My Favorite Records

My favorite records. Not in any particular order. Enjoy! Playlist link:
  1. 1
    Head Hunters
    Herbie Hancock
    Essential Herbie Hancock. The man is a legend. Favorites are "Chameleon" & "Watermelon Man".
  2. 2
    Dots And Loops
    I remember being blown away by how good all the songs were on this record. I couldn't understand how a whole record could be so perfect. I also just thought it was recorded in the 60s, having never heard of Stereolab before listening to Dots and Loops. The recording is super warm and pleasing to listen to. Definitely don't have to skip around much here. All of Stereolab is amazing.
  3. 3
    Pink Moon
    Nick Drake
    The first time I listened to this record I was maybe 15 or 16. I felt melancholy a lot as a teen and I would listen to this on my brick-of-an-iPod and walk around outside. Later, I bought a book called White Bicycles by Joe Boyd, who discovered Nick Drake in the 1960s. Like a lot of the greats, there's a sad story there.. the album is best listened to in nature when the sun is setting.

    I also recommend picking up the aforementioned book White Bicycles, one of my favorite books pertaining to music in addition to Here, There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick.
  4. 4
    Songs Of Love And Hate
    Leonard Cohen
    I discovered Leonard Cohen when I downloaded a torrent (i'm sorry) in high school called "The Songs That Inspired Nick Cave". There on the list was Leonard Cohen's "Avalanche". Holy mackerel was I in awe. I must've listened to that song hundreds of times. After that I went down the Leonard Cohen hole.
  5. 5
    Songs Of Leonard Cohen
    Leonard Cohen
    The songs "Suzanne" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" are two songs I've most certainly shed a tear to. Truly beautiful, sad, and transcendent. "So Long, Marianne" is also one of my favorites by him.
  6. 6
    OK Computer
    I have memories of driving home as a teenager on desolate roads at night, from one of my first jobs (as a pizza place counter girl) in upstate New York, listening to OK Computer. When I'd pull into the driveway, I'd just let the album play out.

    There were also many times I'd skip school entirely (I was absent the maximum amount of days as a senior) to drive around aimlessly in my first car, a used red Ford Taurus, and listen to Radiohead by myself. No one knew what I was doing. I remember once passing the turn to Monticello High School, and ending up all the way in Pennsylvania somehow. This was before smartphones and Google Maps existed. Driving to absolutely nowhere listening to music was one of my favorite things to do. I never skipped school to do drugs or drink, only to listen to Radiohead, or fake sick to stay home if a Yankees game was on the TV.

    I remember driving on a clear night whilst blasting "Subterranean Homesick Alien" and thinking to myself.. are we alone in the universe? Probably not. I discovered Bob Dylan after learning that "Subterranean Homesick Alien" was a wordplay on Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues". I think this Radiohead song in particular jump-started my fascination will all things space-related. It was the first time in my life I discovered a new feeling of profound insignificance, driving home from a menial job, worried about homework, while there was an entire universe of billions of stars hovering above my head.

    I also remember listening to "Exit Music (For a Film)", "Lucky" and "The Tourist" and thinking geez.. is there any music that could ever beat this?

    Anyway.. rambling about this one but there are a lot of memories tied to it. Definitely my favorite Radiohead record, and quite possibly my favorite record of all time. I challenge myself constantly when listening - "Is it still my favorite?" and it always is. Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" is a close contender, though.
  7. 7
    Rain Dogs
    Tom Waits
    Ok. Another memory triggered. My first apartment in New York City was in Chinatown. I moved down to the city (where I am currently) to attend city college, of which I was eventually withdrawn from due to poor attendance (as you could have surmised from the beginning of my OK Computer description. I think it was a social phobia with school more than anything).

    Anyway. I would roam around the streets of Chinatown aimlessly, headphones securely in place, enveloping my ears. I always wore those giant whole-ear covering headphones, not really a smart idea in a city. Listening to Rain Dogs made the outside world seem so surreal. The chopping of fish heads at the fish markets, the lights and neon signs, all the interesting characters. Everything absurd. I felt like I was in a movie.

