Friday, March 30, 2018

The Beatles: the Decca audition tape (1962)

(various labels, 1982 and later)

1962 ended with the Beatles on the cusp of success and renown they could not have imagined; by the time they played the last show at their Top Ten Club residency on New Year's Eve, they were well on the road to destiny. But the year had begun very differently, on a freezing-cold morning in London with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best in the awkward position of attempting to sell themselves as recording artists in a setting totally unfamiliar to them: in the Decca studios under the supervision of a young A&R man named Mike Smith. "Audition" was a kind of misnomer, as Mike had already seen the band live and determined that they were good enough to be signed to the label (a decision ultimately overturned by his superior Dick Rowe), so this was really a "recording test" presumably to determine the contents of what might have been the group's first commercial release. The supposedly in-the-bag nature of the gig may explain why they ended up recording fifteen numbers at the session: with the band based in faraway Liverpool, it would potentially allow Decca to program several follow-ups and perhaps an LP.

For the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, the Decca date was the culmination of a fevered two months of work since November 9, 1961, when he had met the band after being captivated by one of their legendary afternoon performances at the Cavern. Epstein knew the band was extraordinarily good, and as John put it, that they "had something." It seemed almost a foregone conclusion that the discussions and recordings with Decca would end in a long-term contract for the band, and it must have been a source of considerable heartbreak to all involved when Rowe heard the tape and rejected them (choosing instead to sign the Tremeloes). While hindsight makes it easy to ridicule Decca's decision, we now have the luxury of being able to hear what Rowe heard, and quite frankly his hesitation is more than understandable, assuming one doesn't allow some leeway for the first-time jitters of recording in a real studio. (The Beatles had done a professional recording session before, but they were backing someone else and were playing in a high school auditorium.) Considering how many waves the Beatles had made in 1960 and 1961 in Liverpool and Hamburg, and how deeply Epstein believed in them, it's a major disappointment that this is the earliest "proper," well-recorded example we have of the group playing together. Even the most hardcore fan and apologist is bound to find the majority of these performances curiously lifeless.

Not all of the contributing factors were the band's fault, though many were, and many will sound to someone unfamiliar with their history and context like excuses, one of the earliest instances of the Beatles' raw rock & roll sensibility clashing with the old-world entertainment business. It was too early in the morning (on New Year's Day even, with all hangovers thus implied) to play rock & roll. It was too freezing cold, the coldest January 1st in London in more than a half century. Because of equipment problems -- an issue that would repeat when they went to EMI later in the year -- they couldn't use their own amps, and were unaccustomed to the way they sounded in a closed-off room rather than a rowdy club. Smith, who had just been promoted and was still young and rather inexperienced, didn't really communicate heavily with the band, who were left floundering without the kind of give-and-take they expected. The three originals they played, probably at Brian Epstein's behest, were relatively new to their set and they didn't fully know their way around them. The set was scant on harmony vocals, thus de-emphasizing one of the most striking elements of their skill set. Mostly, however, there's no telling why they were so lackluster on this morning; they leaned heavily on songs they certainly knew backwards and forwards, and it should have been a simple enough task to play an extract of their Cavern repertoire in front of some microphones. But their playing is tentative and unremarkable, their vocals alternately robotic and embarrassingly amateurish, and they simply don't sound like a band that's about to hit the big time. The biggest problem is obviously Pete Best, whose rudimentary drum style and inability to keep time jut out badly, and keep the others off center; there's no source better than the Decca tape for determining why he'd be out of the band just over seven months later.

The order in which the songs were recorded on this date is unknown. The session proceeded in two chunks with a standard break in between. Each song had at least one rehearsal or runthrough before being laid down; no outtakes or false starts are known to survive. Because it's impossible to know the correct running order of the tunes, it's easiest to approach them with the divisions Lewisohn assigns to them in Tune In. First there are the songs that were passionate rock & roll favorites, staples of their stage act for years by this point: Barrett Strong's "Money," the Teddy Bears' "To Know Her Is to Love Her" (written by Phil Spector, with pronouns switched), Chuck Berry's "Memphis," Carl Perkins' "Sure to Fall" and Buddy Holly's "Crying, Waiting, Hoping." All five are sublime songs, and there are in fact fine versions of all of them by the Beatles, including of course their thundering rendition of "Money" at EMI for With the Beatles. However, none of them come off in this scenario. "Money" boasts some frantic drumming but John's ragged singing (his voice was underused on this day but this makes one wish for even less of him) and the extremely artificial-sounding enunciation on the backing vocals do it in. The band's dependably slick arrangement of "To Know Her" is fine, and John relaxes a bit on it, but everyone still sounds timid, afraid to hurt the tape. Pete's irksome rumbling on "Memphis" slightly offsets the sense that the band is so tight and cold and stiff they could break at any moment, and after a bridge in which they swing badly out of tune, the song ends so weakly it seems like it alone could justify someone from Decca asking them to move on. Pete again sucks the life out of "Crying, Waiting, Hoping," a reliable cover for the band that's just dead this morning. The Carl Perkins song comes off best, with nice harmonies despite a bit of an affected country & western accent on everyone and Paul overdoing his part badly; but George's solo is an OK Perkins imitation and there's a bit more kick to the tempo.

Next there are the renditions of current chart hits, presumably meant to demonstrate the group's malleability to Decca, though these were all songs they already knew how to play and had worked up at shows. "Till There Was You," from The Music Man, had become a pop hit via Peggy Lee; a later recording would be one of the odder choices for official release on a Beatles album, but it has the distinction of boasting the worst vocal performance of the Decca tape by one Paul McCartney, whose falsetto somehow seems to invent new and increasingly grating audio frequencies for your listening pleasure. Pete and George both botch it as well, with a nightmarish solo and Pete constantly forgetting changes and completely unable to maintain tempo. Poor Paul tries to redeem himself with the Beatles' rock arrangement of "September in the Rain," a standard and a then-recent success for Dinah Washington, but the intro on which he's trying so hard for some sort of spontaneous swing is so sad that it's hard to listen to, and all the forced spirit seems to make him lose his way on the bass, making the already chaotic band behind him more lost yet; at bottom, however, it's just a poor choice of cover for them. A skeletal arrangement of Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby," one of the Beatles' few acknowledgements of the early '60s teen idol period, does offer a good chance for George to impress vocally, but they play it too fast.

The Beatles were known for the comic elements of their stage act, especially in Hamburg and pre-Epstein when there really were no holds barred, and this seems to have been something they wanted to emphasize at Decca, though it's natural to imagine the four "comedy" numbers they played as perhaps generating the most befuddlement on the part of Smith and his engineers. Two of the three (!) Coasters covers make sense; "Searchin'" is the big Leiber-Stoller classic taken on with gusto and a nice arrangement (but bad guitar solo), despite Pete's constant misplaced fills and rolls, that showcases Paul's "rock" voice better than anything else on the tape. "Three Cool Cats," also a Leiber-Stoller number, is more of an obscurity and gets a loose and fun performance out of the Beatles, complete with misterioso guitar hook by George. "Besame Mucho," however, is another weird choice that fails to play to the Beatles' strengths; its levity, as well as that of their humorous take on "The Sheik of Araby," which badly misses the mark, just falls flat without the context of audience participation and the energy of a live performance.

Of greatest interest to casual fans are the three Lennon-McCartney songs tackled with great trepidation here, none of which were ever re-recorded for the band's actual canon at EMI, though all three became at least minor hits for others after the Beatles made it big. The best by far is "Hello Little Girl," usually cited as the first complete song John ever wrote; it's both a surprisingly lovely song given that it's the work of a young teenager (inspired by an unknown old music-hall number he heard his mother singing) and actually a tight, good rendition, possibly their best performance at Decca. Apart from the band blending together nicely with a certain pleasing scrappiness (exactly the combination of spontaneity and precision -- which part is illusory? -- that was the core of the Beatles' appeal and was missing from their overly mannered sessions with Bert Kaempfert), offering ample evidence of what they could really do with a ballad, what separates the song is the genuine emotion and longing in John's vocal performance, and Paul's interplay with it -- listen to the way John sings "long lonely time" or to the surprising, unforced easiness in his repeated "mmhmm." It's the only time on this tape that any of the Beatles seems to surrender to a song, and it's entirely possible that it was purely coincidence that it was a number one of them wrote -- but just as likely that it was a signal pointed toward the future. (One other full Beatles recording of this song exists, from one of the 1960 home tapes, reviewed here as part of the bootleg Strong Before Our Birth.)

Paul's two songs are less appealing but both have major points of interest. "Love of the Loved" struggles with terrible lyrics but is an interesting composition, and it's something of a pity that the only way we can hear the Beatles play it is with Pete's mess of pounding and nonsense; Paul sounds enthusiastic but still terrified, littering his vocals with those telltale hard-Ks of his, while the rest of the band comes off as listless. (Note that they were still reluctant to play their own songs at this point outside of intimate circles; they generally only came out publicly at the Cavern residency. Brian saw their skills as composers as a selling point for them, so it's probable that he wanted them trotted out for this session.) "Like Dreamers Do" is an extremely tentative performance and Paul's so nervous he can't put across its romance convincingly, but, if you can listen underneath that, you can hear how surprisingly inventive and catchy the song itself is. Luckily, someone at Aardmore & Beechwood did just that -- after Decca passed on the Beatles, Brian took the tape to various record labels and was getting desperate when he caught an ear at EMI; "Like Dreamers Do" is the song that led the record company's publishing arm to lock Parlophone into signing the Beatles, which is especially ironic since the band never recorded it themselves again. It's reasonable to say, however, that without this specific song none of us would know who the Beatles were, and things would be very very different.

The Decca recordings began to show up in low quality on bootlegs during the late '70s (note that John Lennon thought he had found it on the bootleg market at one point and sent it to Paul, but in fact the tape he'd located consisted of BBC performances from some time later, so it's no wonder he was so surprised by how good it was), but copyright ambiguity permitted better releases of the tracks in various configurations on numerous labels beginning in 1982. Almost none of these are complete, routinely omitting the three Beatles originals. To my knowledge there isn't really a definitive release of these songs commercially available, and the Beatles now own the tape so it's no longer likely that one will ever exist. (A third of the audition is included on Anthology 1, though "Searchin'" is crossfaded from a McCartney interview; the other inclusions are "Three Cool Cats," "Like Dreamers Do," "Hello Little Girl" and -- weirdly -- "The Sheik of Araby.") But it's extremely easy to track down all of the songs online, and Purple Chick's bootleg I Hope We Passed the Audition features the whole shebang in excellent quality. This ultimately is a breeze to listen to, and every Beatles fan should make their way through it once, but it's one of the very few scraps of Beatles lore that features almost nothing worth savoring outside of its historical context.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Kanye West: Graduation (2007)

(Def Jam)


There are people out there who'd prefer if Kanye West just remade Graduation for the rest of his life, and at the worst of times -- for us and for Kanye -- many of us can at least understand the sentiment, not so much because West hasn't outdone himself many times over since 2007 but because the allure of the moment in which the record existed, and the vacuum it managed to fill, is so strong. We're drawn to it because just a decade later it already seems impossible, like it didn't really happen: Kanye West couldn't just put out a victory lap like this, a cap on his initial trilogy of commercial LPs, and sort of leave it at that. (Music rags already couldn't -- remember the extremely silly Blur vs. Oasis-style "battle" with the already waning 50 Cent over first-week album sales? -- but this was notably the last album cycle in which West, still relatively gracious in many of his interviews despite his swelling head, had a relationship with the entertainment press that wasn't entirely adversarial.) A huge record company couldn't generate a multi-platinum event just from a CD that really comes off in retrospect as a final exercise in the style West had established on The College Dropout and Late Registration, never achieving their consistency and only occasionally duplicating their heights. It's not as if the dregs of Iraq and the Bush years that it only addressed in passing were such a bright time, but when you hear this album, doesn't it seem like an entirely different world? Or maybe I'm just older. Kanye certainly is.

The title, Graduation, reflects a ripening and coming of age, and its September 2007 release also handily marks the turning point when West became a bona fide mainstream celebrity rather than an unexpectedly successful producer-turned-rapper taking the "alternative" nerd-wing of hip hop to the masses for the first time in over a decade. He'd pretty much always remain an outcast, often seemingly by choice, but he'd never again be anything less than a household name. It's also his last record that seems at all dedicated to Giving the People What They Want, meaning both his own established audience and the kind of people he tried and often failed to win over while on tour opening for Usher (2004), U2 (2005-06) and most improbably the Rolling Stones (2006). Additionally, it's the first and only of his albums whose primary concern is such crowd-pleasing, with hardly a difficult moment of confrontation to be found all across it; that nice boy Chris Martin (interviewed a couple years before this for XXL gesticulating wildly about his love of hip hop, sounding like the "I love pineapple" kid in The Virgin Suicides) even sings on one cut. West's turn away from any sort of pure commercialism -- every record he's issued since has openly courted alienation -- may have something to do with his own feeling that he'd already tried that route in '07, but it probably has a lot more to do with the death of his mother Donda before the year was out, which every armchair psychoanalyst plus the man himself has cited as generating a complete upheaval in his life and output, quite understandably.

For now, though, the difference between "Gold Digger" and "Drunk and Hot Girls" is a lot like the difference between "Dead End Street" and "Low Budget": both are pleasing and enticing, but one (the older, in both cases) actually probes, challenges with wit and thorniness and leaves you no less giddy for it. Years later West would, with wild but not inaccurate egotism, compare his body of work to gourmet food in a world of drive-thru while talking to Dorian Lynskey: "I challenge people with sonic beauty. For a society that's been greyed out by mediocrity, it’s like eating a whole bunch of McDonald's and then you get some real food. What's actually good is challenging when you've been served bullshit so much." Graduation sticks out, then, as the one Happy Meal in the man's catalog, but the thing about McDonald's is it tastes fucking good, it's a drug designed to keep you in its holding pattern, and I'd rather listen to "Big Brother" while wolfing down a snack wrap than make another attempt to comprehend The Life of Pablo.

The obvious deficiencies with Graduation in comparison to its predecessors aren't altogether new problems, they're just more blatant, maybe a bit more careless, which in turn could make them a more honest reflection of the artist's personality. West's flow is extremely goofy throughout; sometimes he's actually funny and self-deprecating, sometimes he's reaching for rhymes and catchphrases that just aren't there, and here he finds a new and inexplicable attachment to some highly suspicious faux-inspirational showboating. I mean, "tha-tha-that that don't kill me can only make me stronger"? Martin's presence semi-derails the sincerity of the Chicago song "Homecoming," revised from an early mixtape track. "Big Brother" is sentimental but not totally charmless pap about West's rocky relationship with pal, collaborator, boss Jay-Z. And while it makes sense in context, the presence of the line "man, killing's some wack shit" in "Everything I Am" could give a detractor enough ammunition for several weeks of Buzzfeed hit pieces. All that said, West bridges the gap as always with ingenious, incredibly malleable production. If Graduation has proven less influential than any of West's other records save Pablo (and who's to say about that one yet), it's most likely a sign that West achieved what he meant to rather than the opposite.

That's because his chief inspiration -- again, going back to his strange opening slots for various megastars who are now arguably no more famous than he is -- was arena rock at its broadest: he wanted these to be big, dumb anthems, and wanted them to fill sonic needs for the people they'd reach. He interjects at one point: "Lauryn Hill said her heart was in Zion / I wish her heart still was in rhymin' / 'Cause who the kids gon' listen to, huh? / I guess me if it isn't you." Constructing music as a language with very base appeal for maximum impact isn't ignoble by default -- isn't that what Bob Marley spent his career doing? -- but citing Keane and the Killers as influences is certainly a unique way of thinking of such outreach. If we're talking big and dumb, it can't get much bigger and dumber than "Drunk and Hot Girls," yet the song was -- let's see -- coproduced by then-indie royalty Jon Brion, superficially inspired by Can, features a guest verse from Mos Def, and despite that pedigree still manages to be almost defiantly insubstantial, its best line the immortal "'ahhhdadadaya' / that's how the fuck you sound." "Barry Bonds," meanwhile, was so instantly outdated despite a Lil Wayne verse that it may as well have been a track from summer 1996 dissing Richard Jewell. And as much as you and I love "Good Time," critics would've been all the hell over Nicki Minaj if she dared to release something so fluffy and frivolous in the "Starships" era.

If you're cynical, you say in 2007 that it's the sound of an individual getting absorbed in the system; but no one did, at least almost no one, maybe because already then no one was willing to doubt West's own control over his work, or maybe because -- unbelievably -- the source of actual controversy at the time was West's heavy use of synthesizers, which led to pre-leak rumors that he was going to make a Vince Clarke record or something. Every West record is seemingly led by whispers that it's the one on which he goes Too Far, and usually it's true for at least some of his heretofore dependable cult (which now includes too large a proportion of the population to be called a cult), but anyone who turned away from West because Graduation had a lot of keyboards was some kind of shortsighted boob.

But getting back to the cynical perspective: Graduation itself answers the suspicion, and it does it by sheer force of the mastery West knows he has that he probably doesn't even know how to properly modulate. The thing about "Stronger" -- incidentally, the song that turned me personally into a fan after several years of skepticism (I'd only heard the singles, and if I understood why I didn't hear them as brilliant at the time -- prompting me to avoid both albums despite repeated insistence from one particular friend that I would love them -- I'd explain it to you) -- wow, sorry. The thing about "Stronger" is that it qualifies as every bad thing you could rattle off about the album: those synths are as cheesy as something from a Journey record, the Daft Punk hook is obvious and never really expands upon the original track or takes it anywhere, and the lyrics and delivery are simplified and robbed of much of West's usual texture and nuance... plus it sounds, yes, like music meant to fill all the crannies and crevices of a stadium, like a performance for the wings (or, uh, a performance by Wings). But "Stronger" doesn't score (and didn't hit #1) because West is lowering himself, but because it's a discovery of his new and almost frightening capacity for selling its drama in full-on widescreen. The song is oversized and outrageous, and West meets it at every point, sonically and in his verses, and in a chorus that overwhelms the potential for corn with conviction there's simply no room left to doubt. And there's a reason it was a full-fledged pop culture phenomenon, a lot of it verbal; even if you think the chorus is flat and dopey despite its mounting energy, "you should be honored by my lateness / that I would even show up to this fake shit" makes you fall in love with the dude all over again, and "let's get lost tonight, you can be my black Kate Moss tonight" is an opening salvo almost worthy of Prince.

