The Needle Drop

Austen's Fav Albums Pt. 1 ('60s-'90s)

theneedledropComment

Ya boy Austen is back with a monumental exercise in self-indulgence. People ask all the time what Anthony's favorite albums of all time are, but he's too much of a coward to name them. Or he's just busy - some shit like that. I, on the other hand, have the balls and the excess of free time to compile my own list of favorites, which I'm posting here in three installments, divvied up by time period.

Now, I'm not delusional enough to think that most TND viewers give much of a shit what the managing editor's Top Whatever is, but the reception of my yearly lists up to this point has been pretty positive, so this post is here for whoever dug those. And because curation is the aspect of my job I enjoy most, these lists are simply fun to make.

This first page is dedicated to my decadal Top 10s from the music revolution of the 1960s up to the Naughty Aughts. It's a span of 40 years, of which I was alive for only six. So, I can't claim any connection to this music at the time of its release, but I do have some kind of sentimental attachment to every album here. I haven't really taken into account historical significance; basically my criteria is "if an album has given me a prevailing musical takeaway, it belongs on the list." Some have influenced me as a listener, some have (more importantly) inspired me as a sound designer and instrumentalist, and some have even helped shape my work in video. However, you won't be able to tell how exactly each one affected me 'cause I'm not a particularly great music writer, and bogging this sonic journey down with over a hundred blurbs doesn't sound very appealing to me anyway. This is basically a not-so-glorified playlist/cover art gallery; hopefully it's enjoyable as that. If you don't want to deal with our site player, which usually takes a few seconds to load and obviously doesn't autoplay, there are (incomplete) Spotify playlists at the bottom of each page. They don't flow very well, but there ya go.

Without further ado, let's kick things off with a "first CD I bought with my own money" meme that led me to buy a soprano sax and go from there:


1960s

1. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica [Straight, 1969]

1. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica [Straight, 1969]


2. Nico - The Marble Index [Elektra, 1968]

2. Nico - The Marble Index [Elektra, 1968]


3. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico [Verve, 1967]

3. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico [Verve, 1967]


4. AMM - AMMMusic [Elektra, 1966]

4. AMM - AMMMusic [Elektra, 1966]


5. Teiji Ito - King Ubu [Tzadik - Archival, 1961]

5. Teiji Ito - King Ubu [Tzadik - Archival, 1961]


 
6. The Mothers of Invention - Uncle Meat [Bizarre, 1969]

6. The Mothers of Invention - Uncle Meat [Bizarre, 1969]


7. The Beatles - Abbey Road [Apple, 1969]

7. The Beatles - Abbey Road [Apple, 1969]


8. Scott Walker - Sings Jacques Brel [Fontana, 1967-9]

8. Scott Walker - Sings Jacques Brel [Fontana, 1967-9]


9. Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen [Columbia, 1967]

9. Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen [Columbia, 1967]


10. Serge Gainsbourg - Initials B.B. [Philips, 1968]

10. Serge Gainsbourg - Initials B.B. [Philips, 1968]


1970s

1. Lou Reed - Berlin [RCA, 1973]

1. Lou Reed - Berlin [RCA, 1973]


2. Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music [Shandar, 1976]

2. Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music [Shandar, 1976]


3. Moondog - Moondog 2 [Columbia, 1971]

3. Moondog - Moondog 2 [Columbia, 1971]


4. Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom [Virgin, 1974]

4. Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom [Virgin, 1974]


5. Nick Drake - Pink Moon [Island, 1972]

5. Nick Drake - Pink Moon [Island, 1972]


 
6. Suicide - Suicide [Red Star, 1977]

6. Suicide - Suicide [Red Star, 1977]


7. Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music (The Amine β Ring) [RCA, 1975]

7. Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music (The Amine β Ring) [RCA, 1975]


