Masterpiece Albums

Discussion on new albums, developing listening skills, critical listening to others' work, as well as TOMB members' MP3 links, online recording critiques

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Post by cashed checks » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:38 pm

Hope I'm not jumping on the train too late. These are all worth checking into. I'm kind of embarrassed that I consider this many records to be "masterpieces." I guess I was reaching a little bit as some will appeal to a certain segment, and others to others.

in alphabetical order (minus obvious Beatles, Hendrix, etc records):

13th Floor Elevators "Easter Everywhere" - listen for yourself, mind expanding, with or without drugs.

Andrew Bird "Mysterious Production of Eggs" - once it starts, i won't turn it off for anything or anyone.

Arizona Amp & Alternator (Howe Gelb) "Arizona Amp & Alternator" what you wish your collected basement/bedroom/bathroom tapes would amount to.

At the Drive In "Vaya" perfect distillation of this band

Black Sabbath "Vol 4" transcending what they had been, a snapshot in time

Blue Tip "Join Us" - DC/dischord band, to give you a starting point, great lyrics and vocal delivery make it sincere where a lot of "punk" records fall flat. The whole is greater than it's parts.

Califone "Roots & Crowns" - things keep coming out the woodwork. don't miss em live.

Chrome "Half Machine Lip Moves" + "Alien Soundtracks" - i was trying to form a band with a sound that i thought hadn't been done before. then i found Chrome. back to the drawing board.

Bowie "Hunky Dory" - Made me a fan after prematurely writing him off early on in my musical journey.

Dead Meadow "Feathers" I loved the record (more concise songs than in the past) and then saw them live where they let the songs free a bit more (showing that they're mastered both sides of this sexy thing we call rock).

Dungen "Ta Det Lugnt" - out of left field. i think everyone owns this by now. has no reason to sound as good as it does (a good portion recorded to a portable digital 4 track????)

Eagles of Death Metal "Death By Sexy" (comes across like a mix tape, single after single)

Earthlings? "Human Beans" - weird... weird... weird.... like a soundtrack to a movie that was never made.

Elope "Elope" + "3WD" european release only; worth tracking down and great songs at their core once you get past the retro dressings.

Flaming Lips "Soft Bulletin" - this is why bands should take chances. reinvent yourselves with each record as you never know what you're capable of.

Frank Black "Pistolero" - recorded live to 2 track; To me, FrankBlackFrancisCharles usually sounds like he's channeling someone else, but here, with these songs and delivery, he sounds right and honest, and like a real person. I never get tired of this record.

Fugazi "End Hits" - one my favorite sounding records of all time, this record always gets knocks from straying from what Fugazi had been. Why is that automatically a bad thing? If you want to listen to the old stuff, go listen to the old stuff. This record just burns!

Giant Sand "Chore of Enchantment" + "...Is All Over The Map" - everyone always says that happy accidents are the magical moments that make records. Now imagine a whole record full of accidents. wet yourself. [one also has to argue that with so many "accidents" that they aren't accidents at all. yup yup yup. i hate to say it but.... genius.]

Grandaddy "Just Like the Fambly Cat" - for such a seemingly and comparably gentle sound, the lyrics are just seething with raw emotion across the board. As the record was getting made, Jason knew the band was falling apart and would be no more. I saw him on his solo tour following the release, which showed him confiding in the audience as if they were his friends, talking matter of factly about missing his friends in the band and how it tore others apart. It made all the lyrics on the record ring true. Maybe the best show of my life.

Hot Snakes "Automatic Midnight" - punk rock like a black hole. a whole lot of mass crammed together. super hot, can't even see it until you're in the middle of it.

Jesus Lizard "Liar" - oh... my... god..... THE record to blow a 13 year old's mind, as it did mine. I had never felt cooler in my life than finding that record. It started my journey into independent rock. At the same time I had found the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, etc, but here was a current band, blowing my mind, and from my home town none the less. here was something that was MINE!

Jets to Brazil "Orange Rhyming Dictionary" i'm hesitant to put this on here as it's been yearrrrrs since putting it on. i hated the next record so much this migrated to one of many boxes of cd's house the overflow that doesn't fit on my shelves. just ran across in my iTunes library. It's perfect for what it is (making it a masterpiece to those who aren't asking for crazy tape edits or crazy guitar pedals). Great lyrics.

John Cale "Paris 1919" - It's so.... precious.... that I don't listen to it much, but it is, without fail, a masterpiece on all fronts. But with thousands of records acting as the soundtrack/mood stabilizer to my life, this hasn't fit my mood much lately. It might be exactly what you're looking for, though.

