melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2012-01-23 09:24 pm

Smokestack Lightnin'

So [personal profile] synecdochic has this post up asking people for lists of, in their opinion, the fifteen best albums of the past thirty years.

If you're like me (and several of the other people I've seen comment about it) your first reaction to seeing the lists that were generated was along the lines of "Ugh, Radiohead? Really?" So much of the music listed in those comments is by white American rock guys, it's kind of oppressive. And boring.

(Not that I have anything against Radiohead. I just don't have anything for them, either. I can put on an entire Radiohead album and come out of it unable to remember a single thing about it, nor able to come up with any reason why I'd want to. I can't actually listen to it long enough to dislike it before I get distracted and zone out.

Perhaps it's an influence thing, and OK Computer was just a new and amazing thing that defined music for a generation! And if I'd been listening to anything in the mid-'90s except Tom Lehrer, the Muppets, old Moog albums, They Might Be Giants, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Tapes, I would know that! But I've been spoiled by all the stuff that's come after Radiohead that they influenced and can't understand how important they are.

...which is possible but you know I came to Johnny Cash and Howlin' Wolf and, I dunno, Karlheinz Stockhausen at least as spoiled, and yet I was still able to recognize them for the brilliant trailblazers and great musicians they were. So I think it is just "Ugh, Radiohead? Really?")

Anyway, [personal profile] sara egged me on. I consider myself completely unqualified to name the "best" albums of anything, (well, no, okay, Songs By Tom Lehrer is the best Tom Lehrer album. And I have an original 10" LP of it! And I bet you don't! :P) but there were actually a lot of good albums by people other than white American rock guys scattered among all the Radiohead and Greenday and MCR, so I have gone and pulled out a sub-list.

I could have gone all out and really complicated! But that would have been too much work, considering how busy I was today not cleaning the house, so instead, I only pulled out the list of albums on there which are not rock (regardless of whether or not they are by white American guys.) Which was what I was most interested in, because I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what the important and influential rock groups are - I can't really help it, given the people I live among (Radiohead? Why?) but learning about all the other amazing musical subcultures and histories out there will never not be interesting to me.

Specifically, I put an album on the list a) if someone included it in their top 15 in a top-level comment on that post; b) if the sidebar on the artist's wikipedia page did not at any point use the words "rock," "pop," "alternative", "indie" or "new wave" to describe the genre; c) if the artist works in several distinct genres including pop/rock, but the page for the specific album had none of those words in the sidebar; d) if the artist had no wikipedia page at all or the page had no sidebar (points for obscurity regardless of genre).

I know genre is squishy and also wikipedia is not always entirely accurate (believe it or not) so this might not be the same list you'd come up with, and the genres I listed are approximate, but it's informative anyway! And I kind of want to listen to most of these albums now. (I still don't want to listen to OK Computer. I've tried, okay? Lots of times. I think. I may have blocked some of them out of my memory.)

