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05.22.12 Garbage Concert Stream04.09.12 Recent J-pop
04.05.12 Remixes Ranked03.31.12 Three Months Closer
01.13.12 The Use Of Guitar In Rap Songs01.11.12 Buried Treasures
01.10.12 Greatest Covers Of All Time 01.09.12 Best Show On Television
01.08.12 Mtv Unplugged01.07.12 2011: The View Without Hipster Shades
01.04.12 Popular Japanese Music In 201101.02.12 2012 Intentions And Resolutions
12.22.11 Essential Christmas Recordings12.08.11 2011's Top 10 R&b Video Countdown
10.29.11 Dedicated To All The Ladies10.26.11 The Definitive Metallica List
10.11.11 Turn Of The Century10.06.11 Underrated Films

Buried Treasures

Buried underneath your Radioheads, Bon Ivers and Mastodons, I've discovered that there is some good music enjoyed by the fine people of Sputnik. You all can find it too, I'm sure. You just need to know where to look. Here's a short guide. The albums on this list have a rating of 4+, but less than 50 votes.
1Psychotic Waltz
A Social Grace

(1990) We start with the most criminally undervalued metal band of the 90s. Thankfully, due to the internet, they've been discovered by a new fanbase (myself included) that can appreciate their music. The technical riffing combined with the singer's vocal poetry often generates a rather trippy effect living up to the name Psychotic Waltz. There's stunning musicianship from each member on display throughout. The dual guitar interplay between Dan Rock and Brian McAlpin has to be one of the best ever recorded. Really, it's unbelievable. The band recently reunited and are working on a new release planned for later this year. - "A Psychotic Waltz"
2Erykah Badu

(1997) I'm not shocked at this one. Soul and R&B is almost entirely ignored here. Look, not many albums groove as well as this does. Badu practically redefined an entire genre when this came out. It is pretty much required listening for music lovers, imo. - "Other Side of the Game"
The Fullness of Time

(2005) What sets Redemtion apart from your average progressive metal bands is their focus on strong melodies and well-written, relatable, reality based lyrics. By doing so, an emotional connection to the songs is established that often doesn't exist in the genre. Of course, there's also the requisite Dream Theater-esque level of musicianship possessed by each member. All of these things helped make Redemption one of (if not the) best prog-metal bands to emerge out of the 21st century. - "Sapphire"
4Emiliana Torrini
Love In The Time Of Science

(1999) Torrini's debut was an ideal blend of trip hop and the best elements of pop songwriting, making for a highly accessible and rewarding listen. Unfortunately, this was her only album in this style. She's since become a folk/acoustic/indie pop singer-songwriter type, which she still sounds good as, but there are other artists who do it better. Nothing matches the quality of Love in the Time of Science. - "To Be Free"
5Saul Williams
Amethyst Rock Star

(2001) This was the debut album from Saul Williams. Here his hybrid spoken word/hip-hop style was in its most unrefined state. There are a few spots where the music itself is above average, but most of your enjoyment will undoubtedly come from the words. His lyricism is out of this world on this one. It's the perfect album for when you want to sit down and devote your attention to something that will blow your mind. - "Penny for a Thought"
6Eric Johnson
Venus Isle

(1996) He's always been my favorite of the guitar virtuoso types. I love his more subtle approach to playing his instrument and he has the most amazing guitar tone ever. Most people are familiar with "Cliffs of Dover" and by extension Ah Via Musicom. While that's a great record, this one might actually be a little better. Aside from the expected top-notch instrumentals, it also contains some of his best vocal tracks. I'm really surprised he never became a huge mainstream pop star with any of those songs and his voice in general. - "Manhattan"
Dreamboat Annie

(1976) Here's one that should be well-known yet there's no evidence of this here on sputnik. I know that I myself am guilty of not bothering to rate some older releases even though I've listened to them many times. Hopefully, that is the case here. Nonetheless, Dreamboat Annie was their debut album and it still holds up very well 36(!) years later. A true classic and worthy of more attention. But for the record, Dog & Butterfly is the best Heart album. - "Crazy On You"
Beauty and the Beat

(2005) - Through the very creative usage of samples, Edan created a truly unique psychedelic hip-hop record here. I'd even go as far as to call it innovative. That alone warrants a listen, but Edan gives it more depth than that with his excellent abstract lyrics. Highly recommend for anyone wanting to hear something fresh. - "Beauty"
Breath From Another

Esthero - Breath from Another
(1998) Breath From Another is a very melodic, jazzy affair. The bulk of the material consists of electronic driven songs, but there's a healthy usage of live instrumentation such as horns employed to help beef up the arrangements and turn them into something special. It's a pleasant, relaxing listen. - "That Girl"
10Queen Adreena

(2000) Twisted, dirty, unstable, fragile, beautiful. All of those words could be used to describe Katie Jane Garside and the music created by her band on Taxidermy. It's rock at its rawest. - "Pretty Polly"
Seal II

(1994) Here's another soul artist, this one leaning more heavily towards pop. I'm sure everyone's heard "Kiss From a Rose" at some point. Unless you grew up under a rock maybe. Thing is, that's not all this album had to offer. Besides a pair of successful singles ("Prayer for the Dying" and "Don't Cry"), also included were a number of lesser-known gems all delivered magnificently by one of the greatest voices of the 90s. - "Dreaming in Metaphors"
In Between

(2002) Jazzanova is a nu-jazz collective out of Germany. Dabbling heavily in the electronic realm, the album is split between instrumental tracks and songs featuring guest vocals from a variety of very talented individuals. It's just excellent stuff all around with incredible production. If you particularly enjoy the tracks with vocals, be sure to check out their labelmates Clara Hill (who appears on "No Use") and Micatone. - "Another New Day"
13Warren G
Regulate...G Funk Era

(1994) While the mediocre rapping doesn't allow it to stand on the same level as Snoop's Doggstyle or Dr. Dre's The Chronic, no album better displays the true spirit of G Funk. - "This D.J."

(2007) I suppose this could only be classified as downtempo. You'll hear traces of sound that reminds of artists like Portishead or Bjork, but Elsiane is really quite like nothing else. The follow-up to Hybrid is finally being released this year. - "Mend (To Fix, To Repair)"
15Sixpence None the Richer
This Beautiful Mess

(1994) Too often the idea that all Christian music sucks is treated as a fact. There was a time, specifically in the 90s with bands like Jars of Clay, that the best of the scene was on par with anything out in the mainstream. Sixpence None the Richer was another one of those bands. Prior to making it big with "Kiss Me", they had already released their masterpiece. This Beautiful Mess one of the greatest Christian rock albums of all time and my personal favorite. - "Angeltread"
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