Nico - Chelsea Girl
Nico - Chelsea Girl

Nico - Chelsea Girl

Nico’s debut solo album can rightly be seen and heard as the Velvet Underground’s sophomore effort, seeing as it includes the participation of everyone except Mo Tucker (there are no drums on the album). Taken a step further, half the songs are Velvet compositions (Cale and Reed solo and in collaboration with Nico and Morrison) and the others are the original versions of songs written by Dylan (‘I’ll Keep It With Mine’ which Nico always wanted the Velvets to record). Tim Hardin (‘Eulogy To Lenny Bruce’, later retitled by Hardin himself when he recorded it as ‘Lenny’s Tune’)  and her then-boyfriend, Jackson Browne (‘The Fairest Of The Seasons’, ‘These Days’ (credited as 'I've Been Out Walking' on early versions), and ‘Somewhere There’s A Feather’).

Jeff Penczak
Talk Talk - Laughing Stock
Talk Talk - Laughing Stock

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock

Unfortunately, and that goes for everybody involved, the about-face Talk Talk went through in their career didn’t bode so well. Particularly for the band. At some point, Mark Hollis and the guys, seemed to have suddenly put on a completely different set of musical clothes, turning from pop and big label (EMI), and rock journalists’ darlings to moody avant-garde experimentalists, being derided by the music press at that time, to currently being proclaimed as the progenitors of post-rock.

Ljubinko Zivkovic
The Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo
The Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo

The Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo

You can hang me high for this one if you must, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Gram Parsons’ musical output.  Not quite sure if it’s his voice, the songs themselves or the way they are played, but I just have never been able to get into it that much.  What I am a huge fan of is the influence he brought to bear on rock music in the late 60s and onwards to this day.  Maybe some shun the term “country rock” and there have been some musical train wrecks as a result of that - on both sides of the aisle if you will. 

Mark Moody
The Olivia Tremor Control - Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cubist Castle
The Olivia Tremor Control - Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cubist Castle

The Olivia Tremor Control - Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cubist Castle

As a fan of the Olivia Tremor Control, most fit under two modes of thought: those who believe that Dusk At Cubist Castle is their best work; and those who believe Black Foliage: Animation Music is their best work. Neither side is wrong; both works are perfect for very different reasons. The Olivia Tremor Control existed only for a moment it seems – eight short years that only saw two proper albums released, but a slew of EPs, singles, and compilations. It’s a shame because their two proper albums are bold game changers for indie rock in the 90s.

Tim Sentz
Yes - Close To The Edge
Yes - Close To The Edge

Yes - Close To The Edge

Florian Meissner
XTC - English Settlement
XTC - English Settlement

XTC - English Settlement

Bill Golembeski
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

As I sat down to try and write something enlightening about a 48 year old album generally regarded as one of the best ever, I had to wonder, how many people reading this review actually lived through Beatlemania? I firmly believe that if you didn’t, you can listen to all the music, read all the books, and watch all the old Youtube videos, but you will never fully appreciate or understand the phenomenon that it was.

Howard Scott
David Bowie - "Heroes"
David Bowie - "Heroes"

David Bowie - "Heroes"

Unrepentant Bowie geek here. So, if this is a bit long, I make no apology. Safe to say, Bowie is my favorite recording artist of all time. I say “is”, because he’s not dead to me. His legacy is far too alive for any of that death nonsense. In terms of his classic 70’s albums, I don’t play favorites. I adore them all. I keep coming back to them and each time I do, I discover something new. 1977’s ‘Heroes’ is no exception.  

Kevin Orton
The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon
The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon

The Cardigans - First Band On The Moon

When The Cardigans’ infectious brand of indie-fied lounge-pop caught commercial fire in the Fall of 1996 via the irresistibly infectious hit “Lovefool”, fans who flocked to stores to purchase the band’s third album First Band On The Moon (as opposed to the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's DiCaprio-led Romeo & Juliet) quickly discovered that the album's genius first single was merely the tip of a much larger iceberg.

Portishead - Dummy

There are few debuts as fully realized as that of Portishead’s 1994 release, Dummy. With an unflinching adherence to a jarring, introspective aesthetic, the potency of the album is no less muted by the passage of time, as Dummy remains as indefinable now as it did then. It’s not necessarily a ‘90’s’ album, but it is clearly one of that decade’s most important releases.

Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

A coworker of mine once approached my cubicle – this was a while back – and held up a copy of the Nine Inch Nail’s Pretty Hate Machine and uttered the line “Sometimes it’s just a Pretty Hate Machine day.” We shared a laugh, and it became apparent that her day was filled with frustration, and the only aphrodisiac was Trent Reznor’s most volatile work. This stuck with me for quite some time, and for her anniversary a few years later I presented her with the only album that I went to when I was feeling frustrated – Microcastle which to this day is still packaged with its companion piece Weird Era Cont.

Tim Sentz
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See

Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See

Some albums, great and forgotten, are cut from the blood of hardships, some from the sweat of non-stop touring, some from the tears of break-ups and disappointments; and then there are those cut straight from the bands own pure talents, refined, polished and left to shine in refracted light off their glorious surfaces. Miners dig for stones to uncover and cutters in workshops sculpt to shape rocks into shining jewels. Occasionally works of pure art are born.

Warwick Stubbs