A couple weeks ago I asked for some help in discovering music and some people asked what I like to listen to. Here are some albums that I basically consider “classic,” or the caliber of music that I never get tired of. Something like that. They’re in no order at all and I maybe would have thought of different albums on a different day.
Tycho - Dive
I have been waking up to the first song on this album for about three months or so. If I had to define nostalgia to someone I would just have them listen to this and be like “you know, when you feel like this”.
Converge - Jane Doe
I wasn’t really that into Converge until I saw them live for the first time. Then I was a huge Converge fan. Songs like “Phoenix in Flight” and “Jane Doe” were a huge inspiration for me and really informed that idea of taking an idea and developing and building on it.
Sigur Ros - ( )
The peak of my interest in this band happened in 2005-2006 and I was fortunate enough to see them play in Iceland in the summer of 2006 and it was one of those moments that you remember that period of your life by. One time one of them said something like “we think songs should be like a journey” or something like that, and I feel the same way.
Meshuggah - Catch 33
This album is what made me want to understand Meshuggah. I listened to it probably 30 times in late 2006/early 2007.
Sunny Day Real Estate - How it Feels to be Something On
All SDRE albums are great but this one has this kind of morose but oddly optimistic feeling that you get when you know things will work out but you’re still bummed anyway. The album is amazing but the first six tracks are perfect.
Jimmy Eat World - Clarity
I probably just like this album so much because of how nostalgic it makes me feel. If you think you know what Jimmy Eat World sounds like but you haven’t heard this album then you don’t know what Jimmy Eat World sounds like. I’m calling it shoegaze and I think it’s really great shoegaze and I don’t care if you don’t think so also.
Glassjaw - Worship & Tribute
I have to include this because it influenced a solid three years of my musical style. It’s just solid: the songwriting is solid, the instrumentation is solid, the vocals are from an insane person but it’s still subtle in that way where when you truly understand where it’s coming from you feel your heart get heavy.
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
I didn’t like this album for about six months and then I couldn’t stop listening to it for a month. It’s the most brilliant album that I’ve ever been able to get into in a sincere way.
Sufjan Stevens - Come on Feel the Illinoise
When you read about Sufjan Stevens he sounds like an egomaniac but then you realize that he just takes his music super super seriously and you understand that you won’t ever feel that way about anything . Then you enjoy the hell out of his music like you’re supposed to.
Smashing Pumpkins - Rotten Apples
I love this band but they have a penchant for making really really long albums with a lot of songs that you feel like are just ok, punctuated by amazing songs, some of which they put on this greatest hits album.
The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha
The first song on this album was our first dance at our wedding.
Battles - Gloss Drop
I liked “Mirrored” a lot but I like this album even better because it’s really fun. I think I’ve had parts of every song stuck in my head for days. I didn’t think it was that catchy but then my subconscious let me know that it was actually incredibly catchy. And really weird too. I like when music is weird and good, it takes something special to make that happen.
Tool - Lateralus
This is kind of like a “duh” thing. I don’t even know why I’m putting it here because you should already know that this album is perfect in that way where you can listen to it while meditating on top of a mountain and then come back down and sell all your possessions.
Thomas Newman - American Beauty
I love everything that Thomas Newman has done but this album stands out because it’s kind of electronic and seems more experimental than anything else that I know about. It’s a lesson in simplicity and how much you can achieve in a short time and with minimal instrumentation.
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
Every single song on this album has “that part” that you want to hear looped forever. I absolutely love when bands pull off catchy but still make actual music. That’s all this band does.
Dredg - El Cielo
Another basically perfect album that you listen to all the way through a bunch of times and then you get into each song separately at different times.
Four Tet - Rounds
I got into Four Tet around the same time I got into Tycho. I might have been listening to this album when I realized that technology isn’t something you should be afraid of because it’s just the next step in our evolution and you don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to, but how can anything that helps make music like this be something to be scared of?
Four Tet - Pink
Isis - Panopticon
This is a staple. Isis and I have this weird relationship where I don’t really think about them that much but I see them pop up all the time in music that I write so I guess I think about them a lot more than I think I do.
Mogwai - Happy Songs for Happy People
This album and the next album are responsible for making me understand that music without vocals is as legitimate as any music that has vocals.
Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
I can’t imagine that there is a huge contingent of people that don’t already know about this album, but if I’m wrong then that’s great because then you get to know about this now.
Propagandhi - Supporting Caste
I don’t know, I had to put something in by this band and this album rules.
The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
I got way into this album around the time that I was writing “Fade” and in a really subtle way I think it influenced my whole approach to writing music. On first listen this seems like something you just keep on in the background while you’re doing something else but there’s this place you can get to where you understand why it isn’t and why it’s as involving as any of your other favorite albums.
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