- Tom Waits - Raindogs, Nighthawks At The Diner: Waits' voice is an acquired taste, but Raindogs is probably his most melodic and varied work, "Time" in particular is sublime. Nighthawks At The Diner, meanwhile, is a live album and showcases Waits at the top of his game as a beatnick - very loose and merry listen.
- Kiss - Destroyer: First time listening to a Kiss album, perhaps my expectations were too high. "Detroit Rock City" aside this was disappointing.
- Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
- Portishead - Third: Well this was a mighty disappointment next to Dummy. They made us wait an awful long time for this record too. Shows it doesn't always pay to be perfectionists I guess.
- Radiohead - In Rainbows
But now I'm older and slightly less fussy I adore this record. I think it's the best of their career and succeeds much better than OK Computer did in marrying their older rockier work (see "Bodysnatchers") with a more experimental direction ("Weird Fishes") along with moments of starkness ("Videotape") and tenderness (the stand-out track "House Of Cards").
So now I'm the proud owner of two Radiohead albums, something I never thought I'd say at age 17.
- A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory/Q-Tip - The Renaissance
Tribe's breakout star, Q-Tip, is still pretty awesome though and The Renaissance blew me away. I remember hearing "Gettin' Up" in the days when I still religiously listened to Zane Lowe's show and getting really into it - yet somehow I never tracked this album down until now. Listening to it makes me wish I'd bought it all those years ago. A real high point in modern hip-hop.
- The White Stripes - Elephant: Another band that annoyed the heck out of my when I was younger. Couldn't stand "Seven Nation Army" and something about it still irritates me to this day, sorry. There's flashes of brilliance and flashes of trash here - no better illustrated than the dire "Ball And Biscuit" being followed up by the terrific "The Hardest Button To Button".
- My Bloody Valentine - Loveless: This veered from brilliant to ear-piercingly unbearable a few times too many for my liking. Although this album has basically made shoegaze cool, which I guess I should be thankful for seeing as so many of the artists I like are going down that road.
- Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, Blonde On Blonde, Blood On The Tracks, Time Out Of Mind
Take The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The first three tracks are "Blowin' In The Wind", "Girl From The North Country" and "Masters Of War". Three absolute stone cold classics that would sound relevant and pertinent hundreds of years from now. But does he stop there? Of course not, it's Bob fucking Dylan, he goes and adds "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and "Corinna, Corinna" to proceedings, just in case there was any doubt who the boss around here.
Bringing It All Back Home sees him start to expand beyond simply him and his guitar with the furious "Subterranean Homesick Blues", "Maggie's Farm", "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".
He doesn't even stop there either - ever the pioneer, Dylan realised a single album couldn't contain the ideas in his head, and hence came Blonde On Blonde, the world's first double LP, with yet more classics like "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35", "Visions Of Johanna", "Just Like A Woman" ans "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)".
Then, not content with dominating the 60s, Dylan decides he's got another Magnum Opus in him in the 70s in the form of Blood On The Tracks featuring "Tangled Up In Blue", "Simple Twist Of Fate" and "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go".
THIS is music you have to hear before you die alright!
- PJ Harvey - Rid Of Me, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea: Another artist I'd horribly misjudged in my teens, I thought all Polly's record were chinstroking bullshit, but these two here are both pretty rocking!
- The XX - The XX
- Chic - C'est Chic, Risque
- Dexy's Midnight Runners - Too Rye Ay, Searching For The Young Soul Rebels
- The Coral - The Coral: So breezy, "Dreaming Of You" is one of my favourite songs of last decade. Lots of cool tuneful stuff to go with it here too.
- Tito Puente & His Orchestra - Dance Mania Vol. 1: Is it bad that I still prefer the song he did on The Simpsons to the stuff here?
- Billy Joel - The Stranger: I came into this expecting "Uptown Girl" level cheese, I got classics like "Just The Way You Are" and "She's Always A Woman" instead. Well, that worked out well.
- Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story/ The Faces - A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse
- Queen Latifah - All Hail The Queen: I had no idea Latifah was such a talented MC, I thought she was just an actress!
- The Fugees - The Score/ Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill: Was a bit disappointed to find so much filler on The Score, but I found Lauryn's solo album much more consistent and enjoyable.
- TLC - Crazy Sexy Cool
- Mariah Carey - Butterfly: OK while I'm surprisingly knowledgeable about cheesy 90s & noughties music, I still have my limits. This was it. Go away Mariah.
- Dee-Lite - World Clique: This album is very 90s. Famous as one hit wonders with "Groove Is In The Heart" (which is still irresistible), the rest of the album is very much a relic of its time.
- ZZ Top - Tre Hombres, Eliminator: While Tre Hombres didn't do particularly much for me, Eliminator was an absolute blinder with "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" being standouts.
- The Kinks - Face To Face: How on Earth did I end up disappointed by an album that featured "Sunny Afternoon"?
- Elliot Smith - Figure 8
- Nick Drake - Pink Moon
- Aerosmith - Rocks, Toys In The Attic
- Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
- Echo & The Bunnymen - Porcupine
- Madness - The Rise And Fall
- Haircut 100 - Pelican West
- Kate Bush - The Dreaming
- Little Richard - Here's Little Richard
- The Crickets - The Chirpin' Crickets
- Orange Juice - Rip It Up (that riff on the title track is just too funky!)
While the following left a fair bit t0 be desired
- 808 State - 90
- Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children (clever title, shame the music didn't live up to it.)
- Nightmares On Wax - Smoker's Delight
- Jungle Brothers - Done By The Forces Of Nature
- Sabu - Palo Congo
- Machito - Kenya
- KLF - The White Room
Ta-ra for now.