    Unbeknownst to me, I later learned that the record's concept was inspired by New York City. However, I reckon the perfect place to listen to it would probably be New Orleans, in the wee hours of night just after a Mardi Gras celebration.
  8. 8
    Ege Bamyasi
    For the life of me, I will never be able to pronounce this record by Can. I'm not sure how old I was when I discovered Ege Bamyasi, but I'm pretty sure it was after I had moved down to the city. The first song I was introduced to was "Vitamin C"- such an amazing tune. After that I just had to have the record with the giant CAN on it. That song in particular is used in a bunch of movies now.

    I had no idea they were from Germany, and I had no idea what Krautrock was. This is how I discovered the Krautrock genre, of which I am very fond of now.
  9. 9
    Bitches Brew
    Miles Davis
    Quite possibly one of my favorite album artworks, whenever I listen to Bitches Brew I feel instantly taken to the place depicted on the cover. Fun fact: Thom Yorke cited this as one of Radiohead's inspirations for OK Computer.
  10. 10
    Paul And Linda McCartney*
    The record jacket for Ram is hanging in a frame on my wall. The song "Ram On" is one of my favorites by Sir Paul, a hero of mine, and his wife Linda. Sadly, Linda passed away from breast cancer in 1998. I enjoy hearing the songs they worked on together.

    By the way, the perfect place to listen to "Too Many People" in particular is at rush hour on a crowded New York City subway car.
  11. 11
    Band On The Run
    Paul McCartney And Wings*
    My favorite song off Band on the Run is the track of the same name. The first time I heard it I thought.. wow, a song with three different parts.. and it's one song! I know it's a silly thing to think, maybe, but my mind was pretty much blown.
  12. 12
    Wild Life
    Wings (2)
    Well I can't go listing Paul records without incorporating this one. Listen to the song "Wild Life" and try not to cry thinking of animals in a zoo. Linda and Paul well-known animal rights activists.
  13. 13
    Belle And Sebastian*
    A band perhaps as influential to me as Radiohead, I was obsessed with Belle & Sebastian as a teenager. All of the songs on this record resonated with me, especially "Expectations". I felt like the song was about my life. "Monday morning wake up knowing that you've got to go to school, tell your mom what to expect she says it's right out of the blue". The lyrics go on "Your obsessions get you known throughout the school for being strange, making life size models of The Velvet Underground in clay".

    I never made life size models of the Velvet Underground in clay, but I did dive into the Velvet Underground's discography after listening to this song.
  14. 14
    The Velvet Underground
    The Velvet Underground
    The Andy Warhol banana self-titled record with Nico I think is probably VU's most popular. But I personally like this one the best. Especially "Candy Says", "Pale Blue Eyes", "The Murder Mystery" and "After Hours".

    A band that made me excited about moving to New York City as a teen.
  15. 15
    White Light/White Heat
    The Velvet Underground
    Ok. When I first heard this record as a teenager I can guarantee my thoughts were: "What the hell! This is great! What even is this!"

    "The Gift" is about a paranoid man who mails himself to his lover, only to be murdered accidentally when the box is opened with metal sheers. It's eight minutes long. I was astounded. "Lady Godiva's Operation" describes a botched surgical procedure. The album really stuck with me for how dark it was and I really loved it. It was the first time I realized that music was an art form, too. Songs didn't have to be traditional. They could be weird as hell.

    One of my all time favorite VU tracks is "Venus in Furs", based on the Leopold von Sacher-Masoch book of the same title (where the term Masochism comes from). That one is on The Velvet Underground & Nico record, though, which you should listen to anyway.
  16. 16
    Odessey And Oracle
    The Zombies
    My older boyfriend in high school put "Care of Cell 44" on a mixtape for me. I thought it was so cool. Of course I then had to listen to the whole record, which is wonderful. Those harmonies, I tell you!