The Grammy-earning "Good Life" similarly operates by maximizing itself, making its relative thinness impossible to sense because it feels so deep and so high. And the triumph of the anthemic approach is probably "Can't Tell Me Nothing," an immediate classic that harnesses the theoretical primordial appeal of blues-rock, held together with a beautifully layered vocal sample by Connie Mitchell and the confidently menacing contributions of Young Jeezy, to generate a working-class anthem of sorts despite focusing almost exclusively in the verses on West's own experiences with fame. (His consternation about TV appearances is prophetic, with the worst yet to come, though the one he seems to spend the most time regretting -- challenging George W. Bush over the Katrina response live on the air -- is one he absolutely shouldn't.) Like the music and production, the lyrical approach is a sort of backwards way of stumbling upon populism: he courts his largest audience to date of mainstream hip hop fans by drawing from basically unrelated genres, and celebrates the lure of financial freedom by focusing yet again on his own success. The song probably works in large part because of West's sense of humor, an aspect of his work that's never been studied enough, lost under the flood of boasts and a childish tendency never to forget a slight that he shares with lots of other brilliant people.

Certain songs do exist on an obvious continuum from The College Dropout and Late Registration, coming across as agreeable leftovers from that era. "Champion" demonstrates what sounds like an impatience with West's traditional soul-lifting methodology, its repetitiveness calling forward to stranger experiments on Yeezus; and you could be forgiven for mixing "Good Morning" up with one of several of his earlier songs, even though it's a delight. (The lack of skits, a first here, is an even bigger delight.) And there's the more than respectable "Everything I Am," and the Laura Nyro-sampling "The Glory," which covers a lot of the same lyrical ground as "Can't Tell Me Nothing" but seems to create an intentional musical counterpoint to West's words, fleeting moments of a staring out into the void that call almost eerily ahead to the sharp turn he was about to take in his career.

The most prophetic song here as well as the best, and perhaps the most complete and singular creation in Kanye West's catalog, has some of the same musical properties. "Flashing Lights" is a masterpiece, a prolonged glare into the unknown and a time-stopper that brilliantly harnesses the controversial synthesizers to turn their own roller-rink sound into a feeling, at the hook, of the coldness of infinity; on Yeezus this would all mark dread, on 808's and Heartbreak loss, on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy it would be in service of a warts-and-all introspection, but here these glimpses of something darker have a glorious, druggy weightlessness about them, like something that's been discovered without full knowledge of its utility. The strings and synthesizers create a complete atmosphere that West chooses not to bring down to earth the way he does on the sometimes equally barren and disturbing "Can't Tell Me Nothing"; instead, he wanders on despite it, like someone ranting to themselves as some horrible David Lynch scenario plays out around them, and the chorus, sung by Dwele acting as a Kanye surrogate, serves to complement and affix itself to the soundstage. The entire song starts to seem as if it's floating above the listener, increasingly out of reach. This is the sound of a party whose attendees are growing antsier and more paranoid as the seconds pass like years. It already couldn't be clearer that West's ambitions go beyond hip hop; that's not to say hip hop isn't plenty huge an umbrella, just that any such label or limitation would seem trite to him, and his restlessness on this song gives the lie to much of Graduation, which then ends up sounding like what it turned out to be: a goodbye, of sorts.

Hearing Graduation today is a more jarring experience, for whatever reason, than hearing any of the rest of Kanye West's first six records. The other five all harnessed and foretold so much about the cutting edge of modern music that it seems they could each be simultaneously released today by five different artists. Graduation, on the other hand, sounds like a time capsule -- or, to paraphrase Greil Marcus' description of Sgt. Pepper, a tombstone for its time. In 2007 people mostly talked about how pervasive West's fixation on himself was becoming, and how little skill he seemed to really have for the kind of philosophical introspection that would justify his narcissism. In 2018, we know so much more about him than he does as of Graduation, and his own impulses covering the record now seem to be largely beside the point; what Graduation is finally about is not him, but us, especially because his stated intent here is to pass along pleasure to his increasingly vast audience. At your arm-waving frenzy as "Good Life" plays for the millionth time, the camera turns on you; and maybe, on "Flashing Lights," the camera catches the moment when you fall backward, horrified, and wake up now.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Beatles: Strong Before Our Birth (1957-62)

(bootleg [Purple Chick])


Before we start in on the specific contents of this collection, an introduction to this field of study in general seems necessary. In the analog era, and even the early digital era, collecting Beatles bootlegs was a hell of a complicated business, requiring the perusal of countless "imports" and behind-the-desk counterfeits that were esoteric and often extremely pricey. No doubt this generated a decent number of alluring fetish objects, but it also created a condition in which the most rabid fans among us would be falling over ourselves to gain access to this or that seemingly insignificant scrap (a monitor mix, say) that would then prove dispiriting. In the mid-2000s, an anonymous archivist known as Purple Chick -- also responsible for a complete collection of Buddy Holly's recordings and one of the best constructions of the Beach Boys' Smile -- began putting together, via download and absolutely free, "deluxe editions" of all of the Beatles' albums and periphery, including alternate mixes and unreleased material, gathered comprehensively in a single place with consistent reproduction quality. That means that today, assuming you can track these collections down (and it isn't insurmountably hard), you have the opportunity for a full historical view of the Beatles' recorded history, including virtually every scrap that's known to exist and a good deal that they did not sanction or approve for release. In this blog, where our joyous obsession renders it necessary to listen to and write about even the most out-of-the-way Beatles material, we'll be approaching the Beatles' unreleased work by following the Purple Chick ("PC" hereafter) collection, which encompasses not only the Beatles' studio work but also all known live recordings, BBC performances and audition tapes -- everything except the various home recordings, which were issued in reasonably complete form by another entity.

And then there's this, the first set in the "deluxe editions" series, which doesn't correspond to a specific released recording but gathers every piece of taped evidence that can be located of the Beatles prior (roughly) to the release of their first EMI single, all the way back to the days when they were the Quarry Men, with the three significant exceptions of their Decca audition, their German recordings with Tony Sheridan (both items reviewed separately and addressed briefly via PC's I Hope We Passed the Audition) and their pre-Ringo BBC recordings (still unreleased but booted and documented here in our Complete BBC Sessions review). It should probably go without saying that this is not a particularly strong collection for recreational listening; nearly without exception, everything included on Strong Before Our Birth (named for the same line in the school song of Quarry Bank School that gave the group their name at this stage) that was really suitable for public consumption -- and quite a bit that probably wasn't -- has been issued at some point for its historical interest. And that, of course, is the key reason you'll want to hear it; even being a Beatles fan isn't enough. You have to be positively mad about the band to understand the appeal of this music, to be gripped and haunted by it, but if you're One of Us, you will get it... and even you probably won't want to digest it all in one go.

The best possible liner notes for this two-hour glob of often interminable music are all contained within Mark Lewisohn's book Tune In; he not only talks about every recording collected here in detail but he provides the context and character to make this not just a clinically interesting experience but a piece of legitimate narrative. I can't compare to that, but I'll do my best.

We open with a few scraps of a tape whose existence and survival are both something of a miracle. It captures John Lennon as a sixteen year-old, singing at the top of his lungs at the Woolton Garden Fete of July 6, 1957; this is the day that John met Paul McCartney. That someone (one Bob Molyneux) happened to be recording that day is almost difficult to believe, but when you hear the tape it's unmistakable; the quality is terribly muddy, the Elvis cover ("Baby Let's Play House") nearly unrecognizable behind the noise, but on the marginally more audible version of Lonnie Donegan's skiffle number "Puttin' on the Style," that is John Lennon -- no doubts, ifs ands or buts -- and it's chilling and invigorating to hear him singing out with that same distinctive earthiness and volume years before the world would come to know this same voice so intimately. As musicians, the Quarry Men (as of the recording date: John plus Rod Davis, Pete Shotton and Eric Griffiths) from what we can tell are unapologetic amateurs, though they do pound out an agreeable beat, but John sounds like he was beamed in from the future, already overflowing with confidence and swagger and, though we can't hear the words he's singing, the suggestion of a sly wit, though perhaps that's filling in the blanks -- it's little wonder that Paul was so intrigued. The tape of the Quarry Men Garden Fete performance was sold at auction to EMI in 1994 but never used for any project, not even the Anthology documentary, which is quite surprising; all we've been permitted to hear are a few snippets, all of which find their way to this disc (note: PC releases were never physically issued but were designed, with ideal length, to be burned to CDs), intruded upon by an irksome but inevitable radio voiceover.

The set's next offerings are the two sides of their first proper recording, a homemade record created in P.F. Phillips' custom booth in Liverpool. These are "That'll Be the Day" and "In Spite of All the Danger"; both are addressed in my review of Anthology 1, which is also the source utilized by PC to make this compilation.

The bulk of the two-disc collection is occupied, to a fault, by the remarkable but often stultifying home tapes that were left spinning for seemingly hours in 1960, one at an unknown location and one at Paul's house on Forthlin Road, during the period when they were traveling under the name "Beatals." There are two such tapes, recorded on a borrowed reel-to-reel, and while it's impossible to determine their dates of origin with any precision, the first dates from spring, second from a few months later, possibly July. One extract from the first tape (a severely edited "Cayenne") and two from the second ("Hallelujah, I Love Her So," also heavily edited, and "You'll Be Mine"; all three edits are included on the first disc here for completeness) were gathered on Anthology 1, but Strong offers both tapes as complete as they've ever been presented on various bootlegs over the years, and with all the songs at their proper length. (It was routine for bootleggers to edit the already sprawling instrumentals from the first tape to run even longer, for incomprehensible reasons.)

As nearly everyone who's heard the first tape has pointed out, it's a rather miserable slog, occupied mostly by aimless jamming, and none too competent jamming at that; it's hard to believe the same band, albeit with Colin Hanton and John Lowe joining them, recorded the acetate disc of the basically respectable Buddy Holly cover and the band original "Danger" two years before this. It helps to consider where the Beatals stood at this point; at the time of recording, Stu Sutcliffe -- gifted painter and famously dreadful bass player -- had just joined at John's urging, and the tape may document an early practice session with the band trying to find its footing with a new member in tow. (They did not, at this particular moment, have a drummer, and it's also possible that George was absent for much of both tapes.) If the commonly given date of April 1960 is correct, then the tape was made about a month before the Beatals embarked on their first national tour, backing Larry Parnes stable boy Johnny Gentle, and given the reception they encountered on that jaunt, the quality of the tape isn't terribly shocking... though it should be kept in mind that they apparently were quite capable of pulling their shit together and working harder, and they were still performing semi-regularly at the Casbah Coffee Club during this time. But if this was just an embarrassing trial by fire for Stu, one wonders why Paul was so interested in recording it. And the music is very difficult to listen to both because the recording quality is so abysmal and because the jams (variously labeled "Instrumental #1," "Instrumental #2," "Turn the Mixers Off" and "That's an Important Number" both named after offhand comments captured on the tape, and "Cayenne" which was actually registered for copyright under Paul's name) stretch on into what feels like infinity, cursed by Stu's painful playing, the band's general awkwardness, and their apparent fascination with listening to themselves fail.

"Cayenne" at least has sort of a shape and the lead guitar (probably by Paul) is lightly impressive, while the songs on which the boys attempt vocals at least provide a break in the monotony. "I Don't Need No Cigarette, Boy" is a jam with some incessant shouted vocals, while the gloomy "Well Darling" is some attempt at an actual song, and frankly wouldn't have sounded that incongruous with some of the lesser material from the Get Back era, but that's not really a compliment. It's hard to believe the plodding "I Don't Know" was planned or written in any sense, but it was apparently registered to Lennon-McCartney at some point and may have a proper written lyric if the non-randomness of some of the lines is a fair indication.

Thankfully, when the band reconvenes later in the year, things seem better organized; it's a matter of debate who's actually on this recording, which seems to have been made between the return from the Gentle tour on May 28, 1960 and the game-changing departure for Hamburg, with new drummer Pete Best, in mid-August. They're still without a drummer but there are in fact actual scraps of inspiration here and there. The Paul-led version of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" (by way of Eddie Cochran) is a cacophonous mess in complete form because of a horrendous guitar solo, but Paul's vocal has a certain easy charm. The instrumental covers "Movin' and Groovin'," "Wildcat" and "Ramrod" are passable, and a seven-minute jam growing out of the latter could easily be discarded from the planet but is a marked improvement on those from earlier in the year. For longtime fans, the most fascinating moments of the second tape are the performances of songs the Beatles would one day properly record; Paul vamping on "I'll Follow the Sun" is modestly lovely, with an incomplete bridge that may in fact be stronger than the one on Beatles for Sale. John's lead vocal on "Matchbox" is a fleeting pleasure. And two versions of "One After 909" make a more convincing show of "rock & roll" than anything else on these tapes. "Hello Little Girl," which the Beatles would never capture to John's own satisfaction, sounds fractured and ghostly here.

If the first tape is a ramshackle, thundering artifact, the second is sometimes ethereal and graceful in its mystery, and once in a while the performances actually do hint at something deeper and stronger in the band's future. It's difficult to have full perspective when so many details about the tapes can't really be filled in, but the mere existence of otherwise ephemeral Lennon-McCartney numbers "You Must Write Every Day" and "Some Days" renders it essential, at least in archival terms, and while the Beatles are maybe not the best vessels for "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" or "That's When Your Heartaches Begin," there is just something about John Lennon softly crooning out the standard "I Will Always Be in Love with You," a haunting enough performance that the Anthology documentary uses an extract during a sequence devoted to these tapes.

Following the conclusion of the homemade tapes, Strong Before Our Birth makes an abrupt chronological jump -- by necessity, because Decca and Kaempfert belong elsewhere -- to the exciting first weeks of Ringo Starr's tenure within the band. This is directly addressed with a remarkable interview dating from October 17, 1962, in which Ringo is queried about his recent entrance into the Beatles (he officially joined on August 18th) while the full band, full of hope and curiosity, describe their comings and goings in the very early days of their EMI contract, on the eve of everything exploding. (One particularly telling moment is when Paul insists that John is "the leader" of the Beatles; another is when Ringo all but groans when asked if he's "on the record," meaning "Love Me Do," issued twelve days earlier -- he was on it, at least the A-side, but it hadn't been a simple task to get there, with session drummer Andy White sitting in on the last of three attempts at finishing the record and surviving to the b-side and LP.) This offers solid context for the rest of the material on Strong Before Our Birth, all of which was recorded at the Cavern Club, the Beatles' proper professional home in Liverpool since March 1961, and the place in which they were discovered by Brian Epstein that same year. The Beatles were filmed there for a television show, playing "Some Other Guy"; it's surely one of the most bracing pieces of footage of the group, young and shorn and full of nerves and fire. Both takes of "Some Other Guy" -- a pounding Leiber-Stoller rocker, originally recorded by Richie Barrett for Atlantic Records and perfectly suited to the Beatles' style; it was in fact one of their signature numbers for some time, and these two performances easily explain why -- it's hard to understand the group's failure to revisit the tune for one of their early albums, unless it was simply worn out for them.

Needless to say, the Beatles are a fully accomplished band poised to begin their slow takeover of pop culture and the world in general by the time the Cavern material is laid down in late '62; it's quite surprising that none of the versions of "Some Other Guy" (despite inclusion on the Anthology documentary) or any of the taped rehearsals here made it to any official release, as they are all far more listenable and vibrant than anything else the Beatles recorded before their Parlophone releases began storming up the charts. (An explosive live version of "Kansas City" unfortunately cuts off after a minute, or else it would be an especially strong candidate for release.) That rehearsal tape is its own intriguing monster, with two takes each of "One After 909" (both quite strong) and the instrumental "Catswalk" (written by Paul) and one fascinating early version of "I Saw Her Standing There" with John playing harmonica and a slower, bluesier tempo than on the canonical track. If the 1960 home tapes are exclusively the domain of hardcore fans, the Cavern material merits attention from a much wider scope of Beatles fans; it isn't spectacular (the performances of "Some Other Guy" are, but the recording quality does them in a bit), but it merits the overall recommendation here almost by itself, though the Forthlin Road music is of course so historically vital that it should probably be heard once if you care about this group. One thing for sure: the transformation from that band to the one on stage at the Cavern was not as abrupt as it sounds here, and luckily the PC collections I Hope We Passed the Audition and (tangentially) Star Club 1962 are there to fill in the gap.


[First in a series of posts for
The Essentials covering the Beatles' complete recorded output. You can follow along for additional posts about once a week.]

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

quick note on Essentials

I'm heavy into work on the critical Beatles discography for The Essentials but I think I've decided that this time I will put up the posts as I finish them rather than vomiting them out all in one huge feed-cluttering action. This means there will be some cross-references here and there that won't make much sense but it seems like a good tradeoff for (a) not overwhelming anyone who may be interested to read this but would be put off by mass quantities of material, which I think it's fair to say was a problem with the Beach Boys posts, and (b) being able to share the stuff I'm pleased with that I've already completed. I don't absolutely know which reviews will be capsules and which will be essays yet, so the capsule catch-all posts will wait till near the end of the project... which is a pretty lengthy one, as I'm at least touching on pretty much every bootleg recording and alternate mix that's out there.

If there are any objections to this, leave a comment sometime in the next day or two. FYI: because of the way my work on this is structured, if I go through with this then we will be kicking off with some of the very very early Beatles recordings that exist, not launching straight into the albums.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The war rolled on and on: February 2018 music diary

Welcome to the ninth year of reviews at this blog. This entry kind of hurt to write at times and made me feel rather guilty and like an old stick in the mud! Happy reading!!

Housekeeping note: I posted two fairly long reviews of new Beach Boys releases on the appropriate pages during the break. For your convenience, they're linked here, found at the bottom of the compilation and live album pages on my BB discography -- Sunshine Tomorrow 2: The Studio Sessions / 1967: Live Sunshine.