Jucifer "Calling All Cars On The Vegas Strip" - what a huge sound! If you think you'd like some screaming and heaviness mixed in with your Breeders then check em out. (they're a totally different story live; all heavy all the time)

Kinks "Village Green Preservation Society" - fun fun fun fun fun... it's what's missing from rock these days. the kinks possess every positive adjective that you could hang on a band.

Mark Lanegan "Bubblegum" + "Here Comes That Weird Chill" ep; This record along with its EP of leftovers might just be my favorite of the last ten years. It brought out that feeling that some have mentioned where they didn't realize they could really love a record like they did in their youth when everything was new. Here, the EP isn't really just filler tracks. The sets are perfectly broken up so that both are more than they would have been together. Recorded with 20 odd different people at 4-5 different studios, it makes it ridiculous to note that i love its "vibe." If you check out one record from this list, please please please start here. Download "Message to Mine" from the EP. Such a 'head' record... more than just psych...some folky duets... drum machines.... a total lack of 'real' songs. Lanegan becomes the king of the non-chorus here. Every part slides so effortlessly into one another. He's so confident in the strength of his verses (lyrics and melody) that the choruses are usually just a phrase repeated for 6 seconds before slipping back to the verse.

Masters of Reality "Masters of Reality/Blue Garden" 80s rick ruben production, somehow succeeds despite of it. this record would have been huge if released at any other time than the blackhole of the late 80's. (Not cool enough for the underground, not enough pomp for the mainstream). Remember, it's not the production but the SONG(!) that's key. Here it's just song after song after song! This is another band that keeps reinventing itself. They pulled in Ginger Baker for their follow-up, "Sunrise on the Sufferbus."

Melvins "Houdini" - again, when the 'old fans' start complaining about someone's new sound, there's usually something worthwhile in there. adding some melody to the sludge that is the melvins only brings on this weird "what the fuck?" moment.

Nirvana "Nevermind" + "In Utero" - I was too young for "Bleach" but their last two records taught me everything one needs to know about music, just as I was wading into the pool. I was never that into music as everything I heard was just the one radio hit, then a bunch of filler. I hadn't yet been exposed to 'album rock' and getting into those deeper cuts like "Drain You" and "On a Plain" was a most rewarding experience. "In Utero" helped me see the value of diversity on a record. Putting "Pennyroyal Tea" together with "Milk It" and "Tourette's" didn't seem like over-reaching to alienate their audience and help them get their cred back, to me, it was just damn cool.

Olivia Tremor Control "Black Foliage" already mentioned here but... just another record that you never get tired of.

Queens of the Stone Age - collected works. they simply do what they want to do and could frankly not give a shit what anyone else thinks, especially their fans. I could make an equally strong argument for any one of their records, even your least favorite one. Musical naivet? can be cute or good for one record, but a band like qotsa, who are obviously aware of what came before and take the challenge to do something new with it, is so much more rewarding. I really want to compare them to the "Beatles" in the diversity of records they've put out. Would the Beatles have the audience they have had they not gained early popularity with their 'pop' music? I imagine Qotsa as the Beatles had they skipped right ahead to Revolver. Crazy cool guitar sounds, melodies from Mars... what a nerd-a-riffic band... if only their chief songwriter hadn't played high-school football.

Sonic Youth "Daydream Nation" - timeless. they captured a vibe that they have yet to repeat and that has eluded everyone else since. The record I learned to play guitar to.... yeah... I don't know scales.... ha! I'm not sure it's the right word, but, there's just something "positive" about it all. Probably the fact that indie music was gaining a larger audience and the thought of something so pure being completely exploited in 5 years time was absurd to think about. Plus my first exposure to 'art' in music with "Providence." - I also must mention that the much slandered "Washing Machine" record is a classic in and of itself.

Stooges + Iggy Pop - between the Stooges records and "Lust for Life" and "the Idiot" they laid the groundwork for so many genres and sub-genres one doesn't know where to start. I put on "the Idiot" whenever I get in a rut.

TV on the Radio "Desperate Youth Bloodthirsty Babes" - my oh my what a title. this record confused me a bit when it first came out. it took me 6 months to dig it out again at which point i "got" it. It got the "drawer treatment" because for all the "soul" comments being bandied about I felt it was too cold. It took a while for me to get that it's supposed to be. What is alienation if not "cold?" It doesn't overstay it's welcome, either. I think most records should be limited to 9-10 songs.

Velvet Underground - collected works; I'm just glad such a band was allowed to exist. there are a million copy-cat bands for a reason.

PLUS..... i could include an innumerable amount punk rock records. they're usually so short and to the point that you can listen to them twice in a row without fail. also, with all the songs "sounding alike" (back off... i LIKE punk rock) they are like different movements within a single piece of classical music; punk records are always best enjoyed on the whole.

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Post by cashed checks » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:03 pm

I honestly didn't mean to totally kill this thread. boo to me.