artist album genre
Danielle Howle Catalog ?
Dead Can Dance Into the Labyrinth ?
Naked City Naked City ?
Storm Inc. The Calm Years ?
The Lounge Flounders Imaginary Saints ?
Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses Mescalito Americana
Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses Junky Star Americana
Hugh Laurie Let Them Talk blues
Ndidi Onukwulu No, I Never blues
Arvo Part Tabula Rasa classical
Edgar Meyer and Joshua Bell Short Trip Home classical
John Adams Harmonium classical
Kevin Volans String Quartets 2 'Hunting: Gathering', 3 'The Songlines classical
Michael Nyman String Quartets 1-3 classical
Philip Glass Koyaanisqatsi classical
Philip Glass Akhnaten classical
Steve Reich Tehilim classical
Steve Reich The Desert Music classical
Steve Reich Different Trains classical
Wynton Marsalis Trumpet Concertos classical
Yo Yo Ma, Mark O'Connor, and Edgar Meyer Appalachia Waltz classical
Bill Hicks Rant in E Minor comedy
Darius Rucker Learn to Live country
Emmylou Harris Cowgirl's Prayer country
Garth Brooks The Chase country
James McMurtry Childish Things country
Jason Aldean Relentless country
John Anderson Seminole Wind country
Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes Around country
Johnny Cash American Recordings country
Johnny Cash American Recordings III country
Kathy Mattea coal country
kd lang even cowgirls get the blues country
Keith Urban Golden Road country
Luncinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road country
Martina McBride Evolution country
Mary Chapin Carpenter Come On Come On country
Reba McIntyre For My Broken Heart country
Sarah Evans Restless country
The Judds Rockin' With the Rhythm country
Tim McGraw Not A Moment Too Soon country
Tim McGraw Set This Circus Down country
Trace Adkins X country
Hesperion XX El Cancionero de Palacio Early Music
Amon Tobin Permutation electronic
Aphex Twin Richard D. James Album electronic
Atari Teenage Riot The Future of War electronic
Delerium Karma electronic
Dirty Vegas Dirty Vegas electronic
Fatboy Slim You've Come A Long Way Baby electronic
Jonathan Elias The Prayer Cycle electronic
Juno Reactor Shango electronic
Le Tigre Le Tigre electronic
Massive Attack Blue Lines electronic
Portishead Dummy electronic
Presets apocalypto electronic
Royksopp Melody AM electronic
Syntax Meccano Mind electronic
Tricky Maxinquaye electronic
Underworld Second Toughest in the Infants electronic
Echo's Children A Dancing World Filk
Vixy and Tony Thirteen Filk
flogging molly swagger folk punk
Alison Kraus et al O Brother Where Art Thou folk, american
cry Cry Cry Cry Cry Cry folk, american
Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer Drum, Hat, Buddha folk, american
Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer tanglewood tree folk, american
Iron and Wine Our Endless Numbered Days folk, american
Josh Ritter Hello Starling folk, american
Kris Delmhorst Appetite folk, american
Loreena McKennitt The Mask and the Mirror folk, american
Loreena McKennitt The Book of Secrets folk, american
Loreena McKennitt The Visit folk, american
Peter Mulvey Letters from a flying machine folk, american
Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman folk, american
Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco The Past Didn't Go anywhere folk, american
Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco Fellow Workers folk, american
Zoe Mulford Traveling Moon folk, american
Gurrumul Gurrumul folk, australian
Vika & Linda Vika & Linda folk, australian
Billy Bragg Workers Playtime folk, british
Talis Kimberly Archetype Cafe folk, british
Basia Bulat Heart of my Own folk, canadian
Heather Dale The Road to Santiago folk, canadian
James Keelaghan Timelines folk, canadian
Wailin' Jennys 40 Days folk, canadian
Hedningarna kasksi! folk, scandinavian
Grace Jones slave to the rhythm go go
Beastie Boys Ill Communication hip hop
Beastie Boys Check Your Head hip hop
Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique hip hop
Braintax Panorama hip hop
Brother Ali Us hip hop
De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising hip hop
Dessa A Badly Broken Code hip hop
DJ Phatrick A Song for Ourselves Mixtape hip hop
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP hip hop
Jay-Z The Blueprint hip hop
JME Blam! hip hop
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy hip hop
Kanye West The College dropout hip hop
Kanye West Graduation hip hop
Lowkey Soundtrack to the Struggle hip hop
Lupe Fiasco Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor hip hop
Mos Def Black on Both Sides hip hop
Outkast Speakerboxxx/The Love Below hip hop
Outkast Aquemini hip hop
Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back hip hop
Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet hip hop
Run-DMC Raising Hell hip hop
Skinnyman Council Estate of Mind hip hop
The Roots How I Got Over hip hop
Erik Truffaz The Dawn Jazz
jamiroquai Travelling Without Moving Jazz
jamiroquai Dynamite Jazz
Mark O'Connor Trio Hot Swing! Jazz
Astor Piazzola Zero Hour latin
Buena Vista Social Club Buena Vista Social Club latin
Jonathan Larson Rent musical
Lopez & Marx Avenue Q musical
Enya Watermark new age
Enya Shepherd Moons new age
Enya amarantine new age
Babyface Tender Lover R&B
Erykah Badu Baduizm R&B
Janelle Monae The ArchAndroid R&B
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill R&B
Mary J. Blige My Life R&B
Danger Mouse The Grey Album Remix
DJ Shadow Endtroducing... Remix
The Black Mages The Skies Above Remix
Paul Kelly Songs from the South Soul
Simply Red Men and Women Soul
Bobby McFerrin Circlesongs World
Hector Zazou Sahara blue World
Kirsty McColl Tropical Brainstorm World
Kronos Quartet Pieces of Africa World
M.I.A. Arular World
M.I.A. Kala World