Charli XCX: Pop 2 (Atlantic 2017) [r]
The poptimist's dreamworld of ceaselessly inventive, challenging music from artists like this is, basically, fiction, and puts too much on the shoulders of someone like Charli who's fine at what she does and really doesn't benefit from outside chatterboxing about how important she is. But this is such an artifact of the critical fannish impulsing of the late 2010s: Carly Rae Jepsen shows up, and the production frequently resembles the self-conscious hipness and airiness of Robyn's albums, weird without being odd. One drugged-out, dark-edged song with a weak chorus ("I Got It") approaches brilliance because of a CupcakKe verse; another feels like a night teeming with possibilities, profane and catchy ("Out of My Head"), but the only one that feels madly and deeply inspired is also the only one that deliberately avoids potential catharsis: "Porsche" is affecting because it skirts sentiment even as it shoots your body through with pleasure, which is also why it really is the noise of youth and abandon and regret. And that's all pop music finally needs to be to approach transcendence.

Dawn Oberg: Nothing Rhymes with Orange (Blossom Theory 2017 EP) [NO]
I'd rather not even review this because Oberg doesn't seem to have a large base of fans (107 monthly listeners, sez Spotify; Charles Manson has 14,479) and even though this blog has even fewer I feel guilty about firing off at someone simply because their sense of humor, to put it mildly, isn't mine and not being much of a "funny song" guy I'm not really in the hypothetical audience I assume she's shooting for -- but a certain renowned critic I listen to out of habit had a lot of praise for this three-song item, so here we go. It's a brief cycle of dreadful anti-Trump "protest songs," supposedly. Being on the right "side" politically doesn't make you witty, nor does it excuse painfully on-the-nose, obvious, Ben Folds-like humor (compare "orange tweeting twat" to "Franklin fucking Mint"). The idea of finding this catharic is genuinely alien to me, but it's not like it will take up much of your time so maybe you should see for yourself.

Shame: Songs of Praise (Dead Oceans) [r]
A London post-punk outfit that seems to meander through an entire career cycle for such a band, in the '80s or now or whenever, in the space of a forty-minute debut LP, which takes us from the Birthday Party impression-making phase to power chords and accents to the Joy Division-Fall-Gang of Four provocateur period to the discovery of retirement accounts and melodies and finally to Future Islands-like schmoozing, goofy and good guitars ("Friction"), new wave ("Lampoon"), and a true masterful keeper called "Angie" that sounds a bit like Stephin Merritt attempting cock-rock but is singular heaven of its own kind, irreducible to any genre definition except the good old Rock Ballad.

CupcakKe: Ephorize (s/r) [r]
Wondering why the breakthrough release from this extremely talented, unpredictable, frequently lovable Chicago rapper wasn't sticking with me like I wanted it to, I eventually focused on the matter of banality; not of Elizabeth Harris' well-chosen subject matter -- nothing is more important than down-and-dirty fucking as far as I'm concerned, and there's plenty here besides that anyway, it's just what occupies her funniest and sharpest verses and one-liners -- but in production terms, with Def Starz toggling between generic club anthems that sound seven years out of date (or more; check out that Ricky Martin backdrop on "Fullest") and unconvincing Slum Village minimalism; Turreekk's three contributions aren't spectacular but demonstrate better layering and at least come off as somewhat eclectic. The best you can say about any of the beats is that they're either big and dumb ("Crayons") or convincingly slick ("Total"). But past the melancholic opener and a slightly slow midsection ("most people already skipped this song cause it ain't about sex or killin'"), this launches into overdrive via "Cartoons" and "Duck Duck Goose" and is one of the fastest funniest virtuoso pieces of recent years: namedropping cartoon characters and Goodnight Moon, "I eat ramen noodles just to humble myself," cum as batter, dick as volcano (after anal), "cut the dick off took it home with me," "bitches wanna box me like I'm Cinnamon Toast Crunch," and all spiked with CupcaKke's constant Migos-like self-commentary, except funnier and better than Migos could ever be. My favorite moment is on the Trina-worthy filth "Spoiled Milk Titties," wherein she talks about viewing her sex tape on a 4K TV and interjects "cine-ma!!!"... and "Crayons," incidentally, is a readymade anthem for the forthcoming gay space communist revolution.

Princess Nokia: 1992 Deluxe (Rough Trade 2017) [r]
The most pure-NYC hip hop record since Heems' Eat Pray Thug, which it resembles in its self-deprecation, affability, artfully restrained anger and weird cornucopia of cultural reference points, this hodgepodge of a prior mixtape and a bunch of bonuses shows off the chops of a talent so New York her album contains shouts to the Village Voice, street corner doo wop, CBGB's and Woody Allen's Manhattan thrown in with a well-earned "fuck-you" to the NYPD. It's also a record that will feel like home rendered anew to anyone who grew up on '90s rap, in the Illmatic era when Queens and the Bronx were the mainstream gatekeepers of the edgiest American music, despite the fact that Destiny Fasqueri herself was born in the title year, and that eternal youth feeling resonates even if you yourself had nothing to do with NY growing up. Out the gate with "Bart Simpson," though, you could swear you were right back in front of TV on a hot afternoon getting MTV's Times Square studio and ads for Creepy Crawlers beamed right into your bedroom. She's that affable, that timeless, and her flow is consistent; the tracks themselves are hit and miss, and one wonders at the decisionmaking process behind adding tracks to a mixtape rather than taking on a fully new project for her debut album. The more strictly she sticks to capturing a time and/or place and/or the thorny vibe of growing up in the city as an abused foster child ("ABCs of New York," "Goth Kid," the wonderful "Saggy Denim"), the more compelling the album is, a complicated and admirably complex celebration. It's less successful as the party record she clearly at times envisions; the choruses on "Chinese Slippers" and "Tomboy" won't leave your head for months, but two different people told me to cut it the fuck out when I couldn't stop saying "Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut / McDonalds McDonalds"... and maybe being annoying is its own kind of catharsis. The arrival of anyone this don't-give-a-fuck individualistic is cause for celebration regardless.

Tune-Yards: I Can Feel You Creep into My Private Life (4AD)
The weird capitalization is officially gone. And Merrill Garbus is officially not a solo artist, Tune-Yards now definitively a duo featuring her new husband and longtime collaborator Nate Brenner. Neither development is a harbinger of bad things, but nor does it feel like a total coincidence that this is the most confused, unsatisfying music yet released under this rubric. We've come too far too long as fans of a confirmed master not to give the benefit of the doubt, but not since John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Some Time in New York City were great artists so utterly and blindly hypnotized by the discourse of the current moment, crafting something that's likely to sound exceptionally weird and dated in ten or even five years. In a series of surprisingly painful interviews from this cycle, Garbus performs verbal gymnastics over liberal feminism and white guilt, thrown like so many of us into confusion in the wake of Trump, talking about taking a "six-month workshop on whiteness," the cringiest sort of privileged tonedeafness that seems so beside the point in relating to, embracing, loving other people. A degree of self-doubt seems to have crept in after the many (to my mind, largely wrongheaded, but it's not for me to say) accusations of cultural appropriation that have plagued this unit since BiRd-BrAiNs, but the diffence between "Gangsta" (a song about white identity and appropriation that wasn't sterile, wasn't phony, wasn't forced, and already was smart enough) and "Colonizer" ("I use my white woman's voice to tell stories of troubles with African men," which sounds like it wouldn't scan and doesn't) is the difference between following one's instincts and questioning them, and the latter rarely, if ever, results in profound art. You could draw the same line of comparison between "Water Fountain," with its sly and clever dramatization of draining resources unfairly slapping the lower classes, and the witless danceable gloom of "Heart Attack"; or the genuinely biting confrontation of "I come from the land of slaves / let's go Redskins, let's go Braves" with the empty sloganeering of "all I know is white centrality." It's not fair to focus totally on lyrics, but the problem is that the laziness of this record in musical terms has made it so easy to do so; there's no bite, as though a determination to keep the words comfortable, safe and colorless has extended to music that falls far too easily into background where whokill and Nikki Nack refused to allow themselves to do so. No one doubts good intentions here, no one suspects a slip in talent (recent work Garbus has done with Mavis Staples and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down precludes that possibility), but all this self-examination is fixing a problem that wasn't there in the first place; it's not as if Garbus' classic eccentricity was solely inward-looking, as she was perfectly capable of making a story of violence and brutality inflicted on someone else startlingly real as in her best song, "Doorstep," or in rendering her own anxieties and torments universal as on her second or third-best, "Wait for a Minute." It's hard to disagree with Laura Snapes in Pitchfork in calling all this "inelegant," or with Frank Falisi implying it to be joyless, and for that lack of joy to be distinctly unproductive, politically and personally. It benefits a little from being played loud; "ABC 123" and "Look at Your Hands" are at least distinctive songs. "Who Are You?" is the only remotely great one. Garbus was once able to attack us with questions that made us really ponder, that appealed on a basic emotional level, and this significant misstep is -- considering its self-stripping, radical intentions -- oddly comfortable and safe, and more than finding the words and music and production here flat and pedestrian, that's what I miss most: the feeling of being actually challenged, not just told how challenged I ought to feel.

Ty Segall: Freedom's Goblin (Drag City)
Segall does his muddy classic rawk thing and there's nothing you can do about it, so why complain? He knows his people (I'm not one, usually, though I can tolerate him and I dig the sprawling-ass Hot Chocolate cover) and delivers the goods. Props to Drag City for having the integrity to make the current go-to record to recommend to your grandma and grandpa to prove to them that "new music" is still "good" if you "look for it" impossible to check out legally unless you have Apple Music, because integrity is important, unless you're an Apple Music customer.

Nils Frahm: All Melody (Erased Tapes) [r]
German electronica producer-composer. I rather liked the chilly vibes of his score for the experimental movie Victoria, and this is even better ambient-with-a-very-mild-kick, almost flawless dinner music. Not much else to say besides "it's nice innit."

No Age: Snares Like a Haircut (Drag City)
No Age does their melodic-punk-but-subdued-and-minimalistic thing and there's nothing you can do about it, so why complain? They know their people (I'm not one, usually, but I like the song about how the guy looks like his sister) and deliver the goods. Props to Drag City for having the integrity to make the current go-to record to recommend to your mom and dad to prove to them that "new music" is still "good" if you "look for it" impossible to check out legally unless you have Apple Music, because integrity is important, unless you're an Apple Music customer.

Rhye: Blood (Loma Vista) [hr]
There isn't a single original thought to be found on or around this piece of wax: not the seductive strings or the lilting melodies or the Willie Dixon-like, deliberate, feather-soft arrangements; not the beautiful cover image of singer and now sole "actual" band member Michael Milosh's girlfriend calling back to the Ohio Players via the Strokes; and certainly not Milosh's own voice, an abstract approximation of soul filtered through a million hazy memories. Coversely, there is not a single misguided moment across its forty-two minutes of time-stoppingly blissful music, and not a single reason you could possibly regret bringing what Brandy Jensen called "this extremely horny album" into your life, commute or relationship. So indiscriminately carnal it borders on incoherent, like Stevie Wonder's inarticulate mumble on "Boogie On Reggae Woman" stretched across an LP, yet so musically focused it feels like you could sharpen a knife with it, it's easily the equal of Rhye's heavenly predecessor Woman, and every song commits to its moment -- from the blown-out, maddeningly restrained rumble of "Please" to the irresistible lite-funk knockouts "Stay Safe" and "Phoenix," whose bass-driven hooks are only marginally the cream. Indulge your need for a decadent weekend, turn off your cursed brain and fall headfirst into this.

Hookworms: Microshift (Domino) [hr]
You can typically take it or leave it when a band "adds electronics," so to speak, but occasionally somebody like Hookworms finds some way to make you wonder where the keyboards and samples and beats were in the first place; the dreamlike void in the quintet's towering guitars was always appealing, but the filled-out noise they make here is an emotive thrill ride making the argument that the human capacity to throw ourselves totally into things with wild abandon isn't connected solely with adolescence. It's not just about the songs but also the spaces between them, the moments when the droning becomes hypnotic, and the abrupt transitions when the songs change or jolt back into shape. The best description may be "Built to Spill with synthesizers" but there's no distance to the vocals, no defensive irony, no sense of showing off. Despite its clear evolution from the group's earlier work, it's classic college rock in the best sense, and hey, a narrative: the stakes are high by "Ullswater" and the world sort of disappears around them all while the one they've created envelops them. Everything is dynamic, the build and release on "Opener" a catharsis, the redemption of "Each Time We Pass" an unexpected moonlight dance of sorts (if also a lift from Arcade Fire's "Haiti"). And it's all well matched by lyrics that exhibit both a tormented and a philosophical lovesickness. It's a glorious ride, and demands immersion.

Field Music: Open Here (Memphis Industries) [r]
Fun, unpredictable British group's seventh album (fifth this decade) finds them easing into a surprising niche, songwriting-wise; they come off like Sparks covering Thompson Twins numbers, and my goodness do they commit to the eccentric arrangement and production ideas entailed by that concept. Sometimes it's about the song ("Share a Pillow") but more often it's about hooks piled on top of hooks piled on top of bizarre but ear-friendly ideas, resembling a more organic and equally frantic Apples in Stereo. Songs like "Goodbye to the Country" make you retroactively mourn the ink wasted on Foxygen, and the classicist Beautiful Music segue from "Daylight Saving" to "Find a Way to Keep Me" (those violins!) is funnier than Lonely Island.

James Hunter: Whatever It Takes (Daptone)
something something great-grandparents something something Daptone something something 45rpm analogue something something sorry it's late

MGMT: Little Dark Age (Columbia) [r]
I know nothing about the ins and outs of MGMT's deal with Columbia except that I remember them mentioning that the label raised not one objection to the courageously unexpected tones of their still-miraculous Congratulations, which stands with Smiley Smile and Tusk as one of the most challenging "follow-up" releases by a popular rock band. When Congratulations came out I couldn't believe what I was hearing; I liked the band's druggy, danceable pop-indie already but did not expect Forever Changes. This is a roundabout way of saying that I think we can trust that VanWyngarden and Goldwasser follow their muse without outside interference, and that this record -- which sounds simultaneously like a parody of Oracular Spectacular and a belated sequel to it -- is truly their current "vision," yet somehow the album would perhaps be even more audacious if we found out some label exec was pounding on their door demanding they make it bounce like "Kids." You can get a handle on the thing but only briefly, and it's often irritatingly smarmy -- it opens with a wildly stupid, wildly catchy song called "She Works Out Too Much" that's about exactly what it sounds like it's about, then moves into the stupider, catchier, better title cut -- but its most consistent trait is the disruption of comforting but engaging and lively synthpop with notes of self-conscious violence and bitterness ("go fuck yourself," it casually repeats while you bop), music that wants to trick you into having a good time even though it isn't particularly fond of you. That insincerity is bothersome and disturbing and even fascistic, like a liberal southern rocker's faux-patriotic power chords, but the resulting album is mind-bogglingly interesting because you instantly realize it's the generational washout from the pre-Funeral, pre-You Forgot In in Peoplke indie rock era when detachment and disaffection for no particular intellectual reason (not irony, not protest) was the foundation of many extracurricular college educations. In other words it's a record that heavily implies our old mistakes left us fucked over. It's a Devo record that doesn't announce itself as such, a terrifying notion. Then it turns the gun further into the past, at AM pop on "James," at pretty New Romantics on "Me and Michael," at a totally damn convincing facsimile of MTV 1987 on "One Thing Left to Try," and finally surrender Arthur Lee's apocalyptic despair to Jim Morrison's cheap nihilism on the Doors parody "When You're Small." In fact the band this most recalls, though not aesthetically, is the Turtles, whose wit was buried under a complicated, often disdainful relationship with their audience and with pop, who could've wiped the floor with Jim Morrison just like this band probably could with James Murphy. When the record somewhat respectably peters out in that more traditional, stoned manner of their other LPs, you wonder if the story you've made up about it is just a fiction, if in reality it's just a workhorse band shoving out new material... but I really doubt it.

Joan as Police Woman: Damned Devotion (PIAS)
Frequent session musician and singer-songwriter Joan Wasser has recorded jazzy, carefully sustained mood music in the past inspired by quiet storm, but with breathy vocals passing into a Nico-like drone. On her seventh album she edges closer to sober, stark chamber pop, with an edge reminiscent of Goldfrapp circa Tales of Us. That said, the best songs are the ones that stick out from the lushly minimal lounge procession occupying most of the record: "Warning Bell" has an addictive, odd, warm groove suggesting a thorny Al Green album cut, and "Tell Me" is the one moment when her voice soars without a certain oppressive cleanliness. The rest is less dangerous, less nervous, but it surely has its place in someone's late night.

