Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


The All Time Greatest Albums Ever, According to my buddy Brad

This list comes from my radio buddy Brad Savage who programs a fantastic radio station in Charlottesville, VA, 106.1 The Corner.

The Corner is one of those radio stations that I would love to steal and put in Cleveland....they're always doing something cool, and I look forward to seeing their updated playlist each week in my email. Brad is just as huge of a music nut as I am - we've had many great musical conversations, and I assume that we'll have many more!

Reading this list dug out so many musical memories that I had packed away - lots of "oh wow" moments scattered throughout, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it just as much as I did!

And might I add that I completely agree with Brad's Sonic Youth mention on the tail end of his Alice in Chains/Seattle paragraph...

So there's a fad circulating Facebook where you are supposed to list your "10 Desert Island Discs" or whatever. I don't think I'll ever be able to get it down to just 10 so I am just listing approx 50 albums (maybe more??) and posting some thoughts about each. I will try to keep it short. Look how great my music taste is; I am so pretentious to issue a list like this. Generally I hate lists like this but then again it is the cool thing right now. I'm like the new Bob Lefsetz or something.

This list refers to top albums, where I love nearly every single track and know almost all the songs word for word. If I made a list like this for top single songs (and watch out -- I might do this), it would be very different with a lot of goofy surprises. But for now, here is my all-time top albums and artists, in no particular order except Material Issue, Possum Dixon, The Replacements, The Pooh Sticks, and The Clash came to mind as my very first entries (top of mind recall).

Material Issue - International Pop Overthrow

Material Issue "International Pop Overthrow"
The near-perfect power pop album from Chicago's finest. Such a tragedy and sad story! I love Material Issue - their entire catalog is fantastic.

Possum Dixon "Possum Dixon"

I love every track, this L.A. band personified the '90s Alt Rock sound with clever lyrics. Awesome.

Replacements "Tim"
If you're from MN (and I am), you HAVE to love The 'Mats, Soul Asylum, Husker Du, Gear Daddies, Suburbs, Jayhawks, Dylan, etc - and I do. But to me, this is the quintessential Replacements album and my favorite starting point on the band for new fans.

Pooh Sticks "Million Seller" and "The Great White Wonder"
BRILLIANT goofy one-listen pop songs. Both albums are so great, and this band is essentially an inside joke stealing guitar riffs and guitar solos from obscure Raspberries and Neil Young songs. "Million Seller" is based on two-minute pop songs, while "The Great White Wonder" has longer songs and is a little more '70s-jammy styled (think Frampton or Neil Young's longer tracks).

The Clash "London Calling"

One of the greatest landmark albums ever, etc etc etc. What HASN'T been said about this album?

Big Star "#1 Record/Radio City"
I count this as one album because the re-issue CD version that I discovered in 1995 compiled both albums in their entirety. Brilliant, so influential, etc etc. God I feel like a music snob writing this and I hate music snobs.

Matthew Sweet "Girlfriend"
Just a great album with great love song themes and catchy memorable songs. I love every track on this and it began a lifelong fascination with his albums and career. I also love the companion promo piece, "Good Friend" which is now commercially available in the deluxe edition re-issue.

Counting Crows "August and Everything After"
ABSOLUTELY F*CKING BRILLIANT. In reality, this is probably my favorite album of all time. I love the slower songs and album tracks in particular and I am so glad they proved to be a career artist.

Counting Crows - Mr. Jones (Live in San Francisco)

Def Leppard "Hysteria"
I came from the hair-band era and started to love music in the Motley Crue/Winger/Warrant era. Def Leppard were the forefathers to that style. All their early material is great; this is my favorite.

Elvis Costello "My Aim Is True"
Tough to pick which Elvis Costello album to list, but I think I am going with "My Aim Is True". I just think he's so fascinating and his influence in pop music and indie music is unparalleled.

Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes

Guided By Voices "Alien Lanes"
This is the ultimate indie rock album, to me. Whenever some new indie band comes out, I try to think to myself, "does this seem as interesting as GbV 'Alien Lanes' or not?" If not, it is probably just boring CMJ also-ran indie rock that 12 people care about and will be forgotten in six months. The best indie rock breaks new barriers and finds new territory, like this!

Feel "Feel"
A near-perfect pop record by genius songwriter Scot Sax. I love every single song on this album and this is a band that I wish would have been HUGE! I have gotten to know Scot personally in years since this album, and also actually "worked" this record to radio during my tenure at Main Street Marketing and The Conclave, so it is near and dear to me in that sense. I am still happy to say that I got the single "Got Your Name On It" on a bunch of small-market non-monitored CHR and Hot AC stations in MN/IA/WI and that to me is awesome, even if it did not matter in the "chart game".

