Wednesday, May 09, 2007


"The 25 Best Indie Rock Albums Ever" have been voted on and tabulated by Ekko's ekkcellent blog, Berkeley Place. I was working on my own list to submit, but I didn't finish it in time. I was supposed to call the plumber last week, too. Things just got in the way. Sorry ma, forgot to take out the trash.

It's hard to list the 25 greatest albums without including anything by Wire or the Stooges, but you could only vote for albums issued on independent labels.

My main gripe with the list is that only two of the "best ever" albums were released before 1990 (Surfer Rosa and Double Nickels on the Dime). My own "best ever" list is biased toward the period of time when I first started buying records that weren't on major labels. I know there's nothing here from the current decade. I thought about including Turn on the Bright Lights and Mass Romantic, or something by Hot Snakes, but I'd only be fooling myself. Here are the 25 albums on independent labels that mean the most to me. They expanded my idea of what music could be; they enhanced my enjoyment of good times with friends; they made my scalp tingle, and left me with that minty fresh feeling.

Chrome: Half Machine Lip Moves
Pere Ubu: Terminal Tower
Big Star: Radio City
Modern Lovers: Modern Lovers
Stiff Little Fingers: Inflammable Material
Young Marble Giants: Colossal Youth
Clock DVA: Thirst
Fall: Early Years 1977-1979
Replacements: Let It Be
REM: Murmur
Embarrassment: Heyday
Flesh Eaters: A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die
Dream Syndicate: The Days of Wine and Roses
Gun Club: Fire of Love
Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes
Black Flag: The First Four Years
Bad Brains: Bad Brains
Die Kreuzen: Die Kreuzen
Mission of Burma: Signals, Calls and Marches
Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
Meat Puppets: Up on the Sun
Pixies: Surfer Rosa
Figgs: Low Fi at Society High
Elliott Smith: Elliott Smith
Jets to Brazil: Orange Rhyming Dictionary

Buy them all.


At 5/09/2007 10:29 PM , Blogger jonder said...

I cheated a bit by including compilations of singles and EP's from Pere Ubu, Black Flag, the Embarrassment, and the Fall. If I had to choose one EP from each band, I'd go with Datapanik, Jealous Again, the Embarrassment's tracks from the Fresh Sounds tape, and the Fall's double 45 of Kicker Conspiracy.

At 5/10/2007 3:21 PM , Blogger Amy said...

I had the same complaint about the BP list. Ethan makes the (spurious, I think) argument that pre-90s isn't really indie rock. (Say what?) But then I didn't actually make a list so I can't complain too hard. It always feels like an apples-to-oranges exercise to me.

At 5/11/2007 4:30 PM , Blogger jonder said...

Hmmm, I don't buy that argument either. I'll have to ask Ethan if bands like Dinosaur Jr., the Gang of Four and Mission of Burma are making indie rock now. I'd love to see the top 25 from the Shake Your Fist canon.

At 5/16/2007 9:07 PM , Blogger Happy In Bag said...

Nice list. Just imagine how today's blogging community would have elevated a band like the Embarrassment...

At 5/16/2007 9:11 PM , Blogger jonder said...

Maybe we'll get to see that if the Embarrassment documentary film ever comes out!

At 5/21/2007 1:20 PM , Blogger Brendan said...

Nice list. It includes a lot of my all time favorites. Gun Club, Minutemen, Embarrassment. No Husker Du? We have a lot of overlap and they are my numbr one favorite. I have junk on miy site about Get Smart who were scene-mates of the Embarrassment did you ever get into them ( ?

At 5/22/2007 9:58 AM , Blogger jonder said...

Hi, Brendan! I do remember Get Smart (still have the EP and the flexi), and I remember yr band, Jr. Chemists! Lots of cool flyers on Brendan's site too, readers.

I guess I don't care as much for the Huskers as the other bands on my list. Once in awhile I listen to the New Day Rising lp or "In a Free Land". I was kinda surprised that Husker Du was totally left out of the American Hardcore film.

At 5/22/2007 4:11 PM , Blogger Brendan said...

It is probably hard to make a movie like that and not leave out important bands. Huskers for sure were mining that vein, but then they are probably less know for that type of work. I thought JFA was an over sight (friends of mine, so I'm biased for sure). They invented Skateboard hardcore! Guess we'll have to make our own movie. -Brendan

At 5/22/2007 6:05 PM , Blogger jonder said...

Yeah, there was way too much about the Boston scene in that movie. It was blatant localism! You must have found interesting the number of hardcore fans who became visual artists.

At 5/23/2007 9:45 AM , Blogger Brendan said...

Art, can't get more hardcore than that! 8*)

At 6/21/2007 4:53 PM , Blogger jonder said...

Having had a month to reconsider my choices, I wish I had made room for Machine Gun Etiquette (by the Damned) and The Italian Flag (by Prolapse). Otherwise, I stand by my list. Consider it a Top 27.

At 6/25/2007 10:47 PM , Blogger jonder said...

Let me also add Lucinda Williams' self-titled album to my Top 28.

At 9/23/2008 9:36 AM , Blogger jonder said...

Make it an even 30: add Audit in Progress by Hot Snakes, and the Shape of Punk to Come by the Refused.

At 4/16/2010 10:56 AM , Blogger Perrata 2000 said...

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