Ezra Furman: Transangelic Exodus (Bella Union) [r]
In his liner notes, Furman (like D'Angelo before him) explicitly lays this out as a protest record in a justified effort to prevent anyone from looking past its meaning, a meaning expressed in passionate, observant lyrics telling a metaphorically heavy tale about people in love and on the run from a government that has declared their existence illegal. It begins and ends on the road and only occasionally detours; like many concept albums, it seems to achieve its greatest resonance strictly when it temporarily leaves its plot behind, less because of any shortcomings with that plot than because of the obligations inherent to creating a novel or a film rather than an LP. The opener "Suck the Blood from My Wound," with its righteous hook and watery Springsteen riffing, suggests the beginning to a punk rock odyssey -- capturing the urgency, fear and beauty of running away with someone nearly as masterfully as Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once -- that then never takes off, much tension with little payoff (and maybe that's what it's like to live as a trans person, or as an immigrant or refugee, or a person of color, in 2018), immediately trapping itself into a suite of slow-moving, story-advancing gloom, eventually starting to resemble Colin Meloy's blabber after a session binge-watching war movies on TCM. Nothing else on the record, at least none of the parts about the angels on the lam, is as visceral as that song (or the absolutely perfect cello-driven single "Love You So Bad," a song that works and wounds on its own). And truthfully, "Suck the Blood" also points toward other problems, namely that in moving away from the ferocious, timeless rock & roll interplay of his band the Boyfriends (still with him live under a different name) and toward a parade of filters, electronics, fussed-over production and general aural muddiness that seems designed to imply ambition and importance but instead makes us feel a distancing effect absent on Furman's older work, his last two records in particular. It's not for us to say whether this is a commercial bid (which may work; it's getting him more attention in America) or whether it's what he really just feels like making right now: "Psalm 151" sounds like a David Bowie album closer, a neat example of what he might have been going for, but that's at least partially because it's one of the few songs in which the hooks and melody come through without excessive, distracting dross, and even it has the same sluggish tempo as so much of the rest. It simply couldn't be more obvious that the majority of these songs were derailed by endless mucking about in the studio, like those post-Bill Berry R.E.M. albums, and will come screaming forward onstage: listen to how a potentially dramatic, powerful chorus on "Come Here, Get Away from Me" gets completely sidelined by the intrusion of a loud programmed drum tic (and I like drum machines). More than anything, lyrically and musically, the record feels overly formal in a way Furman's best work doesn't, partially because of the largeness of its ideas, and you could argue it seems that way to me because I'm not its intended recipient (this also happened with To Pimp a Butterfly) and maybe I (we) don't have the right to expect unmitigated juggling joy from an artist in his position, in this country, in the Trump era to which this and so many other new records are understandably reacting. But I also don't think "joy" is strictly what I or you got out of Day of the Dog or Perpetual Motion People, apart from a joy that was intensely hard-won; it's as though, in attempting ambitiously to speak to power and to great important truth, Furman has lost the conviction and ability that allowed him unapologetically to talk about himself, which perversely is exactly what made songs like "Body Was Made" and "Ordinary Life" irrepressibly universal. That's not to say he doesn't use the angelic theme to talk about what he does know, and the manner in which he does it here will undoubtedly be more successful for certain listeners: "Maraschino Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill" (which I believe but can't confirm employs a musical nod to the first Pet Shop Boys song I ever heard, "To Step Aside") movingly talks of looking nervously over one's shoulder while buying a dress, "Compulsive Liar" mournfully tracks the first traces of his (or his protagonist's) sexuality and his defensive responses to it, and "From a Beach House" both slyly nods in the midst of a story about a convenient hiding place to the weird cornucopia of reference points ("a yellow house full of Beatles and Stones") Furman enjoys as a result of his privileged background and illustrates how identity can wipe away much of that privilege. And on paper, all of the lyrics here are consistently sophisticated and sometimes transcendent ("I believe in God but I don't believe we're gettin' out of this one"), deserving of study as much for their relationship to classical epics and the Bible as to modern mores and social difficulties. And his singing has never been better, but like John Lennon (one of his favorites), he doesn't seem to want us to hear it nakedly without disguise or filter. There's much to admire here, but try as I might, I can't stop getting stuck on the lack of liveliness, on the dramatic stasis; there's a reason "You Really Got Me" means more to me than Preservation ever will, and it has nothing to do with subject matter.

Rich Krueger: Life Ain't That Long (Rockink)
Songs about sex and shitting from another singer-songwriter with an evidently tiny audience, though in this case I sort of wonder why; not only is it agreeable enough in that ranty Randy Newman fashion, it sounds like what Father John Misty will probably be peddling in thirty years (one song contains the words "Susan Sarandon's lovely tits" and the words "she let me put my fingers in"). It's "moving" cause he's so "regular" and while it can be truly fucking banal at times ("Jesus fucking Christ I loved her), like hanging out with somebody who pulls out the guitar in the closet "for the first time in years" about once a week, and its sentimentality about suffering is the specific kind of old-person claptrap that gets my goat (the song about how nice it is outside despite hemorrhoids and back pain may only frustrate me for the same reason things like Everlast and Julien Baker start to sound unbearably trite and superficial after you've had actual tragedy in your life), and even though the arrangements sound like shitty MIDI covers of "Sweet Jane" and "Memories," even though all the songs are five or six minutes and feel longer, I can't slam a guy who's this romantically stuck on the Sex Pistols.

U.S. Girls: In a Poem Unlimited (4AD) [hr]
Meghan Remy writes "experimental pop," sez Wikipedia; but nah, this is disco, this is ABBA ("M.A.H."), this is Feist's "One Evening" ("Rosebud"), this is A Flock of Seagulls, this is Debbie Harry and Patti Smith, this is the Go-Go's, this is totally convincing throwback asserting itself as an individual statement from a highly capable solo performer, helped along here by the Cosmic Range, who come from a fusion background but apply laser focus to these consistently terrific songs. You almost can't hear Remy's well-laid out protests, amplifying everybody's angst right now, over the sonic pleasures but the groove peaks on "Pearly Gates," all delightful syncopation of drums, keyboards, vocals, followed on impeccably by "Poem," ending it all with guitar solos that call back to the David Byrne-Alex Weir exchanges that closed "Crosseyed and Painless" in Stop Making Sense. Even the plodding song, "L-Over," is plodding in the best, most strangely invigorating sense. It's a lovely dance record you can imagine doubling as a communal touchstone, because eventually those protests do ring out, there for you when you need them.

Marlon Williams: Make Way for Love (Dead Oceans) [r]
Depending on mood, this is either maddeningly grating or really ethereal and beautiful, which probably speaks well of it if anything. Williams hails from New Zealand, commits to no particular genre, doesn't sound like the guy from Papa Roach like seemingly every other male singer-songwriter of recent vintage, and has a bigger voice than the Mark Zuckerberg-like visage on the cover suggests as possible. This is best toward the front end, moving from the entertaining Daptone-isms of "What's Chasing You" to the pleasingly baroque doo wop "Beautiful Dress" and the genuinely driving "Party Boy." He even evokes Beatle memories on "Can I Call You," though it really sounds like Ringo and John singing a drunken duet on a demo the latter might've written and discarded. And "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore" achieves what Beck ("Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime") and R.E.M. ("Everybody Hurts") couldn't quite: it offers a "You Can't Always Get What You Want"-"Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" sized sadsack anthem for the kids (read: young marrieds) of today!

Superchunk: What a Time to Be Alive (Merge)
It's dawning on me that every single well-intentioned veteran indie rock band is gonna release their Trump Record now and they're all going to require basically the same "well props to them for doing this, yelping out lyrics about Chelsea Manning and the wall and Reagan youths over those sweet power chords blending together" review so can we skip it? It's a question of Responsibility and that's fine. The years will go on and, hopefully, we'll all survive and get past it. It remains to be seen if any mere guitar group can actually bring down the government. It remains to be seen if any guitar group can shut the world out sufficiently to respond to our Situation and still craft something that will last. Good and conscientious as they may be, revolution isn't Superchunk's strong point.


* Lankum: Between the Earth & the Sky
* Daphne: Joli Mai
* Andrew Bird: Echoloations: River
* Cindy Wilson: Change
* Sidney Gish: No Dogs Allowed
* First Aid Kit: Ruins
* Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo
* Shannon and the Clams: Onion
Courtney Pine: Black Notes from the Deep
Curtis Harding: Face Your Fear
Lost Horizons: Ojala
Bibio: Phantom Brickworks
James Holden & the Animal Spirits: The Animal Spirits
Maylee Todd: Acts of Love
Call Super: Arpo
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Who Built the Moon?
Nabihah Iqbal: Weighing of the Heart
Miguel: War & Leisure
Belle & Sebastian: How to Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 1 EP
Jim James: Tribute to 2
Robert Finley: Goin' Platinum!
L'Orange: The Ordinary Man
N.E.R.D.: No One Ever Really Dies
G-Eazy: The Beautiful & Damned
Dean McPhee: Four Stones
Shopping: The Official Body
Xylouris White: Mother
Dream Wife
Calexico: The Thread That Keeps Us
Stick in the Wheel: Follow Them True
Stef Chura: Messes
Red River Dialect: Broken Stay Open Sky
Poppy Ackroyd: Resolve
Rae Morris: Someone Out There
Everything Is Recorded: By Richard Russell
The Orielles: Silver Dollar Moment

The Used: The Canyon
Lee Ann Womack: The Lonely, the Lonesome and the Gone [NYIM]
Baxter Dury: Prince of Tears
John Maus: Screen Memories
Sam Smith: The Thrill of It All [NYIM]
Spinning Coin: Permo
Quicksand: Interiors
Taylor Swift: reputation
Gun Outfit: Out of Range
Syleena Johnson: Rebirth of Soul [NYIM]
Karl Blau: Out Her Space
Chris Stapleton: From a Room, Vol. 2 [NYIM]
Peter Hammill: From the Trees [NYIM]
Alien Stadium: Livin' in Elizabethan Times
Camilla Cabello: Camilla
Bahamas: Earthtones
Marmozets: Knowing What You Know Now [NYIM]
Django Django: Marble Skies
The Soft Moon: Criminal
Alela Diane: Cusp [NYIM]
Son Lux: Brighter Wounds
Jim White: Waffles, Triangles & Jesus [NYIM]
The Spook School: Could It Be Different?
Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending
Brandi Carlile: By the Way I Forgive You
Laurie Anderson: Landfall [NYIM]
Dabrye: Three/Three [NYIM]

The B-52's: Whammy! (Warner Bros. 1980) [r]
Carl Perkins: Dance Album (Sun 1957) [hr]
Eddie Cochran: Singin' to My Baby (Liberty 1957) [-]
Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps: Bluejan Bop! (Capitol 1956) [hr]
Jerry Lee Lewis (Sun 1958) [r]

Index of posts 1-700

700 posts and lord knows how many releases. Here they all are, no matter how short or insubstantial the review itself was. I don't index albums from the monthly reject lists here, since they were not properly heard in full or reviewed, but if you're curious about those for some reason they should come up when you perform a search.

KEY: [A+] / [hr] = highly recommended / [r] = recommended / [c] = caution / [NO] = avoid

(Keep in mind, we're using iTunes alphabetization here. I am well aware that from a cataloging standpoint that's total bullshit, but it keeps me from having to deal with surname ambiguities. I'm a library assistant in real life so I know this is offensive, and all I can tell you is... I like pissing you off.)