8. Lol Coxhill - Ear of the Beholder [Dandelion, 1971]

8. Lol Coxhill - Ear of the Beholder [Dandelion, 1971]


9. Beuys / Christiansen - Schottische Symphonie / Requiem of Art [Edition Schellmann, 1973]

9. Beuys / Christiansen - Schottische Symphonie / Requiem of Art [Edition Schellmann, 1973]


10. Yoko Ono - Fly [Apple, 1971]

10. Yoko Ono - Fly [Apple, 1971]


1980s

1. Swans - Greed / Holy Money [K. 422, 1986]

1. Swans - Greed / Holy Money [K. 422, 1986]


2. Glenn Branca - The Ascension [99, 1981]

2. Glenn Branca - The Ascension [99, 1981]


3. Arvo Pärt - Tabula rasa [ECM New Series, 1984]

3. Arvo Pärt - Tabula rasa [ECM New Series, 1984]


4. Laurie Anderson - United States Live [Warner Bros., 1984]

4. Laurie Anderson - United States Live [Warner Bros., 1984]


5. Eliane Radigue - Songs of Milarepa [Lovely, 1983-7]

5. Eliane Radigue - Songs of Milarepa [Lovely, 1983-7]


 
6. La Monte Young - The Well-Tuned Piano 81 X 25, 6:17:50 - 11:18:59 PM NYC [Gramavision, 1987]

6. La Monte Young - The Well-Tuned Piano 81 X 25, 6:17:50 - 11:18:59 PM NYC [Gramavision, 1987]


7. Luc Ferrari - Cellule 75 [Tzadik - Archival, 1987]

7. Luc Ferrari - Cellule 75 [Tzadik - Archival, 1987]


8. Scott Johnson - John Somebody [Nonesuch, 1986]

8. Scott Johnson - John Somebody [Nonesuch, 1986]


9. Black Flag - Family Man [SST, 1984]

9. Black Flag - Family Man [SST, 1984]


10. Oxbow - Fuckfest [CFY, 1989]

10. Oxbow - Fuckfest [CFY, 1989]


1990s

1. Red House Painters - Red House Painters [4AD, 1993]

1. Red House Painters - Red House Painters [4AD, 1993]


2. Swans - White Light from the Mouth of Infinity [Young God, 1991]

2. Swans - White Light from the Mouth of Infinity [Young God, 1991]


3. Harry Partch - 17 Lyrics of Li Po [Tzadik, 1995]

3. Harry Partch - 17 Lyrics of Li Po [Tzadik, 1995]


4. The Shadow Ring - Lighthouse [Swill Radio, 1999]

4. The Shadow Ring - Lighthouse [Swill Radio, 1999]


5. Nirvana - In Utero [Geffen, 1993]

5. Nirvana - In Utero [Geffen, 1993]


 
6. Naked City - Grand Guignol [Avant, 1992]

6. Naked City - Grand Guignol [Avant, 1992]


7. Merzbow - 1930 [Tzadik, 1998]

7. Merzbow - 1930 [Tzadik, 1998]


8. Oval - 94diskont. [Thrill Jockey, 1996]

8. Oval - 94diskont. [Thrill Jockey, 1996]


9. Björk - Post [One Little Indian, 1995]

9. Björk - Post [One Little Indian, 1995]


10. Genius/GZA - Liquid Swords [Geffen, 1995]

10. Genius/GZA - Liquid Swords [Geffen, 1995]


Honorable Mentions

Lou Reed - Street Hassle [Arista, 1978]

Lou Reed - Street Hassle [Arista, 1978]


Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation [Enigma, 1988]

Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation [Enigma, 1988]


Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile [Nothing, 1999]

Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile [Nothing, 1999]


Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup [Elektra, 1996]

Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup [Elektra, 1996]


Slint - Spiderland [Touch and Go, 1991]

Slint - Spiderland [Touch and Go, 1991]


 
David Lynch / Alan Splet - Eraserhead [I.R.S., 1982]

David Lynch / Alan Splet - Eraserhead [I.R.S., 1982]


Ground-Zero - Consume Red [RēR, 1997]

Ground-Zero - Consume Red [RēR, 1997]


The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka [Warner Bros., 1997]

The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka [Warner Bros., 1997]


Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here [Harvest, 1975]

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here [Harvest, 1975]

Scott Walker - TILT [Fontana, 1995]

Scott Walker - TILT [Fontana, 1995]



Onto the new millennium: