely Maybe (neither critically acclaimed, nor alternative)
- Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (right...)
- J Dilla - Donuts (as much as i love the jams, it's no classic album)
- Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming (not quite a classic)

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Old 05-24-2010, 02:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmm386


lastly -- my thoughts on which albums should be removed from the list:

- David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (ain't no 'alternative' classic)
- The Smiths - The Smiths (can we agree that just one smiths album on this list is sufficient?)
- Nirvana - Nevermind (yeah, okay. whatever.)
- Nirvana - In Utero (seriously?)
- Oasis - Definitely Maybe (neither critically acclaimed, nor alternative)
- Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (right...)
- J Dilla - Donuts (as much as i love the jams, it's no classic album)
- Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming (not quite a classic)


I agree that there should be one Nirvana album at most. Basically as soon as Nevermind was released they were no longer indie, but i think they should have one album on there (maybe Bleach) because they were definitely highly influential in creating "alternative rock" and "grunge". I think Oasis should in no way be on there. I do, however, think Death Cab should be there because, at that the time they were actually an indie band (although getting more and more mainstream) and they've been really influential in the more mainstream trend of "indie" rock that happened in the 2000's.
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Old 05-24-2010, 03:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bmm386
What's this thread's take on poptimism? I think shit like Justin Timberlake is worth listing here, but he's definitely not alternative. In that, i mean, are we purely talking about alt/indie music here, or is this thread more accurately attempting to describe albums which have received critical acclaim foremost over popular acclaim (and as such, it may align itself well with those who enjoy alt and indie)?

just a quick definition of poptimism -- i think it's going to define the next generation of independent music critics (as opposed to the thumb-nosed hipster standard today).

"The poptimist critique of rockism squares with my sense of musical history and resonates with my taste. I love hip-hop and commercial R&B and Nashville country and teen pop, and have spent much of my professional life listening to and writing about pre-rock Tin Pan Alley pop, a genre that rockists insult by ignoring completely. I’m not so crazy about most indie rock, never cared much for Neil Young, and will listen to the new Pearl Jam album only out of a sense of professional obligation. I think Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is one of the greatest songs of the new century, that the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” was one of the great ones of the last, and that R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” is as transcendent as any Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown classic I’ve ever heard—and what’s more, most other critics I know agree. In fact, arguably today’s two most influential pop critics, Sanneh and The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones (who was also Slate’s music critic), are firmly in the poptimist camp."

- Jody Rosen, Slate Magazine.


lastly -- my thoughts on which albums should be removed from the list:

- David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (ain't no 'alternative' classic)
- The Smiths - The Smiths (can we agree that just one smiths album on this list is sufficient?)
- Nirvana - Nevermind (yeah, okay. whatever.)
- Nirvana - In Utero (seriously?)
- Oasis - Definitely Maybe (neither critically acclaimed, nor alternative)
- Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (right...)
- J Dilla - Donuts (as much as i love the jams, it's no classic album)
- Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming (not quite a classic)


man you are so wrong about donuts. that album has revolutionized instrumental hip-hop and sample-based music in general. just ask flylo, madlib, javelin, onra, or anyone else making dope music and they'll tell you how influential and far-reaching that album is. it's not just some beat tape, it's the dude's magnum opus that he crafted from his death bed.

also, in utero is the better nirvana album.
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Old 05-24-2010, 04:04 PM   #14
Bmm386
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Originally Posted by Arthur Curry
man you are so wrong about donuts. that album has revolutionized instrumental hip-hop and sample-based music in general. just ask flylo, madlib, javelin, onra, or anyone else making dope music and they'll tell you how influential and far-reaching that album is. it's not just some beat tape, it's the dude's magnum opus that he crafted from his death bed.

also, in utero is the better nirvana album.

Hell, i thought The Shining was better. Also, wasn't Madlib already all over the place by then? i might be wrong.
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmm386
lastly -- my thoughts on which albums should be removed from the list:

- David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (ain't no 'alternative' classic)

what the hell, man?
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmm386
What's this thread's take on poptimism? I think shit like Justin Timberlake is worth listing here, but he's definitely not alternative. In that, i mean, are we purely talking about alt/indie music here, or is this thread more accurately attempting to describe albums which have received critical acclaim foremost over popular acclaim (and as such, it may align itself well with those who enjoy alt and indie)?

just a quick definition of poptimism -- i think it's going to define the next generation of independent music critics (as opposed to the thumb-nosed hipster standard today).