Gin Blossoms "New Miserable Experience"
I love this album, I love this band, and I think Gin Blossoms are much better than just a "two-hit Hot AC" radio band. I love the deeper tracks and I love the way this album endures.

Husker Du "Candy Apple Grey" / Sugar "Copper Blue" and "File Under: Easy Listening"
Again, the Minnesota connection is alive here. Bob Mould is a legendary figure and all his stuff is great. But to me, growing up in MN, "Candy Apple Grey" was a rite of passage and the Sugar material seemed like the biggest thing ever when it was new and in rotation on Cities and REV and even The Edge.

INXS "Kick"
Great pop record and all songs are awesome. Very influential to me as early as 6th grade when I was buying 7" 45's of all the singles off this record.

Joe Jackson "Look Sharp!" / "I'm The Man"
I love these two records more than I can possibly explain. My dad liked Joe Jackson so I heard this stuff when I was 2. And that helped solidify my love of UK/New Wave/Pop-Punk stuff. To me, these are the absolute high-water mark for Joe Jackson's entire career (and I like his recent rock albums too).

Ramones "Mania"
I discovered this awesome 30-song best-of compilation at some record store somewhere in Wisconsin on a family trip or something. I had heard of The Ramones, heard a couple songs on KJ-104, but was not really familiar, bought it with my own money (8th or 9th grade) and it profoundly changed my viewpoint of music. At this time I was still mostly into metal and hair bands but my horizons were starting to broaden.

Jane's Addiction "Nothing's Shocking" and "Ritual de lo Habitual"
I loved Hot Rockin' 104 and later, Rock 104 in the Twin Cities. I was so mad when they flipped to "Modern Rock KJ-104" and I didn't know who the heck The Smiths or Catherine Wheel or Happy Mondays or Bob Mould were. There was no longer a rock station in Minneapolis that played real rock. But I still listened to 104.1 after the switch because I just hated KQ and how they wouldn't play any currents or new artists. And this was before 93X, and Z-Rock 950 was gone and 980AM had yet to flip to Z-Rock again. ANYWAY. I heard a loud rock band with this crazy song with a Spanish language intro ("Stop!") but it wasn't really metal and it wasn't really rock, and I didn't know what the hell it was. Yes, it's true, I discovered Jane's Addiction off the radio airplay on KJJO as a current. I wish more radio still exposed current interesting new artists today. Blah blah blah. I love Jane's Addiction, they were ahead of their time, they are great, they are influential, and they (along with The Ramones) really marked a turning point for my music taste - from metal/rock/hair to alternative/modern rock/whatever it was called in the pre-Nirvana era.

Van Halen "Van Halen"
One of the greatest rock albums, and debut albums, of all time. Also should give honorable mention to Boston's first record here. This is great stuff but then again when I discovered Jane's Addiction and The Ramones it began to broaden my horizons (though I still have a soft spot for those all time legendary classic rock artists).

Primus "Sailing The Seas of Cheese" and "Frizzle Fry"
I listened to this band so much in high school it was just silly. Really silly. It's funny because I somewhat lost interest later in their career but these two albums are awesome.

Alice In Chains "Dirt" / Pearl Jam "Ten" / Soundgarden "Badmotorfinger" / Nirvana (full catalog)
I grew up in the 90's Alternative/Grunge era. I loved Nirvana right away when KJ-104 began playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in late 1991. All of these grunge bands, plus Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, NIN, and Stone Temple Pilots were emerging at the same time. Today I am so sick of most of this music I can't even stand it, but in historical perspective it is great stuff. The problem with radio is that they cut this '90s-Alt-Grunge genre down to 40 top-testing songs and shoved them down our throat as golds from 1995 to present, and after a while that stuff burns out. But then again the point is that most people DON'T care about anything other than the 40 best-researching songs from this world or don't know them or blah blah blah whatever, lowest common denominator, etc etc. Honestly I wish Sonic Youth "100%" or Screaming Trees "All I Know" was stuck in the Gold libraries the way "1979" or "Interstate Love Song" is today but life isn't fair. And radio gold libraries aren't fair either.

King Missile - The Way To Salvation

King Missile "The Way To Salvation"
Another KJ-104 discovery from "My Heart Is A Flower". You could call this "novelty" or silly or whatever, but I really love a lot of King Missile's material and this album has some great gems on it. I still randomly quote song lyrics from this and confuse people from time to time.

