14 Mar 2004 thomasvs   » (Master)

Music

(Warning: if you don't care about music, skip this entry)

So, when I set off to Spain I thought it would be interesting to bring only a small set of CD's to see which CD's matter to me. I had told myself to choose only 20, but after three hours I realized that was impossible, and settled on 30.

Here's the list:

Afghan Whigs - Congregation
This is probably their only flawless disc, even though other discs have better songs at times. But this one flows from beginning to end, hinting at their later potential.
Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen
If you've ever been in a broken/unhealthy relationship, this is the soundtrack to it. My favourite band, and this disc shows why.
Arab Strap - Philophobia
drunken Scotsman songs mumbled over a beatbox and sparse instrumentation, but with ever so subtle and stinging lyrics
Arid - Little Things Of Venom
Have to both bring and plug some Belgian artists too, no ?
The Blue Nile - Peace At Last
They make about one album every ten years, but manage to make it result into crystallized beauty
Buffalo Tom - Let Me Come Over
Another one of those era-defining discs, where not a song is bad. Excellent guitar sound all through the album.
Catherine Wheel - Adam And Eve
One of those vastly overlooked bands that managed to perform consistently with each album, changing their sound as they go. This one has a huge atmospheric soaring sound.
Counting Crows - August And Everything After
Later albums never quite managed to capture the raw emotion and naive but perfect musicianship from this album. Today he's huge and looks like a pineapple, but he feels a lot better. An argument for the case that torn-up artists make the best records.
dEUS - In a bar, under the sea
A lot more variety than on their first album, but still as exciting as that first one. Selected only because of the bigger song selection.
Elbow - Cast of Thousands
Within the confines of modern rock music, Elbow manages to sound quite like they're the only band who does what they do. With the simplest of guitar figures, using silence as an instrument, with a gifted singer and some splendid songwriting craftsmanship, something to discover.
Embrace - Drawn from good will
My personal selection of their first two CD's, because it was too hard to choose between the two
Gorky - Gorky
My first ever CD, and still containing my favourite song ever. The only disc I brought that's in Dutch
Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
Proving that you can have a beard in music without being ZZ-Top, these guys manage to express fear of technology and progress with recycled instruments, mix it in with guitars, and pull out the nicest tunes. With album artwork appealing to the hacker in me.
Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy
I can still remember the day when I first heard the title track. One of those discs I still play today even though the CD is so badly scratched these days that I should buy a new one.
Interpol - Turn on the bright lights
Lots of people who find this boring or a Joy Division ripoff. But if you let yourself get swayed by the washing guitar sounds and the hypnotising vocals, you'll soon find that musically they're completely the opposite of JD in aural density.
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Every time I hear one of his songs I am sad for all the songs we'll never hear. A truely tragic loss.
Lift To Experience - The Texas/Jerusalem Crossroads
The hardest band to explain to people. Sonically touching Jeff Buckley's guitar style, but with the sound of Texas canyons echoing. A concept album about the Apocalypse and proclaiming the USA to be the centre of Jerusalem. With a lead singer who sounds like a repenting preacherman in sin, reigning fire over God's land. Still not sure whether to take them seriously, but the music is incredible.
Mansun - Six
Hard to tell if they were egomaniacal or just plain crazy. It took me more than a year to even start liking this album. It sounds like each CD track was cut in the middle of the actual songs, and each song sounds like a patchwork that only after repeated listening manages to sound like a coherent whole. But once you have made a mental map of this album, you are hooked, and there's no denying the incredible thrill it ends up giving you.
Muse - Origin of Symmetry
Sometimes there is nothing wrong with teenage angst, hard rock guitars, screeching vocals, and opera-like delivery. Each song on this album manages to surprise and entertain.
Pixies - Surfer Rosa
How to describe the first band that managed to excite you and open up your eyes to a completely different world of music ? I couldn't stand this album at first, and I laughed at a friend who came crying to school when the Pixies broke up. He retaliated by giving me this disc and soon I was crying along with him. To think they are touring again this year, yay !
Radiohead - The Bends
Hard to choose a disc from a band that's actually been three bands already in their lifetime. While my favourite songs are on the first album, and while everyone seems to applaud them for all of the albums from the third one, as a complete album none of theirs can top the Bends.
Six By Seven - The Closer You Get
A perfect rock album from beginning to end. One of the songs proves that the only reason drum'n'bass is so BORING is because it's played by computers - by having a human drummer play the dnb rhythms, and making the perfect rock version of such a song.
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
Another seminal 90's record. Dreamy guitar figures alternate with edgier alternative guitars, and the songs actually are good all the way through, in contrast with later albums.
Spiritualized - Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space
Coming in a package making it look like medication, with a booklet written like a medicine leaflet, and a perfect flow from beginning to end. Defying traditions of rock/jazz/gospel/blues, and mixing them all together, adding a drugged-out soundscape to all the songs, there is no easy explaining what this album sounds like.
Tindersticks - II
Their finest album by far; sparse instrumentation leaving room for each of the accents, the graveyard vocals, and their best songs. This disc is only better because it was accompanied by a 70-minute live set with a complete orchestra.
Tom McRae
Stunning debut album; not consistent in quality because it contains some spectacularly beautiful songs.
Tool - Aenima
An album showing that metal can also be intelligent, well-played, and that it's ok to have variety. Songs easily passing the 8-minute mark, but keeping listeners on their toes all the way through. One of those rare albums that can be listened to from beginning to end and back again.
Twilight Singers - Blackberry Belle
Afghan Whigs frontman going solo and teaming up with a whole bunch of guests, including Mark Lanegan. While the music is different, this disc manages to catch some of the essence that the Afghan Whigs left behind.
Weezer - Pinkerton
A completely personal and emotional album from beginning to end, which they caught a lot of flack for. After that they went back to writing the regular catchy surfpop tunes with bubblegum contents, and apparently the singer doesn't want to hear about his "failure" disc anymore. Incredible, this is easily their finest, coupling their catchiness to lyrics that matter.
Much ado about nothing
A two-disc set mixing audio excerpts from the Kenneth Brannagh movie adaptation of the Shakespeare play with some of my favourite songs from that time. One of those stupid projects you have time for as a student and that you end up doing when you're madly in love with someone and want to show them you are without saying so :)

Of course, to be fair, I have to admit that my Dave/Dina box holds about 1500 CD's, so it's not like I don't have any music here. And I already bought a few CD's since coming here, of which Sophia's "People are Like Seasons" and Explosions In The Sky's "The earth is not a cold dead place" deserve honorable mentioning.

Hm, I pulled a jfleck-y diary entry, sweet.

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