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:

Austen's Fav Albums Pt. 2 (2000-2009)

theneedledropComment

I took up the guitar about halfway through the naughts, but was sort of a late bloomer as a music listener, not beginning to keep up with new music until 2008/9. So, I again can't claim a connection to much of the music on this page when it was first released - at least not until we start getting into those later years.

The world didn't end in Y2K, but on the bright side, the digital music revolution was ramping up. To summarize: music got better, there was more of it, and the Internet made it easier to get. And to illustrate this: I made it through the '60s-'90s lists without having to make any heartbreaking cuts, and thought doing yearly Top 5s for a single decade would be a breeze in comparison. But I underestimated just how much more fruitful the musical landscape became in the second millennium, right out of the gate.

Still, not too many tears were shed over the making of this list; most of the albums that I was hesitant to cut were from my "pet" artists/labels anyway, and it should be painfully obvious who most of those are by now. At least we start out here with some fresh faces:


2000

1. Avey Tare and Panda Bear - Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished [Animal]

1. Avey Tare and Panda Bear - Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished [Animal]


2. A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone... [Constellation]

2. A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone... [Constellation]


3. Blonde Redhead - Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons [Touch and Go]

3. Blonde Redhead - Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons [Touch and Go]


4. Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R [Interscope]

4. Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R [Interscope]


5. Lou Reed - Ecstasy [Sire]

5. Lou Reed - Ecstasy [Sire]


2001

1. Red House Painters - Old Ramon [Sub Pop]

1. Red House Painters - Old Ramon [Sub Pop]


2. maudlin of the Well - Bath / Leaving Your Body Map [Dark Symphonies]

2. maudlin of the Well - Bath / Leaving Your Body Map [Dark Symphonies]


3. Radiohead - Amnesiac [Capitol]

3. Radiohead - Amnesiac [Capitol]


4. Björk - Vespertine [One Little Indian]

4. Björk - Vespertine [One Little Indian]


5. Aphex Twin - drukQs [Warp]

5. Aphex Twin - drukQs [Warp]


2002

1. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots [Warner Bros.]

1. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots [Warner Bros.]


2. Palestine / Coulter / Mathoul - Maximin [Young God]

2. Palestine / Coulter / Mathoul - Maximin [Young God]


3. Andrés Segovia - The Art of Segovia [Deutsche Grammophon, Archival]

3. Andrés Segovia - The Art of Segovia [Deutsche Grammophon, Archival]


4. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops [2062]

4. William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops [2062]


5. Oxbow - An Evil Heat [Neurot]

5. Oxbow - An Evil Heat [Neurot]


2003

1. Xiu Xiu - A Promise [5 Rue Christine]

1. Xiu Xiu - A Promise [5 Rue Christine]


2. The Microphones - Mount Eerie [K]

2. The Microphones - Mount Eerie [K]


3. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Worn Copy [Rhystop]

3. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Worn Copy [Rhystop]


4. Melt-Banana - Cell-Scape [A-Zap]

4. Melt-Banana - Cell-Scape [A-Zap]


5. Dizzee Rascal - Boy in da Corner [XL]

5. Dizzee Rascal - Boy in da Corner [XL]


2004

1. Björk - Medúlla [One Little Indian]

1. Björk - Medúlla [One Little Indian]


2. Madvillain - Madvillainy [Stones Throw]

2. Madvillain - Madvillainy [Stones Throw]


3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus [Mute]

3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus [Mute]


4. Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned [Mute]

4. Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned [Mute]


5. Sachiko M / Toshimaru Nakamura / Otomo Yoshihide - Good Morning Good Night [Erstwhile]

5. Sachiko M / Toshimaru Nakamura / Otomo Yoshihide - Good Morning Good Night [Erstwhile]


2005

1. Derek Bailey - Carpal Tunnel [Tzadik]

1. Derek Bailey - Carpal Tunnel [Tzadik]


2. Toby Driver - In the L..L..Library Loft [Tzadik]

2. Toby Driver - In the L..L..Library Loft [Tzadik]


3. The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute [Universal]

3. The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute [Universal]


4. The Fiery Furnaces - Rehearsing My Choir [Rough Trade]

4. The Fiery Furnaces - Rehearsing My Choir [Rough Trade]


5. The Shadow Ring - I'm Some Songs [Swill Radio]

5. The Shadow Ring - I'm Some Songs [Swill Radio]


2006

1. Scott Walker - The Drift [4AD]

1. Scott Walker - The Drift [4AD]


2. J Dilla - Donuts [Stones Throw]

2. J Dilla - Donuts [Stones Throw]


3. Tom Waits - Bastards [Anti-]

3. Tom Waits - Bastards [Anti-]


4. Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue [Robotic Empire]

4. Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue [Robotic Empire]


5. Ryō Fukui - Mellow Dream +1 [Solid, RE]

5. Ryō Fukui - Mellow Dream +1 [Solid, RE]


2007

1. Graham Lambkin - Salmon Run [Kye]

1. Graham Lambkin - Salmon Run [Kye]


2. Luc Ferrari - Didascalies [Sub Rosa]

2. Luc Ferrari - Didascalies [Sub Rosa]


3. Oxbow - The Narcotic Story [Hydra Head]

3. Oxbow - The Narcotic Story [Hydra Head]


4. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? [Polyvinyl]

4. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? [Polyvinyl]


5. Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline [Kranky]

5. Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline [Kranky]


2008

1. Sun Kil Moon - April [Caldo Verde]

1. Sun Kil Moon - April [Caldo Verde]


2. Graham Lambkin / Jason Lescalleet - The Breadwinner [Erstwhile]

2. Graham Lambkin / Jason Lescalleet - The Breadwinner [Erstwhile]


3. Ocrilim - Annwn [Hydra Head]

3. Ocrilim - Annwn [Hydra Head]


4. Kevin Drumm - Imperial Distortion [Hospital]

4. Kevin Drumm - Imperial Distortion [Hospital]


5. Portishead - Third [Mercury]

5. Portishead - Third [Mercury]


2009

1. Jim O'Rourke - The Visitor [Drag City]

1. Jim O'Rourke - The Visitor [Drag City]


2. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic [Warner Bros.]

2. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic [Warner Bros.]


3. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions [Southern Lord]

3. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions [Southern Lord]


4. Robert Turman & Aaron Dilloway - Blizzard [Hanson]

4. Robert Turman & Aaron Dilloway - Blizzard [Hanson]


5. James Ferraro - Rerex [Muscleworks]

5. James Ferraro - Rerex [Muscleworks]



The next five years:

Austen's Fav Albums Pt. 3 (2010-2014)

theneedledropComment

I was in full swing of my musical awakening by the turn of the decade, so it's much easier for me to relate to and understand the context of the albums on this page. What's below essentially covers my Top 10s for the years prior to me writing lists for this site, so it's probably the one most relevant to TND's viewers/readers. Maybe some of you have been following the YouTube channel since it was just kicking into gear, and maybe you were there when Anthony put out his own 2010, 2011, etc. lists; I'm sort of making up for lost time here. If you dig the music I rep, you can find three of my previous lists (which actually contain writing about the music!) at the bottom. The 2015 one is kind of shit; the others are improvements.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Thank you for reading/listening; now here's the last leg of the trip:


2010

1. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today [4AD]

1. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today [4AD]


2. Sun Kil Moon - Admiral Fell Promises [Caldo Verde]

2. Sun Kil Moon - Admiral Fell Promises [Caldo Verde]


3. Terry Riley - Autodreamographical Tales [Tzadik]

3. Terry Riley - Autodreamographical Tales [Tzadik]


4. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz [Asthmatic Kitty]

4. Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz [Asthmatic Kitty]


5. Foetus - Hide [Ectopic]

5. Foetus - Hide [Ectopic]


 
6. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach [Virgin]

6. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach [Virgin]


