Average Rating: 3.65
Rating Variance: 0.59
Objectivity Score: 71% (Fairly Balanced)
Sort by: Rating | Release Date | Rating Date | Name5.0 classicThe Flaming Lips In A Priest Driven Ambulance4.5 superbLos Campesinos! We Are Beautiful, We Are DoomedThe indie pop explosion on the back half of the 2000s was a nice change. No album synthesizes the rediscovery of pop better than We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. The collision of excruciating sexual angst, feedback, violins, and glockenspiel is the perfect cathartic release from a decade stultified by alt-folk, youth crew hardcore, and worse. Radiohead OK ComputerOK Computer is one of only a handful of albums that stands in the intersection of groupthink and discretion. It holds up to serious criticism and the kids fucking love it. 4.0 excellentMrs. Magician Strange HeavenMrs. Magician plays sunkissed garage pop for people who live their lives in the psychic troughs between depraved nights and disastrous romantic encounters. Tanlines Mixed EmotionsEveryone loves the theory of Big Audio, New Order, Depeche Mode, and Happy Mondays. But those bands made unlistenable albums.* Tanlines is different in that they don't force all their songs into six and seven minute compositions (when three minutes will do) or put a bunch of theme/variation tracks on their album and call them songs. Because Tanlines's pop songs are treated like pop songs, they're easy to enjoy. There's crossover potential, even outside the club scene.
*Okay, not a perfect statement. Depeche Mode and New Order both made a few decent albums - here and there - but that was when they were doing essentially the same thing that Tanlines is doing here (deliberately making an album of pop songs, like Violator, or Brotherhood).The Babies Our House on the HillOkay, Our House On The Hill does not have a song to rival 2010's "Meet Me in the City." But Our House On The Hill is way more coherent pop than its eponymous predecessor. And while the words "side project" are inevitable, in 2012 I prefer The Babies to either of their more illustrious ancestors. 3.5 greatCloud Nothings Attack on MemoryJ Church QuetzalcoatlJ Church's first album remains one of its best. Quetzalcoatl fits loosely into the genre sketch of early 90s San Francisco pop punk (alongside Jawbreaker, Fifteen, and most of the early Lookout! records roster). But Quetzalcoatl is more eclectic than contemporary Jawbreaker or MTX albums. Lance Hahn's encyclopedic knowledge of pop music, film, and various esoterica prevented his ever having a band so two-dimensional to be called simply "punk." And, to a large extent, also prevented his ever going high gloss.
Over time, J Church developed a familiar, conversational quality. Fans could chart the progress of Lance's ideas, as he repurposed riffs, chord progressions, even melodies. J Church is fairly notorious for recording the same songs over and over, presumably in a quest to get them right. For those with specific personalities attuned to appreciate such an approach, the honesty, tirelessness, and dedication created - without any hyperbole - a community. J Church's ministrations helped spread the ethos of confessional power pop songs to the far flung corners of North America - from Austin to Gainesville to Bloomington and beyond.
Ween The MolluskHere's where Ween officially became nothing more than glorified - albeit extremely talented and productive - stoners and stopped being a preeminent fixture of biting social criticism. Holding up a fun house mirror to society's bad decisions forced society to confront more surface area than on a standard mirror. When Ween stopped making bad music in favor of polished music, it not only lost its edge but also its bite. It stopped being Squidbillies and started being South Park.3.0 goodBoyracer Absence Makes The Heart Grow HarderStewart Boyracer is the archetype for the prodigious, DIY pop star - just making a staggering amount of music with all his friends while living a noble life. He is an inspiration to us all. With 25+ full lengths and 30+ 7"'s (and too many comp songs to count)... asking whether it's worth tracking it all down is a valid question.
But the average person needs about three to five full length, otherwise they'll miss a subtle pivot in indie pop.
There's no default place to start. Pick an album at random; you'll be fine. Sure some are nominally better than others, but they all have that elusive characteristic that is simply Boyracer. Dingus Khan Support Mistley SwansWhen I was younger, the quality of a band was directly proportionate to the quality of its name. If a band had a bad name, it was a safe bet it was a bad band (see: Limp Bizkit, Insane Clown Posse). Something has happened to throw the rule of thumb into the inverse. Now, the dumber a band's name is, the better the band probably is (see: Ringo Deathstarr, Dingus Khan).
It isn't easy to explain what Dingus Khan sounds like. Try to imagine something between McClusky and early Los Campesinos! and you'll get close. Dingus Khan starts with a base of uptempo britpop and throws in mathy time changes and spazzy gang shouted choruses. Don't let the words "mathy" or "spazzy" turn you off, though. Dingus Khan is somewhere between indie pop and punk rock, but it blends the better parts of each rather than struggles with the tropes of either.Gnaw Their Tongues Per Flagellum Sanquemque Tenebras Veneramus2.0 poorMetallica MetallicaA fan's choice is this: (A) evaluate the quality of music on the basis of sales figures and production gloss or (B) choose music that actually represents your specific tastes, played by musicians who sound like they might care a little bit about who you are and how you feel. By the time a rock band can afford six-figure automobiles, they are no more capable of understanding the average teenager than Mitt Romney is. That may or may not have anything to do with whether "Enter Sandman" or "Of Wolf and Man" are good songs, but it can tell you whether or not to listen to the black album.
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