Alternative and Indie

Guided by Voices “Bee Thousand” (1994)

Their best album, without question: an inspired amalgam of a particularly British rock history (Bob even puts on the accent, though with a charming lack of consistency that recalls Sir Alex Chilton rather than other lesser American poseurs): channelling Who mod aggression, late-60s Kinks nostalgia, Revolver’s kitchen-sink aesthetic, and post-punk collage sensibilities, this was the album that got GBV out of a Dayton, OH basement, and I bet it’s the one that’ll be played 20 years from now. I know, I know, Alien Lanes is arguably more varied and better paced. But Pollard never wrote a better set of lyrics than here (his random strings of sentiment pile up into something more significant here than they tend to do), and the hooks are seemingly effortless. The ultra lo-fi recording reveals layered detail, and the opening three tracks here qualify among the best sequences in pop history: “Hardcore UFOs” is one of the only rock anthems of the last 30 years that packs any emotional punch, while “Tractor Rape Chain” sounds like Neil Young & Crazy Horse in some parallel universe where they hailed from Leeds. And littered throughout this 20-song tunefest are many of their other best songs: “Gold Star for Robot Boy” is a mod anti-authority song for the slacker generation; the deranged but dead-on “Her Psychology Today” resurrects classic-rock misogyny for the era of the institutionalized sensitive male and the powerbook feminist; and “Kicker of Elves,” well, what the hell is “Kicker of Elves?” Pop bliss in a minute. God Bless Guided By Voices and the Lager-Soaked Four-Track They Sailed In On. –WillRead more›

Dinosaur Jr. “You’re Living All Over Me” (1987)

My favorite record from my favorite band. I don’t even really know what to say. This record speaks to me in a way no other piece of recorded music ever has. It’s heavy and gentle, totally hardcore and psychedelic, wasted, yet totally on point, defeated yet triumphant. It’s all these little contradictions that make it so profoundly cool to me. They “nailed it” like no other band. In the artwork, the guitar sound, the rhythm section and even the track order. –Richard… Read more›