The Birthday Party - Live 1981-82
There is no album that I can think of that better embodies the term "infernal". On the one hand, it's not much more than that - gothic imagery and bluesy riffs are occasionally strewn about, but in a manner complimenting the chaotic, wanton direction of the music itself. It feels often like there is no rhyme or reason in this album; the key word being "feels". Of course, the actually riffs and phrases are quite simple, just that they're complimented by Nick Cave's manic howl ... read more
Radiohead - The Bends
The first high-quality album by Radiohead, "The Bends" was an effort to match the ambition of Oasis while being entirely opposite in tone. The result is a reverby, post-britpot thing that's well in line with the work of head producer John Leckie, who most notably produced the Stone Roses' debut album. On the production team was Nigel Godrich, whom the band would collaborate with as a lead producer on every forthcoming release of theirs.

It's not nearly as heady as Radiohead's future ... read more

Dystopia - Human = Garbage
This happened to my buddy Eric
David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
On paper, "Ziggy" isn't too far flung from other records around the same time that were most going for the same thing. And to put your finger on what exactly makes this album so different from anything else like it is taxing, especially as a self-proclaimed amateur critic who's supposed to be good at this sort of thing. However, listening to this album today is probably how it felt to hear the first wave of Beatles singles in 1963; that you might have heard something like this, but ... read more
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Like with jazz, I've held a tenuous relationship with heavy metal over the years. I admire the diversity and complexity within the genre, but often metal records just fall on deaf ears when it comes to me and my listening experience. The difference largely being that where jazz often feels stuffy and overly academic, metal often feels raw in a disingenuous sort of way. That is to say, the "rawness" of the genre is so much a design philosophy that it often feels clinical and divorced ... read more
Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory
In the year 2000, Radiohead released Kid A, an album universally considered by critics to be a paradigm-changing, revolutionary album. However, as good as an album as that may have been in its own right, I can’t help but wonder if Thom Yorke incorporating avant-garde jazz, krautrock, and electronic music into an alternative rock format actually mattered to people who weren’t waiting with baited breath for Robert Christgau’s year-end list. Do most people even know who Radiohead ... read more
Sonic Youth - EVOL
The final Sonic Youth album where the band seek to, above all else, wreak havoc. And yet, the melodic, sophisticated touches overlaying the infernal, metallic bedlam make it at least (if not more) surreal and nightmarish than Confusion is Sex or Bad Moon Rising and twice as compelling. Their no-wave inspired sound reached its peak of development and structure here, perhaps more than is advisable, considering it only threatens the band’s prior brutality and effectively commits genre ... read more
Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill
Unarguably one of the biggest bangers of all time, both 21-year-old me and 12-year-old me see eye-to-eye on this.
The Beach Boys - Surf's Up
Say what one will about the legacy of Pet Sounds and the Smile Sessions, Surf's Up is probably the reason anybody still thinks about those albums. Singlehandedly saving the Beach Boys from being a musical laughing stock and changing their image from a group of crooning lightweights into underground legends, Surf's Up saw the last major reinvention of the band under the direction of tortured genius Brian Wilson.

If the moody, bleak artwork weren't enough to indicate the ironic nature of this ... read more

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak: Live at Hollywood Bowl
What if the best Kanye album...

...ain't even an album?

Animal Collective - Fireworks
Animal Collective have numerous entries into what I'd consider the best pop songs ever written, but Fireworks honestly belongs on a list somewhere of the Top 100 songs ever, period. The chord progression of this song gives it the sort of mysterious, fairly ominous vibe, like it's anticipating something big, great or terrible on the horizon. Perhaps Animal Collective themselves were aware that they weren't far out from their career defining moment, which would prove in time to be their ... read more
Black Country, New Road - Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
I'll grant them that they fleshed out their songs here better than they did on For The First Time. However, these songs feel no less hollow and inauthentic.
Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu
No, it's not "underrated", it's shit.
Captain Beefheart - Safe as Milk
Here's some irony - Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart and/or music's most notorious troublemaker, early in his career made Safe as Milk, one of the most likable albums of all time. What makes this such a likable album? The answer is shockingly simple: He made really engaging, provocative experimental music built of the backbone of blues, doo-wop, and early rock 'n' roll. This band had little patience for the pretentious, faux-artsy baroque pop going on around them at the time, ... read more
Karen Aoki & Daisuke Hasegawa - JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable - Great Days
My favorite Jojo OP, which just so happens to score the very end of my absolutely favorite part. Seriously, that chorus is absolutely magnetic. Shit, I'll never get to watch this for the first time ever again, will I?
AJR - The Click
"Son, I don't know how else to tell you, but, well, your grandma entered the hospital this afternoon. She's dead."


Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
I have no review with which to justify my score for this album. It was simply the soundtrack of May 2018 through August of that same year, which was one of the happiest stretches of my entire life. I remember feeling self-assured, optimistic, and in love with everything I was seeing around me. It was an almost spiritual time in my life, and I came to close to hammering down my current religious beliefs. All in all, it was some of the most fun I'd ever had, and any time I hear this album, it ... read more
Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
Ever since the late 2010's, I've been hearing talking points about the album that will supposedly encompass life in these crazy times, something like Love's "Forever Changes." However, I think that misses the point of what that album was - it didn't espouse political beliefs, advocate social reform, or acid drop into the sunset, it was an honest expression of our shared desire to survive and grow in uncertain, terrifying times.

It's this sense of perseverance that motivates ... read more

The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
This could easily be the greatest album ever made. Name me one thing that doesn't work here. Find me one lyric that isn't as hilarious nor heartbreaking as it could've been. Find me the uninspired chord change. Find me the filler track. Every note, every second of vinyl is sheer bliss, sheer heartbreak, sheer genius. It's smart, infectious, immortal, Squidward-esque, and timelessly relatable. This album IS life. It's endless, thankless hours put into a go-nowhere job, it's the irony that could ... read more
The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
This is the Pokémon Platinum to the Smith's self-titled debut's Diamond and Pearl, i.e., the update that fixed everything and cemented The Smith's as THE indie-pop band. Only a handful of tracks here don't considerably improve on the originals (the white elephant in the room being This Charming Man), and the rest elevated certain early Smith's tracks to bona fide status, chiefly Reel Around The Fountain and What Difference Does It Make? Beyond that are the new tracks, every single one of ... read more
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May Playlist