1. Tindersticks – Cherry Blossoms (Tindersticks II, 1995)
Strings-piano duet from Tindersticks’ (Nottingham) second self-titled album. Lost the band out of sight for a few years but listening this record again a few times proved that I have to regret that, especially the strings on several tracks (recorded at Abbey Road) are intriguing. Imagine that the lyrics were sung in German and it would be the perfect soundtrack for a Stasi movie.
2. Guided By Voices – Exit Flagger (Propeller, 1992)
Dayton’s finest featuring sound wizard Robert Pollard as its only captain, whose characterizing voice kicks in after a classic guitar intro. Propeller was GBV’s fifth album, and the first one that gained them some nationwide attention. Ironically, only 500 copies of it were originally released, all with different, handmade artwork. Another artisanal credit: the intro of the opening track was reenacted by the band itself during the recording sessions.
3. The Troggs – From Home (From Nowhere, 1966)
The Troggs? ‘Wild Thing’, right? Yes, their cover of Chip Taylor’ song will always remain the first thing that crosses into people’s minds when asked after this band (if anything at all comes up, that is). Is there more to say? Yes, The Troggs were a classic mid-sixties British (Andover) four piece band that had eleven other songs on this debut album of which at least eight are to be classified somewhere in between ‘worth listening’ and ‘great song’. However, although much cited as an influence for later garage bands, they have more in common with early Beach Boys and Lennon-McCartney compositions.
4. Pink Floyd – On the Turning Away (A Momentary Lapse of Reason, 1987)
Roger Waters left Floyd in 1985 after using it as a vehicle for his personal trilogy Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut. Gilmour and Mason asked Richard Wright to rejoin the band and together they proved (with this album) what Waters probably believed to be impossible: that Pink Floyd without Waters would still be a more successful act than Waters on his own. One of the better songs on the album, including typical Gilmour solos and biting backing vocals.
5. Vampire Weekend – Walcott (Vampire Weekend, 2008)
Probably the best song on this terrific debut album. Affirming what was stated last time.
6. The Byrds – Tribal Gathering (The Notorious Byrd Brothers, 1968)
Great Crosby song, that could as well have been appeared on his later projects Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu. Not surprisingly, these projects were started right after this album, as he was already fired at the release of it, giving the horse the opportunity to feature the cover of one of rock’s greatest albums. Melody and experimentation dance with each other, while Gary Usher’s production completely wiped the underlying tensions (drummer Michael Clarke also left the band and former member Gene Clark made a temporary comeback of three weeks).
7. Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow of Time (Innerspeaker, 2010)
From the debut of this Australian (Perth) band, if you want to call it a band because it’s a one man project. Kevin Parker recorded the vocals and most of the instrumentation on this album, that sounds like 13th Floor Elevators walking into a 2010 studio.
8. Lambchop – Popeye (OH (Ohio), 2008)
American equivalent of today’s opener, with a song from their tenth album. Eventually sounds like a hit sensitive song featuring a catchy ‘lalala’ chorus, but halfway it suddenly transforms into an Afghan Whigs track, somehow cleverly combined with a southern touch. Interesting.
9. Creedence Clearwater Revival – It Came Out of the Sky (Wily and the Poor Boys, 1969)
Although John Fogerty could also offer you a serious jam when he wanted to (only think of ‘Susie Q’), it was especially after the fog above the psychedelic San Francisco was cleared that CCR claimed most of its fame. A roots sound started to dominate the American rock scene, led by this band and The Band.
10. The Bees – No Trophy (Sunshine Hit Me, 2002)
Must have been over five years since I heard this. British band from the Isle of Wight, led by Paul Butler and Aaron Fletcher. Sounds Caribean, but is also perfectly served on a European summer morning underneath a tree.
Happy New House Year:
5. (23) Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
“Here we are: the melancholic romanticist, some morally omniscient cynics and the one that just tells me to get stoned. Unfortunately I don’t have a basement, my friends.”
4. (5) Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“The completion of that download, the uncompromising support tour: for the first time in my life I consciously witnessed rock history being written.”
3. (8) Love – Forever Changes (1967)
“Who gives a shit about forever? The Now Album.”
2. (2) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“If they would have replaced ‘Yellow Submarine’ by ‘Paperback Writer/Rain’, this list would have been a dictatorship.”
1. (1) The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
“What has become of democracy anyway?”
5. (20) DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… (1996)
“Technological deconstruction leading into organical reconstruction. The first true musical collage that actually sounds great.”
4. (4) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“The Big Bang. The start of an ever expanding revolution that’s still being felt today. But tomorrow? It’ll never know.”
3. (2) Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
“Ying. Mysticism, conjured by a 23 year old seer. The musical definition of The Divine Touch.”
2. (1) Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. We shouldn’t flee from this revelation, but embrace it with every fiber of our being. Let this album be your guide.”
1. (9) Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
“Sitdown and listen, really listen. Take it all in. Poignant lyrics, passionate singing and subtle yet overwhelming melodies. A sum greater than it’s parts, which 43 years later still makes me wonder why the most relevant questions are often times the least asked ones.”
5. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
“Een oerkracht van protest en schreeuwen in de verre wildernis.”
4. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
“Verslavend, strak en geil, van de platenhoes tot de nummers.”
3. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“Zang, teksten en instrumenten verweven tot een magisch geheel, zoals het samenkomen van zon en regen.”
2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
“Zware gitaren, fluisterende stemmen, pakkende melodieën en teksten over gevoelens die ieder kent maar nog nooit zo mooi gehoord heeft.”
1. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (1975)
“And every one of them songs rang true and glowed like buning coal.”