Modern Classic Albums Part 2: 90-81
Hopefully by now you’ve checked out the first part of our modern classic albums list. Make sure you have voted on the albums you’ve heard and check out the ones you haven’t. Without anymore jibber-jabber, here is part 2!
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM - SOUND OF SILVER
Genre: Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance, Synth Pop
Description: The creative canvas for frontman James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem were an alternative dance band that disbanded in 2011 after producing three highly acclaimed albums of layered, catchy and memorable tunes. “Sound of Silver” was their second album and arguably their best. It showcases the band’s great ability to create songs that have a habit of burning themselves into your brain. Songs like the massive opener “Get Innocuous!” and “North American Scum” may appeal to many people but it’s the more understated tracks that show LCD’s real quality.
Key Track: Final track “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing me Down” is a superb song (also the last song the band ever played live) but it’s the unbelievably catchy, visceral “Someone Great” that adequately displays how great this band was.
OASIS - (WHAT’S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY?
Genre: Britpop, Alternative Rock
Description: “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” was probably the highpoint of the Britpop genre. In response to the Grunge explosion from the US taking over the airwaves in Britain, bands like Blur, Suede, Pulp and Oasis borrowed heavily from British guitar rock from the 60s and 70s to create the so-called Britpop Genre. On the back of a few monster singles (especially the seminal “Wonderwall”) “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” absolutely exploded. It’s catchy as fuck and listening to it now is just nostalgic as all hell. Treat yourself to a sing-a-long.
Key Track: “Wonderwall” is a wonderful (hehe) song as are “Champagne Supernova” and the title track. “Don’t Look Back In Anger” just sums up Oasis perfectly though. An unashamed rip off of some John Lennon piano coupled with that “Soooooo Sally can wait” chorus makes it pure gold.
EMINEM – THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP
Genre: Hip Hop, Hardcore Hip Hop
Description: Eminem was a phenomenon in the late 90s and 2000s. He created a legion of fans the size of the moon. The standout in his discography, this hard-hitting and often deeply personal LP was one of the main reasons why. Eminem’s rapping and delivery is first class. It’s an album that has been the gateway for many into the world of hip-hop and is hands down one of the most influential albums in the genre post 2000.
Key Track: “The Real Slim Shady” may be one of the most constantly quoted songs ever but “Stan (ft. Dido)” is an absolute masterpiece. Heavy and depressing albeit.
MASTODON - LEVIATHAN
Genre: Sludge Metal, Progressive Metal
Description: Mastodon have been one of the most consistent metal outfits of more recent times and this ostentatiously ambitious concept album that used the story of Moby Dick as its creative starting point is probably the best of the lot. Mastodon have a great ability to mix crushingly heavy instrumentation with enough melody to entice the listener who likes their sludge just a little less well…..sludgy. On recent albums they might have strayed a little too far towards the melody side for the likes of a lot of original fans but “Leviathan” was the perfect mid-point. Songs like “Blood and Thunder”, “Naked Burn” and “Megalodon” are high points of a consistently excellent record.
Key Tracks: The mammoth penultimate track “Hearts Alive” is the centre piece of the album (at over 13 minutes that’s kind of a given). Its sprawling brilliance shows Mastodon’s progressive leanings. Listen out for the fantastic guitar solo towards the end of the track and burst into some air guitar if it takes your fancy.
ARCTIC MONKEYS - WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT'S WHAT I'M NOT
Genre: Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival
Description: Arctic Monkeys rode a wave of publicity and hype into their debut album’s release and they didn’t let their burgeoning fan base down with this rocking, often humorous LP. Songs like “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “When the Sun Goes Down” have become party-time favourites but, like the rest of the album, they’re deceptively musically accomplished and sure to get you belting out lines in the car.
Key Track: The two big singles are both great tracks but it’s the foot to the floor opener “View from the Afternoon” that is the standout track. Matt Helders drumming alone is enough.
