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Aids's Top 30 Of All-time

30th list, 30 albums. One per artist to prevent an overflow of Pink Floyd.
30Phish
A Picture Of Nectar


I'll guiltily admit that I hadn't heard a Phish song until seeing the song 'Stash' somewhere in Guitar World's Top 100 solos ever. They're a great band who are hard to pigeonhole. Their music regularly encompasses aspects from all different genres including jazz, funk, prog, and many more. Technically, all the members are virtuous on their respective instruments. Trey Anastasio (guitar) stands out in particular.
29David Gilmour
On An Island


As many of you may know, David Gilmour was the guitar player for Pink Floyd ever since Syd Barrett's legendary breakdown early in the band's 25 year span. This album focuses on Gilmour's guitar textures and beautiful tones. The lyrics are kind of boring, but it's not really the sort of album where that matters. I say that because, to me at least, this album takes me back to those early Saturday mornings when we would try to catch a couple of extra hours of sleep on the bus from UBC to Whistler Mountain. Resting my head against the window, watching the gorgeous scenery of the sea-to-sky highway roll by, and filling my eardrums with Gilmour's sleepy (in a good way) notes: pure bliss.
28Sufjan Stevens
The Age Of Adz


To quote a much better writer than myself: "Here is what you need to know about Sufjan Stevens. He lives in a room. This room has no windows, but it is a magic room. It responds to Sufjan's every thought, warping and twisting with every leap of Sufjan's wild imagination. But the real magic is that this is also a musical room - every twist a note, every warp a harmony. This all sounds pretty awesome, but the downside is that poor Sufjan is stuck in this bloody room. He hasn't seen daylight for years, which means he has to conjure it all in the form of music. And let's give the man credit where credit is due: his imagination is wild, colorful as the brightest day and vivid as the greatest portraits could ever convey." - Alex Silveri, StreetlightRock
27Rise Against
Siren Song Of The Counter Culture


This is basically the album that got me into punk. On this album, Chicagoans Rise Against release all of their pent up energy and anger in a fast-paced, hard-hitting classic. Opener 'State Of The' is a ruthless commentary on the state of the United States and its' governing bodies. Tim McIlrath's aggressive vocals back up the message of the song. Another highlight is in the furious 'Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated' when Tim belts "Shots fired into the sky are now returning. Where the fuck will you hide?" But Siren Song is not without variety. 'Swing Life Away' is a slow acoustic ballad that displays the bands softer side. This is a brilliant release of political angst that I will be listening too long after George Bush becomes irrelevant. Which should be pretty soon actually...
26Minus The Bear
Planet Of Ice


I think I owe some of my intense love of this album to the circumstances under which I went through my first phase of listening to it. My love for music was growing at a rapid pace: I was exiting the "classic-rock purist" period of my life. I was hanging around with good ol' Jash Frazer quite a bit and he was indie-fying my world (My Bloody Valentine, Modest Mouse, Radiohead, GY!BE, Neutral Milk Hotel to name but a few of the many essentials I was missing at the time). I was in my "get-megastoned-listen- to-complete-albums-and-do-nothing-else" phase. And lastly, I had just gotten the most bitchin', high-tech, expensive, noise-cancellation headphones as a Christmas present. All of these combined to form the perfect atmosphere to lisen to Minus the Bear. This album blew (and continues to blow...haha) my mind. It's catchy and pop-y in some respects, but musically diverse and intriguing. As a guitar-player who was boxed into the pentatonic mode of riffing and soloing, this album did wonders for my playing. Each time I listen to this album, I'm taken away to a better place. I love this album. And while I'm sure I've overblown it quite a bit (like I said, it may be that the circumstances made the music for me), this is a fantastic album and worthy of a full listen from anybody who is a fan of music, or for that matter, anybody alive.
25Eluvium
Copia