[(Sandy)] Alex G: Beach Music (2015) [r]
(Sandy) Alex G: Rocket (2017) [r]
10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe (1987) [c]
10,000 Maniacs: Blind Man's Zoo (1989)
10,000 Maniacs: Our Time in Eden (1992) [c]
13th Floor Elevators: The Psychedelic Sounds Of (1966) [hr]
13th Floor Elevators: Easter Everywhere (1967) [r]
2 Many DJ's: As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Pt. 2 (2002)
3 Mustaphas 3: Soup of the Century (1990) [c]
65daysofstatic: Wild Light (2013)
The 6ths: Wasps' Nest (1995) [hr]
The 6ths: Hyacinths and Thistles (2000) [r]
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes (2002) [c]
A.C. Newman: The Slow Wonder (2004) [r]
A.C. Newman: Get Guilty (2009) [r]
A$AP Ferg: Always Strive and Prosper (2016) [r]
A$AP Rocky: LongLiveA$AP (2013) [r]
Actress: R.I.P. (2012)
Actress: AZD (2017) [r]
Adam Green: Jacket Full of Danger (2006) [r]
Advance Base: A Shut-In's Prayer (2012) [hr]
Advance Base: Nephew in the Wild (2015) [r]
Aesop Rock: Labor Days (2001) [r]
The Afghan Whigs: In Spades (2017)
AFX: Orphaned Deejay Selek (2015) [r]
Against Me!: Transgender Dysphoria Blues (2014) [r]
Aimee Mann: Mental Illness (2017)
Air: Moon Safari (1998) [hr]
Al Green Gets Next to You (1971) [hr]
Al Green: Let's Stay Together (1972) [hr]
Al Green: I'm Still in Love with You (1972) [hr]
Al Wilson: Show and Tell (1973)
Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color (2015) [hr]
Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill (1995) [r]
Alex Chilton: Like Flies on Sherbert (1980) [hr]
Alexander "Skip" Spence: Oar (1969) [hr]
Alexi Murdoch: Time Without Consequence (2006) [hr]
Alexi Murdoch: Towards the Sun (2009) [r]
Algiers: The Underside of Power (2017) [c]
Ali Farka Toure (1988) [r]
Alison Moyet: Other (2017) [r]
Allen Toussaint: American Tunes (2016) [r]
Allison Crutchfield: Tourist in This Town (2017) [r]
Allo Darlin': We Come from the Same Place (2014) [r]
alt-J: This Is All Yours (2014) [r]
AlunaGeorge: Body Music (2013) [r]
Amadou & Mariam: La Confusion (2017) [r]
Amber Coffman: City of No Reply (2017) [r]
Ambrose Akinmusire: The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint (2014) [r]
American Wrestlers: Goodbye Terrible Youth (2017) [r]
Anal Cunt: I Like It When You Die (1997)
Anderson .Paak: Malbu (2016) [r]
Andrew Bird: Noble Beast (2009) [hr]
Andrew Bird: Break It Yourself (2012) [r]
Andrew Bird: Hands of Glory (2012) [hr]
Andrew Bird: Are You Serious (2016) [r]
Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire: Thrills (1998)
Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire: Oh! The Grandeur (1999) [r]
Andy Statman: Nashville Mornings, New York Nights (1986) [r]
Andy Stott: Luxury Problems (2012)
Andy Stott: Faith in Strangers (2014) [r]
Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014)
Angel Olsen: My Woman (2016)
Angelique Kidjo: Logozo (1991) [c]
Angelique Kidjo: Eve (2014) [r]
Angelo de Augustine: Swim Inside the Moon (2017) [r]
Angie Stone: Black Diamond (1999)
Animal Collective: Sung Tongs (2004)
The Animals: Animalism (1966) [r]
Anne Meredith: Varmints (2016)
Annie: Anniemal (2004)
Annie Lennox: Diva (1992)
Anohni: Hopelessness (2016) [r]
Anouar Brahem: Barzakh (1991) [r]
Anthony Joseph: Time (2014) [r]
Anthony Joseph: Caribbean Roots (2016) [hr]
Antibalas: Where the Gods Are in Peace (2017) [r]
Antietam: Rope-a-Dope (1994)
The Antlers: Hospice (2009)
The Antlers: Burst Apart (2011) [hr]
The Antlers: Familiars (2014) [r]
Antibalas (2012) [r]
Antony & the Johnsons: I Am a Bird Now (2005)
Any Trouble: Where Are All the Nice Girls? (1980) [c]
Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992) [hr]
Aphex Twin: Syro (2014) [c]
Apollo Brown: Grandeur (2015) [r]
The Apples in Stereo: Fun Trick Noisemaker (1995) [r]
The Apples in Stereo: New Magnetic Wonder (2007) [r]
AraabMUZIK: Electronic Dream (2011)
Arab Strap: Monday at the Hug & Pint (2003) [c]
Arca: Xen (2014)
Arca: Mutant (2015)
Arca (2017)
The Arcs: Yours, Dreamily (2015)
Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004) [hr]
Arcade Fire: Neon Bible (2007) [hr]
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (2010) [hr]
Arcade Fire: Reflektor (2014) [r]
Arcade Fire: Everything Now (2017) [NO]
Archers of Loaf: Icky Mettle (1993)
Architecture in Helsinki: In Case We Die (2005)
Archy Marshall: A New Place 2 Drown (2015) [r]
Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006) [c]
Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967) [A+]
Ariel Pink: Worn Copy (2005)
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Before Today (2010) [hr]
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes (2012) [NO]
Ariel Pink: pom pom (2014) [NO]
Ariel Pink: Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (2017) [c]
Art Blakey: Moanin' (1958) [hr]
Art Brut: Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2005) [r]
Artful Dodger: It's All About the Stragglers (2000) [r]
Arthur Lee: Vindicator (1972) [c]
Asgeir: In the Silence (2014) [hr]
Asgeir: Afterglow (2017)
Ashley Monroe: The Blade (2015)
Atlas Sound: Logos (2009) [r]
Atlas Sound: Parallax (2011) [hr]
Autechre: Tri Repetae (1995)
The Avalanches: Since I Left You (2000) [hr]
The Avalanches: Wildflower (2016)
Average White Band: AWB (1974) [hr]
The Avett Brothers: Four Thieves Gone (2006) [r]
The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You (2009) [hr]
The Avett Brothers: The Carpenter (2012)
The Avett Brothers: Magpie and the Dandelion (2013)
The Avett Brothers: True Sadness (2016) [r]
Avey Tare: Down There (2010) [c]
Ayub Ogada: En Mana Kuoyo (1993) [hr]
Azealia Banks: Broke with Expensive Taste (2014) [hr]
The B-52's (1979) [hr]
The B-52's: Wild Planet (1980) [hr]
Badbadnotgood: III (2014) [r]
Badbadnotgood: IV (2016) [r]
The Bangles: All Over the Place (1984) [hr]
Basia Bulat: Good Advice (2016) [r]
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: I Speak Fula (2010) [hr]
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Jama Ko (2013) [hr]
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Ba Power (2015) [r]
Bat for Lashes: The Haunted Man (2012)
Baths: Obsidian (2013) [r]
The Bats: Free All the Monsters (2011) [r]
The Beach Boys: Surfin' Safari (1962) [r]
The Beach Boys: Surfin' U.S.A. (1963)
The Beach Boys: Surfer Girl (1963) [hr]
The Beach Boys: Little Deuce Coupe (1963) [r]
The Beach Boys: Shut Down Vol. 2 (1964) [r]
The Beach Boys: All Summer Long (1964) [hr]
The Beach Boys: Christmas Album (1964)
The Beach Boys: Today! (1965) [hr]
The Beach Boys: Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965) [A+]
The Beach Boys: Party! (1965) [r]
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (1966) [A+]
The Beach Boys: Smiley Smile (1967) [A+]
The Beach Boys: Wild Honey (1967) [A+]
The Beach Boys: Friends (1968) [A+]
The Beach Boys: 20/20 (1969) [hr]
The Beach Boys: Sunflower (1970) [r]
The Beach Boys: Surf's Up (1971) [r]
The Beach Boys: Carl & the Passions- So Tough (1972) [r]
The Beach Boys: Holland (1973) [hr]
The Beach Boys: 15 Big Ones (1976)
The Beach Boys: Love You (1977) [A+]
The Beach Boys: MIU Album (1978) [c]
The Beach Boys: L.A. (Light Album) (1979)
The Beach Boys: Keepin' the Summer Alive (1980) [NO]
The Beach Boys (1985)
The Beach Boys: Still Cruisin' (1989) [NO]
The Beach Boys: Summer in Paradise (1992) [NO]
The Beach Boys: That's Why God Made the Radio (2012) [NO]
Beach Fossils: Somersault (2017) [r]
Beach House: Devotion (2008) [r]
Beach House: Bloom (2012) [hr]
Beach House: Depression Cherry (2015) [hr]
Beach House: Thank Your Lucky Stars (2015) [r]
Beach Slang: The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us (2015) [c]
Beach Slang: A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings (2016) [c]
Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (2011) [r]
The Beatles: Please Please Me (1963) [A+]
The Beatles: With the Beatles (1963) [A+]
The Beatles: A Hard Day's Night (1964) [A+]
The Beatles: Beatles for Sale (1964) [A+]
Beauty Pill: Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are (2015)
Beck: Morning Phase (2014) [c]
Belle & Sebastian: The Life Pursuit (2006) [hr]
Belle & Sebastian: Write About Love (2010) [r]
Belle & Sebastian: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (2015)
Ben Frost: Aurora (2014)
Ben Frost: The Centre Cannot Hold (2017) [r]
Ben Watt: Hendra (2014)
Benjamin Clementine: I Tell a Fly (2017) [r]
Best Coast: Crazy for You (2010) [r]
Beth Ditto: Fake Sugar (2017) [r]
Beth Orton: Kidsticks (2016) [r]
Beyonce: I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008)
Beyonce: 4 (2011) [r]
Beyonce (2014) [hr]
Beyonce: Lemonade (2016) [hr]
Bicep (2017) [r]
Big Boi: Sir Lucious Left Foot- The Son of Chico Dusty (2010) [r]
Big Star: #1 Record (1972) [A+]
Big Star: Radio City (1973) [A+]
Big Star: Third / Sister Lovers (1978) [A+]
Big Thief: Capacity (2017) [r]
Bilal: A Love Surreal (2013)
Bilal: In Another Life (2015) [r]
Bill Callahan: Dream River (2013)
Bill Ryder-Jones: West Kirby County Primary (2015)
The Bird and the Bee: Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future (2008) [hr]
The Bird and the Bee: Recreational Love (2015) [r]
Bjork: Selmasongs (2000) [hr]
Bjork: Volta (2007) [r]
Bjork: Biophilia (2011) [r]
Bjork: Vulnicura (2015) [r]
Bjork: Utopia (2017) [r]
Black Milk: No Poison No Paradise (2013) [r]
Blackalicious: Imani, Vol. 1 (2015) [r]
Blanck Mass: World Eater (2017) [r]
Blank Realm: Grassed Inn (2014) [r]
Blondie: Pollinator (2017) [r]
Blood Orange: Cupid Deluxe (2013) [r]
Blood Orange: Freetown Sound (2016) [r]
Blue Hawaii: Tenderness (2017) [r]
Blur: Think Tank (2003) [hr]
Blur: The Magic Whip (2015) [r]
Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest (2013)
Bob Dylan: Together Through Life (2009) [r]
Bob Dylan: Tempest (2012) [hr]
Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night (2015) [c]
Bob Dylan: Fallen Angels (2016)
Bob Dylan: Triplicate (2017) [c]
Bob Mould: Beauty & Ruin (2014) [r]
Bob Mould: Patch the Sky (2016)
Bobby Rush: Porcupine Meat (2016)
Bombino: Azel (2016) [r]
Bon Iver (2011)
Bon Iver: 22, A Million (2016) [c]
Bonde do Role: Tropical/Bacanal (2012) [r]
Bonnie Raitt: Dig in Deep (2016)
Bonobo: Migration (2017) [r]
The Both (2014)
Brad Paisley: Love and War (2017)
Braid: No Coast (2014) [c]
Brand New: Science Fiction (2017)
Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets (1974) [hr]
Brian Eno: Lux (2012) [r]
Brian Eno: Reflection (2017) [r]
Brian Eno & Karl Hyde: High Life (2014) [r]
Brian Eno & Rick Holland: Drums Between the Bells (2011) [c]
Broken Bells (2010)
Broken Social Scene (2005) [hr]
Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder (2017) [r]
Buddy Holly: The "Chirping" Crickets (1957) [hr]
Buddy Holly (1958) [hr]
The Bug: Angels & Devils (2014)
Built to Spill: Untethered Moon (2015) [hr]
Bully: Feels Like (2015) [r]
The Byrds: Fifth Dimension (1966) [hr]
The C.A. Quintet: Trip Thru Hell (1968) [r]
Cake: Motorcade of Generosity (1994)
Cake: Fashion Nugget (1996) [c]
Cake: Prolonging the Magic (1998)
Cake: Comfort Eagle (2001)
Calexico: The Blacklight (1998)
Camera Obscura: Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi (2001) [r]
Camera Obscura: Underachievers Plaese Try Harder (2003) [hr]
Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country (2006) [hr]
Camera Obscura: My Maudlin Career (2009) [c]
Camera Obscura: Desire Lines (2013) [r]
Caribou: Our Love (2014) [hr]
Carly Rae Jepsen: E-MO-TION (2015) [r]
Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial (2016)
case/lang/veirs (2016)
Cass McCombs: Wit's End (2011)
Cass McCombs: Mangy Love (2016)
Cat Power: The Greatest (2006) [hr]
Cat Power: Sun (2012) [r]
ceo: White Magic (2010) [r]
Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book (2016) [r]
Charles Bradley: Victim of Love (2013) [r]
Charles Bradley: Changes (2016)
Charli XCX: True Romance (2013)
Charli XCX: Sucker (2015) [r]
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Rest (2017)
Charly Bliss: Guppy (2017) [hr]
Chastity Belt: Time to Go Home (2015) [hr]
Chastity Belt: I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone (2017) [hr]
Chatham County Line: IV (2008) [hr]
Chatham County Line: Wildwood (2010) [r]
Chatham County Line: Tightrope (2014)
Chatham County Line: Autumn (2016)
Chelsea Wolfe: Abyss (2015)
The Chemical Brothers: Further (2010)
The Chemical Brothers: Born in the Echoes (2015) [r]
Chromatics: Kill for Love (2012) [r]
Chuck Berry: After School Session (1957) [hr]
Chuck Berry: One Dozen Berrys (1958) [hr]
Chuck Berry: Chuck (2017) [r]
Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe (2013) [r]
Ciara: Basic Instinct (2010) [r]
Ciara (2013) [hr]
Ciara: Jackie (2015)
Cities Aviv: Come to Life (2014) [hr]
Clark (2014) [r]
The Clash (1977) [A+]
The Clash: Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978) [r]
The Clientele: Music for the Age of Miracles (2017) [r]
clipping.: CLPPNG (2014) [hr]
clipping.: Splendor & Misery (2016) [r]
Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory (2012) [c]
Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld: Never Were the Way She Was (2015) [r]
Collette: When the Music's Loud (2013) [r]
Common: Black America Again (2016) [r]
Conor Oberst: Upside Down Mountain (2014) [r]
Conor Oberst: Salutations (2017)
Converge: The Dusk in Us (2017) [c]
The Coral: Distance Inbetween (2016) [c]
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Think and Sit, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015) [hr]
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice (2017) [c]
Cream: Disraeli Gears (1967) [c]
Crystal Castles (2008) [hr]
Crystal Castles (2010) [hr]
Crystal Castles: (III) (2012)
Crystal Fairy (2017) [r]
Cults (2011) [hr]
Cults: Static (2013)
Cults: Offering (2017)
Curren$y: Jet Files (2009) [r]
Curren$y: Pilot Talk (2010) [hr]
Curren$y: Pilot Talk II (2010) [r]
Curren$y: Weekend at Burnie's (2011) [r]
Curren$y: Muscle Car Chronicles (2012)
Curren$y: The Stoned Immaculate (2012) [r]
Curren$y: Pilot Talk III (2015) [r]
Curren$y: Canal Street Confidential (2015) [c]
Cut Copy: In Ghost Colours (2008) [r]
Cut Copy: Zonoscope (2011) [hr]
Cut Copy: Free Your Mind (2013) [hr]
Cut Copy: Haiku from Zero (2017) [hr]
Cymbals: The Age of Fracture (2014) [r]
D.L. Byron: This Day and Age (1980)
Daft Punk: Homework (1997) [r]
Daft Punk: Discovery (2000) [r]
Daft Punk: Human After All (2005)
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (2013) [hr]
Dalek: Endangered Philosophies (2017) [r]
Damien Jurado: Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (2014) [r]
Damien Rice: My Favorite Faded Fantasy (2014) [c]
The Damned: Damned Damned Damned (1977) [hr]
D'Angelo: Voodoo (2000) [hr]
D'Angelo: Black Messiah (2014) [A+]
Danny Brown: The Hybrid (2010)
Danny Brown: XXX (2011) [r]
Danny Brown: Old (2013) [hr]
Danny Brown: Atrocity Exhibition (2016) [hr]
Darkside: Psychic (2013)
Darkstar: Foam Island (2015) [r]
Das Racist: Relax (2011) [hr]
David Bowie: Reality (2003)
David Bowie: The Next Day (2013) [hr]
David Bowie: Blackstar (2016) [hr]
Dawn Richard: Goldenheart (2013) [r]
Dawn Richard: Redemption (2017) [r]
De La Soul: The Grind Date (2004) [r]
De La Soul: And the Anonymous Nobody (2016) [r]
Death Grips: The Money Store (2012) [NO]
The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love (2009)
The Decemberists: The King Is Dead (2011) [hr]
The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World (2015) [c]
Deer Tick: Vol. 2 (2017) [r]
Deerhoof: The Magic (2016)
Deerhunter: Microcastle (2008) [r]
Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (2010) [hr]
Deerhunter: Monomania (2013) [c]
Deerhunter: Fading Frontier (2015) [hr]
Della Mae (2015) [r]
Dent May: The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele (2009) [hr]
Dent May: Do Things (2012) [r]
Dent May: Warm Blanket (2013)
Dent May: Across the Multiverse (2017) [c]
Denzel Curry: Imperial (2017) [r]
Depeche Mode: Sounds of the Universe (2009) [r]
Depeche Mode: Delta Machine (2013)
Depeche Mode: Spirit (2017) [hr]
Delorean: Subiza (2010) [r]
Destroyer: Trouble in Dreams (2008)
Destroyer: Kaputt (2011) [hr]
Destroyer: Poison Season (2015) [c]
Destroyer: ken (2017) [r]
Devo: Q- Are We Not Men? A- We Are Devo! (1978) [hr]
Devo: Something for Everybody (2010) [NO]
Diet Cig: Swear I'm Good at This (2017) [r]
DIIV: Oshin (2012)
Dilated Peoples: Directors of Photography (2014) [r]
Dirty Beaches: Drifters / Love Is the Devil (2013) [NO]
Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan (2012)
Dirty Projectors (2017) [NO]
Disclosure: Settle (2013) [r]
Dizzee Rascal: Raskit (2017) [r]
DJ Koze: Amygdala (2013)
DJ Quik: The Book of David (2011) [c]
DJ Rashad: Double Cup (2013) [c]
Do Make Say Think: Stubborn Persistent Illusions (2017) [r]
Don Bryant: Don't Give Up on Love (2017) [r]
Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment: Surf (2015)
Drake: Take Care (2011) [NO]
Drive-By Truckers: American Band (2016)
Ducktails: St. Catherine (2015) [r]
Dum Dum Girls: Too True (2014) [r]
Dungen: Alias Sak (2015)
Dutch Uncles: O Shudder (2015) [r]
dvsn: Sept. 5th (2016) [r]
Earl Sweatshirt: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside (2015)
East India Youth: Total Strife Forever (2014) [r]
Ed Motta: Perpetual Gateways (2016)
Eels: Hombre Lobo (2009) [r]
Eels: Tomorrow Morning (2010)
eels: Wonderful, Glorious (2013) [r]
eels: The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (2014) [c]
EL VY: Return to the Moon (2015) [r]
Elbow: The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014)
Elbow: Little Fictions (2017) [NO]
Eleanor Friedberger: New View (2016) [r]
Eleventh Dream Day: Works for Tomorrow (2015)
El-P: Cancer 4 Cure (2012)
Elza Soares: The Woman at the End of the World (2016) [r]
EMA: Past Life Martyred Saints (2011) [r]
EMA: The Future's Void (2014) [r]
EMA: Exile in the Outer Ring (2017) [r]
Emeralds: Does It Look Like I'm Here? (2010) [c]
Emma Pollock: In Search of Harperfield (2016)
Empress Of: Me (2015) [c]
Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+Evolution (2016) [r]
The Essex Green: Cannibal Sea (2006)
The Everly Brothers (1958) [hr]
The Everly Brothers: Songs Our Daddy Taught Us (1958) [hr]
Everything Everything: Get to Heaven (2015) [NO]
Ex Hex: Rips (2014) [r]
Explosions in the Sky: The Wilderness (2016) [r]
The Extra Lens: Undercard (2010) [r]
Ezra Furman: Day of the Dog (2013) [hr]
Ezra Furman: Perpetual Motion People (2015) [hr]
Factory Floor: 25 25 (2016) [r]
The Faint: Blank Wave Arcade (1999)
Fairport Convention (1967)
Faith No More: Angel Dust (1992) [NO]
Faithless: Reverence (1996) [c]
FaltyDL: Heaven Is for Quitters (2017) [r]
Fang Island (2010)
Fantasia: Back to Me (2010) [hr]
Fantasia: Side Effects of You (2013) [hr]
Fantasia: The Definition Of... (2016) [r]
Fatboy Slim: Better Living Through Chemistry (1996) [NO]
Fatboy Slim: You've Come a Long Way, Baby (1998)
Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear (2015)
Father John Misty: Pure Comedy (2017) [NO]
The Feelies: In Between (2017)
Feist: The Reminder (2007) [hr]
Feist: Metals (2011)
Feist: Pleasure (2017) [r]
Fever Ray: Plunge (2017)
The Field: Looping State of Mind (2011) [r]
The Field: Cupid's Head (2013) [r]
Field Music: Commontime (2016) [r]
Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine (2005) [hr]
Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel... (2012) [hr]
First Aid Kit: Stay Gold (2014) [r]
FKA twigs: LP1 (2014) [NO]
The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (2009) [hr]
The Flaming Lips: The Terror (2013)
The Flaming Lips: Oczy Mlody (2017) [hr]
The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends (2012)
Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (2011) [c]
Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up (2017) [c]
Floating Points: Elaenia (2015) [r]
Floating Points: Reflections - Mojave Desert (2017) [r]
Flock of Dimes: If You See Me, Say Yes (2016) [hr]
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (2010)
Flying Lotus: Until the Quiet Comes (2012)
Flying Lotus: You're Dead! (2014) [hr]
The Foreign Exchange: Tales from the Land of Milk and Honey (2015) [r]
Forest Swords: Engravings (2013) [c]
Forest Swords: Compassion (2017) [r]
Four Tet: There Is Love in You (2010) [r]
Four Tet: Beautiful Rewind (2013) [c]
Four Tet: Morning/Evening (2015) [r]
Foxygen: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors... (2013)
Frank Ocean: Channel Orange (2012) [r]
Frank Ocean: Blonde (2016) [r]
Frankie Cosmos: Next Thing (2016) [r]
Frankie Rose: Interstellar (2012)
Freddie Gibbs: You Only Live 2wice (2017) [r]
Fuck Buttons: Slow Focus (2013) [c]
Fucked Up: David Comes to Life (2011)
Fucked Up: Glass Boys (2014)
Future: DS2 (2015)
Future Bible Heroes: Partygoing (2013) [hr]
Future Islands: Singles (2014) [r]
Galaxie 500: Today (1988) [hr]
Galaxie 500: On Fire (1989) [hr]
Galaxie 500: This Is Our Music (1990) [A+]
Gang Gang Dance: Eye Contact (2011) [r]
Gang of Four: Entertainment! (1979) [A+]
Gang of Four: Content (2011) [r]
Gas: Narkopop (2017) [r]
Gaz Coombes: Matador (2015)
Gerard Way: Hesitant Alien (2014)
Ghost Culture (2015) [r]
Ghostface Killah: Twelve Reasons to Die II (2015) [r]
Ghostface Killah & BadBadNotGood: Sour Soul (2015) [hr]
Ghostpoet: Shedding Skin (2015) [r]
Girlpool: Powerplant (2017)
Girls: Father, Son, Holy Ghost (2011)
Glenn Jones: Fleeting (2016) [r]
Goat: Requiem (2016) [r]
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend (2012) [NO]
Gold Panda: Good Luck and Do Your Best (2016) [r]
Golden Retriever: Rotations (2017) [r]
Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree (2008)
Goldfrapp: Head First (2010)
Goldfrapp: Tales of Us (2013) [r]
Goldfrapp: Silver Eye (2017) [r]
Gonjasufi: A Sufi and a Killer (2010)
Gossip: Music for Men (2009) [hr]
Gossip: A Joyful Noise (2012) [c]
Grandaddy: Last Place (2017) [c]
Grateful Dead: Workingman's Dead (1970)
Great Lake Swimmers: Lost Channels (2009) [r]
Great Lake Swimmers: New Wild Everywhere (2012) [NO]
Great Lake Swimmers: A Forest of Arms (2015) [NO]
Grimes: Visions (2012)
Grimes: Art Angels (2015) [c]
Grizzly Bear: Shields (2012)
Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins (2017)
Grouper: The Man Who Died in His Boat (2013)
Gruff Rhys: American Interior (2014)
Gwenno: Y Dydd Olaf (2015)
Handsome Boy Modeling School: So... How's Your Girl? (1999) [NO]
Haim: Days Are Gone (2013) [r]
Hamell on Trial: Tackle Box (2017) [NO]
Hamilton Leithauser: Black Hours (2014) [r]
Hamiton Leithauser & Rostam: I Had a Dream That You Were Mine (2016) [hr]
Hauschka: What If (2017) [r]
The Haxan Cloak: Excavation (2013) [c]
Heems: Eat Pray Thug (2015) [hr]
Helen: The Original Faces (2015) [r]
The Heliocentrics: A World of Masks (2017) [r]
Herbie Hancock: Head Hunters (1973) [hr]
Hercules & Love Affair: The Feast of the Broken Heart (2014) [r]
Hiatus Kaiyote: Choose Your Weapon (2015) [c]
Hieroglyphic Being: The Disco's of Imhotep (2016) [r]
Hiss Golden Messenger: Lateness of Dancers (2014)
Holly Herndon: Platform (2015)
Holy Fuck: Congrats (2016) [hr]
Hookworms: The Hum (2014) [r]
Hop Along: Painted Shut (2015)
The Horrors: V (2017) [r]
Horse Feathers: Cynic's New Year (2012) [r]
Hospitality (2012) [r]
Hospitality: Trouble (2014) [hr]
Hot Chip: Made in the Dark (2008) [hr]
Hot Chip: One Life Stand (2010) [hr]
Hot Chip: In Our Heads (2012) [r]
Hot Chip: Why Make Sense? (2015) [r]
How to Dress Well: Love Remains (2010) [c]
Hundred Waters: The Moon Rang Like a Bell (2014)
I Break Horses: Chiaroscuro (2014) [r]
Ibeyi: Ash (2017) [r]
Ibibio Sound Machine: Uyai (2017) [hr]
Ice Choir: Afar (2012) [r]
Iceage: New Brigade (2011) [r]
Iceage: Plowing into the Field of Love (2014)
Ice-T: O.G. Original Gangster (1991) [r]
Ida Cox & Coleman Hawkins: Blues for Rampart Street (1961) [hr]
IFE: IIII + IIII (2017) [r]
Iglooghost: Neo Wax Bloom (2017) [hr]
Imani Coppola: Chupacabra (1997) [r]
Imarhan (2016) [r]
Information Society (1988) [hr]
The International Submarine Band: Safe at Home (1968) [r]
The Internet: Ego Death (2015) [r]
Interpol: Our Love to Admire (2007)
Interpol (2010) [c]
Interpol: El Pintor (2014) [r]
Iron & Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (2007) [hr]
Iron & Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (2011) [r]
Iron & Wine: Ghost on Ghost (2013) [c]
Iron & Wine: Beast Epic (2017) [r]
J Dilla: Donuts (2006) [A+]
J.B. Hutto and His Hawks: Hawk Squat! (1968) [r]
Jacques Greene: Feel Infinite (2017) [r]
James Blake (2011) [r]
James Blake: The Colour in Anything (2016) [NO]
James Yorkston: Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society (2014) [c]
Jamie Lidell (2013) [r]
Jamie xx: In Colour (2015) [r]
Jamila Woods: HEAVN (2016) [r]
Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady (2013) [hr]
Janet Jackson: Unbreakable (2015) [r]
Japandroids: Celebration Rock (2012) [NO]
Japanese Breakfast: Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017)
Jason Isbell: Something More Than Free (2015)
Jason Isbell: The Nashville Sound (2017)
Jay Som: Everybody Works (2017) [r]
The Jayhawks: Paging Mr. Proust (2016) [hr]
Jay-Z: Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013)
Jay-Z: 4:44 (2017) [c]
Jay-Z & Kanye West: Watch the Throne (2011) [r]
Jazmine Sullivan: Reality Show (2015) [r]
Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts: Manhattan (2015)
Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch (2016) [r]
Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now (2017)
Jeremih: Late Nights - The Album (2015) [r]
Jesca Hoop: Memories Are Now (2017) [r]
Jesse Boykins III: Love Apparatus (2014) [r]
Jessica Pratt: On Your Own Love Again (2015)
Jessie Ware: Devotion (2012) [r]
Jessy Lanza: Oh No (2016) [r]
Jim O'Rourke: Simple Songs (2015) [r]
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced (1967)
Jlin: Dark Energy (2015)
Jlin: Black Origami (2017) [hr]
Joanna Newsom: Ys (2006) [hr]
Joanna Newsom: Have One on Me (2010) [A+]
Joanna Newsom: Divers (2015) [A+]
Joey Bada$$: All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ (2016) [hr]
John Cale: M:FANS (2016) [hr]
John Coltrane: Giant Steps (1960) [A+]
John Coltrane: Africa/Brass (1961) [A+]
John Coltrane: Ballads (1962) [A+]
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1964) [A+]
John Grant: Gray Tickles, Black Pressure (2015) [c]
John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (2011) [r]
John Talabot: fIN (2012) [r]
Johnny Cash: With His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957) [hr]
Jon Hopkins: Immunity (2013)
Josephine Foster: I'm a Dreamer (2013) [r]
The Joy Formidable: Wolf's Law (2013)
Joyce Manor: Never Hungover Again (2014) [c]
Juana Molino: Halo (2017) [r]
Julia Holter: Ekstasis (2012) [c]
Julian Lynch: Mare (2010) [r]
Julianna Barwick: The Magic Place (2011)
Julianna Barwick: Nepenthe (2013) [c]
Julie Byrne: Not Even Happiness (2017)
The Julie Ruin: Run Fast (2013) [hr]
The Julie Ruin: Hit Reset (2016) [r]
Julien Baker: Turn Out the Lights (2017)
Junior Boys: Big Black Coat (2016) [r]
Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic (2017) [r]
Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience (2013)
K. Michelle: Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? (2015)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: The Kid (2017) [r]
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani: Frkways Vol. 13- Sunergy (2016) [r]
Kaki King: Everybody Loves You (2003) [r]
Kaki King: Legs to Make Us Longer (2004) [hr]
Kaki King: ...Until We Felt Red (2006) [hr]
Kaki King: Dreaming of Revenge (2008) [hr]
Kaki King: Junior (2010)
Kamaiyah: A Good Night in the Ghetto (2016) [r]
Kamasi Washington: The Epic (2015)
Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak (2008) [hr]
Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) [A+]
Kanye West: Yeezus (2013) [A+]
Kanye West: The Life of Pablo (2016) [r]
Karriem Riggins: Headnod Suite (2017) [r]
Kasey Musgraves: Same Trailer Different Park (2013)
Kasey Musgraves: Pageant Material (2015)
Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow (2011)
Kate Tempest: Everybody Down (2014) [hr]
Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos (2016) [hr]
Kaytranada: 99.9% (2016) [r]
Kelela: Take Me Apart (2017) [hr]
Kelis: Food (2014) [r]
Kelly Lee Owens (2017) [r]
Kendrick Lamar: Section.80 (2011) [r]
Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012) [hr]
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) [r]
Kendrick Lamar: untitled unmastered. (2016) [hr]
Kendrick Lamar: DAMN. (2017) [hr]
Kesha: Rainbow (2017)
Kevin Gates: Islah (2016) [r]
Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (2016)
Kevin Morby: City Music (2017)
Khalid: American Teen (2017)
Killer Mike: PL3DGE (2011)
Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music (2012) [hr]
King: We Are King (2016) [r]
King Creosote: From Scotland with Love (2014)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Nonagon Infinity (2016) [NO]
King Krule: The Ooz (2017)
The Kinks (1964) [r]
The Kinks: Kinda Kinks (1965) [hr]
The Kinks: The Kink Kontroversy (1965) [hr]
The Kinks: Face to Face (1966) [A+]
The Knife: Shaking the Habitual (2013)
Knxledge: Hud Dreams (2015) [r]
Konono No. 1: Meets Batida (2016) [r]
KT Tunstall: Invisible Empire / Crescent Moon (2013) [r]
Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring for My Halo (2011) [NO]
Kwabs: Love + War (2015) [r]
Kyle Craft: Dolls of Highland (2016) [r]
L7 (1988)
L7: Smell the Magic (1990) [hr]
L7: Bricks Are Heavy (1992) [hr]
L7: Hungry for Stink (1994) [r]
L.A. Witch (2017) [r]
La Bouche: Sweet Dreams (2014)
La Roux: Trouble in Paradise (2014) [r]
Lady Lamb: Ripely Pine (2013) [hr]
Lady Lamb: After (2015) [hr]
Lake Street Dive: Bad Self Portraits (2014) [hr]
Lake Street Dive: Side Pony (2016) [r]
Lambchop: Mr. M (2012) [r]
Lambchop: FLOTUS (2016) [NO]
Land of Talk: Life After Youth (2017)
Lapsley: Long Way Home (2016) [r]
Laura Cantrell: No Way There from Here (2014) [r]
Laura Gibson: Empire Builder (2016) [r]
Laura Marling: Semper Femina (2017)
Laurel Halo: Dust (2017) [hr]
Laurie Anderson: Heart of a Dog (2015) [r]
LCD Soundsystem: american dream (2017) [c]
Lee Fields: Emma Jean (2014) [r]
Lee Fields: Special Night (2017) [r]
Lee Gamble: Mnestic Pressure (2017) [r]
Leon Bridges: Coming Home (2015) [hr]
Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) [A+]
Leonard Cohen: Songs from a Room (1969) [hr]
Leonard Cohen: Dear Heather (2004) [hr]
Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas (2012)
Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems (2014) [hr]
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker (2016) [hr]
Les Amazones D'Afrique: Republique Amazone (2017) [r]
Levon Vincent (2015)
Lightning Bolt: Fantasy Empire (2015) [NO]
Lil B: Black Ken (2017)
Lindstrom: It's Alright Between Us as It Is (2017) [r]
Lisa Germano: No Elephants (2013)
Little Richard: Here's Little Richard (1957)
Living Colour: Shade (2017) [r]
Lizzo: Big GRRL Small World (2016) [hr]
Logic: The Incredible True Story (2015) [r]
London Grammar: If You Wait (2014) [r]
London O'Connor: O∆ (2017) [hr]
Lone: Reality Testing (2014)
Lonelady: Hinterland (2015) [r]
Lord Huron: Lonesome Dreams (2012) [r]
Lorde: Melodrama (2017)
Loretta Lynn: Full Circle (2016) [r]
Los Campesinos!: No Blues (2013)
Loscil: Monument Builders (2017) [r]
Lotus Plaza: Spooky Action at a Distance (2012)
Lower Dens: Escape from Evil (2015) [r]
Lou Reed (1972) [r]
Love: Forever Changes (1967) [A+]
Loyle Carner: Yesterday's Gone (2017) [hr]
Lucinda Williams: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (2014) [r]
Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016)
Lucy Dacus: No Burden (2016) [r]
Lupe Fiasco: Lasers (2011) [NO]
Lupe Fiasco: Food & Liquor II (2012) [c]
Lupe Fiasco: Tetsuo & Youth (2015)
Lupe Fiasco: Drogas Light (2017) [r]
Lydia Loveless: Somewhere Else (2014)
Lydia Loveless: Real (2016) [hr]
Lykke Li: Wounded Rhymes (2011) [r]
Lykke Li: I Never Learn (2014)
Lyla Foy: Mirrors the Sky (2014) [hr]
M. Ward: Duet for Guitars #2 (1999) [r]
M. Ward: End of Amnesia (2001) [r]
M. Ward: Transfiguration of Vincent (2003) [hr]
M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion (2012)
M. Ward: More Rain (2016) [c]
M.I.A.: Matangi (2013) [r]
M.I.A.: AIM (2016) [r]
M83: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (2011) [c]
Mac DeMarco: 2 (2012)
Mac DeMarco: Salad Days (2014) [c]
Mac DeMarco: This Old Dog (2017) [c]
Madness: Can't Touch Us Now (2017) [r]
Madonna: Hard Candy (2008)
Madonna: MDNA (2012)
Madonna: Rebel Heart (2015)
The Magnetic Fields: Distortion (2008) [hr]
The Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the Sea (2012) [r]
The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (2017) [r]
Majical Cloudz: Are You Alone? (2015) [NO]
Male Bonding: Nothing Hurts (2010) [hr]
Male Bonding: Endless Now (2011) [r]
Male Bonding: Headache (2016)
Manchester Orchestra: A Black Mile to the Surface (2017) [c]
Manic Street Preachers: Futurology (2014)
Marc Almond: The Velvet Trail (2015)
Marianne Faithfull: Give My Love to London (2014) [r]
Marissa Nadler: July (2014) [c]
Mark Eitzel: Hey Mr. Ferryman (2017) [c]
Mark Lanegan Band: Phantom Radio (2014) [c]
Mark Lanegan Band: Gargoyle (2017)
Mark Pritchard: Under the Sun (2016) [r]
Mark Ronson: Uptown Special (2015) [c]
Marnie Stern: The Chronicles of Marnia (2013)
Marvin Gaye: What's Going On (1971) [A+]
Marvin Gaye: Let's Get It On (1973) [A+]
Marvin Gaye: I Want You (1976) [hr]
Mates of State: Mountaintops (2011)
Matthew Dear: Black City (2010) [r]
Matthew E. White: Fresh Blood (2015) [c]
Mavis Staples: Livin' on a High Note (2016) [r]
Mavis Staples: If All I Was Was Black (2017) [r]
Maxwell: blackSUMMER'Snight (2016) [r]
Maya Jane Coles: Comfort (2013) [r]
Mbongwana Star: From Kinshasa (2015) [r]
Meg Baird: Don't Weigh Down the Light (2015) [hr]
The Men: Open Your Heart (2012) [r]
The Men: New Moon (2013) [r]
The Menzingers: After the Party (2017)
Metronomy: Love Letters (2014) [r]
Metz (2012) [c]
MGMT (2013) [r]
Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate (2016) [r]
Midnight Juggernauts: The Crystal Axis (2010) [hr]
Midnight Juggernauts: Uncanny Valley (2013)
Migos: Culture (2017) [c]
Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream (2012) [r]
Miguel: Wildheart (2015)
Mikal Cronin: MCII (2013)
MIKE: May God Bless Your Hustle (2017)
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (1950) [A+]
Miles Davis: Walkin' (1954) [A+]
Miles Davis: Relaxin' (1958) [hr]
Minor Alps: Get There (2013) [r]
Mirel Wagner: When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day (2014) [c]
Mitski: Puberty 2 (2016) [r]
Moby: Destroyed (2011) [r]
Modern Baseball: Holy Ghost (2016)
Mogwai: Atomic (2016) [r]
Mogwai: Every Country's Son (2017) [r]
Moire: No Future (2017) [r]
Molly Burch: Please Be Mine (2017) [r]
MONEY: Suicide Songs (2016) [c]
Moonface: Julia with Blue Jeans On (2013) [r]
Moses Sumney: Aromanticism (2017)
Mount Eerie: Clear Moon (2012)
Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked at Me (2017) [c]
Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives (2017)
The Mountain Goats: Heretic Pride (2008) [hr]
The Mountain Goats: The Life of the World to Come (2009) [hr]
The Mountain Goats: All Eternals Deck (2011) [hr]
The Mountain Goats: Transcendental Youth (2012) [r]
The Mountain Goats: Beat the Champ (2015) [r]
The Mountain Goats: Goths (2017) [hr]
[Mr.] Twin Sister: In Heaven (2011) [hr]
Mr. Twin Sister (2014) [r]
Muse: The 2nd Law (2012) [c]
Muse: Drones (2015) [c]
Mutual Benefit: Love's Crushing Diamond (2013) [r]
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (1991) [A+]
My Bloody Valentine: mbv (2013) [r]
My Brightest Diamond: This Is My Hand (2014) [r]
Nadine Shah: Fast Food (2015) [r]
Nadine Shah: Holiday Destination (2017) [hr]
Nana Grizol: Love It Love It (2008)
Nana Grizol: "Ruth" (2010)
Nao: For All We Know (2016) [r]
Nas: Life Is Good (2012) [hr]
Natalie Prass (2015) [r]
The National: Trouble Will Find Me (2013) [hr]
The National: Sleep Well Beast (2017) [hr]
Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969) [hr]
Neil Young: After the Gold Rush (1970) [A+]
Neko Case: The Worse Things Get... (2013) [r]
Nels Cline: Lovers (2016) [hr]
Neneh Cherry: Blank Project (2014) [r]
Neon Indian: VEGA INTL. Night School (2015) [c]
New Order: Music Complete (2015) [r]
The New Pornographers: Twin Cinema (2005) [hr]
The New Pornographers: Challengers (2007) [r]
The New Pornographers: Together (2010) [r]
The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers (2014) [hr]
The New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions (2017) [r]
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree (2016) [hr]
Nicolas Jaar: Space Is Only Noise (2011) [hr]
Nicolas Jaar: Sirens (2016) [hr]
Nicole Atkins: Goodnight Rhonda Lee (2017) [r]
Nine Inch Nails: Hesitation Marks (2013)
No Age: Everything in Between (2010) [c]
Nothing: Tired of Tomorrow (2016) [r]
The Notwist: Close to the Glass (2014) [r]
NxWorries: Yes Lawd! (2016)
Oasis: Definitely Maybe (1994) [hr]
Oddisee: The Odd Tape (2016) [r]
Oddisee: The Iceberg (2017) [r]
Of Montreal: Lousy with Sylvianbriar (2013) [r]
OFF! First Four EPs (2011) [r]
Okkervil River: I Am Very Far (2011) [r]
Okkervil River: The Silver Gymnasium (2013) [r]
Okkervil River: Away (2016)
Old 97's: Blame It on Gravity (2008) [r]
Old 97's: The Grand Theatre, Volume One (2010)
Old 97's: The Grand Theatre Volume Two (2011) [c]
Old 97's: Most Messed Up (2014) [r]
Old Crow Medicine Show: Tennessee Pusher (2008) [hr]
Old Crow Medicine Show: Carry Me Back (2012) [c]
Old Crow Medicine Show: Remedy (2014)
Omar Souleyman: Wenu Wenu (2013) [r]
Oneohtrix Point Never: Replica (2011) [r]
Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven (2013) [hr]
Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden of Delete (2015)
Orchestra Baobob: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (2017) [r]
Otis Redding: Otis Blue (1965) [A+]
Otis Redding: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (1966) [hr]
Ought: More Than Any Other Day (2014)
OutKast: Idlewild (2006) [r]
Over the Rhine: The Long Surrender (2011) [r]
Over the Rhine: Meet Me at the Edge of the World (2013) [r]
Owen Pallett: In Conflict (2014) [r]
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Belong (2011) [r]
Panda Bear: Person Pitch (2007) [r]
Panda Bear: Tomboy (2011) [c]
Pantha du Prince: Black Noise (2010)
Paramore: After Laughter (2017) [r]
Parliament: Osmium (1970) [hr]
Parliament: Up for the Down Stroke (1974) [hr]
Parliament: Chocolate City (1975) [hr]
Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal (2014) [c]
Parquet Courts: Human Performance (2016) [c]
Passion Pit: Gossamer (2012)
Patti Smith: Horses (1975) [A+]
Paul McCartney: New (2013) [r]
Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What (2011)
Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger (2016)
Perfect Pussy: Say Yes to Love (2014)
Perfume Genius: Put Your Back in 2 It (2012) [r]
Perfume Genius: Too Bright (2014)
Perfume Genius: No Shape (2017)
The Pernice Brothers: Goodbye, Killer (2010)
Pet Shop Boys: Please (1986) [hr]
Pet Shop Boys: Yes (2009) [hr]
Pet Shop Boys: Elysium (2012) [c]
Pet Shop Boys: Electric (2013) [hr]
Pet Shop Boys: Super (2016) [hr]
Peter Gabriel: Up (2002) [hr]
Peter Perrett: How the West Was Won (2017) [r]
Pharmakon: Bestial Burden (2014)
Phil Spector: A Christmas Gift for You (1963) [hr]
Phonte/Eric Robertson: Tigallero (2016) [r]
Phosphorescent: Muchacho (2013) [c]
Pink Martini: Get Happy (2013) [c]
Pink Martini: Je dis oui! (2016)
Pinkshinyultrablast: Everything Else Matters (2015) [hr]
Pinkshinyultrablast: Grandfeathered (2016) [hr]
Pistol Annies: Annie Up (2013)
Pity Sex: White Hot Moon (2016) [hr]
PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (2011) [hr]
PJ Harvey: The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016) [hr]
Polar Bear: In Each and Every One (2014) [r]
Polica: United Crushers (2016) [r]
Pond: Man It Feels Like Space Again (2015)
Pond: The Weather (2017) [r]
Porches: Pool (2016)
Portico Quartet: Art in the Age of Automation (2017) [r]
Preoccupations: (s/t as Viet Cong) (2015) [c]
Preoccupations (2016) [c]
Priests: Nothing Feels Natural (2017)
Prince: Dirty Mind (1980) [hr]
Prince: Controversy (1981) [hr]
Prince: 1999 (1982) [A+]
Prince: Purple Rain (1984) [A+]
Protomartyr: Under Color of Official Right (2014)
Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent (2017)
Prurient: Frozen Niagara Falls (2015) [c]
Public Access TV: Never Enough (2016) [r]
Purity Ring: Shrines (2012)
Pusha T: King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude (2016) [hr]
PVT: New Spirit (2017) [r]
PWR BTTM: Pageant (2017)
Quakers (2012) [r]
Queens of the Stone Age: ...Like Clockwork (2013) [c]
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (2017)
R.E.M.: Murmur (1983) [A+]
R.E.M.: Reckoning (1984) [hr]
R.E.M.: Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) [hr]
R.E.M.: Collapse into Now (2011)
Rachel Sermanni: Tied to the Moon (2015) [r]
The Radio Dept.: Running Out of Love (2016) [r]
Radiohead: In Rainbows (2007) [A+]
Radiohead: The King of Limbs (2011) [hr]
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (2016) [r]
Rae Sremmurd: SremmLife 2 (2016) [r]
Randy Newman: Dark Matter (2017)
The Range: Nonfiction (2013)
The Range: Potential (2016) [r]
Ratking: So It Goes (2014) [hr]
Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz (1961)
Ray Charles: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962) [A+]
Real Estate: Days (2011) [r]
Real Estate: Atlas (2014)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: I'm with You (2011) [r]
Reigning Sound: Shattered (2014) [c]
The Replacements: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981) [r]
Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway (2017)
Rhye: Woman (2013) [hr]
Richard Thompson: Still (2015)
Rick Ross: Mastermind (2014) [r]
Rihanna: ANTI (2016) [hr]
Rival Consoles: Night Melody (2016) [r]
Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories (2016)
Robert Plant: Carry Fire (2017)
Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines (2013) [c]
Robyn: Body Talk (2010) [r]
Robyn Hitchcock (2017) [r]
Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky (2014)
Rokia Traore: Ne So (2016) [r]
The Rolling Stones: England's Newest Hit Makers (1964)
The Rolling Stones: 12 x 5 (1964) [r]
The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome (2016) [r]
Romare: Love Songs, Pt. 2 (2017) [r]
The Roots: Rising Down (2008) [r]
The Roots: undun (2012) [r]
The Roots: ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (2014) [r]
Roots Manuva: Bleeds (2015) [r]
Rosanne Cash: The River & the Thread (2014) [r]
Rostam: Half-Light (2017) [r]
Royal Baths: Better Luck Next Life (2012) [c]
Royal Headache: High (2015) [hr]
Run the Jewels (2013) [hr]
Run the Jewels 2 (2014) [hr]
Run the Jewels 3 (2017) [hr]
Ryley Walker: Primrose Green (2015) [hr]
Ryley Walker: Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (2016)
Ryuichi Sakamoto: async (2017) [r]
Saint Etienne: Words and Music By (2012) [hr]
Saint Etienne: Home Counties (2017) [hr]
The Saints: (I'm) Stranded (1977) [hr]
The Saints: Eternally Yours (1978) [r]
The Saints: All Fool's Day (1986) [hr]
Sally Shapiro: Somewhere Else (2013) [r]
Saltland: A Common Truth (2017) [r]
Sam Cooke: Cooke's Tour (1960)
Sam Cooke: Night Beat (1963) [A+]
Samiyam: Animals Have Feelings (2016) [hr]
Samiyam: Pizza Party (2017) [r]
Sampha: Process (2017)
Sarah Cracknell: Red Kite (2015) [r]
Saturday Looks Good to Me: Fill Up the Room (2007) [hr]
Saturday Looks Good to Me: One Kiss Ends It All (2013) [r]
Savages: Silence Yourself (2013) [hr]
Savages: Adore Life (2016) [hr]
School of Seven Bells: SVIIB (2016)
Schoolboy Q: Habits and Contradictions (2012) [c]
Schoolboy Q: Blank Face LP (2016)
Scott Walker & Sunn O))): Soused (2014)
Sepalcure (2011) [r]
September Girls: Cursing the Sea (2014) [hr]
September Girls: Age of Indignation (2016)
Shabazz Palaces: Black Up (2011) [hr]
Shabazz Palaces: Lese Majesty (2014) [hr]
Shabazz Palaces: Quazarz vs. the Jealous Machines (2017) [r]
Shabazz Palaces: Quazarz- Born on a Gangster Star (2017) [hr]
Shamir: Ratchet (2015) [r]
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want (2014) [r]
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Soul of a Woman (2017) [r]
Sharon Van Etten: Are We There (2014) [c]
She & Him: Volume Two (2010) [r]
Shearwater: Jet Plane and Oxbow (2016)
Sheer Mag: Need to Feel Your Love (2017) [hr]
Sherwood & Pinch: Man vs. Sofa (2017) [r]
The Shins: Wincing the Night Away (2007) [A+]
The Shins: Port of Morrow (2012) [c]
The Shins: Heartworms (2017) [r]
Shopping: Why Choose (2015) [r]
Shura: Nothing's Real (2016) [r]
Sidestepper: Supernatural Love (2016) [r]
Simian Mobile Disco: Welcome to Sideways (2017) [r]
Sleaford Mods: Divide and Exit (2014) [NO]
Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love (2015) [r]
Sleigh Bells: Treats (2010) [NO]
Slowdive: Pygmalion (1995)
Slowdive (2017) [hr]
Smith Westerns: Dye It Blonde (2011) [hr]
Smith Westerns: Soft Will (2013)
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: Make It Happen (1967) [hr]
SOHN: Tremors (2014) [hr]
SOHN: Rennen (2017) [r]
Solange: A Seat at the Table (2016) [hr]
Songhoy Blues: Music in Exile (2015) [r]
Songhoy Blues: Resistance (2017) [hr]
Sound of Rum: Balance (2011) [r]
Sparks: Hippopotamus (2017)
Speedy Ortiz: Major Arcana (2013)
Speedy Ortiz: Foil Deer (2015) [c]
Spiral Stairs: Doris & the Daggers (2017) [r]
Spiritualized: Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (2012) [r]
The Spook School: Try to Be Hopeful (2015) [r]
Spoon: Transference (2010) [r]
Spoon: They Want My Soul (2014) [r]
Spoon: Hot Thoughts (2017) [r]
St. Vincent: Strange Mercy (2011) [r]
St. Vincent (2014) [r]
St. Vincent: Masseduction (2017)
Stealing Sheep: Not Real (2015) [r]
Steve Gunn: Way Out Weather (2014)
Steve Gunn: Eyes on the Lines (2016)
Steve Hauschildt: Strands (2017) [r]
Stevie Wonder: Music of My Mind (1972) [hr]
Stevie Wonder: Talking Book (1972) [hr]
Stevie Wonder: Innervisions (1973) [A+]
Stevie Wonder: Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974) [A+]
Strand of Oaks: Heal (2014) [NO]
The Strokes: Angles (2011) [r]
The Strokes: Comedown Machine (2013) [hr]
Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to Earth (2016) [c]
Suckers: Candy Salad (2012) [hr]
Suede: Bloodsports (2013) [r]
Sufjan Stevens: Illinoise (2005) [hr]
Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz (2010) [hr]
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (2015) [r]
Sufjan Stevens/Bryce Dessner/Nico Muhly/James McAlister: Planetarium (2017) [r]
Sun Kil Moon: Benji (2014) [c]
Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (2015) [c]
A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Sea When Absent (2014) [c]
Surfer Blood: Pythons (2013) [c]
Surfer Blood: 1000 Palms (2015) [r]
Surfer Blood: Snowdonia (2017) [r]
Susanne Sundfor: Ten Love Songs (2015) [r]
Suzanne Vega: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles (2014) [r]
Swans: The Seer (2012) [NO]
Swet Shop Boys: Cashmere (2016) [hr]
Sylvan Esso (2014) [r]
Sylvan Esso: What Now (2017) [r]
SZA: CTRL (2017)
T.I.: King (2006) [r]
Tacocat: Lost Time (2016) [r]
Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder: Indie 500 (2015) [r]
Talking Heads: 77 (1977) [hr]
Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978) [A+]
Talking Heads: Fear of Music (1979) [A+]
Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980) [A+]
The Tallest Man on Earth: There's No Leaving Now (2012) [hr]
The Tallest Man on Earth: Dark Bird Is Home (2015)
Tame Impala: Innerspeaker (2010) [hr]
Tame Impala: Lonerism (2012) [r]
Tame Impala: Currents (2015) [hr]
Teddy Thompson: Bella (2011) [c]
Teen Daze: Themes for Dying Earth (2017) [r]
Tegan and Sara: Heartthrob (2013) [hr]
Tegan and Sara: Love You to Death (2016) [hr]
Television: Marquee Moon (1977) [A+]
Television: Adventure (1978) [hr]
Tennis: Cape Dory (2011) [r]
Terry Malts: Killing Time (2012) [hr]
Terry Malts: Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere (2013)
Terry Malts: Lost at the Party (2016) [r]
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: We the Common (2013) [hr]
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: A Man Alive (2016) [hr]
The-Dream: Love King (2010) [r]
Thee Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated at Last (2015) [r]
Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits (2016) [r]
THEESatisfaction: EarthEE (2015)
These New Puritans: Field of Reeds (2013) [c]
This Is the Kit: Moonshine Freeze (2017) [r]
Thundercat: Drunk (2017)
Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness (2017) [r]
Tim Hecker: Ravedeath, 1972 (2011) [c]
Tim Hecker: Love Streams (2016)
Times New Viking: Dancer Equired (2011) [r]
Tinariwen: Emmaar (2014) [r]
Tinariwen: Elwan (2017) [r]
Tinashe: Aquarius (2014) [hr]
Tinashe: Nightride (2016) [r]
Tindersticks: The Waiting Room (2016) [c]
Titus Andronicus: The Monitor (2010) [hr]
Titus Andronicus: Local Business (2012) [hr]
Titus Andronicus: The Most Lamentable Tragedy (2015) [c]
Tobias Jesso Jr.: Goon (2015) [c]
Todd Terje: It's Album Time (2014) [hr]
TOPS: Sugar at the Gate (2017) [r]
Toro Y Moi: Underneath the Pine (2011)
Toumani Diabate: Toumani & Sidiki (2014) [hr]
Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony (2017) [r]
Trey Songz: Trigga (2014) [c]
A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It from Here, Thank You 4 Your Service (2016) [hr]
tUnE-yArDs: BiRd-BrAiNs (2009) [hr]
tUnE-yArDs: whokill (2011) [A+]
tUnE-yArDs: Nikki Nack (2014) [hr]
Tuxedo (2015) [r]
TV on the Radio: Dear Science (2008) [hr]
TV on the Radio: Nine Types of Light (2011) [hr]
TV on the Radio: Seeds (2014) [r]
Twerps: Range Anxiety (2015) [hr]
The Twilight Sad: Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (2014)
Twin Shadow: Forget (2010) [r]
Twin Shadow: Confess (2012) [hr]
Twin Shadow: Eclipse (2015) [r]
Ty Dolla $ign: Free TC (2015) [r]
Ty Segall: Slaughterhouse (2012)
Ty Segall: Manipulator (2014)
Ty Segall (2017) [r]
Tycho: Epoch (2016) [r]
Tyler, the Creator: Flower Boy (2017) [r]
The Underachievers: Cellar Door (2014) [hr]
The Underachievers: Evermore- The Art of Duality (2015) [r]
The Underachievers: Renaissance (2017) [hr]
Underworld: Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future (2016) [r]
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love (2015)
Vagaon: Infinite Worlds (2017) [r]
Valerie June: The Order of Time (2017) [hr]
Valet: Nature (2015) [r]
Vampire Weekend (2008) [r]
Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City (2013) [A+]
Vashti Bunyan: Heartleap (2014) [r]
The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) [hr]
The Velvet Underground: White Light / White Heat (1968) [A+]
The Velvet Underground (1969) [A+]
The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970) [A+]
Venetian Snares: Traditional Synthesizer Music (2016) [r]
Venice Dawn/Adrian Younge: Something About April II (2016) [r]
The Very Best: Makes a King (2015) [r]
Vessel: Punish, Honey (2014) [hr]
Vijay Iyer/Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (2016)
Vince Staples: Summertime '06 (2015)
Vince Staples: Big Fish Theory (2017) [hr]
Visible Cloaks: Reassemblage (2017) [r]
The Walkmen: Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone (2002) [hr]
The Walkmen: Bows + Arrows (2004) [hr]
The Walkmen: A Hundred Miles Off (2006) [hr]
The Walkmen: You & Me (2008) [hr]
The Walkmen: Lisbon (2010) [hr]
The Walkmen: Heaven (2012) [hr]
The War on Drugs: Slave Ambient (2011) [NO]
Warpaint (2014) [r]
Washed Out: Within and Without (2011) [r]
The Wave Pictures: City Forgiveness (2013) [A+]
The Wave Pictures: Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon (2015) [hr]
The Wave Pictures: A Season in Hull (2016) [hr]
The Wave Pictures: Bamboo Diner in the Rain (2016) [hr]
Wavves: King of the Beach (2010) [r]
Waxahatchee: Cerulean Salt (2013) [r]
Waxahatchee: Ivy Tripp (2015) [c]
Waxahatchee: Out in the Storm (2017) [r]
We Are Scientists: Barbara (2010) [NO]
Weekend: Jinx (2013) [r]
Weyes Blood: Front Row Seat to Earth (2016) [r]
White Lung: Deep Fantasy (2014)
White Lung: Paradise (2016)
Whitney: Light Upon the Lake (2016) [hr]
Widowspeak: All Yours (2015) [r]
Wilco: The Whole Love (2011) [hr]
Wilco: Star Wars (2015) [r]
Wilco: Schmilco (2016)
Wild Beasts: Present Tense (2014) [r]
Wild Nothing: Gemini (2010) [r]
Wild Nothing: Nocturne (2012) [r]
William Basinksi: A Shadow in Time (2016) [r]
William Bell: This Is Where I Live (2016) [r]
William Tyler: Modern Country (2016) [r]
Willis Earl Beal: Acousmatic Sorcery (2012) [r]
A Winged Victory for the Sullen: Atomos (2014) [r]
Wire: Pink Flag (1977) [A+]
Wire: Red Barked Tree (2011) [r]
Wire: Change Becomes Us (2013)
Wire (2015) [r]
Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool (2015) [r]
Wolf Alice: Visions of a Life (2017) [hr]
Wolf Parade: Cry Cry Cry (2017) [r]
Woods: With Light and With Love (2014) [r]
WU LYF: Go Tell Fire to the Mountain (2011) [NO]
Wussy: Attica (2014) [r]
Wye Oak: Civilian (2011) [r]
The xx: Coexist (2012) [hr]
The xx: I See You (2017) [r]
Xylouris White: Black Peak (2016) [r]
Y.G.: My Krazy Life (2014) [r]
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito (2013) [c]
Yeasayer: Fragrant World (2012) [r]
Yello: Toy (2016) [r]
Yo Gotti: I Am (2013) [r]
Yo La Tengo: I Can Heart Beating as One (1997) [A+]
Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs (2009) [hr]
Yo La Tengo: Fade (2013) [hr]
Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There (2015) [hr]
Yoko Ono: Take Me to the Land of Hell (2013) [hr]
Young & Sick (2014) [r]
Young Ejecta: The Planet (2015) [r]
Young Fathers: Dead (2014) [r]
Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men Too (2015) [r]
Young Thug: Barter 6 (2015)
Young Thug: JEFFREY (2016) [r]
Youth Lagoon: The Year of Hibernation (2011) [r]
Youth Lagoon: Wondrous Bughouse (2013) [NO]
Yuck (2011) [r]
Yumi Zouma: Willowbank (2017) [r]
Zara McFarlane: Arise (2017) [r]
Zo!: Skybreak (2016) [r]
Zola Jesus: Okovi (2017)

