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Thursday, April 9, 2015

10 Albums That Will Change Your Life

Music is important. In fact, music is one of the most important art forms on the planet. Though I am a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction there are a few things that books cannot do. It is harder for a book to move a person to tears or to propel them into action. While I believe books make us feel more connected on an individual level there is a community to music that is much akin to that of a church. There may be book clubs, but the pale in comparison.

So, in the spirit of great and meaningful music I thought I would make a few suggestions of albums so great and so important that they will change your life (along with buy links). Be warned, this is not your average list.

1. Nirvana  In Utero

I am fully aware that most people would choose "Nevermind" as the mot important Nirvana album and, don't get me wrong, "Nevermind" is an amazing album. However, it is one that hold no surprise in it. Everyone and there mother has talked about "Nevermind" and yet "In Utero" is the ultimate combination of the sludge-punk power one would find on "Bleach" and the pop power of The Beatles. If you want something fiery and poppy then this album is right up you alley.

2. Suicide  Suicide [Vinyl]

Electronic music gets a shit rap. Like, seriously. So many people view it as little more than music that you find in a club with no artistic value. However, to those people I say this! Buy this record, listen to it, and then tell me that electronic music doesn't have meaning. Tell me that this genre of music doesn't have the same fire and unlimited potential of any sort of guitar based music. This album is filled with bluey organs and throbbing, pulsing synths. The lyrics are, honestly, better than most lyrical content I've heard from the 70's. And, best of all, this album is cool. Listen to the song "Ghsotrider" and tell me that you can't feel the unending cool that these two motherfuckers bring to the table. It rivals even Iggy Pop. Yeah, I said it.

3. Joy Division 
Unknown Pleasures

 I never liked The Doors. I know, I know. They are classic, but they are also pretentious and pointless. However, if there was one thing I could thank The Doors for it would be for inspiring Ian Curtis to start writing the heartbreaking, dark, deep, and import songs of Joy Division. To put it simply, Joy Division is the natural evolution of punk. No longer were we mad at the world, but we were angry at ourselves. We did not know our place in the world, and, in that existentialism, all we could do was cry to the heavens. However, that is not to say that Joy Division wasn't cool. Fucking hell they were cool and smooth. So, if you want something that appeals to your angst but makes you feel like a bad mother fucker, I suggest this album.

4. Pink Floyd

I know I said that this wasn't the classic sort of albums list, however, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is one of the most important albums of all time. It is hard to say anything about this album that hasn't been as mot everyone on the planet knows about this album. So, if you want to own this masterpiece then there you are. Aside form that, there is nothing to say.

5. Lightning Bolt 
Hypermagic Mountain

Here we have one of the most important noise rock records of all time. Don't let that name scare you off. This record is a true rock record in the vain of other noise rock heroes (such as Nirvana or Melvins). It rocks, it is full of chaos and color, but it also grooves so hard that you could break your teeth off it. If you want a mind bending experience, this album is for you.

6. Death Grips 
Money Store

Hip-hop isn't for everyone, the main reason being that people find it to not be music or to that all it ever talks about is money and bitches. Well, good news, Death Grips talk about a few important issues, such as on the track "I've Seen Footage," On top of that they are punk rock as fuck. Zach Hill is a beast of a drummer and on this album we get a taste of what industrial hip-hop can be. Besides, MC Rides manic yelling is strange and paranoid. A perfect album in the digital age.

7. A Place To Bury Strangers 
A Place To Bury Strangers... [Vinyl]

I've never been a huge fan of shoegaze music. It always just sounded too dreary too me and, though I wouldn't say I'm the kind of person that just listens to things that are loud, it is nice. Anyway, this self-titled album from the self proclaimed "loudest band in New York" takes shoegaze and cracks in through the meat grinder. It is industrial, gothic, and harsh. Songs like "The Falling Sun" sound like the end of the world and, even though that may sound like a bad thing, trust me, it is great. Like with all A Place To Bury Strangers records there is an over-riding aura of cool to the record. This is shoegaze from the street and even if the lyrics are a little lame who cares? This  band slays too hard and has too much fun for it to matter.

8. Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles

This is yet another album that is hard to talk about, after all, what hasn't been said about it? Suffice it to say that where Suicide brought a bluesy kind of cool to electronic music that hadn't really existed and hasn't really since, Crystal Castles brought the energy of punk rock to it (along with other bands such as The Screamers). Not to mention the chip-tune influence that the band brought with them. However, unlike both other artists, Crystal Castles hand their hands in art rock, noise rock, and more artful electronica. Not to mention the gothic, robotic imagery the band conjured up. The only sad thing is that such a sound was never really taken further by the band.

9. Ornette Coleman
The Shape of Jazz to Come (180 Gram LP)

If you thought there wouldn't be jazz on this list then you are wrong. This album falls under free jazz and it is, hands down, one of the best free jazz records you will ever here. Hell, this thing is my favorite jazz record of all time. It is instrumental in the free jazz movement, it is full of cool. This is the sound of a club in the 60's that was really rocking. Or the sound of walking down the street knowing no one would fuck with you while you are on the way to sleep with the hottest chick in town. This record is as cool as Humphrey Bogart or Iggy Pop or Elvis. This record is something that, if you do not own it, you really aren't a fan of music.

10. The Birthday Party

I love Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. They have so many great albums. Actually, every damn album they have is great. Yet, while their early work still maintains the chaos and post-modern fury of The Birthday Party, the band slowly left the violent sounds of their music behind so as to embrace many, many different things. They are every evolving. However, The Birthday Party is a jazz freak-out. They are the sound of a junkyard, a mad dog barking, heaven and hell colliding, and a jazz band freaking out on LSD. If that doesn't sound like a life changing sound then I dunno what does.

That's not even mentioning the fact that no band has ever, ever really sounded like The Birthday Party. Sure, great bands have tried, such as Big Black or Scratch Acid. However, that jazz-fuck-gothic-blues explosion has never been captured, Everyone was crazy and had the appearance of a junkie. 

This band was the embodiment of chaos and, as such, only had a limited time. Yet, somehow, they managed to create the best fucking live album I've ever heard,