Eluvium is recording name of musician Matthew Cooper. He creates soothing sound textures by using aspects of post-rock, electronica, and ambient music. On top of that, he plays beautifully composed piano melodies. I think that if I checked my play counts on iTunes, this album would have hundreds because it's so relaxing that I often put it on repeat while I sleep. Another classic by Eluvium is 2010's Static Nocturne. Check it out.
24Red Hot Chili Peppers
Californication


Here's the scene: I'm 10 years old, I'm in A&B sound (which no longer exists in Nanaimo *sniff*) with my dad, I have two CDs in my hand. One would turn out to be probably the most influential album to me of all time. The other would become one of my guiltiest pleasures. ...In case you were wondering, the other CD was Can't Take Me Home by P!nk. I rock that shit daily.
23Gospel
The Moon Is A Dead World


Gospel are part of the hardcore punk movement known as 'emo.' This term is kind of misused so I thought I would point out that this isn't the sort of music that makes you want to cringe at the obnoxious whiny vocal work or derivative pop-punk chord progressions. This is the sort of music that makes you feel the heart and emotion of the music through the vocal tone and shit your pants at the mind-blowing complexity of the plethora of jazzy breakdowns and time changes present throughout the album. If you've never liked bands whose vocalists scream, this might be a good introduction to the genre because the vocals are mixed quite low in the recordings and are a hybrid of screaming and regular singing.
22Coldplay
Viva la Vida


Some people are probably going to try to be all elite and say that Coldplay are boring radio rock but I don't care. Those people are stupid and were abused as children. I love everything about this album from the huge arena sound of the title track to the quiet intimacy of album closer 'Death And All His Friends.' Also, I just want to throw this out there. If you're a heterosexual male, try to think who is the one man you would have sex with if you had to. HAD TO. For me, it's Chris Martin, and you wouldn't even have to take long convincing me.
21Jimi Hendrix
Axis: Bold As Love


I've gotta have some Hendrix on this list. I mean damn, what would rock music today look like without him? Would it even exist? Well, probably, I mean The Beatles were still around. But I can bet you we wouldn't be playing flaming guitar with our teeth. He's not my favourite guitar player ever, but I don't think anyone would really argue me that much if I said he was the most influential of the last fifty years.
20Off Minor
The Heat Death Of The Universe


Another band of the aforementioned emo branch of hardcore punk, Off Minor formed out of the ashes of legendary French screamo band Saetia. This three-piece creates a huge sound that is hard hitting immediately. After the prickly uneasy guitar notes that open the first few seconds album subside, Off Minor explode into a spazzy, fragmented, horribly mesmerizing attack of delicious punk yumminess. At 25 minutes, you won't even know whaat hit you.
19Alexisonfire
Watch Out!


If Rise Against were the band that got me into punk, Alexisonfire are the band that got me into hardcore punk. This is Alexisonfire at their very best. On Watch Out, they hit a perfect balance between their more aggressive approach like on their self-titled debut and the more melodic and accessible sound like on later albums such as Crisis and 2009's Old Crows / Young Cardinals. This album, at least vocally, is what every good post-hardcore album should be. The interplay between George Petit's screams and Dallas Green's softer tones create a constant back and forth that sounds like a battle sometimes, but an agreement at other times. The drumming is superb, the guitars are distorted and played with attitude to fit the themes of the songs, and the bass playing, while a little lost in the mix (what else is new), is very good. Almost all of the songs on here are AOF classics. Listen to Accidents, Control, It Was Fear Of Myself That Made Me Odd [probably their greatest song to date], Hey It's Your Funeral Mama....screw this, just listen to all of it and tell me it isn't the most versatile and endearing post-hardcore record you've ever heard
18Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV


I guess it's a cliche but I mean come on. Stiarway to fuckin' Heaven. Enough said. Misty Mountain Hop is the only song here that isn't absolutely brilliant.
17The National
High Violet


My personal front runner for album of the year comes from New-York indie band The National. Some are turned off by the singer's low vocal tone, but to me, it helps to emphasize the emotions in his house. He is a brilliant lyricist as well and this album is no exception. What propels this album above other The National releases is the more cohesive sound that the guitars, keyboards, and bass have created. Also, probably the best drum beats in all indie-rock music. Bloodbuzz Ohio for song of the year!
16Brand New
The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me


Vocalist and lyricist Jesse Lacey has a knack for crafting crooning indie songs with a punch. It's hard to say whether this album would be better classified as indie, pop-punk, or even alternative rock, but chances are that if you like any of those types of music, you'll enjoy this.
15Sigur Ros
( )


This offering from Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros has no real title (sometimes referred to as 'the bracket album) and it's eight tracks are untitled. Also, the vocals are sung in a language called "Hopelandic" which is really just a bunch of gibberish that would sound like Icelandic if you didn't know any better (and now you do). Another great album for relaxing/sleeping to but be careful for Untitled 7; it's got one part that will wake you right the fuck up.
14Regina Spektor
Songs


Regina Spektor was born in Communist Russia, currently lives in New York City, is one of the best pop vocalists alive today, and is my dream girl. She sings like an angel, except when she's faking an orgasm or pretending to rap. She plays piano like a classically trained genius, except when she's hitting chairs with sticks and singing songs about Pavlov's daughter. This record is a treat from start to finish. It'll keep you guessing what's coming next.
13The Weakerthans
Reconstruction Site


I first heard a song by this band when I started watching the Canadian show "Less Than Kind" which uses their song 'One Great City' as it's theme song. The show is set in Winnipeg and the song (written by Winnipeg natives, The Weakerthans) is a bitterly sarcastic ode to the city that no one in Canada truly understands (except for those that live there). The rest of the album is filled with more delightful commentaries and observations. One song is written in the perspective of a cat whose owner is evidently experiencing a spell of depression. The Weakerthans are one of Canada's finest exports.
12La Dispute
Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River...


A break-up letter set to catchy hardcore punk. If you've ever been through a hard break-up I'll bet you like $50 bucks that at least one lyric in this album will bring a tear to your eye.
11Bob Dylan
Blood On The Tracks


A break-up letter set to folk and sung by the greatest lyric writer of all time.
10Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago


Another break-up album set to folk. Man what's with all these albums clumping together here? This album is the result of Bon Iver's creative genius Justin Vernon isolating himself in a secluded Wisconsin cabin in the dead of winter. It was recorder almost entirely in solitude and Vernon's honesty and openness on this record propel it from a nice sounding folk album to a modern-day classic.
9Neutral Milk Hotel
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea


Any hipster has this album somewhere in their top 20. For most people, myself included, this album took a long time to sink in. At first I though it was good, but overrated. I will never forget the moment when it finally clicked for me. I was in Quito, Ecuador after finishing my volunteer stint on the Galapagos Islands, and was lying on my hostel bed lonely in a scary and unfamiliar city. Jeff Mangum's warm voice open guitar chords played as I contemplated the next few weeks of my adventure and eventually, I realized that I was finally caving to the hype. By the time that Jeff Mangum slides his chair back, picks up his guitar, and leaves the room to end the album, you will have experienced one of the best indie albums of all time.
8Elliott Smith
Either/Or


Smith's story is a tragic one. His life was full of drug abuse and depression and ended abruptly in 2003. The autopsy revealed inclusive evidence on whether the fatal stab wounds were self-inflicted. You can certainly hear in this album that he was a tortured man. no name no. 5 is a track that read like a musical suicde note. Say Yes is a desperate plea to an ex-lover. However, there is happiness sprinkled throughout his music, as their likely was in his life. Unfortunately, it seems that the sadness won out and took from this world an incredibly talented and sincere musician at the much too early age of 34.
7Thrice
Vheissu


Vheissu is a cryptic and diverse monster of an album. In terms of Thirce's musical progression, this was the bridge between their hardcore-punk roots and their refined progressive/alternative rock sound. It's like the best of both worlds, because all Thrice is good Thrice. There are a lot of heavy yet accessible tracks to be found here, but there are also plenty of slower, peaceful songs (like 'Atlantic').
6King Crimson
In The Court Of The Crimson King