    Here is the overly complicated and artsy way I would make mixtapes in high school: I would put the songs on my iPod, broadcast them with an iTrip (a device that broadcasts the iPod to a radio frequency) to the boombox that was at the pizza place I worked at, and record it to cassette tape. So even though I was living in the digital era, I always preferred giving mixtapes on cassette form. Of course I burned CD mixtapes for people too, I'm not a total weirdo.
  17. 17
    Haha Sound
    This record and Stereolab's "Dots and Loops" kinda go hand in hand for me because I discovered them around the same time.

    I can't remember how I discovered Broadcast, but it was definitely after Trish Keenan (lead singer) had passed away. I remember looking them up and being saddened by that fact.

    "Ominous Cloud" is my favorite.

    This was my first big vinyl eBay purchase after I had some extra cash for licensing one of my Computer Magic songs. I bought one of the first pressings of Haha Sound for around $200- at the time, the only vinyl available was the first pressing.

    A few months later it would be reissued on vinyl- where I could get it for $20! Oh well. Still feel lucky to have acquired it, of course.
  18. 18
    Dorothy Ashby
    I almost made the same mistake (that I did with Broadcast's Haha Sound) of buying the first pressing right before it was reissued! Not that there's anything wrong with dishing out money for rare vinyls, it's just a dangerous pit.

    One of my favorite instrumental records, it's lovely to throw on any time, anywhere. I couldn't name a single harp player before discovering Dorothy Ashby- and she is the only one I know by name, now. Definitely made me appreciate the instrument.
  19. 19
    The Meters
    The Meters
    Another classic record in my opinion. "Cissy Strut" is legendary.
  20. 20
    Gal Costa
    Gal Costa
    A record I'm happy to say I discovered at a record store.

    I remember there was a "Four Men With Beards" sticker on the front - a label that specializes in reissues. I respected most of everything the label attached their name to, so I scooped this Gal Costa record up, having never heard of her before. And I'm really happy I did.
  21. 21
    Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective (Volume One)
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre
    I remember watching the documentary "Dig!" when it came out and becoming obsessed with Anton Newcombe. I thought he was such a crazy genius. This is one of my favorite retrospectives. My favorite album of BJM's is Their Satanic Majesties' Second Request, another vinyl jacket hangs in a frame on my wall. I picked the retrospective to put on my favorite records list because I listened to this record so much throughout my life.

    I can't listen to any of these songs individually without hearing the next one in my head after it's done.
  22. 22
    I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
    Yo La Tengo
    For anyone looking to get into Yo La Tengo, and speaking of retrospectives, I highly suggest Prisoners of Love.

    I have a vivid memory of sneaking out of my parents' house (the first and only time, of which I got caught) whilst listening to "Green Arrow". If you're wondering why I snuck out, it was to go explore abandoned hotels in the Catskills.

    This record always reminds me of being upstate, and pairs well with nature in general.
  23. 23
    ¡Sonido Amazonico!
    Chicha Libre
    I remember my friend introduced me to this record when it first came out back in 2008.

    I thought it was made in the 70s or something at first, so I was surprised to find out it had actually come out that year. It was made by a band whose inspiration is Chicha, a Peruvian musical genre. And the band was based in Brooklyn. Go figure!

    Anyway, a cool record that inspired me to dive deep into South American music. I remember listening to a combination of this record, Astrud Gilberto and Victor Jara on my first trip to California, riding up and down the coast of the 1.
  24. 24
    Pongo En Tus Manos Abiertas...
    Victor Jara
    The song "Te Recuerdo Amanda" is also on Victor Jara's Best Of record, and it certainly is one of the best. I think it might be one of the most beautiful songs of all time, to me, up there with Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" and The Beatles' "Julia". Try not shedding a tear after listening to this one, especially after reading about Victor Jara's story if you look him up.
  25. 25
    Getz / Gilberto
    Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto*
    Well, this one is a classic.

    I think everyone knows "The Girl From Ipanema", right? A wonderful record through and through, especially "Corcovado". I'd say my favorite time to listen to this record is in the morning when I'm just waking up, making coffee. Bossa nova, to me, reminds me of daylight and brings me a general feeling of happiness and ease.
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