A$AP Rocky: LiveLoveA$AP (2011) [hr]
Aimee Mann: Magnolia OST (1999) [c]
Big K.R.I.T.: Return of 4Eva (2011)
Bjork: Selmasongs (2000) [hr]
Chance the Rapper: Acid Rap (2013)
The Chemical Brothers: Hanna OST (2011) [r]
clipping.: Midcity (2013) [hr]
Curren$y: Return to the Winner's Circle (2011) [hr]
Curren$y: Verde Terrace (2011)
Curren$y: New Jet City (2013)
Curren$y: The Drive-In Theatre (2014)
Curren$y: The Fo20 Massacre (2017) [r]
Curren$y: The Champagne Files (2017) [c]
Curren$y & The Alchemist: Covert Coup (2011)
Das Racist: Sit Down, Man (2010) [r]
Erykah Badu: But You Caint Use My Phone (2015) [r]
Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx: We're New Here (2011) [r]
Joey Purp: iiiDrops (2016) [r]
Kelela: Cut 4 Me (2013) [hr]
Lupe Fiasco: Friend of the People (2012) [c]
The Mountain Goats: All Survivors Pack (2011) [r]
Nils Frahm: Victoria OST (2015) [r]
Radiohead: TKOL RMX 1234567 (2011)
The Weeknd: House of Balloons (2011) [r]