Bob Marley & The Wailers "Legend"
Yeah so I am a sellout and I like the best-of albums sometimes. So what?!? Everybody knows and loves every song on this album. I get the genius of Bob Marley and love his albums. But as a radio programmer, I believe that this is a high-water mark of rediculous passion level for just about everyone who ever went to college.

Manitoba's Wild Kingdom "...And You?"
Handsome Dick Manitoba is my hero. This nu punk/nu metal/crazy litle obscure album from 1989 is just an all-time favorite even today. It sounds dated today but the "grrrrr!" level and attitude of this album is fun to revisit. I remember hearing a version of "The Party Starts Now" on WDIZ "Rock 100" in Orlando that had alternate lyrics talking about how DIZ was better than Q-96-FM, and how Q-96-FM sucked. It was crazy. Do any of my radio friends have a recording of that alternate version anywhere?

Metallica "Metallica" (black album)
Metallica is great, I love "Ride The Lightning" the best but the album I listened to most in high school was this one (which was a current at the time). Honorable mention to my Megadeth/Slayer/Anthrax/Sacred Reich/Iron Maiden/Judas Priest phase.

Beastie Boys "Ill Communication"
To me this is the high-level mark for Beastie Boys who are still awesome today.

Fugazi "Repeater"

I love Fugazi and what they stand for. A couple years ago I discovered Ian MacKaye's new project, "The Evens" which is also awesome. Fugazi had a lot of albums but as far as listening all the way through to one album, this is the one. It is awesome to now live 90 minutes from DC where the whole Dischord thing happened. Every so often I hear of someone in Charlottesville who was in one of those Dischord bands or something. A great era for music - and a precursor to the indie movement.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin "God Fodder"
Another KJ-104 discovery band. I love them and many of their UK contemporaries such as Happy Mondays, Jesus Jones, Catherine Wheel, Inspiral Carpets, etc.

Offspring "Smash" and "Ignition" / Green Day "Dookie", "Kerplunk!", and "39 Smooth"
Growing up in the 90's and getting into radio in this era, I was happy to see "pop-punk" explode into an accepted genre on the Alt Rock stations. Offspring and Green Day are among the best examples of this genre. Again these bands maybe got played out later but it was fresh in 1994-1995. I am glad both continue today and still have good new material - and have influenced scores of baby bands.

Jesus and Mary Chain "Automatic"

Another discovery and "what the hell is that?" style band from KJ-104. I am starting to realize how profoundly that station influenced and changed my music taste. This was so different and so unusual and I couldn't stop listening to them. I remember going to the "Clash of the Titans" tour in Summer of 8th grade and before the bands played they were playing this on the P.A. and none of the black-t-shirt metalheads knew what it was. But I did because I also listened to KJ-104. Hahaha. Clash Of The Titans, damn... Slayer/Anthrax/Megadeth... and opening band Alice In Chains (who didn't fit and the metalheads didn't like them). Wow, I think I still have the T-Shirt somewhere.

Buffalo Tom "Let Me Come Over"
Longtime Boston-band with such great powerful songs. "Taillights Fade" is an all-time favorite song and this album also has gems like "Frozen Lake" and "Velvet Roof"

Operation Ivy "Operation Ivy" / Rancid "...And Out Come The Wolves"

I discovered Operation Ivy through Rancid and really like both bands a lot. Influential to my early punk/indie phase. That OpIvy stuff is still really powerful, today.

Cure "Standing On The Beach - The Singles"
Yeah yeah, I know, singles-driven what about the genius of their full albums, blah blah?? Their albums are GREAT, sure... but as a lifelong radio lover I wanted THE HITS! Now I feel like Lefsetz.

Pavement "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain"
Similar to Guided by Voices, I kind of mentally measure up current indie rock stuff to Pavement too. I think Pavement broke a lot of new ground. Some of their stuff was too "out there" for me, but when they hit on-target their songs were legendary. It is awesome that Pavement and Stephen Malkmus have ties to Charlottesville, too... gives me an excuse to play their music when they didn't *really* reach the same mass-appeal level as other 90's-Alt Rock bands.

Social Distortion "Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell"
Social Distortion just f*cking rules. Also I think my favorite song here is the obscure country cover of "Making Believe", originally by The Kendalls. Actually I am looking for the radio Promo-single of "When She Begins" because I do not have a clean edit or the fast drum edit intro. Do any of my promo peeps or radio friends reading this have this in their collections?

Semisonic "Great Divide"
Another MN favorite! After Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic (formerly Pleasure to the locals) came out. All three of their proper albums are great, but this is my favorite. Can you tell I am a sucker for the power-pop?

