|EmeritusReviews 30Approval 100%Soundoffs 60News Articles 9Band Edits + Tags 13Album Edits 41Album Ratings 58Objectivity 24%Last Active 04-21-17 10:37 amJoined 04-15-07Forum Posts 7,417Review Comments 6,635
To celebrate a rather sad ten year anniversary on Sputnik and a birthday, I've opted to skew the fever dream of objectivity that begets a favorites list, and instead highlight the albums I listen to most often. As in, solid 9 out of 10 times you're going to get beat over the head with any one of these albums for the duration of a car ride. As I'm a pretentious prick, the overlap here is great; but I'll cop that this list represents fewer "favorites" of my favorite bands, and instead the period in which I most resonated with a particular sound. Perhaps a better representation of who I am and my shitty taste. Cheers.
Have You In My Wilderness
The first artist of many on this list that could probably be represented by anything in her discography, but this stands, so many listens later, as Holter's crowning achievement thus far: ornate, sun-bleached strings and rhythms that vibrate with an intensity that creates cacophony even in stillness. Holter brings her impressionistic bedroom synth-pop to full-tilt symphony with a flair that would consume egos twice her size. The effect is an album that feels like landmark Americana if such a thing still existed, and certainly one of the most beautiful albums to evoke the same this side of the very-English 'Laughing Stock.'
Up In Flames
This is not an album without genre: it is practically all of them. This is the psychedelic collage a person can only make once, and Caribou made it twice. If you had to settle somewhere in the discography to hunker down, 'Up in Flames' is the standard *and* the outlier. An album so universal it can only say one thing, but it does so in multitudes.
|18||Fripp and Eno|
Because it feels good filling up my brain. Morning ritual. See also: Gas - Pop, nightly ritual
This one's seasonal, but what a season it is. An album that will never crack, just a swath of digital soundscapes that bleed and churn and breathe and gasp and cum. Tell me I belong.
|16||Storm and Stress|
Under Thunder and Fluorescent Light
Everyone will sleep on this eternal and no amount of art-cool posturing or name-affiliations will drag Storm and Stress into the 21st Century, but 'Under Thunder and Fluorescent Lights' remains a harrowing, incomparable, wholly *listenable* experience. A vast departure from their debut not unlike the indies stepping into a major label, the distinction for Storm and Stress is that they double down on atmospherics and write the free-jazz post-rock standard that no one (NO ONE) will ever match, or probably even listen to.
Tomorrow, In a Year
This one's kind of cheating because only the second disc gets the rotation, but only recently I happened to slip the first disc into my car's stereo and listened to the whole thing anyway, which is one more than I can say for most. That first disc is also really good, a slow build up without any tenable release of its own, just a scientific essay writ with a comical lack of subtlety but an inspiring amount of zeal. But that second disc! With the help of Planningtorock, Mount Sims, and the operatic vocal stylings of their Danish and Sweden collaborators, The Knife write the best songs of their careers, totaling something grand and explicit about the process of evolution and the capabilities of sound structure to define it. The whole is a glorious, pretentious something and, especially in its first half, almost flagrant in alienating; connective tissue between the primordial and us, at the height of it all: eating, fucking, gawking and, privy to our inexorable species, creating.
Since I Left You
This is the album without genre, forever being released tomorrow. You’ve already heard it.
Laulu Laakson Kukista
Spiritual, rousing, very weird world music splintered into shards and framed for best lighting. A master of design, and a sum that doesn’t seem possible by the components of its equation. Alas, a triumph of pop engineering: a collage of genres so dense it ends up folk.
A I A
Grouper is too pure for our hype cycles, so bless the stacked year that saw this ambient twofer slip between the cracks and into our sleepy subconsciouses. This one deserves a pillow and the aurora borealis of a closed eyelid.
|10||The Incredible String Band|
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Deeply charming psychedelic folk with a strange knack for language and a beguiling sense of humor. This one I can only write about impersonally, but let it be said: under the thicket of metaphors and similes is a world unto its own that will reflect your own. A major influence on Animal Collective if that’s your bag.
Native Speaker has been the salve applied to so many wounds since its release that it should repulse me; “better” albums have fallen to such associations, and feel forever linked to memories to make a stomach churn on impact. But Native Speaker is different: an album beyond its years with a glow untainted by time, Braids have written songs that speak to those formative experiences that illuminate the questions you should be asking in the wake of experiences defined by the answers you sought. It is, ah, an album of many wrinkles, lush, colorful and grand-scaled, but the blocks are simple and well-defined, built up and then dismantled in plain, evocative ways. It is an album I will understand differently as I grow, that rare album of post-adolescence that ages more gracefully than we do.
Lewis: The album sounds like to me a watercolor painting. Like how it should look, where one must really concentrate to understand how the colors and shapes come together. It is a very satisfying experience sonically.
Ishmael: [laughs] Yeah. That's interesting about the watercolor though, because every time we make a record, we always call and say it was mixed in, like say, "power glow," or you know, "mixed elixir log," which is like the overlying, or overriding philosophical approach sonically. And so, this one, we call it "pluvial" because pluvial is like a word that means "water-soaked" or "rainy," which I started thinking about how a moist atmosphere, how that geologically plays into sound and sonics. It must add a gravity, you know what I'm saying? Like if you soaked something in water, it's a little bit heavier, it's a little bit deeper, a little bit warmer, you know what I mean? And how sound plays out when you're deep underwater, too. I like that, too.