LIVE ALBUMS (dates given are those of recording, not release)
The Beach Boys: Concert (1964)
The Beach Boys: Live in London (1968)
The Beach Boys: In Concert (1972-73)
The Beach Boys: Good Timin'- Live at Knebworth 1980 (1980)
The Beach Boys: Songs from Here and Back (1974-2005)
The Beach Boys: Live- The 50th Anniversary Tour (2012) [c]
The Beach Boys: Live in Sacramento 1964 (1964)
The Beach Boys: Live in Chicago 1965 (1965) [c]
The Beach Boys: Graduation Day 1966- Live at the University of Michigan (1966)
The Beach Boys: 1967- Live Sunshine (1967)
Talking Heads: The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads (1977-81) [hr]

Advance Base: The World Is in a Bad Fix Everywhere (2013)
Alexi Murdoch: Four Songs (2002) [hr]
Andrew Bird: I Want to See Pulaski at Night (2013)
Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind (2009)
Anohni: Paradise (2017) [r]
The Antlers: (together) (2011)
The Antlers: Undersea (2012) [r]
Arcade Fire (2003)
The Avalanches: At Last Alone (2001)
Azealia Banks: Slay-Z (2016) [c]
The Beach Boys: Four by the Beach Boys (1964) [r]
The Beach Boys: Mount Vernon and Fairway (1973) [r]
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds Sessions/Sub Pop Singles Club (1996) [r]
The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations- 40th Anniversary Edition (2006)
The B-52's: Party Mix (1981)
The B-52's: Mesopotamia (1982) [r]
Bangles (1982) [hr]
Burial: Kindred (2012)
Burial: Rival Dealer (2013) [r]
clipping.: Wriggle (2016) [r]
Colleen Green: Cujo (2011) [r]
Courtney Barnett: I've Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris (2012) [hr]
Courtney Barnett: How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose (2013) [hr]
Crystal Stilts: Radiant Door (2011) [hr]
Cut Copy: January Tape (2016) [r]
Darkside (2011) [r]
The Decemberists: iTunes Session (2011) [r]
The Decemberists: Long Live the King (2011) [r]
Destroyer: Five Spanish Songs (2013)
Dum Dum Girls: End of Daze (2012)
Ezra Furman: Songs by Others (2016) [hr]
Ezra Furman: Big Fugitive Life (2016) [r]
The Flaming Lips: With Neon Indian (2011) [r]
G.L.O.S.S.: Trans Day of Revenge (2016)
Girls: Broken Dreams Club (2010) [r]
Holy Fuck: Bird Brains (2017) [hr]
Hot Chip: We Have Remixes (2010) [r]
James Blake: CMYK (2010)
Jlin: Dark Lotus (2017) [hr]
Joanna Newsom: Walnut Whales (2002) [r]
Joanna Newsom: Yarn and Glue (2003) [r]
Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band (2007) [r]
Kamasi Washington: Harmony of Difference (2017) [r]
Kelela: Hallucinogen (2015) [hr]
Lady Lamb: Tender Warriors Club (2016)
Lizzo: Coconut Oil (2016) [r]
Mates of State: You're Going to Make It (2015) [NO]
MO: Bikini Daze (2013) [r]
The Mountain Goats: Selected Goths in Ambient (2017)
The Mountain Goats: Marsh Witch Visions (2017) [r]
Nao: February 15th (2015)
Nicolas Jaar: Don't Break My Love (2011)
Okkervil River: Golden Opportunities 2 (2011)
Oneohtrix Point Never: Commissions I (2014) [r]
PAPA: A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (2011) [hr]
The Paranoid Style: Rock and Roll Just Can't Recall (2015) [r]
R.E.M.: Chronic Town (1982) [A+]
Radiohead: TKOL RMX 8 (2011)
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Talk Tight (2016) [r]
Sharon Van Etten: I Don't Want to Let You Down (2015)
Sheer Mag: I (2014) [r]
Sheer Mag: II (2015) [hr]
Sheer Mag: III (2016) [hr]
The Strokes: Future Present Past (2016)
Sufjan Stevens: All Delighted People (2010) [r]
Surfer Blood: Tarot Classics (2011) [r]
Swet Shop Boys: Sufi La (2017) [hr]
The Tallest Man on Earth: Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird (2010) [hr]
Terry Malts: Insides (2014) [r]
Thundercat: The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam (2015)
TNGHT (2012) [r]
Vampire Weekend: iTunes Session (2011) [r]
Vince Staples: Hell Can Wait (2014)
Vince Staples: Prima Donna (2016) [r]
Yo La Tengo: Stupid Things (2012) [r]
Yossou N'Dour: Senegaal Rekk (2016) [r]

The "5" Royales: All Righty! The Apollo Recordings (1951-55) [r]
The "5" Royales: Complete King Masters (1954-60) [A+]
? & the Mysterians: Best Of- Cameo Parkway (1966-67) [hr]
101 Strings Orchestra: 20 Years of Beautiful Music (1969) [hr]
1910 Fruitgum Co.: Best Of (1968-70) [hr]
Aaron Neville: A Collection of His Best (1966-2006) [NO]
The Action: The Ultimate! Action (1964-68) [r]
Adam and the Ants: Stand and Deliver- Very Best Of (1977-95)
Adriano Celentano: Best (1975-99) [r]
The Adverts: The Singles (1977-79) [r]
Afrika Bambaataa: Looking for the Perfect Beat (1980-2001) [hr]
Al Green: Definitive Greatest Hits (1967-2007) [hr]
Al Martino: The Ultimate Al Martino (1952-79)
Alabina: L'Essentiel (1996-2000)
Alan Lomax: The Alan Lomax Popular Songbook (1933-59) [r]
Albert Ammons: The Boogie Woogie Man (1936-44) [r]
Albert Ayler: Free Form Jazz (1963-69) [hr]
Albert King: Best of (1968-73)
Alex Chilton: A Retrospective (1967-95) [r]
All Saints: All Hits (1997-2001) [r]
Amos Milburn: Bad Bad Whiskey (1947-55) [r]
The Andrews Sisters: Best Of (1937-50) [hr]
The Animals: Best Of (1964-65) [hr]
Ann Peebles: The Complete Ann Peebles on Hi Records Vol. 1 (1969-73) [r]
Archie Bell & the Drells: Tightening It Up (1967-79) [hr]
Aretha Franklin: 20 Greatest Hits (1967-74) [A+]
Art of Noise: Best Of (1983-92) [c]
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup: Complete Recorded Works Vol. 2 (1946-49) [r]
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup: Complete Recorded Works Vol. 3 (1949-52)
Arthur Alexander: The Ultimate (1961-75) [A+]
The Artwoods: 100 Oxford Street (1964-66)
Ashford & Simpson: Best Of (1973-90) [r]
At the Drive-In: This Station Is Non-Operational (1997-2000) [c]
B.B. King: His Definitive Greatest Hits (1951-93)
B.T. Express: Best Of (1974-80) [r]
Badfinger: Very Best Of (1969-74) [hr]
The Bangles: Greatest Hits (1984-90) [hr]
The Beach Boys: Best Of (1963-65) [c]
The Beach Boys: Best Of, Vol. 2 (1962-65) [c]
The Beach Boys: Best Of, Vol. 3 (1961-67) [c]
The Beach Boys: Stack-o-Tracks (1963-68) [r]
The Beach Boys: Endless Summer (1962-65) [A+]
The Beach Boys: Spirit of America (1962-69) [r]
The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations- Best Of (1965-72) [c]
The Beach Boys: 20 Golden Greats (1963-69)
The Beach Boys: Ten Years of Harmony (1970-80)
The Beach Boys: Sunshine Dream (1964-69) [r]
The Beach Boys: Rarities (1962-70) [r]
The Beach Boys: Made in U.S.A. (1962-86)
The Beach Boys: [twofer bonus tracks] (1962-70) [r]
The Beach Boys: Lost & Found 1961-62 (1961-62) [r]
The Beach Boys: Greatest Hits Vol. 1: 20 Good Vibrations (1962-88)
The Beach Boys: Endless Harmony (1963-98) [hr]
The Beach Boys: Ultimate Christmas (1963-77) [r]
The Beach Boys: Greatest Hits Vol. 2: 20 More Good Vibrations (1963-70) [r]
The Beach Boys: Surfin' (1961-62) [r]
The Beach Boys: Greatest Hits Vol. 3: Best of the Brother Years (1970-86)
The Beach Boys: Very Best Of (1962-88)
The Beach Boys: Hawthorne, CA (1960-99)
The Beach Boys: Classics, Selected by Brian Wilson (1963-2002) [r]
The Beach Boys: Sounds of Summer (1962-88) [hr]
The Beach Boys: The Warmth of the Sun (1962-86) [r]
The Beach Boys: Summer Love Songs (1963-71)
The Beach Boys: Fifty Big Ones (1962-2012) [r]
The Beach Boys [etc.]: The Big Beat 1963 (1963) [r]
The Beach Boys: Keep an Eye on Summer- Sessions 1964 (1964)
The Beach Boys: Party! Uncovered and Unplugged (1965) [r]
The Beach Boys: Becoming the Beach Boys- The Complete Hite & Dorinda Morgan Sessions (1961-62) [r]
The Beach Boys: 1967- Sunshine Tomorrow (1967) [hr]
The Beach Boys: 1967- Sunshine Tomorrow 2: The Studio Sessions (1967) [r]
Bo Diddley: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection (1955-62)
Buddy Holly: Greatest Hits (1957-59) [A+]
Buddy Holly: Down the Line- Rarities (1949-59) [hr]
Cabaret Voltaire: The Original Sound of Sheffield (1978-82)
Camouflage: Rewind- Best Of (1987-95) [r]
Carl Perkins: Original Sun Greatest Hits (1955-57) [A+]
Chuck Berry: The Great Twenty-Eight (1955-65) [A+]
Courtney Barnett: The Double EP- A Sea of Split Peas (2012-13) [hr]
Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q (1957-61) [r]
The Doors: Greatest Hits (1966-71) [NO]
Earl Bostic Blows a Fuse (1946-58) [r]
The Everly Brothers: Cadence Classics- 20 Greatest Hits (1957-60) [hr]
The Everly Brothers: Walk Right Back (Warner Years) (1960-69) [r]
Faces: The Definitive Rock Collection (1970-75) [NO]
Fat Boys: All Meat No Filler (1984-89) [r]
The Four Seasons: Very Best of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons (1962-78) [c]
Game Theory: Tinker to Evers to Chance (1982-90)
Gene Vincent: Best Of (1956-63) [A+]
Hall & Oates: The Essential Collection (1974-2001) [NO]
Hank Locklin: RCA Country Legends (1956-68) [r]
Hank Williams: 40 Greatest Hits (1947-53) [A+]
The Impressions: Definitive (1961-68) [hr]
J.B. Lenoir: Vietnam Blues (1965-66) [hr]
Jack Nitzsche: Hearing Is Believing (1962-79) [hr]
James Brown: In the Jungle Groove (1969-86)
K.C. & the Sunshine Band: Best Of (1974-89) [hr]
Oasis: The Masterplan (1994-97) [r]
Otis Redding: Very Best Of (1962-68) [r]
Ray Charles: Ultimate Hits Collection (1953-90) [hr]
R.E.M.: Eponymous (1981-85)
Sam & Dave: Sweat 'n' Soul- Anthology (1965-71) [A+]
Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend (1951-64) [A+]
Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs: Pharaohization (1965-67) [hr]
Sheer Mag: Compilation [I/II/III] (2014-16) [hr]
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: Ooo Baby Baby- The Anthology (1961-72) [hr]
Taj Mahal: Best of (1967-74) [r]
Talking Heads: Sand in the Vaseline- Popular Favorites (1975-92) [r]
Talking Heads: Bonus Rarities and Outtakes (1975-92)
Van Morrison: Best Of (1965-89) [r]
The Yardbirds: Ultimate! (1964-69) [hr]

The Beach Boys: The Capitol Years (1961-69)
The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations- Thirty Years of the Beach Boys (1961-88) [hr]
The Beach Boys: The Pet Sounds Sessions (1966) [hr]
The Beach Boys: The Platinum Collection (1961-88)
The Beach Boys: The Original U.S. Singles Collection (1962-65)
The Beach Boys: The Smile Sessions (1965-67)
The Beach Boys: Made in California (1960-2012) [c]
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds- 50th Anniversary Edition (1966)
Big Star: Keep an Eye on the Sky (1970-74) [r]
Billie Holiday: The Master Takes and Singles (1935-42) [A+]
Chuck Berry: The Chess Box (1955-75) [r]
James Brown: Star Time (1956-84) [A+]
Little Richard: The Specialty Sessions (1954-60) [hr]
Phil Spector: Back to Mono (1958-69) [A+]
Sam Cooke: The Man Who Invented Soul (1957-61) [hr]

The Beach Boys: In the Beginning/The Garage Tapes (1960-63)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 1: Surfin' Safari (1962)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2: Surfin' U.S.A. (1963)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 3: Surfer Girl (1963)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4 (1963)
The Beach Boys: Live in Sacramento (1964)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5 (1964)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 6: All Summer Long (1964)
The Beach Boys: Christmas Sessions (1964) [r]
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 7: Today! Vol. 1 (1965) [r]
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 8: Today! Vol. 2 (1965) [r]
The Beach Boys: (various rare & bootlegged items) (1964-65)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 9: Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) (1965)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 10: Party! (1965)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 11 (1964-65)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 12: Sloop John B (1965)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 13: Pet Sounds Vol. 1 (1966) [r]
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 14: Pet Sounds Vol. 2 (1966) [r]
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 15: Good Vibrations (1966)
The Beach Boys: Smile [Vigotone] (1966-67)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 16: Smile (1966-67)
The Beach Boys: Smile [Purple Chick] (1966-67)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 17: Smile Sessions (1966-67)
The Beach Boys: Lei'd in Hawaii (1967)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 18: Smiley Smile (1967) [r]
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 19: Wild Honey (1967) [r]
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 20: Friends etc. (1968-69)
The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 21: Today!/Summer Days Stereo (1965)
The Beach Boys: All This Is That (1967-80)
The Beach Boys: Landlocked (1969-71) [c]
The Beach Boys & the Flame: The Beach Boys Meet the Flame (1970)
The Beach Boys: Do It Again (1971) [r]
The Beach Boys: Sunflower- Bonus Tracks (1969-70) [r]
The Beach Boys: Surf's Up- Bonus Tracks (1970-71)
The Beach Boys: Holland- Bonus Tracks (1972-74) [r]
The Beach Boys: 15 Big Ones- Bonus Tracks (1975-78) [c]
The Beach Boys/Brian Wilson: Adult Child (1976-77)
The Beach Boys: Alternate Love You (1977)
The Beach Boys: MIU Album- Bonus Tracks (1977)
The Beach Boys: L.A.- Bonus Tracks (1978-79)
The Beach Boys: Keepin' the Summer Alive- Bonus Tracks (1979-83) [NO]
The Beach Boys [Brian Wilson/Dennis Wilson]: The Cocaine Tapes (1981)
The Beach Boys: (latter-day odds and ends) (1984-91) [NO]
Oasis: The Early Years (1992-95)

[I really need to get back to this, and I will! Once I've got a few more Backmasking and Essentials posts under the belt I'll kick this off in earnest. This first one also needs to be updated.]
non-LP cuts: #

Pilot (000): The Bangles introduction
001: The Beach Boys
002: The Beatles
003: *** *****
004: ***** ***
005: *** *****

List of Lists 2017
The Best Albums of 2017
The Best Songs of 2017
List of Lists 2016
The Best Albums of 2016
The Best Songs of 2016
List of Lists 2015
The Best Albums of 2015
The Best Songs of 2015
Special Research Unit + Index
List of Lists 2014
The Best Records of 2014
Format change info
List of Lists 2013
The Best Records of 2013
Revisions & Changes / Index
The List of Lists 2012
The Best Records of 2012
Best Beatles songs + Index
Top Artists + Index
The List of Lists 2011
The Best Records of 2011
Top 100 Music Videos + Index
All-Time Top Albums + Index
The List of Lists 2010
The Best Records of 2010
Welcome & Introduction


1. Sweet Little Sixteen
2. Memphis
3. Too Much Monkey Business
4. School Days (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)
5. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
6. Johnny B. Goode
7. No Particular Place to Go
8. Thirty Days
9. Maybellene
10. Promised Land
11. Around and Around
12. You Can't Catch Me
13. Reelin' and Rockin'
14. You Never Can Tell
15. I'm Talking About You
16. Almost Grown
17. Nadine
18. It Don't Take But a Few Minutes
19. Back in the U.S.A.
20. Carol
21. I Want to Be Your Driver
22. Wee Wee Hours
23. Roll Over Beethoven
24. Beautiful Delilah
25. Rock and Roll Music
26. Little Queenie
27. Come On
28. Havana Moon
29. Let It Rock
30. Big Boys
bonus track: Ramona Say Yes