As of when I posted this, there were 80 top-level comments on that post, and there are 140 albums on my list. Assuming each commenter averaged around 10 albums, that means that a ballpark of 80% of the songs on that list were something in the family of rock music. [personal profile] synecdochic said "Wildly Divergent Tastes"! Live up to it, people! :D

...I would also like to note for the record that even this list is leaving out a lot of diversity to really be any list of the "best". Nearly all of the albums on it are in English, just to start with. (Most of the not-in-English nominations were jrock or jpop.)
sara: Trompe l'oeil painting of a violin (violin)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
I would call Danielle Howle "folk, american" or "singer-songwriter." I didn't nominate the Dead Can Dance but...hmm. Maybe new age? Maybe goth? Kinda gothy new age classical electronica. I have the record, it's really pretty good.

Also, it makes me sad that the only two Latin records on there are two I threw up. Jesus fuck, I know a lot less about Latin music than I would like to, that's just sad. Someone out there must know more than I do and be able to put something better up there.

(Although you might call that Fabulosos Cadillacs record "Latin" too, though it's also punk. And ska. And country! It's awesome, I put it on again today in the car and the kids were cackling like maniacs, which is always a good sign.)
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 04:43 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I suppose Maná would be firmly in the rock camp as well, under those criteria (and I don't know Maná well enough to talk about which of their albums is the best, sadly).

Do you know the Alt Latino podcast NPR does? I like that as a way to find new Spanish-language bands.

Also, I am cracking up at this whole thing as, like, DW problemsolving techniques in a nutshell: Dee has a grand vision, I sit in the corner and crit, you run a spreadsheet. *snicker*
quinfirefrorefiddle: Music written on post-its. (Music)

[personal profile] quinfirefrorefiddle 2012-01-24 04:39 am (UTC)(link)
If I listened to any music made in the last thirty years that wasn't either ren faire music or showtunes (Jason Robert Brown!), I'd be all over this challenge. But I... really, really don't. I was brought up on classic rock and blues/folk, and everything else just *sounds* wrong. I occasionally catch a song here or there that I like (Accidentally in Love, Why Don't You and I) but it's a rare thing.

But I am all for making alternative lists. And you clearly put a lot of effort into this- very cool! Perhaps I shall do some research. :)
quinfirefrorefiddle: Music written on post-its. (Music)

[personal profile] quinfirefrorefiddle 2012-01-24 04:52 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks to iTunes, though, I never listen to albums as albums anymore- the albums I know backwards and forwards are the ones I listened to endlessly on my mom's turntable (like Carole King's "Tapestry" and Cat Stevens' "Moonshadow") and a few CDs. I have contemporary artists I like (Jason Robert Brown, Medieval Baebes, Jolly Rogers, Santana, Gaelic Storm) but the only "albums" I know these days are soundtracks of musicals (Wicked, RENT, The Last Five Years, etc.).
avendya: blue-green picture of a woman's face (Default)

[personal profile] avendya 2012-01-24 05:36 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my god, showtunes count. [goes to nominate Next to Normal]
avendya: blue-green picture of a woman's face (Default)

[personal profile] avendya 2012-01-24 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
Wikipedia is lying when it calls Vienna Teng's Dreaming Through the Noise pop. It's folk.
avendya: blue-green picture of a woman's face (Babylon 5 - and so it begins)

[personal profile] avendya 2012-01-24 05:37 am (UTC)(link)
Possibly someone with more folk knowledge than me should answer this, but I think DttN is much more folk-influenced than her other albums. (And, yes, she is a indie singer-songwriter, but calling DttN pop is... not accurate, and it's certainly not rock either.)
sara: a grim Northwestern scene (orygun)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 05:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I have no better way of distinguishing modern U.S. folk from indy from country from Americana than saying that it draws on the American folk tradition.

