to eleven

A boring list: Some of my favorite albums. by Jayson

A while ago I threatened that my posts here could degenerate into nothing but top lists, time to make real on the threat. I am grinding through finals, which is a weird thing to be typing. Regardless, I am lacking in brainpower for anything else but a list of my favorite albums. It’s not a top ten, this isn’t High Fidelity.¬† How metal the metal is, is questionable. There is no hip-hop or electronic, but this doesn’t pretend to be a full list of all my favorite albums, just some off the top of my head. It’s cut off for length. I also left off a couple of things from 2009-10 that I’ve raved and gushed about already. These are almost all old albums, I didn’t realize that until I started making a list. I guess part of something becoming your favorite is passing the test of time.

In no specific order:

ScissorfightMantrapping for Sport and Profit
I bought this because I liked the art in a half-page ad for it in Alternative Press, which means I purchased this about 1000 years ago. What I always felt was great about Scissorfight was that their mountain man-tough guyness was always balanced with what I always heard as a great sense of humor. The falsetto-like chorus on Blizzards, Buzzards, Bastards convinced me they were geniuses. Scissorfight are one of those bands that no one has ever seemed to have heard of. It’s a shame, they’re one of the best hard rock/metal style bands ever. They’ve been on indefinite hiatus for years, but all their stuff is still in print. This is a good starting point.
Outstanding track: Blizzards, Buzzards, Bastards

Murder City DevilsIn Name and Blood
I had never heard of Murder City Devils until they did a big tour with At the Drive In. I didn’t go to the show but I remember the fliers being everywhere. That was right at the height of At The Drive In fever. I went out and bought both In Name and Blood and Relationship of Command on the same day. In one of my defining moments as a music fan, I completely fell in love with MCD but had no idea why everyone was so excited about ATDI. The thing is, that I got into them right at point where I think I was just slightly growing up and their sound was the right thing and the right time. Two years before that my favorite album was NOFX’s Punk in Drublic. That’s how it happens.
Outstanding track: Idle Hands

SupersuckersEvil Powers of Rock n’ Roll
This is just their best album. It’s full of nothing but hits. There is nothing complicated to say here and no story. This is a fantastic rock n’ roll album.
Outstanding track: Goin’ Back To Tuscon

MermenA Glorious Lethal Euphoria
Before there was a Godspeed You! Black Emperor, post-rock and any of the bullshit associated with any discussion of post-rock there were The Mermen. They’re an instrumental surf-rock band with some psychedelic influences. I got this because of another full page ad where some critic had tagged them as sounding like ‘Dick Dale meets Sonic Youth.’ Alternately peaceful and energetic, it’s a completely beautiful album, emotional, not the barest whiff of pretense.
Outstanding track: Between I And Thou

Rocket From the CryptRFTC
John Reis is the King Midas of rock. Since I’m making myself pick, this is my favorite thing that he has ever done. Rocket is the only band in the modern era to make having a horn section work. RFTC sounds has a classic rock n’ roll sound, totally completely dodging cliche. That is two major feats that basically no other band can claim. John Reis’ lyrics make him sound like the ultimate romantic creep here, it’s hard not to love. This is also one of the few albums that makes me want to dance.
Outstanding track: Run Kid Run

Black SabbathVolume. 4
While classic rock radio beats Paranoid to death, Vol. 4 remains the greatest hard rock album ever recorded.
Outstanding Track: Snowblind

It’s really between this an Oceanic, with Panopticon winning by a nose. This is Isis at their zenith, the post-metal sound perfected. The Red Sea is primitive, Celestial sounds like a very developmental album in comparison, and the stuff that came after is just missing whatever spark made Oceanic and Panopticon great. This is one of those deals where, even if you’ve totally dismissed Isis and their ilk, get either of those two and give them a serious listen. It’s my basic belief that anyone who does will come around.
Outstanding track: Backlit

MotorheadWe Are Motorhead
Motorhead are a band trapped by their defining songs from the 70s and 80s. Lemmy knows it, if you see them, they will gladly play all the hits. That being said, Motorhead have gotten progressively better with each album and their new stuff really is better than the old. This is the one because it’s solid hits. I honestly find almost all their albums to be hit and miss, except this, non-stop rocking.
Outstanding track: Out To Lunch

Uncle TupeloAnodyne
The last Uncle Tupelo album, also the best. Jay Farrar is my favorite singer and one of my most favorite song writers. This album has a lot of soul. Despite the fact that those guys were drifting apart, they put out so many great songs on this. This kinda goes to that thing Jason said about Nine Inch Nails; pretty much every attempt at any kind of sad song in a heavy type of music comes off as the product of some idiot man-child with entitlement issues. You’re so messed up, no one understands you, etc. The sad songs on Anodyne speak more to the weariness of breakups and hard times. Writing that it’s relate-able sounds dumb, but it is.
Outstanding track: High Water

– Jayson


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