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Old 09-22-2011, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default 50 Indie/Alternative Albums You Should Listen To

Yeah I got bored and made a list of 50 indie/alternative albums that I think are awesome and I thought I'd share them with you. I need a life. Please note that this is not a definitive list of the most essential indie/alternative albums of all time nor is it a countdown from 50 to 1. It's just 50 albums in alphabetical order, two at a time and with short reviews, that I enjoy and you might also enjoy too if you haven't heard them already. So yep let's get straight to business and I hope you enjoy...

A Place To Bury Strangers - A Place To Bury Strangers (2007)




This is the self-titled debut from “New York’s loudest band”. The band was formed by former Skywave bassist Oliver Ackermann and he continued the Skywave tradition of pop songs submerged in layers of harsh noise and feedback in the vein of The Jesus and Mary Chain. This album however features harsher production and a dark post-punk undercurrent often giving the music a very dark and menacing feel, a great example of this is the song ‘To Fix The Gash In Your Head’. Elements of space-rock and psychedelica are thrown into the mix as evident in the brilliant and spaced-out opening song ‘Missing You’, the song alternating between eerie post-punk in the verses and a barrage of harsh noise in the chorus to great effect. Equally spaced-out and spectacular is the six-minute closing track ‘Ocean’, a dark psychedelic journey into the depths of your conscience.

The follow up album Exploding Head (2009) would feature cleaner production and less of the harsh noise evident on this album, but is nearly just as good and is certainly worth investigating. The harsher production on this album however gives it a more aggressive yet spaced-out feel, feeling like it was recorded while hurtling though the void. It is an album that elevated the band towards the top league of current shoegaze/noise-pop bands where they have remained ever since.

Recommended Songs: ‘Missing You’, ‘To Fix The Gash In Your Head’, ‘Ocean’


Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen (1993)




Put yourself in a position where you are post-relationship and have a feeling of regret, longing and perhaps a sense of bitterness or perhaps a position where the relationship is certain to end. This is the mindset that this album occupies; just one look at the poignant and moving album cover says it all. The band are often mislabelled a grunge band due to their early association with Sub-Pop records and just so happening to be an alternative rock band in the early-90’s, but Gentlemen is anything but a grunge record. Heartbreak, regret and bitterness are brilliantly portrayed across the eleven songs on offer here. ‘When We Two Parted’ is one of the most moving break-up songs you will ever hear, right from the opening chords the mood is set straight away and the song builds and builds to a very emotional conclusion. Also the excellent ‘Debonair’ which features a sense of regret and deep introspection, perhaps even bordering on self-loathing. It features frontman Greg Dulli in fine voice, giving it everything he’s got with astonishing intensity and emotion and it sends a shiver down your spine. Just listen to him shout “Tonight I go to hell, for what I’ve done to you”.

Prepare to be swept away by this album’s sense of heartbreak and melancholy and by Greg Dulli’s emotionally intense crooning. The guitar playing adds to the emotional intensity of the album beautifully and keeps the listener hooked throughout. An album worthy of a place in anyone’s music collection.

Recommended Songs: ‘Debonair’, ‘When We Two Parted’, ‘I Keep Coming Back’
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Afghan Whigs are from Cincinnati!
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Violent & Funky View Post
The Afghan Whigs are from Cincinnati!
Yeah VF.. but you live/reside in the state of Michigan now. So you're seen as a rival by Buckeyes.

I didn't think you would ever become a "Wolverine" Bro. (Traitor!)
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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APTBS's debut was so much better than "Exploding Head". Glad to see it on here. I'd definitely have listed "The Falling Sun" as a recommended track, though =p
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Love these threads.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cool, I'll definitely be following along
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Old 09-23-2011, 10:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necromancer View Post
Yeah VF.. but you live/reside in the state of Michigan now. So you're seen as a rival by Buckeyes.