7. M.I.A. - ΛΛ Λ Y Λ [N.E.E.T.]

7. M.I.A. - ΛΛ Λ Y Λ [N.E.E.T.]


8. Makigami Koichi - Tokyo Taiga [Tzadik]

8. Makigami Koichi - Tokyo Taiga [Tzadik]


9. Zs - New Slaves [The Social Registry]

9. Zs - New Slaves [The Social Registry]


10. Women - Public Strain [Jagjaguwar]

10. Women - Public Strain [Jagjaguwar]


2011

1. Björk - Biophilia [One Little Indian]

1. Björk - Biophilia [One Little Indian]


2. BEBETUNE$ - INHALE C-4 $$$$$ [Self-Released]

2. BEBETUNE$ - INHALE C-4 $$$$$ [Self-Released]


3. The Flaming Lips 2011 [Lovely Sorts of Death]

3. The Flaming Lips 2011 [Lovely Sorts of Death]


4. Graham Lambkin - Amateur Doubles [Kye]

4. Graham Lambkin - Amateur Doubles [Kye]


5. Taku Unami / Takahiro Kawaguchi - Teatro Assente [Erstwhile]

5. Taku Unami / Takahiro Kawaguchi - Teatro Assente [Erstwhile]


 
6. Akira Sakata & Jim O'Rourke with Chikamorachi - and that's the Story of Jazz... [Family Vineyard]

6. Akira Sakata & Jim O'Rourke with Chikamorachi - and that's the Story of Jazz... [Family Vineyard]


7. Liturgy - Aesthethica [Thrill Jockey]

7. Liturgy - Aesthethica [Thrill Jockey]


8. Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu [Warner Bros.]

8. Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu [Warner Bros.]


9. Peste Noire - L'Ordure à l'état Pur [La mesnie Herlequin]

9. Peste Noire - L'Ordure à l'état Pur [La mesnie Herlequin]


10. Tyler, the Creator - Goblin [XL]

10. Tyler, the Creator - Goblin [XL]


2012

1. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch [4AD]

1. Scott Walker - Bish Bosch [4AD]


2. Swans - The Seer [Young God]

2. Swans - The Seer [Young God]


3. Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves [Caldo Verde]

3. Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves [Caldo Verde]


4. of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks [Polyvinyl]

4. of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks [Polyvinyl]


5. Lonnie Holley - Just Before Music [Dust-to-Digital]

5. Lonnie Holley - Just Before Music [Dust-to-Digital]


 
6. Dean Blunt - The Narcissist II [World Music]

6. Dean Blunt - The Narcissist II [World Music]


7. Aaron Dilloway - Modern Jester [Hanson]

7. Aaron Dilloway - Modern Jester [Hanson]


8. Mount Eerie - Clear Moon / Ocean Roar [P.W. Elverum & Sun]

8. Mount Eerie - Clear Moon / Ocean Roar [P.W. Elverum & Sun]


9. Arvo Pärt - Adam's Lament [ECM New Series]

9. Arvo Pärt - Adam's Lament [ECM New Series]


10. Kayo Dot - Gamma Knife [Ice Level]

10. Kayo Dot - Gamma Knife [Ice Level]


2013

1. James Ferraro - NYC, Hell 3:00 AM [Hippos in Tanks]

1. James Ferraro - NYC, Hell 3:00 AM [Hippos in Tanks]


2. Death Grips - Government Plates [Third Worlds]

2. Death Grips - Government Plates [Third Worlds]


3. Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven [Warp]

3. Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven [Warp]


4. The Flaming Lips - The Terror [Warner Bros.]

4. The Flaming Lips - The Terror [Warner Bros.]


5. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork [Matador]

5. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork [Matador]


 
6. Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle - Perils from the Sea [Caldo Verde]

6. Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle - Perils from the Sea [Caldo Verde]


7. Lubomyr Melnyk - Windmills [Hinterzimmer]

7. Lubomyr Melnyk - Windmills [Hinterzimmer]


8. Ákos Rózmann - Images of the Dream and Death [Ideologic Organ, Archival]

8. Ákos Rózmann - Images of the Dream and Death [Ideologic Organ, Archival]


9. Kanye West - Yeezus [Def Jam]

9. Kanye West - Yeezus [Def Jam]


10. Dirty Beaches - Drifters / Love Is the Devil [Zoo]

10. Dirty Beaches - Drifters / Love Is the Devil [Zoo]


2014

1. Kemialliset Ystävät - Alas rattoisaa virtaa [Dekorder]

1. Kemialliset Ystävät - Alas rattoisaa virtaa [Dekorder]


2. Sun Kil Moon - Benji [Caldo Verde]

2. Sun Kil Moon - Benji [Caldo Verde]


3. Dean Blunt - Black Metal [Rough Trade]

3. