Sunday, November 7, 2010


90. Dead Meadow - Old Growth (USA) 2008: I am still amazed how neglected this LA band (with DC roots) is. Musicians know how good they are, as do many critics, but the audience is still in the cult numbers. They play amazingly good songs with a psychedelic style that should be cliched, but for their tremendous skill at finding their own sound. I particularly like the songs on this one, although some fans like the earlier works. It is all really good.

89. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (USA) 1988: Well this one is on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, so it is hard to argue against this choice. Clearly, most people accept this as the pinnacle of Sonic Youth's career and a lightning bolt  in indie rock in general. They strike a perfect balance of wild and crazy sonic moves with powerfully written songs. And that combination when blended with the care that a master chef would take with your favorite dish, always will get you on my list.

88. Shirley Collins & Davy Graham - Folk Routes, New Routes (UK) 1964: Davy Graham was a phenomenal talent whose albums have moments of brilliance, but are a bit erratic (although not as erratic as he was personally). Shirley Collins did great vocal work with her sister Dolly and the Albion Band and helped Alan Lomax collect field recordings in America. In 1964 they put together this landmark album that helped knock down walls for thousands of musicians to combine forms and styles in the UK folk world.

87. Strawbs - Strawbs (UK) 1969: Primarily known as a progressive group, the Strawbs played folk, bluegrass, rock, classical rock and even calypso. It did not always work, but there are great moments in the earlier years. This album really connects best for me and they still play songs from this one today, whether in full band form or in acoustic mode.

86. The Doors - The Doors (USA) 1967: Strange Days indeed surrounded this band which people have pretty varied opinions on. I always liked them and liked them best on their first two albums. This is another combination of styles that works with blues, classical, jazz, flamenco and psychedelic rock all coming together nicely. Yes, you can call Jim Morrison a pretentious alcoholic if you like, but these four guys made some great music.

85. Ton Vlasman - White Room with Disintegrating Walls (Netherlands) 1970: This one also belongs on the Top 100 album titles of all time and maybe album cover art as well. The album cover promises a lot and the music delivers. Great psychedelic songs with some folk moves. There are some odd CD reissues floating around but the album will cost you, but it was worth it for me.

84. Buzzcocks - Love Bites (UK) 1978: As the Buzzcocks albums have been reissued recently, many people have dismissed this second album as the weakest of the first three. Some have come around in appreciation, but it was always high on my list. It may be a bit dark, but the songs are strong and really flow nicely throughout. The Buzzcocks singles were all great and frankly, all of the early stuff is essential, but this one has both the highlights and the flow.

83. Boiled in Lead - Orb (USA) 1990: When I was young with far less musical talent than I wanted, I thought of two ideas for interesting crossover bands. I eventually found these bands with this Minneapolis outfit being one of them (stay tuned for the other). These guys combined Irish music, world music and rock'n'roll in ways that few others come close to. Super talented musicians combine with a great vision and archival ability made for each Boiled in Lead album being an exciting event for me. It was hard to pick my favorite, but this one had a great line-up and super mix of songs, be they original, traditional, or non-traditionally arranged.

82. Hoelderlin - Hoelderlin's Traum (Germany) 1970: This band devolved into a rather ordinary progressive band, but this debut album is a classic of psychedelic, progressive folk music. I often get this one confused with Broselmaschine which almost made my list, but this one is a bit stronger end to end. German bands did folk music very well with a progressive and intense undercurrent.

81. Renaissance - Turn of the Cards (UK) 1974: I have always enjoyed classical music and did not go into the spasms that most rock critics did as they sharpened their pencils to attack all the prog bands that combined classical music and rock. I liked the early version with Keith Relf, but most people know the Annie Haslam version represented here. The songs here really move and have everything from exotic landscapes to urban London vibes. The band may agree with me as this album was the most featured in their live set.

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