The List, 2010, #90-81

The second set!

90
Gastr Del Sol 1998
Camoufleur
It’s a loose amalgam of jazz, folk music, rock and plain-ol noodling. And while that description might make you think of the Grateful Dead, Gastr Del Sol is defintely a mid-90’s “post-rock” band, and not anything like a hippy jam band. Gastr’s not going to make you want to dance in the mud; they’re not going to make you want to to dance at all. Gastr’s introspective experiments might get you humming along here and there, but that’s it. This isn’t party music, this is music for your head.
89
The Cure 1989
Disintegration
It was their last great album. Maybe even their last good album. It’s defintely the last one I enjoyed start to finish. And this is a fantastic start-to-finish album. But, as with Hitchcock’s “Eye”, finding the time and mood to sit down for these 72 minutes seems to come by less and less often these days.
88
Sunny Day Real Estate 1994
Diary
This album is inextricably tied to my memories of a few months in winter 94/95, when I would spend my Sundays going from the record store where I would buy the single album I allowed myself that week, to Taco Bell where I would always order the same thing every week (because it only cost $2.50), to the cemetery across the street where I would sit in my car, listening to this record and eating my soft tacos – no cheese. It was a good time to be emo.
87
The Feelies 1980
Crazy Rhythms
The Feelies came from the same era and scene as Television and Talking Heads, but somehow, they missed out on the attention. They’ve got that twitchy, nervous, late 70’s, NYC sound, the clean interlocking guitars, strange and distant lyrics, and catchy, catchy songs. It’s a fantastic little record. Not having a copy of it is a sure sign of mental deficiency.
86
The Shins 2001
Oh, Inverted World
Context is everything. “New Slang” actually did change my life, in a small way: it was my introduction to the Shins. And I hated it. It was on a sampler I picked up somewhere, and I couldn’t stand it. Later, I heard about this group called “The Shins”, so I picked up this album – and I loved it, even “New Slang”! After pondering this change of opinion, I realized that what I had really hated about “New Slang” was that it was totally out of place on that sampler, with Whiskeytown and Lucinda Williams and Eva Cassidy and a bunch of other mainstream folk-rock. It needed to be surrounded by other Shins’ songs because The Shins had, at least back in 2001, a very unusual but subtly brilliant sound – I needed to get used to the whole Shins sound before I could appreciate the individual songs.
85
Sea And Cake 1997
The Fawn

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This is a relatively smooth and shiny album for these guys, who were just starting their electronic phase. It’s still guitar based, but here and there, sythesizers hum in the background. But it’s also a mellow and subdued set of songs. It reminds me of Stereolab’s “Dots And Loops”, which had come out the same year – shiny and slick, but pensive, a bit of ennui in the margins. Just the way I like it.
84
Andrew Bird 2005
Mysterious Production Of Eggs


As with The Shins, I first heard Bird on a sampler CD, didn’t like his song in that context either, and eventually discovered him through other channels. I then realized he was responsible for that song (“Skin Is, My”) on that sampler that I didn’t like, and came to the same conclusion I did with The Shins – his sound is so unusual that it’s off-putting to the unintiated when his songs are surrounded by more mainstream stuff. Perhaps I should avoid samplers? In any case, Bird is a genius and this is a fantastic album.
83
Pavement 1997
Brighten The Corners


It’s taken a long time for me to get back to this album. It’s always been a bit of a bummer because it feels like the beginning of Pavement’s decline. The songs are less experimental, fewer chances taken, a little safe. But, when I was doing this list of Pavement songs, I realized I actually do like this album. No, it’s no “Crooked Rain”, but it’ll do.
82
Smashing Pumpkins 1991
Gish

Their first album was their best. Before they got serious about themselves, before they fell apart. Yeah, a lot of the songs sound a lot alike, but it’s a good sound! And Billy Corgan remains one of the great underrated guitar players; the solos here – multi-layered and probably painstakingly pieced-together – just blow me away.
81
Paul Simon 1972
Paul Simon
I just discovered this one a couple of years ago (thanks to Spoon’s cover of “Peace Like A River”), and I’m still a bit surprised it took me so long; why this isn’t as widely revered as other classics of the era puzzles me (eg. Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”, Neil Young’s “Harvest”, etc.). Simon’s voice and guitar playing are fantastic, as are the songs themselves. It drops a few spots in The List this time, because I’ve overplayed it over the last three years. I still like it though!

Spoon, “Peace Like A River” NPR:

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And here’s the histogram, so far:

4 thoughts on “The List, 2010, #90-81

  1. Platosearwax

    Really looking forward to the rest of this list. So far, nailing my record collection so should be interesting what else pops up.

  2. HyperIon

    Hi Cleek,

    That Paul Simon album IS excellent. On Armistice Day the philharmonic will play. And Grappelli, to boot.

    And from the previous set….I will revisit Mayall. I haven’t listened to that for years.

  3. Mr Furious

    I had friends in college who opened for the Feelies and said they were dicks, so I have rejected them ever since.

    Fair? Certainly not. But I never claim to be…

    Gish is indeed the best Pumpkins album front to back, but I will say the best individual songs might hail from Siamese Dream or Pisces Iscariot.

    Jimmy Chamberlain’s drumming on the early stuff ranks among the best ever put on tape.

    I’m not sure I ever got all the way through Mellon Collie and that’s where I pretty much gave up on the band. I ripped their successive stuff into my iTunes from CDs at the library, but have never even listened to any of it.

    I’d rank that Sunny Day album in my Top 100 album art list…

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