With Christmas fastly approaching, the time is nigh for getting everyone that perfect gift. But what if you have a music elitist Indie fan on your list? Not to worry, because JFP has provided 24 classic Indie (ish) CD's that will satiate the most fickle music tastes.
If you want music that is a bit more recent, select any of the recently reviewed CD's on the JFP Music Blog. Also in the works are the Top Albums of 2004, which will be printed and posted just in time for the New Year.
Stereolab- "Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements." Stereolab's best CD ever- a great introduction to Stereolab's music, with an emphasis on the Kraut Rock drone sound that made them darlings in the 1990's. However, all CD's are HIGHLY recommended.
Laub- "Filesharing." I can't believe more people haven't heard of Laub, best described as beautiful electronica from Berlin. Bjork fans will love it. My favorite CD of 2002!
Tarwater- "Animals Suns & Atoms." Another excellent band from Berlin, this CD is my favorite by Tarwater- "Dwellers on the Threshold" and "Silur" are also EXCELLENT. Think deadpan vocals ala Lou Reed with teutonic electronica resulting in a very organic sound.
Laika- "Lost in Space." Laika are simply divine. Dub/trip-hop/acid jazz all collide in mid air with breathy female vocals adding to the mix. Beyond comparison- this CD is a wonderful primer to their sound.
Boards Of Canada- "Geogaddi." Another band beyond comparison, Boards of Canada create a pastoral sound with infectuous beats, swirling digilog synth effects and weird vocal snippets from those films you used to watch in school.
Mum- "Finally We Are No One." Icelandic quartet who make music that sounds like your childhood would sound if you could play it back while dreaming underwater. Digital clicks, guitar, analog tape loops and accordion mesh with beautiful girlish vocals.
Autechre- "Tri Repetae." Autechre are the defining artist of IDM- their sounds are like no other. Logarithmic beats with syncopated keyboard driven melodies and beats that confound and amaze- i.e. living audio-sculpture for the sensory savvy. ALL CD's recommended, especially this one
Aphex Twin- "Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2." What Autechre are to IDM, Aphex Twin is to ambient...at least with this CD. Fans of Eno's Music for Airports should get this masterpiece. No song titles, only pictures to represent the sounds within
Aphex Twin- "Richard D. James Album." Another masterpiece from Aphex Twin, this one combines ambient synths and breakcore beats. Syncopated rhythms spasm in sync giving this one a slight drum-and-bass feel, but so much more.
Sigur Ros- "Agaetis Byrjun." The lead singer sings in "Hopelandic" and plays his guitar with a violin bow, creating a truly signature sound. Very atmospheric, lush and beautiful- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Dead Can Dance- "The Serpent's Egg." I simply cannot put into words how utterly beautiful the sounds of Dead Can Dance are to the ear- combining music of times and cultures past, they are testiment that the Dead Can Dance. Their best CD, which mixes eastern influenced classical instrumentation with modern recording techniques.
Cocteau Twins- "Heaven Or Las Vegas." Angelic female vocals coupled with swirling, ethereal guitars and grinding bass, this sound is the epitomy of Dream-pop. This CD is their most polished, but all are excellent.
Scala- "To You in Alpha." If you like Bowery Electric, Curve, my bloody valentine or any trip-hop band, DO buy this CD. Shoegaze meets grit/trip hop. All of their CD's are HIGHLY recommended, but difficult to find.
Seefeel- "Polyfusia." Combining the first two releases from Seefeel, 3 of the 4 members later became Scala mentioned above. Blissout dream pop meets classic (not the new crappy) trance- voice is used as another instrument- AWESOME.
Meat Beat Manifesto- "Subliminal Sandwich." Combine old movie and dubby music samples, intelligent vocals and crushing beats and you have but some of the genius that is Meat Beat Manifesto. This is my personal favorite, but all CD's are recommended.
Goldfrapp- "Felt Mountain." 21st-century noir best describes this lush and decadent album of Brechtian cabaret, classical instrumentation, left-field electronica and Gainsbourg-style French pop- all kissed with the beautiful vocals of Alison Goldfrapp.
Bows- "Cassidy." From the ashes of Long Fin Killie, Luke Sutherland's Sophmore album under the guise "Bows." Ethereal and dubby electronica, drum and bass undertones and poetic lyrics form a kaleidoscope of modern sonic bliss.
Simian- "Chemistry Is What We Are." Early Beatles/Beach Boys vocal harmonies, weird electronic crackles/tones and beautiful orchestration highlight this excellent sleeper of an album. If your music fan likes The Beta Band or Badly Drawn Boy, then definitely pick this one up.
Massive Attack- "Mezzanine." This CD was my first exposure to Massive Attack and my life hasn't been the same since. Simply astonishing album, they defined trip-hop with Blue Lines and re-defined it with this release.
Mouse On Mars- "Iaora Tahiti." Mouse on Mars' BEST album, period! Organic electronic music combining all kinds of offbeat elements. Take the best avant-electronic artists since 1975, place in the washing machine and press spin.
Portishead- "Dummy." Beautiful, cinematic trip-hop, I cannot emphasize how utterly essential this CD is to any music lovers collection. Everyone who I've played this for LOVES it....period!
Radiohead- "Kid A." Most Radiohead fans don't care for this CD as much as their others, but I think it is PURE GENIUS. The best CD of 2000, this one made me respect Mr. Yorke & Co. even more.
Various Artists- "Darla 100." A 4 disc compilation running the gamut of genres; indie-rock/punk; lo-fi; drum and bliss; electronica. EXCELLENT- something for everyone. Standout tracks from hollAnd, Lali Puna and Sweet Trip.
Bjork- "Vespertine." Bjork's most intimate and solid release, it was my favorite CD of 2001.
Reviewed by Alex Slawson