Sally Zybert of Mordant Airhead has been a big boon to this blog since it was started, and was able to help me out by sending me several copies of Tom Strong and find me a trade of Swamp Thing Book IV when it was going for an obscene amount of money elsewhere. Check her blog out for thoughts on horror movies and children's programming, which is sort of the thematic equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. She's written a pretty vicious novel, as well!
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Gorilla (1967)
Wall Of Voodoo – Dark Continent (1981)
Faith No More - Angel Dust (1992)
Nirvana - In Utero (1994)
Fifteen years ago this album would have been my favorite on this list. Sadly, I don’t listen to nearly as much Nirvana as I used to but when I do, more often than not I’m putting on In Utero. It came out when I was at an impressionable age (young and naïve enough to be convinced that Kurt Cobain would totally marry me when I grew up) and the songs (Heart Shaped Box in particular) appeal to both of the largest dueling sides in my taste in music: the side that loves big, crunchy noise and the side that loves beautiful melodies. Sometimes I think Kurt Cobain had those same dueling music tastes, which is probably why I loved Nirvana as much as I did.
They Might Be Giants – John Henry (1994)
Mr. Bungle - California (1999)
Eels - Souljacker (2001)
Lovage - Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By (2001)
Sparks - Lil' Beethoven (2002)
More than once in my life I’ve heard a song playing overhead in a store and immediately gone to an employee to find out what the hell it is so I can go buy it. More often than not I get the album home and it’s a dud apart from the one song that sucked me in but Lil’ Beethoven is one of my two success stories. I’m not a huge Sparks fan. I always felt obligated to claim that I like them because I always liked the music video for Cool Places (and Faith No More did a couple songs on Sparks’ Plagiarism album) but for the most part they fall into the same category as Radiohead: I understand that they’re talented but I just don’t care (though I’d probably always choose Sparks over Radiohead). Lil’ Beethoven, though, is such a large, beautiful, bombastic album that may or may not have been recorded with a full orchestra (it sounds that way, but I think that can be faked) that I can’t help but completely love it. As far as I’m concerned a lot of rock music could benefit from a full orchestra.
Tomahawk – Mit Gas (2003)
The fourth and final Mike Patton album to make the list, Mit Gas is pretty much a straight up rock record with a few bizarre touches (the electronic voicebox gimmick in Aktion 13F14, all of Harlem Clowns) but, like most of the other albums on this list, it was the right one at the right time. It was exactly the music I needed when it came out and it fills me with good feelings when I listen to it.
Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta (2007)
Local H - Twelve Angry Months (2008)
Madness - The Liberty Of Norton Folgate (2009)
So now that we’ve covered a couple bands I listen to thanks to my brother, here’s one I’m a fan of thanks to my mom. Much like Faith No More, Madness had broken up and recently (well, in 2000, I think) reunited but, unlike Faith No More, Madness are recording albums again. Norton Folgate is as good as if not better than anything they ever did back in the 1980s. A testament to how great it is: there is one song on the album (Sugar And Spice) that I’m physically incapable of listening to without crying, even if I’m not really paying attention to it. Later in the album another song (On The Town) covers essentially the same material (a marriage disintegrating) but it feels like a happy, boppy sing along. I love that duality. The Liberty Of Norton Folgate also contains my two absolute favorite Madness songs and is probably the best album by any broken-up-then-reunited band (though I really have no way of proving such a claim).