Paul Westerberg "Eventually"
As a big Replacements fan, I do have to say that I also love Paul Westerberg's solo stuff, in particular his second album here from 1996. GREAT all the way through!

Frogpond "Count To Ten"
This is an obscure Lawrence, KS female band that had two great albums. I think Art Alexakis (Everclear) produced this album but it ended badly and went to court for some reason. But it's a great album. I love interesting harmonies and female vocals. When I lived in Columbia, MO, I would hear of people who were somehow affiliated with this band or worked with them, etc... I remember once hearing one of the former members doing an interview on public station 89.5 KOPN (where I also did some volunteer on-air work) and wishing I was there to meet her. Also from Jefferson City, MO is Gravity Kills (remember "Guilty"?) and I am bummed that I never met those guys. There were lots of connections to that group among the local music community in CoMO/Jeff City.

R.E.M. "Out Of Time"
REM is great, one of the all-time best, my favorite album is "Out Of Time". This is the one, for me.

Tom Petty - Damn The Torpedoes

Tom Petty "Damn The Torpedos", "Full Moon Fever"
Same as above, Tom Petty is an icon and personal hero and I loved these albums. "Full Moon Fever" in particular because it was the third CD I ever bought.

Rolling Stones "Steel Wheels"
Yes indeed, I love all the Stones stuff - but "Steel Wheels" was the second CD I ever bought and was a current when I was really getting into music. Deeper tracks like "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Terrifying" and "Can't Be Seen" are great. What was the FIRST CD ever? That would be WARRANT, "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich" -- hahaha... and I did NOT buy it - I won it on 99.5 WLOL, I was caller #9!!! At the time I didn't even have a CD player. And I still have that very CD today. Awww yeah.

Ani DiFranco "Not A Pretty Girl"
My favorite Ani album and I am so happy she is a career artist, just as vibrant and independent today and still putting out tons of great music.

Morphine "Cure For Pain"
Absolutely brilliant, one of the greatest albums of all time. I should have put this higher up on my list! I can't believe I didn't think of it until now. DAMN. GREAT GREAT GREAT - so moody and vibey and different and GREAT. "Rock, without guitars, from Boston - here's Buena" - Brad LeMay, Cities 97.

U2 "Achtung Baby"
U2 is awesome. They are the best. This is my favorite album from them.

Ween "Pure Guava"
This album is insanely goofy and strange, but yet I really liked it all the way through. Ween is very bizarre and I kinda lost interest later. But this one was so weird and something new that I had never heard before. Good stuff.

White Stripes "White Blood Cells"
A more recent act that makes the "all time" list. This is still my fave White Stripes album. I can't believe this is like 6 years old now.

The Pretenders "The Singles"
I really love the punky female attitude of The Pretenders and their early stuff is great. But I list "The Singles" here because these are all great radio songs that I've known and loved since I was 4.

XTC "Nonesuch"

Another fine example of great UK power-pop. Lots of great material in their catalog but to me this is the best album all-the-way-through.

The Wood Brothers "Loaded" / "Ways Not To Lose"
Here is the sole new act on this list. Chris and Oliver Wood write the best songs I have heard this decade. And I hate Americana as a rule. But there's something so real about these songs and this band, and the musicianship. Melissa and I listen to them all the time and these are the strongest albums in recent memory, that are truly ALBUMS and not just "singles driven" output. I just think this band is awesome. This is not to say that I don't like new music. I like more new music than I should and I am always excited about new stuff and I disagree that "product isn't any good any more" like some radio people seem to say all the time. But if you asked me what my FAVORITE new band is today, I think I would say The Wood Brothers.

  • brian

    Now that is a list! I love the mention of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. I loved that band growing up.

    That Janes Addiction clip was the intro to Perry Ferrel’s movie GIFT. Has anyone else ever seen that? I learned a lot from that movie as a kid like….don’t poke needles in your arms. Thanks Perry!

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  • scottishsimon

    awesome list! a lot of my faves here too, and i also loved the mention of the Neds as well. i still listen to all of their albums today. Pavement, the Mary Chain, Husker Du, Pretenders (although I’d single out their debut album), The Cure…. man, it could be my “best of” list…..
    top job mate!

  • Christina

    Brad and I just might have to become best friends. If only for Material Issue, Neds, Matthew Sweet, Achtung Baby (seriously? I am the only one I know who likes this one) and of course Jane’s. It’s more the combination of all of the above that makes me want to be his new super-fun Canadian girl-friend. : )

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  • Matt Wardlaw

    Christina – that’s a great list of likes there.

    You’d probably dig this Material Issue boot, if you missed my blog mention of it last week..