The first (or one of the first) truly great prog rock album. 21st Century Schizoid Man opens the album up and is one of the greatest prog songs ever written. The guitar riff is dirty and distorted and the vocals are all fucked-up with some sort of vocal effect I don't know the name of. Also, the drumming will make you refuse to believe that a human played the incredibly complex fills, polyrhythms, snare rolls and all sorts of other technical shit. Ahhhh so good, this album rules.
5The Beatles
Abbey Road


How do you pick just one Beatles album? Well, I did it. Here's why Abbey Road is the best: It flows. The tracks are each distinct yet seem to naturally follow from one another like no other Beatles album. Also, Paul's bass player is phucking phenomenal on Abbey Road and Ringo Starr keeps his bullshit to a minimum. But 'A Day In The Life' from Sgt. Peppers is their best song so....
4Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada


Post-rock has become probably my favourite genre, all things considered, and this is the album that started it all. It's only got two tracks. One is an instrumental piece that builds to a roaring crescendo before suddenly dampening to a restrained whisper of sound. The other is music set to an interview with a man named Blaise Bailey Finnegan The IIIrd. Good ol' BBF3 has a quite pessimistic, apocalyptic outlook on the future of the world. He comes off as kind of rambling and crazy, but relateable in some strange way. The band uses the tone of his speech to inspire the music which the speech is arranged around.
3Jaga Jazzist
What We Must


What We Must is in a three-way tie (the other two being Kid A and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennaes To Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor) for the most stunning, beautiful, and, frankly, the best album of our modern era of music. In many ways, this is the perfect post-rock album, mainly because it isn't strictly a post-rock album. There are elements of jazz in this music which help to separate it from a genre which has become a little bit monotonous and predictable (sometimes). Every instrument on this record is played with palpable emotion and true talent; one almost feels as if the musicians are in the room playing live. What's more is that this band, more than most others I have ever listened to, sounds like one cohesive unit when they play. Whether that's a result of the various members' tight relationship or fantastic production doesn't really matter; the result speaks for itself. Also, the songs are all beautifully crafted. The first song in particular, All I Know Is Tonight, is a masterpiece of song-writing with several beautiful themes and a quite remarkable build-up. The interwoven musical passages and breath-taking use of quiet/loud juxtaposition make this song in particular (and the record in general) a truly moving musical experience. I love everything about this album. Each time I give it a spin, the music demands my full attention. Sometimes, I might read or think about stuff while I listen to music, but not with What We Must. It is such an emotional piece of music and it's subtle complexities demand the listeners' full attention.
2Radiohead
Kid A


I have no idea what to say about this album. It's haunting beauty and other-worldliness is impossible to explain with words. Also, Motion Picture Soundtrack is the best album closer ever.
1Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here


Well duh, I'm a Floyd fanboy till the day I die. Yeah yeah. If I had included multiple albums by the same artist there'd be like seven of their albums haha. Anyway, this album. It rules. There are five songs, and any one of those five songs would be the best song on any album is was on. Except this one, cause they're all on it. Get it? Shine On You Crazy Diamond is 26 minutes combined, and is split into nine parts. Parts one through five open the album, and parts six through nine close it. The first five parts combine to form one "song" I guess and it is my all time favourite. I love Gilmour's distinct guitar tone snd the way it fades into this song. The solos are brilliant and restrained. Richard Wright's keyboards are atmospheric but immense and Water's bass playing in combination with Mason's drumming carry the song through at a perfect medium-slow tempo. Also, it's an ode to estranged founding band member Syd Barrett who allegedly appeared during this recording of this album in this studio and then mysteriously vanished. I could go on and on about how awesome this album is, but my broken wrist is starting to hurt and this time wasting activity has achieved it's purpose. I hope you enjoyed my random ramblings.
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