Spirit of Eden
A romantic experience. A religious experience.
Another Green World
The perfect prototype “prototype,” an album of full-bodied songs that still feel endless with possibility. Resilient, a champion of the mundane things, a lament of their loss, of twilight blindness and the intending parallel to one’s mortal coil, of the meaning behind a tied shoelace. The perfect pop album.
|4||My Bloody Valentine|
MBV are the best band in the world, probably, and they released their best album some twenty years later after the album to end a genre, but this compilation right here is the definitive desert island companion. A heavier, sweeter, funnier, and sexier MBV. See also: all of their covers, they’re seriously so good?
No Way Down
The greatest uplift, a companion for a trip of any kind. The most joyous, potent new millennium update of Balearic house as one might ever hear. An album found in reverie. Sort of like a dream, but no…
In our covered wagon times when dad he had his captain eyes
We’d get the steel horse moving on the straights and lines of 95
And mom she was our singer and we kept alive on greasy fries
I held onto my stash of jams that ran along in Michelin time
E S T A R A
I believe in Teebs. This is majestic electronic music that aches with a human heart, bubbled melodies that whirr in precious, meaningful ways. It soothes my soul and has been, since its release in 2014, the clear winner of this list. I make no apologies, and shouldn’t: this shit is cocksure and gorgeous, resplendent with an ease that suggests small favors in lieu of easy pleasure-pushing. An album that comes to me as simply as breathing.
|so much love for you Lewis|
|Why is it sad, plane?|
|i love your writing (+ this list) and i'm glad you're still hanging around|
|i wanna ride in a car with you to air france 8(|
|You make every record sound like the most interesting record in the world. Definitely gonna check these out. |
|centipede is an interesting choice, but by no means a bad one |
|wonderful list & text, happy? versary to ya|
|smash that mf feature button|
|2009-2011 sputnik allstars itt|
the G O L D E N Y E A R S
|Love u bro great list|
|love the descriptions|
|I've got so much love|
Baby I've got so much love
|crisis (special mix)|
|love 1 too|
|great list for sure but plane dude Y U G E props for 18, one of my favorites ever and somehow goes relatively unnoticed on here|
|love you guys|
|20 should be 1 but ok|
|Happy 10 years and happy birthday|
|birthaversary is quite the achievement.|
|3: Sort of like a dream, no, better.|
|only u could get away with using the word 'cum' rather than 'come' and still win my approbation|
list is a beaut, reminds me why i care about music in the first place
|super good list|
|i have a connection with 1 as well, i love that album so much|
|wow. 1 is soooo good. idk why I hadn't listened before. this is exactly what I needed rn|
|if i can turn a person onto teebs, i am satisfied|
|I really need some new teebs tho|
|Late to the party, but thank you for such a beautiful list, and your presence on this website in general. There are few tastes I relate to, or opinions I respect, more than yours|
|5 is the best album of all time, agreed.|
|the way you do words actually arouses me i shit you not|
|rad list. 16 is seriously so good and cool that you actually listen to 15 a lot. I love it but it's not exactly the most portable thing- I kinda have to set aside time for it |
|Also been jamming 13 a lot lately- hearing it after public strain was strange but in the best way |
|sometimes i think it's as good as public strain, shaking hand / lawncare / black rice are emphatic |
|Thanks Pots 8)|
@cylinder, it helps that the work commute can take me an hour, lots of time to sit with stuff I otherwise feel too overwhelmed to tackle (though I've had seven years with T,IAY and it's hard to think of life without it)
@Wines, Any one song on Women s/t is absolutely as good as Public Strain, but Public Strain as a whole somehow feels outside of time, eulogy for an era we hadn't noticed
|'Public Strain as a whole somehow feels outside of time" yes |
|counterpoint: the opposite is true. Public Strain is this gorgeous glacial representation of its epoch (how many shows did I go to in '09 and '10 with bands that emulated Sonic Youth, This Heat, Television et al? one doesn't have enough fingers), and also it's death knell, because i mean after that where could indie rock go? but self-titled sets the scene, makes sense only in retrospect, the snide deconstructions and occasional earnestness that only signify anything a decade of distance after. i.e. Public Strain concrete, Women more ethereal and harder to pigeon-hole. love my life. whatever.|
|that makes perfect sense too. Either way I think it's cool that their second album leans more toward tradition in terms of their style rather than expanding upon the s/t's experimentalism.. that's kinda why I wish I heard the s/t first- that transition would've been all the more jarring/endearing |
|uh, counterpoint: the opposite-opposite is true. Women is this gorgeous frenetic representation of its epoch (how many shows did I go to in '07 and '08 with bands that emulated Sonic Youth, This Heat, Television et al? one doesn't have enough fingers), and also it's death knell, because i mean after that where could indie rock go? but Public Strain closes the scene, makes sense only in retrospect, the snide deconstructions and occasional earnestness that only signify anything a decade of distance after. i.e. Women concrete, Public Strain more ethereal and harder to pigeon-hole. love my life. whatever.|