so this one was pretty tough because anyone who knows me knows that i love 90s rock the way that certain relatives of mine still think that journey is the greatest thing to ever happen to music.
i know i'll be one of those geriatric types who gripes about how they just don't make 'em as good as pearl jam anymore. i'm already feeling that way, really. it's kind of embarrassing
1990 - fugazi - repeater
a friend of mine loaned me this in high school and i fell in love with the vocal interplay between ian and guy, the jazzy drumming, dub basslines, and squalling guitars. even though the band doesn't have merchandise, i have a bootleg sticker with their band name on the back of the Sexy Saturn that i found at a lakewood headshop a few years ago. i will always associate this record with driving aimlessly in parma and somehow getting stuck in the liberty ford parking lot looking for a shortcut and not being able to find our way out.
1991 - smashing pumpkins - gish
which one to pick from this year? it's hard to pick a favorite when you have gish, achtung baby, bloodsugarsexmagik, nevermind, loveless, spiderland? a friend of mine says he thinks the chili peppers were more the voice of a generation than kurt cobain and he might have a point. more people are into sex than angst and the chili peppers seem to have some kind of weird universal appeal across all sorts of lines. though i think i'll have to go with "gish" on this one for "rhinoceros" alone.
1992 - love battery - dayglo
my friend frank loaned this to me when we were at tri-c and for a long time i had it on a cassette tape that finally fell apart. love battery was one of those bands that should have done better because their psyched-out take on the seattle sound was just too good.
1993 - the breeders - last splash
i once made a diehard pixies fan very angry when i said that i liked kim deal better than frank black. cannonball is a great song, and the rest of the record is good and fizzy. this reminds me of hanging out with josh, carving pumpkins, and throwing smoke bombs into them.
1994 - soundgarden - superunknown
this is another tough one, but i'll have to go with superunknown here. i've always considered this one of those zeppelin-level albums where every song is fantastic and lots of sonic territory is covered without sacrificing a distinct sound and the band is just beyond good on every level. this was my favorite album when i was 15. found this on clear green vinyl at a record exchange in canton one night when cutting class.
runners up: alice in chains - jar of flies, meat puppets - too high to die, jawbox - for your own special sweetheart, kyuss - welcome to sky valley,
1995 - elastica
shamelessly ripping off their class of '77 heroes, elastica put together a solid and catchy punk record that sounds timeless and completely classic.
1996 - soul coughing - irresistible bliss
how this ever got played on the radio is beyond me. sweet upright bass action and quirky lyrics. m. doughty still writes good poetry and puts on a great live show.
1997 - the verve - urban hymns
bittersweet symphony was nice but the rest of the disc is even better. i tend to prefer the psychedelic side of the Verve to the more acoustic ballads that they're known for.
1998 - massive attack - mezzanine
fantastic stuff to paint to. in my noisier years, i loved the slow burn and buildup of 'angel,' but the rest of this has grown on me as well. i don't know why i don't actually own a hard copy of this. because i grew up in parma, this was about as close to hip-hop that i got in the first two decades of my life.
1999 - joe strummer and the mescaleros - rock art & x-ray style
joe strummer returns older and wiser and with an entirely different sound. it's more mellow and less angry than the clash but the lyrics are pure poetry and the social conscience is still there.
2000 - idlewild - 100 broken windows
noisy and literate melodic punk that disses gertrude stein and wasn't indie enough for the indie kids and too smart for the pop-punk kids when this came out. my favorite album when i was 17 and finally abandoning the pervasive nu-metal that permeated my existence. wore my copy of this cd and their next one out completely.
common's excellent "like water for chocolate" deserves props here too but that came later on.
2001 - john frusciante - to record only water for 10 days
beautiful 4-track recordings with a guitar, drum machine, and occasional synth from the guitarist in the chili peppers that are more listenable than the heroin albums he made in the 90s but still too weird for your average chili peppers fan. if this guy wasn't in the band he's in, he'd be one of those indie cult heroes like daniel johnston.
2002 - rival schools - united by fate
one of those one-off alt-rock albums that was all good solid songs from start to finish. another one of those senior-year summer soundtrack albums that evokes memories of ping-pong in the garage and hardcore youth crew jokes.
2003 - amadou & mariam - dimanche a bamako
african pop at its finest, beautiful exuberant guitar lines, sung in french, produced by manu chao. this is summer driving around music.
2004- diplo - florida
trippy and organic, big beats, guitar feedback, guest vocals from martina topley-bird, violins. also excellent late night music to paint to.
2005 - the dirtbombs - if you don't already, have a look
compiles two discs' worth of singles and covers by the amazing detroit band, including an ode to cedar point. mick collins' voice is just too good.
2006- art brut - bang bang rock and roll
eddie argos "can't stand the sound of the velvet underground" either and when my coworker tegan loaned me this cd her boyfriend mailed her from england and played it for me, i couldn't stop laughing and played it for everyone else. snarky punk tracks about modern art, robbing banks in italy, forming bands, and brand new girlfriends that were refreshingly unjaded.
2007 - soulsavers - it's not how far you fall, it's the way you land
my favorite record of last year. haunting and apocalyptic uk electronica that owes as much to nine inch nails as it does to johnny cash. once again, mark lanegan's voice does it for me all the time.
2008 - the gutter twins - saturnalia
i love greg dulli even if he doesn't seem to like himself, and i love pretty much anything mark lanegan shows up on. i've been playing this disc a lot on my show and haven't gotten tired of it. sounds like what you'd expect if you're familiar with the afghan whigs, twilight singers, and lanegan's solo material, but the way their voices go together is something special.
to be honest, i haven't really been listening to a whole lot of new stuff. and i'm ok with that.