When I say "Albums That Should Be In Every Home," I just might mean "nursing home, as it's the title of the new album by Let's Wrestle, another band likely to zoom up the charts due to my endorsement.
Actually, if I'm truthful here, albums I enjoy are likely to die of loneliness. I make no claims for my own taste. I like what I like. I don't think other people would like the music I do if they heard it. Most people don't. This much has been consistent over the years. A few of my friends share my taste and the others don't. And loudly remind me all the time.
I've left off several albums that deserve your attention. The reissue of the British-Goth group Salvation's Complete Collection is a dream for fans of the Sisters of Mercy. John Martyn's Heaven and Earth is essential for Martyn completists. New albums by Exene Cervenka, Dave Alvin and Lucinda Williams will satisfy their fans. Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs sounds as good as it did when it first came out, but now includes 13 additional tracks. My favorite hard rock band that no one else likes, Black Stone Cherry, put out another solid release with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
If you like any of these, we should hang out sometime! I do tend towards the mellow side because I am old and tired and have a bad back.
Albums I haven't heard did not qualify for the list. And my taste really is this obscure. I can't talk to other people about it.
25) Dolorean - The Unfazed: Silverton, Oregon's greatest band make music to nod at the wheel by. These folks have steadily improved over the past few years and the eerie stillness of "How Is It" is further proof that I like music that puts other people to sleep. I am capable of staring into space for long periods of time.
24) The Decemberists - The King Is Dead: Portland, Oregon's greatest band decide to "go country." This isn't always such a great idea. There are experts in the country field for a reason. But the novelty of hearing Colin Meloy recoil from his prog-rock tendencies to sing a loping country tune like "Down By The Water" is a bit like discovering your very religious aunt was secretly into fetish-wear.
23) Vetiver - The Errant Charm: Another steadily improving performer has been Vetiver's Andy Cabic. He's gotten smoother over the years until now he sounds like something you'd hear on FM radio in 1971. "It's Beyond Me" is the sound of sunshine hitting a very old, very smelly couch in your very religious aunt's house.
22) Holcombe Waller - Into the Dark Unknown: Wow, I'm really mellow, ain't I? You could fall asleep to a track like "The Unicorn" and not wake up until the entire album is over. But for those who stay awake, you'll hear acoustic-based music that will make you feel like you're wandering in an endless field without water. Bring a thermos!
21) Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep: Technically, this came out last year in other territories. But its US release was 2011. For the record, I don't handicap albums just because the singers suffer brain hemorrhages that leave them unable to walk or talk. I like albums for what I can actually hear. This former leader of Orange Juice now sounds like Joy Division's Ian Curtis having a ball. "Come Tomorrow, Come Today" doesn't sound like a man who spent the past few years getting serious physical therapy. Or maybe it does and I can relate!
19) David Berkeley - Some Kind of Cure: Berkeley is one of my favorite singer-songwriters of the past decade. His fourth studio album has "Parachute," "Homesick" and other shades of restraint. Take a car trip with me and end up in a ditch.
18) Six Organs of Admittance - Asleep On the Floodplain: Recorded at home between 2007 and 2010. Floodplain features drones and folk music designed to kill children and other small animals. "Brilliant Blue Sea Between Us" is what the Velvet Underground would've sounded like if they didn't pay their electric bill.
17) The Asteroid No. 4 - Hail to the Clear Figurines: Philadelphia's psychedelic combo trend toward the subliminal on this early Pink Floyd-like album of twelve songs. "A Sunny Day (One Afternoon)" sounds like the band took Seventeen Seconds by the Cure and made love to it in a vat of extremely wet reverb.
16) Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds - Under Streetlight Glow: Milwaukee songwriter Heidi Spencer sings in a voice that sounds like she might have a nervous breakdown on her way to the living room. "Alibi" sounds like a bird mating and having an orgasm while in midflight. Sexy birds!
15) Neil Young and the International Harvesters - A Treasure: Finally, someone everyone's heard of! Neil Young proves the 1980s were actually a better decade than he first let on. Why he kept this great live album in the can for so long is pure Neil. Better to release Landing On Water instead.
14) Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen: By writing songs that never end - nearly 12 minutes for "Sweetheart I Ain't Your Christ" - Pearson gets the award for "Country Singer Most Like Neil Young's On the Beach Album." If this doesn't make you drive out to the desert to kill yourself, nothing will!
13) Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses: As someone whose dad played 78s of Kitty Wells' music, I'm a natural sucker for someone playing those old songs with authentic arrangements. Even the sole original "Kitty Wells Dresses" sounds like it was written decades ago. Maybe Cantrell was born in the early 20th Century and finally thawed out.
11) Mia Doi Todd - Cosmic Ocean Ship: "My Baby Lives In Paris" is the best song Joni Mitchell never wrote. In a world of ironic jerks like myself it's a pleasure to hear someone who believes in something. I wouldn't dare.
10) Let's Wrestle - Nursing Home: London's "lo-fi" trio go into the studio with Steve "Great White Hope" Albini and get a wedgie in the sonic department. "In Dreams, Pt. II" and "There's A Rockstar In My Room" are the sounds of an insomniac muttering to himself.
9) Mick Harvey - Sketches From the Book of the Dead: Nick Cave's partner in crime proves to the world he's every bit as formidable as his former CEO. Everyone should be forced to memorize "October Boy," his tribute to Rowland S. Howard. A great tune about October and boys!
8) Low - C'mon: Once the slowest band on the planet, Low have gotten nearly peppy over the years. OK, no Red Bull was consumed in the making of this record, but "Witches" sure sounds like they snorted something.
7) Jack Beauregard - The Magazines You Read: Berlin-based trio make music that sounds like British twee-pop. "Show Me Your Love" will make men lose their chest hair and turn into crying lumps of passivity.
6) Jonny - Jonny: Featuring Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's Euros Childs, Jonny play music that sounds like instead of growing up, these gents are growing down. "Candyfloss" sounds like someone's been eating too many Necco wafers. Give me some sugar, sugar.
5) Ivan Julian - The Naked Flame: As the guy who shared a stage with Robert Quine in Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Julian can outrock you at will. Here, he does. "A Young Man's Money" sounds like a garage band being obliterated by a truck driving through the garage.
4) Luke Rathborne - Dog Years / I Can Be One: Rather than release an album, Luke released two EPs. He sounds like he listened to Neil Young and Big Star's Third enough times to spit it back at us reconfigured. "I Can Be One" sounds like he lost his dog.
3) Heirlooms of August - Forever the Moon: Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon bassist Jerry Vessel treks out on his own and makes a record that sounds like he's been taking notes from his boss. He even grabs American Music Club's Bruce Kaphan for pedal steel. "Marianna's Peace" is perfect music for drowning your a) sorrows, b) children, c) lousy attitude, d) all of the above. You decide!
2) Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong: Dawes features Jackson Browne on backing vocals and the entire album sounds like the group recorded their own follow-up to The Pretender and it wasn't Hold Out. "Moon in the Water" is plenty restful. Wow, I really don't like loud music anymore? What's up with that? I guess I don't like "modern rock."
1) Jesu - Ascension: Unless "Modern Rock" sounds like this. Justin Broadrick, once a member of Napalm Death and Godflesh, has gotten kinda tuneful. "Brave New World" sounds like someone took an Aldous Huxley book and burned it Ray Bradbury style! Maybe I should sell Quaaludes for listening assistance!