Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eight Favorite Albums

Before the next — hopefully my final — semester starts, I wanted to jot this down in a place where I can count on it not getting "pruned". The original version of this was utterly magnificent, I tell you.

Joni Mitchell - Court & Spark

It was roughly junior year of high school when I first heard this, and it actually took a couple listens before the magic poked my brain sharply and permanently scarringly. An already great lyricist has honed her instrumentation skills to leap into supernatural musical realms.

"Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release."

Churchill's - Churchill's

Mostly British psychedelic rock, recorded in Tel Aviv, and indeed bearing certain musical traits of that region. This is fuzz at its finest.

"Straight people...turn them all on now."

Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention - We're Only in it For the Money

Described by some as "Sgt. Pepper's evil twin", this simultaneous jab at the establishment and the counter-culture in 1968 will blow your brain apart in much the way that the "flower punk"'s brain blows apart right before your ears on this record. Relentless experimentation and effects make it.

"You'll be absolutely free only if you want to be."

Caravan - In the Land of Grey & Pink

Caravan seem to me the most "accessible" of the Canterbury bands — a scene centered around a sort of progressive jazz-pop sound. This is probably their finest moment, marrying that sound with a sense of humor (or humour) and a knack for catchiness and memorability, with the side-long "Nine Feet Underground" providing that other-worldly journey that stays with the listener long after it's ended.

"These dreams are always ending far too soon."

Steely Dan - Aja

Say what you will about the 'Dan; this is a bloody good album.

"Could it be that I have found my home at last?"

White Noise - An Electric Storm

Some BBC Radiophonic Workshop people played around in the studio after hours and produced a uniquely spooky record, filled with whooshes and other odd sound effects from relentless tape manipulation and experimentation. "The Visitation" is downright chilling.

"Why do you let it hold you? Life must be lived in full view. In every sin, there must be pride. Your hidden dreams can't be denied."

Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

Many styles of memorable, well-crafted pop/rock songs. Simple as that.

"Oh no, you got too much to lose; got to get on home to the animal zoo."

The End - Introspection

Bill Wyman of the Stones produced this album of British pop-psych that was perfect for the time they recorded it — 1967. Sadly, the album's release was delayed until two years later, when pop-psych was long-history in the minds of record buyers, and the album sank with nary a trace. Luckily, it didn't perish altogether.

"You can't hide inside a dream."

No comments: