August and Everything After – That Adam Duritz is the greatest songwriter of my generation is undeniable. That critics do not roundly consider his band’s initial major label release a classic is maddening. A refreshing break from the dominating grunge sound of the early 90’s, August and Everything After is alternative rock personified. Tracks like “Mr. Jones,” “Round Here,” “Rain King,” and “Sullivan Street” radiate an intimacy seldom found in modern music and serve as all the reason why this album is still relevant two decades later.
Is This It? – The most influential and imitated rock album of the 21st century. Clocking in and just under 37-minutes, the Strokes freshman opus is a landmark recording that reinvigorated rock n’ roll music for a generation while spawning a multitude of imitators in the U.S. and abroad. It is hard to pin down a favorite track; all 11 songs are miniature masterpieces (“Barely Legal,” “The Modern Age,” “Last Night,” and track no. 9 on the international release “New York City Cops” stand out as my personal favorites). This is hands down the coolest band and album of this millennium so far.
Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not – The debut album from Sheffield, England’s Arctic Monkeys isn’t so much a breath of fresh air as it is a punch to the face. The Arctic Monkeys are almost a British version of the Strokes, just a bit cheekier and far more cockney. Breaking records in the UK for fastest selling debut, Whatever People Say… is a booze-filled joyride of pub fights (“Red Lights Indicates Doors are Secured,” “From the Ritz to Rubble”), hookups (“I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor,” “Dancing Shoes”), and keen social observations focused on modern age pretensions (“Fake Tales of San Francisco,” “When the Sun Goes Down,” “A Certain Romance”). Fast paced and witty, this isn’t just a great rock album, it’s the sort of album that will leave you with a racing heart and a smirk on your face. Continue reading »