"The poptimist critique of rockism squares with my sense of musical history and resonates with my taste. I love hip-hop and commercial R&B and Nashville country and teen pop, and have spent much of my professional life listening to and writing about pre-rock Tin Pan Alley pop, a genre that rockists insult by ignoring completely. I’m not so crazy about most indie rock, never cared much for Neil Young, and will listen to the new Pearl Jam album only out of a sense of professional obligation. I think Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is one of the greatest songs of the new century, that the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” was one of the great ones of the last, and that R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” is as transcendent as any Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown classic I’ve ever heard—and what’s more, most other critics I know agree. In fact, arguably today’s two most influential pop critics, Sanneh and The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones (who was also Slate’s music critic), are firmly in the poptimist camp."

- Jody Rosen, Slate Magazine.


lastly -- my thoughts on which albums should be removed from the list:

- David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (ain't no 'alternative' classic)
- The Smiths - The Smiths (can we agree that just one smiths album on this list is sufficient?)
- Nirvana - Nevermind (yeah, okay. whatever.)
- Nirvana - In Utero (seriously?)
- Oasis - Definitely Maybe (neither critically acclaimed, nor alternative)
- Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (right...)
- J Dilla - Donuts (as much as i love the jams, it's no classic album)
- Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming (not quite a classic)

joe and i actually talked about nirvana on the list and we thought we would get some serious complaints about removing both nirvana albums. we thought about removing nevermind and keeping in utero to appear more indie but it seemed necessary to keep both albums. we're always reconsidering the list, so if there's a general disregard for both albums we'll remove it.

EDIT: i changed the link for the 33 1/3 series to directly link to list of the books from continuum.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:57 PM   #17
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should definitely add merge under essential record labels.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:51 PM   #18
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explosions in the sky the earth is not a cold dead place might be a good idea
modest mouse the lonesome crowded west
built to spill perfect from now on
ryan adams heartbreaker
sparklehorse its a wonderful life
wolf parade apologies to the queen mary
the flaming lips the soft bulletin
minus the bear menos el oso
interpol turn on the bright lights
wu-tang clan enter the wu tang
jim croce you dont mess around with jim
mos def black oon both sides
jurassic 5 quality control
bruce springsteen the wild the innocent and the e street band
flotation toy warning bluffers guide to the flight deck
james taylor sweet baby james
i feel like death cab we have the facts and the postal service give up would be good additions too

nice post
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:02 AM   #19
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list is looking good
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmm386
- David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (ain't no 'alternative' classic)
- The Smiths - The Smiths (can we agree that just one smiths album on this list is sufficient?)
- Nirvana - Nevermind (yeah, okay. whatever.)
- Nirvana - In Utero (seriously?)
- Oasis - Definitely Maybe (neither critically acclaimed, nor alternative)
- Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (right...)
- J Dilla - Donuts (as much as i love the jams, it's no classic album)
- Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming (not quite a classic)


agree with these with maybe the exception of nevermind (****ing hate nirvana by the way)

also
The Clash - The Clash
The Pop Group - Y
Lou Reed - Transformer
MIA - Arular
The Cure - Pornography
Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps
Neil Young - Tonight's The Night
(c'mon, we need after the gold rush on here instead, surely)

also, some suggestions:
Arthur Russell - World of Echo (1986)
Dirty Three - Whatever You Love, Your Are (2000)
Do Make Say Think - You, You're a History in Rust (2007) or Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn (2003)
Skip Spence - Oar (1969)
Smog - Red Apple Falls (1997) or Knock Knock (1999)
The Books - The Lemon of Pink (2003)
Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003)
Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness (2008)
The dB's - Stands for Decibels (1981)
Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies (2006)

alright i'm spent
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:25 PM   #20
Hereiwas
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I think Cryptograms should be the Deerhunter album rather than Micro Castle.

But yah, groovy list. It made me pretty proud I recognised so much (even if I only knew the obvious ones...)
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