I mean, I've been listening to a lot of Blitzen Trapper, and they make a crack in one of their concert recordings that we listen to about how they're not playing heavy metal, they're playing heavy folk...and apparently the difference between "heavy folk" and "rock" is that they, um, like to go to Pickathon.

seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2012-01-24 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
Naked City might be rock and it might be bebop. It might also be something else entirely. I'm not sure, and I've listened to that album dozens of times.

Half of the albums I nominated aren't rock. But I like rock, and I like Radiohead, or at least I think OK Computer is pretty amazing and occasionally like other things Radiohead did.

Also, I only put fourteen albums in my top level comment, so you missed it, but my fifteenth album was also not rock: the jazz/klezmer fusion of Masada's "Alef".
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2012-01-24 02:21 pm (UTC)(link)
ahaha, unfortunately that Stan Rogers was me and I stupidly nommed an album that is well before the 1982 cutoff date. I need to go back and say "From Fresh Water" instead. Somehow I managed to forget that Stan Rogers died 29 years ago....

(I also have some other non white-american-rock in my third comment, where it's even less likely to be seen -- African-American, South African, and folk.)

On the subject of your post in general -- yeah, I too had trouble with some of the formulation of the question and the types of answers it's designed to elicit. Conversations in comments in my journal have helped clarify that. I know that I felt weird nomming things because it was supposed to be "best" and not "favourite" and although I am a huge music fan and find music vastly important to me I don't actually know enough to be able to judge objective "best"s. Which means that the stuff I love listening to that's not standard/popular/well-recognized I don't mention (or feel wrong mentioning) because clearly it's idiosyncratic of me to like this particular thing.

Plus, as [personal profile] naraht mentions, the "album" format is one that is specifically geared towards certain genres of music.
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 02:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooo, jazz/klezmer.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2012-01-24 03:37 pm (UTC)(link)
In some fashion all Klezmer Revival is Jazz/Klezmer fusion, because virtually all Klezmer Revival klezmorim were trained as jazz musicians. There's very little cultural purity in Klezmer, not that there ever was, and nobody should think that that's a problem.

Masada, strictly speaking, is Downtown Jazz/Klezmer fusion. Alef is John Zorn's announcement of what he termed Radical Jewish Culture, which is a musical movement about stopping being scared of assimilation destroying our heritage. Alef looks backward both to Zorn's early '80s game pieces (and their inspirations like Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler) and to traditional klezmer scales and melodies and rhythms.

In any case, it's an amazing set of songs.
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 05:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I would like to know more about klezmer than I do -- there's a local klezmer band that plays at our weekend market and I think they're a lot of fun, but that's about the extent of my knowings. So thanks for the rec!
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2012-01-24 07:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I could and probably should make a whole post dedicated to klez recommendations, but let me at least give you the single most fun klezmer album I know: Carnival Conspiracy by Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-Stars. It's just an explosion of sound and language and joy.
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 08:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, if you do, send up a flare -- I would totally be interested in reading that.
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-25 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I dled that last night and whee, that is a lot of fun! We put that on in the kitchen today while doing the food prep for lunch for twenty, it was great (and it's been a rough little while, so having something cheery was excellent). Thanks!

Also, I am amused that between the Spanish and the Yiddish, I understand a lot more of the lyrics than I really would have expected (I'm a goy but was raised among a lot of L.A. Jews, and have ended up having more Yiddish than I really think I do just because I never think of it as being anything but part of the vernacular....)
ilyena_sylph: han and luke and leia being OT3 (Star Wars: OT3)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2012-01-24 05:53 am (UTC)(link)
You are so incredibly awesome for this post.

