Mind Blowing

I thought it'd be fun to list the Top 10 albums I've heard in the last 10 years that have absolutely blown my mind. Not necessarily my favorite, not even albums that are good after a few listens. Just albums that were doing things others weren't or still don't or all in all were just doing better things than others in the same genres. No MP3's here, but it might be a fun read and hopefully you'll agree on some. Here goes, in no order:

Joanna Newsom - Ys
It took me literally years to get into her and her voice. Milk Eyed Mender just wasn't my thing but when I heard Ys, at first listen, I was blown away, and continue to be blown away at every listen. The strings are phenomenal thanks to the help of the legendary Van Dyke Parks. "Only Skin" is easily my favorite with a subtle cameo from boyfriend Bill Callahan at the end.

Radiohead - Kid A/Amnesiac
These came out roughly the same time, give or take 6 or 8 months (look it up I dare you). Since their close proximity I always tend to group these two together. Kid A is arguably the more solid of the two, from start to finish. "How to Disappear Completely" is heartbreaking, as lyrically simple as it may be. "National Anthem" is epic. "Life in a Glass House" is modern music reaching its full potential. The "Pyramid Song" on Amnesiac always gets me, too.

The Mars Volta - Demos/De-Loused in the Comatorium
Being the music geek that I am I had a handfull of Mars Volta demos before their first release. That alone was enough. They were doing things every other band was not. When Deloused came out and everything was set in stone, it was just too much to handle, in a good way of course. Oh yeah, there was that whole Flea and John Frusciante help that should be mentioned.

Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
Again, a band who was doing something others weren't. What blows my mind about this band is that they're so new and yet they've influenced countless bands, from no-name garage teens to people like Cloud Cult, The Editors, Secret Machines, etc etc etc. Beyond that, the album is a good listen, with both short and sweet hits to longer, layered, dreamlike jams.

The Stokes - Is This It
This is a classic example of a band I completely wrote off because of their trendy factor, especially because they were the leaders in that whole "The" band craze. Once I finally gave it a listen I was hooked. Its simplicity makes it so loveable and so easy to get into, and every track is entirely too fun. Musically it didn't blow my mind, but that fact something so simple can be so good is, well, overwhelming, and in turn, mind blowing. I'll look past the fact "Last Night" is a blatant rip-off of Petty's "American Girl"

The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
Another "The" band. This one has true talent. "Fell in Love With a Girl" is epic, to say the least. A lot of fun songs, and a great mix of rock and folk. Jack White has an amazing way of writing simple but classic songs "You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)". Their simplicity again is charming, but their rawness is the kicker. They take every one of their influences and sell it like it's brand new, to the point where you believe them.

The Black Angels - Passover
I got into the Black Angels in the wake of my relived Velvet Underground obsession and in the midst of my Brian Jonestown Massacre craze...which was perfect timing. I saw them live before I ever heard their CD which was the best way to go about it. I caught them once more at SXSW and somehow they were even better. They were deafeningly loud and yet I still wanted them to turn it up. Their hard psychadelic music makes me wonder how hard a guitar can get. This band teeters on the limits, atleast when in person. This album, unlike many albums from many bands, is a great example of how the band is live. The recording captures the intensities of the music. This album gets played at full blast when I'm alone in my car, to say the least.

Nirvana - In Utero
Again, another album that so raw and hard it blew my mind. On the brink of ripping off Frank Black due to his Pixies obsession, Kurt Cobain does his own take on what the Pixies did best: caring about sounding like they don't care at all. Songs like "Tourettes" among others are insane, while hits like "Heart-Shaped Box" "Dumb" and "All Apologies" are easily some of the band's best work.

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Listen to "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" and it should be enough. I bought this CD the same time I bought their DVD about their struggles with making the album, which just helped permeate the band's greatness. "Jesus, Etc" is superb and "Radio Cure" is both astonishing and somehow heartbreaking.

Modest Mouse - This is a Long Drive For Someone With Nothing to Think About
This is Modest Mouse's first ("real") album. FIRST. And it starts off with Dramamine. DRAMAMINE. Their first full-length begins with one of their best songs to date, easily their most memorable/famous (in Indie terms)/'epic'/etc. Again, I found the charm in its rawness; the fact that it sounds like it came out of a neighbors garage. Oh wait, it did. "Tundra/Desert" is mindblowing in and of itself, not to mention there's "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" another classic Brock ditty. My favorite, for some reason is "Make Everyone Happy/Mechanical Birds" because towards the end the guitar just goes nuts, and the sound of an old phone (the one you use that whirly thing to dial) that plays in "Dramamine" is replayed. "She Ionizes & Atomizes" is pretty darn good too.


Morgan said...

I don't necisarilly agree with everything you just listed, but you nabbed my two favorite Radiohead albums, so big kudos. Plus the great Modest Mouse record, and White Blood Cells which is easily the White Stripes best. :-)

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