I didn't think you would ever become a "Wolverine" Bro. (Traitor!)
That was where my summer job was. I'm back at school now, so location updated.

Back on topic, I probably shouldn't be bragging where they're from without a listen...
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Amplifier - Amplifier (2004)



Amplifier are an alternative/progressive rock band hailing from Manchester. For a power-trio they can create a very dense and powerful wall of sound with great use of swirling, psychedelic guitar effects and crushing slabs of distortion. This album, their self-titled debut, is seen by many as the bands best and they have yet to better it. The follow-up album Insider could be considered their difficult second album (although still not a bad album I must say) while their third and current album The Octopus is great but doesn’t quite match this. Their progressive tendencies are evident throughout the album, the opener ‘Motorhead’ (not a cover of Motorhead’s eponymous song) showcases their sound very well with its combination of swirling psychedelic guitar lines and thick distorted guitar riffs adding dynamic to their music. Vocalist and guitarist Sel Balamir often sounds like he is singing with his mind somewhere in outer space. The band certainly know how to pen great tunes as well, especially the excellent ‘Panzer’ with its invigorating chorus sounding just as good as its highly-textured multi-layered guitar groove, and not to mention the brilliant ‘One Great Summer’ as well. The band are also well capable of letting their mellower side shine though, especially on the more introspective-sounding ‘On/Off’ and the epic and spaced-out closing track ‘UFOs’. Both of these tracks build and build to spectacular conclusions and show that the band can switch between mellow and blisteringly loud with great ease.

Along with Oceansize, Amplifier did a great deal in updating the progressive rock sound for a new generation of music fans in the UK. While commercial success seems to delude them they have earned themselves a legion of cult fans and have proved themselves as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking bands on the UK alternative rock scene.

Recommended Songs: ‘Motorhead’, ‘Panzer’, ‘One Great Summer’


Babes In Toyland - Fontanelle (1992)



Formed in 1987 Babes In Toyland soon found themselves riding the American grunge and alternative rock wave into the 90’s. While their promising 1990 debut album Spanking Machine and 1991 EP To Mother showcased an angry and energetic yet scrappy band, it was on this, their major label debut, that the band truly arrived. The better quality production made their bite sharper and gave their sound more controlled intensity rather than restraining their energy. The album also showcases better songwriting from the band which they had hinted at previously. The searing album opener ‘Bruise Violet’ shows that this is a band that means business and they want you to turn up the volume good and loud and listen. ‘Handsome & Gretel’ showcases the bands punk intensity and contains the unforgettable line “My name is Gretel yeah, I’ve got a crotch that talks”. Kat Bjelland must rank as one of the most angriest-sounding frontwomen in rock history and by listening to this album you can hear why. Songs like ‘Spun’ and ‘Jungle Train’ show a creepier and more sinister side to the band, with Kat Bjelland dragging you in to her twisted and nightmarish world rather than hitting you with an angry outpouring like elsewhere on the album.

It could be said that this album was the beginning of the end for the band. The 1995 follow-up album Nemesisters was a patchy affair and the band soldiered on for a few more years on and off before splitting for good in 2001. But the band had made their mark on the alternative rock world with this album and inspired a new generation of riot grrrls to pick up guitars.

Recommended Songs: ‘Bruise Violet’, ‘Handsome & Gretel’, ‘Won't Tell’
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Kudos for the Amplifier review. As you say one of those bands where success has passed them by despite being 100 times better than Muse IMO. I think it's the lack of catchy choruses or similar that means they are a little more difficult to sell. Shame.

Should have popped a vid in though

As for Afghan Whigs have you heard The Gutter Twins with Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegen? Very decent I have to say.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Yeah Amplifier are a far better band than Muse, but hopefully they will be remembered fondly in 20 years time while people look back in embarrassment at Muse.

I heard a song by The Gutter Twins on some magazine compilation a couple of years ago and I don't remember being too impressed with it. I can remember the album getting very positive reviews though. I might investigate sometime.
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