TAME IMPALA - LONERISM
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Psychedelic Rock
Description: Ladies and Gentleman. Representing Perth. Tame Impala! Our very own Psych Rockers produced this knock-out record last year to massive critical and commercial success both here and overseas, something that very few Aussie bands manage to do. The fact that it’s not a cheesy pop record but a trippy, psychedelic fusion of sounds makes it all the more impressive. A fantastic live act as well, these guys are the perfect pin up boys for Western Australian music worldwide. A mighty achievement.
Key Track: It’s a pretty hard job to pick between the multiple killer tracks here. “Elephant”, “Why Won’t They Talk to me?” and “Mind Mischief” are all delicious but it’s the gorgeous “Feels Like We Only go backwards” that will stick in your head long after hearing it.
PORCUPINE TREE - IN ABSENTIA
Genre: Progressive Rock, Art Rock
Description: Porcupine Tree is the brainchild of possibly the busiest man in prog; Steven Wilson. The band has produced some of the most intelligent progressive rock of the last two decades. “In Absentia” is probably the most straight forward of their 10 studio albums but it also contains some of their most standout material. Heavier cuts like opener “Blackest Eyes” and “Strip the Soul” are complimented brilliantly by songs like the eerily beautiful “Heartattack in a Layby” and the fan favourite “Trains”.
Key Tracks: If one song could encapsulate Porcupine Tree’s music it would have to be “Trains” but it’s the absolutely stunning final track “Collapse the Light into Earth” that is considered one of Porcupine Tree’s finest.
GUIDED BY VOICES - BEE THOUSAND
Genre: Indie Rock, Lo-Fi Indie
Description: Guided by Voices were one of the most influential Lo-Fi acts of the 90s and this record is probably their most recognized. Let’s not beat around the bush, if you like your rock shiny, perfect and “Protool-ed” the fuck out of, then maybe steer clear of these guys. However, underneath the fuzzy guitars and dodgy recording quality sits a seemingly never ending supply of short, punchy and to the point rock songs (only 2 tracks out of 20 scrape 3 minutes). It’s not perfect, but it’s a rarely boring, super fun listen that has helped inspire a generation of indie rock bands.
Key Track: It’s difficult to pick a standout track as many of them seem to be over before they start (or get boring perhaps). “Smothered in Hugs” is a damn wonderful rock song though.
THE SHINS - CHUTES TOO NARROW
Genre: Indie Pop, Jangle Pop
Description: “Chutes Too Narrow” is one of the finest examples of noughties indie pop. The Shins constructed an album displaying a massive variety of influences. Artists such as The Beatles and late era Elliott Smith can be heard in places whilst folk and americana tinges are consistently present. The lovely mix of sounds, more than solid musicianship and the instantly recognisable voice of James Mercer have made this an incredibly loved album amongst indie kids worldwide.
Key Track: Second single, “Fighting in a Sack”, is the shortest cut on the album however it is also the most likely to induce an uncontrollable bout of foot taping and if that is not the mark of a good pop song then I’m not sure what is!
SPIRITUALIZED - LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE ARE FLOATING IN SPACE
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Space Rock
Description: Spiritualized produced one of the trippiest and finest Neo-Psych albums of the last 23 years with this absolute gem. Jason Pierce and Co developed an album that rewards repeated listens and is sonically diverse and rich. It ranges from straight forward alt rock (“Electricity”) all the way to massive psychedelic freakouts (“Cop Shoot Cop”). A glorious glorious ride.
Key Track: “I Think I’m In Love” is one of the best tracks on the album. Swelling instrumentation centred around a repeated hook backs razor sharp and witty lyrics (which often reference drug use…like the rest of the record). “Think I can fly/Probably just falling/Think I’m the life and soul/Probably just snorting/Think I can hit the mark/Probably just aiming/Think my name is on your lips/Probably complaining”. Brilliant.