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Post by thesimulacre » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:18 pm

"Haunted," by Poe. I'm really impressed by this album.

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Post by centurymantra » Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:07 am

cashed checks wrote:I honestly didn't mean to totally kill this thread. boo to me.
On the contrary, you may have revived it.... :^:

Extra thumbs up for naming 'Easter Everywhere' (one of the greatest records ever, anywhere), Chrome and Giant Sand...all recordings I named as well. You're, like, the 30th person I've seen reference Mark Lanegan's 'Bubblegum'. I'm prob. going to have to pick that one up. I've always liked/respected Mark Lanegan and was a fan of Screaming Trees back in the day, but he's been off my radar for awhile. Actually...I did pick up on that record he did with Isobelll Campbell. Maybe not a masterpiece, but nice nonetheless.

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Post by saint360 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:33 pm

cashed checks wrote:I also must mention that the much slandered "Washing Machine" record is a classic in and of itself.
Totally agree. That's my favorite SY record next to Daydream Nation, and I actually turn to it more often than DN, because it's a little less of an investment of my emotional energy (not to mention time) to listen to it all the way through.

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Post by Trick Fall » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:59 am

Been on a big Badly Drawn Boy Hour of the Bewilderbeast kick and I figure any album that I've gone back to over and over for at least a couple of years is a classic. This is the kind of album that is not made very often anymore. The kind that takes you on a journey from start to finish. The kind you put on one song and then have to listen to the rest of it the whole way through. I love all of the little interludes and the flow of it all. It also sounds gorgeous to me. I'd love to know more about how this record was made.

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Post by foley » Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:31 pm

Sabbath - Master of Reality (Have you ever thought about your soul, can it be saved?)
Grateful Dead - American Beauty
Wilco - Being There
Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Minutemen - Double Nickels
Magma - Self-Titled
Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy

These are masterpieces and I think none have been mentioned, except the Hendrix which was mentioned as part of a trio of albums. Sorry, but for studio masterpieces it is really only Electric Ladyland.

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Post by mikehattem » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:22 pm

For me recently:

Summerteeth - Wilco
SMiLE (original) & Pet Sounds - Beach Boys
Yoshimi & Soft Bulletin - The Flaming Lips
The Dust Of Retreat - Margot & The Nuclear So and So's (a great record)
#1 Record - Big Star
Avalanche - Sufjan Stevens
Odessey & Oracle - The Zombies

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Post by cardinal » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:29 pm

A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
The Robert Johnson Compilation
Songs From a Room - Leonard Cohen
The Fragile - NIN
Ys - Joanna Newsom

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Post by PeterSawatzky » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:08 pm

This Year's Model - Elvis Costello
The Colour and the Shape - Foo Fighters
Otis Blue - Otis Redding
The Who Sell Out - The Who
Cosmo's Factory - Creedence

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Post by BeepBeep » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:26 am

I can't believe I ate the whole thread, and in one sitting. :shock:

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Post by pedrohead » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:02 pm

Trick Fall wrote:Been on a big Badly Drawn Boy Hour of the Bewilderbeast kick and I figure any album that I've gone back to over and over for at least a couple of years is a classic. This is the kind of album that is not made very often anymore. The kind that takes you on a journey from start to finish. The kind you put on one song and then have to listen to the rest of it the whole way through. I love all of the little interludes and the flow of it all. It also sounds gorgeous to me. I'd love to know more about how this record was made.
I agree. I never hear too much praise for the record, but I absolutely love it, love the songs, love the sounds, love the recording. Saw him live on the tour for this record and it was one of the best shows I've ever been to.

'Tis a shame I've bought (and quickly resold out of boredom) all of his albums since...

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Post by mjau » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:30 pm

mikehattem wrote:Summerteeth - Wilco
Yup. The only Wilco album I love from start to finish, although I like all of them.

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Post by aghaller8 » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:33 pm

I always come back to Townes Van Zandt's "Our Mother the Mountain" and The Pogues' "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash"

+30 on Lanegan, Forever Changes, Astral Weeks, Chore of Enchantment

And bringing me back to a place in time- The Roots "Things Fall Apart"
Time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea.
-Dylan Thomas

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Post by Johnny B » Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:07 pm

johnny7 wrote:Buzzcocks "Singles Going Steady"

I know, i know, it's a buch of singles but so what?
It rocks!
Absolutely! When I think of music that I first heard years and years ago that still means as much to me as the day I first heard it, that's still every bit as good as it was the first day I heard it, I always think of this album.

Anyone mention London Calling? I didn't see it, but that doesn't mean anything.

I would also like to mention Songs the Lord Taught Us by The Cramps. I won't mention 50 other albums that others already listed.

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