The Beach Boys and Kacey Musgraves both produced quintessential Christmas albums – they just happened to be generations and decades apart. The similarities are striking: both albums are a mix of well-known holiday standards plus original compositions – and all are true to the artists’ unique sounds. Both albums make you excited for all of the “Ribbons and Bows” of the season and the coming of “Little Saint Nick.”
It’s frankly one of the great mysteries in music: Why isn’t the English band Elbow more popular in the United States? After all, this band of longtime friends has produced some of the most captivating sounds and albums for more than two decades. Their 2008 album, “The Seldom Seen Kid,” even won the Mercury Prize for best album in the UK – topping giants such as Radiohead, Adele, and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Singer Guy Garvey’s poetic longing is fully embraced by the sonic backing of the rest of Elbow, resulting in anthemic and haunting masterpieces such as “Starlings” and “One Day Like This,” while also featuring grooves like “Grounds for Divorce,” “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver” and so much more.
Green Day's "Dookie" brought punk rock to the masses in the mid-90s -- yet resulted in the band being ostracized from the punk community due to its mainstream success. It transcends punk rock, and 25 years later this album is still full of fist-pumping hits like "When I Come Around," "Longview," "Welcome to Paradise" and more.
Geographic name-dropping, songs about Saabs and golf courses, and of course questions of love and faith. Vampire Weekend’s third album, “Modern Vampires of the City” showcased the band’s songwriting and song content growth – and was considered by many as the best album of 2013. But don’t fret: there’s still plenty of catchy hooks, popped collars and high-fallutin’ themes – the things we all tend to love Vampire Weekend for anyway.
It was an album that record execs and studio heads initially rejected. But “Kick” by INXS would go on to produce a slew of top 10 hits worldwide, turning the band - led by charismatic frontman Michael Hutchence - from Australian heroes to the people’s choice in rock and roll, putting them on par with U2 and R.E.M.
For some, “The Boxer” is The National’s greatest album. However, in this epipod of Finest Worksongs, we take a look at what be their most quintessential album, “Alligator." It’s an album of both confidence and introspection, of colorful characters and average Joes. All sung with a sound unique to The National.
At the time it was released, this album was overshadowed by Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and even some monsters from Sesame Street. But a dozen years later, “The Reminder” by Feist holds up as an accomplishment of an artist with a clear vision, a bevy of talented friends, and a voice like none other.
It’s a tale as old as time: Man reads Ann Frank’s “The Diary is a Young Girl.” Man weeps for three days straight. Man dreams of building a time machine to go back and save her. Man writes arguably one of the greatest Indy rock albums of all time. Can you say “cliche?”
If you were anywhere near a college campus in the mid-1990s, you were probably going to hear the Dave Matthews Band – either coming out of a dorm stereo, or being played by a guy with an acoustic guitar. Before too long, though, the DMB was everywhere. The mix of guitar, horns, violin, and impeccable drumming – along with Matthews’ unique vocals – was a revolutionary sound in mainstream rock music. But is it still?