*all the hearts!*
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

[personal profile] holyschist 2012-01-24 05:53 am (UTC)(link)
I considered posting a Top 15 that would have been mostly folk, but then I decided it would be too much work and I don't really think of music as "albums" rather than discrete songs anyway and that's really more of a rock/pop way of thinking about things and the first "album" that came to mind was from the 1960s and hence disqualified. :-P

Did anyone nominate any fado albums? I'm not up enough on the genre to suggest any, but on the topic of Latin music that isn't rock or pop....

Okay, actually I kind of want to nominate now.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

[personal profile] holyschist 2012-01-25 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
I do like rock, but if I were nominating rock albums that blew me away, very few of them would be mainstreamish US/UK artists...I mean, a lot of the music I listen to is rock/pop, it's just First Nations or Arabic or Turkish or whatever.
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2012-01-24 06:31 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, nice!
busaikko: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Default)

[personal profile] busaikko 2012-01-24 07:48 am (UTC)(link)
And I have an original 10" LP of it! And I bet you don't!

I do! And I bought it for a dollar in a basement charity shop in Connecticut. It is a thing that gives me joy (er, assuming my brother didn't eBay-sell it to you *suddenly fears*).

I'm surprised Cordelia's Dad didn't make the list for Spine. Now I'll have to go see what slander Wikipedia is saying about my favorite ballad-covering (as in, Little Margaret-type ballads) band.... I'd have put them down as American Folk, at least that's what they toured as.
busaikko: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Default)

[personal profile] busaikko 2012-01-24 09:11 pm (UTC)(link)
kaz: "Kaz" written in cursive with a white quill that is dissolving into (badly drawn in Photoshop) butterflies. (Default)

[personal profile] kaz 2012-01-24 08:38 am (UTC)(link)
Ouch. :/ I'd nominate some stuff but a) I mostly listen to classical so I do not feel qualified to judge "best 15 of the past 30 years", it would just be "stuff Kaz likes" anyway, and b) it looks as if most of the stuff I do like is a subtype of rock anyway. Even if I suspect German (as in, both by nationality and language) medieval rock isn't exactly standard.
naraht: (Default)

[personal profile] naraht 2012-01-24 09:14 am (UTC)(link)
Surely there have been classical albums released in the past thirty years. ;)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

[personal profile] holyschist 2012-01-25 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
I would like recs for German medieval rock! I have some, but mostly tending towards metal and I always want moar!
naraht: (Default)

[personal profile] naraht 2012-01-24 09:08 am (UTC)(link)
I missed the initial post so I'm now going to have to go back and compile my list of fifteen! It will certainly include some rock on it--it might even, gasp horror, include OK Computer--but I'll now be making a special effort to widen my choices slightly. As I do indeed listen to a lot of things that aren't rock.

I wonder whether part of it is the format in which the discussion is taking place. The concept of the "album" as an artistic unit is very rock-centric to start with, after all. If you were talking from a standpoint of classical as normative, you would be talking about great compositions, after all. Even if you were being pop-centric, you might ask for best singles. So that certainly affects the discourse.

And then once people start nominating things, other people often read those lists before they nominate, and what happens is a conversation. One with a goal, come to that. So I could nominate a La Monte Young "album" (which isn't an album) that only a few people have ever heard of, or I could respond to the fact that I've seen other people nominating Paul's Simon's "Graceland," which I also love, and in putting it on my list I might have a chance of getting it onto the top fifteen. Whereas nominating La Monte Young is basically me shouting into the wilderness.

If my top fifteen is too rock-centric I'll come back here and give you some other recs. Promise. :)

ETA: Oh, and Radiohead aren't white American rock guys. Just saying....
Edited 2012-01-24 09:53 (UTC)
naraht: (Default)

[personal profile] naraht 2012-01-24 11:48 am (UTC)(link)
In case you were interested in my list, I've just posted it, and divided it up a bit by genre/gender:

Arthur Russell - World of Echo
Kronos Quartet - Early Music (Lachrymæ Antiquæ)
La Monte Young - The Well Tuned Piano (1988 release)
Elizabeth Kenny and Theatre of the Ayre - Venus and Adonis [John Blow]
The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation - Anthropomorphic

Radiohead - OK Computer
The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come
Paul Simon - Graceland
Sisters of Mercy - Floodland

Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
PJ Harvey - Rid of Me
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman

The Streets - Original Pirate Material
Jamie T - Panic Prevention

Do let me know if you want more recs in one genre or another.
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2012-01-24 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
...I think "The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation" is a beautiful name for a band.
espresso_addict: 'Lady with Hat and Feather Boa', Gustav Klimt  (Default)

[personal profile] espresso_addict 2012-01-25 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
I'll look out for the La Monte Young -- thanks for the rec.
kiezh: Tree and birds reflected in water (Default)

I too completely fail to understand the appeal of Radiohead

[personal profile] kiezh 2012-01-24 07:01 pm (UTC)(link)
It probably says something about me that I recognize almost everyone listed under folk*, but a lot of the other albums people were nominating (especially the white rock guys) were unfamiliar to me or not at all to my taste. :/

I'd draw genre boundaries rather differently than you do; I think of Vienna Teng as a folk singer-songwriter, for instance, and there are several people on this list who are on the blurry folk-filk or folk-country borders. I understand that it's difficult to wrangle a big list of albums, though, and impossible to do so without classification problems.

Oh, also - I think you left off the two musicals I nominated? Secret Garden and Les Miserables, neither of which are rock. ;)

*Yes, a good chunk of them were my nominations, but I recognize most of the ones that weren't, too. And now I want to go check out the Australian folk, because my collection is shamefully short in that department.
automaticdoor: janelle monae dancing (janelle monae)

[personal profile] automaticdoor 2012-01-25 12:18 am (UTC)(link)
My list:

Tegan and Sara - The Con (Canadian, queer women, folk/indie)
Dixie Chicks - Taking The Long Way (American, women, country)
Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (American, men, alt/indie)
Ani DiFranco - Reprieve (American, queer woman, folk)
A Fine Frenzy - Bomb In A Birdcage (American, woman, pop/indie)
Eisley - Room Noises (American, lead=woman, pop/indie)
Jay-Z + DJ Danger Mouse - The Grey Album (American, men of color, hip-hop)
Metric - Fantasies (Canadian, lead=woman, alt/indie)
Regina Spektor - Far (Russian/American, Jewish woman, folk/rock)
Rilo Kiley - The Execution Of All Things (American, lead=woman, pop/indie)
The Sounds - Dying To Say This To You (Swedish, lead=queer woman, pop/indie)
Stars - Set Yourself On Fire (Canadian, co-lead=woman, pop/indie)
The White Stripes - Elephant (American, male, rock)

This could have more people of color and less North America in it, but I think I'm doing okay on the lady front!
espresso_addict: 'Lady with Hat and Feather Boa', Gustav Klimt  (Default)

[personal profile] espresso_addict 2012-01-25 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
As someone who almost entirely listens to what I usually label as 'contemporary classical' or 'post-minimalist', I found picking out albums that met [personal profile] synecdochic's criteria very interesting. They did exclude a fair amount of material where I loved each composition individually but felt the album didn't hang together as a unit (eg Steve Reich's City Life) but that's life with any selective process.

I do feel a bit bad now that all my selections were written by white males; I meant to include something by Suzanne Vega or Meredith Monk or Laurie Anderson but didn't get around to it.
zlabya: color art of a dark-haired young woman holding a scrawny Russian Blue cat (Default)

[personal profile] zlabya 2012-01-28 08:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer are beyond awesome (this from a serious contemporary-folk-music fan). Husband has both those albums and ::speechless:: Dave Carter is one of the best lyricists ever, IMHO.

I'm sad to not see the Canadian folk-music group Tanglefoot--they wrote and performed high-energy bouncy and powerful ballad tunes from about 20 years ago until they finally closed up shop just a couple of years ago. Most of their tunes were based on eastern Canadian history, ancestors, or people they'd met. Music From the Wood and Full-Throated Abandon are my favorite albums.

stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)

[personal profile] stultiloquentia 2012-01-29 04:10 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm wandering in kind of late, but I wanted to say I like this post and the discussion (and an awful lot of your music), especially the bits about who invented albums as a concept. Schubert song cycles, anybody?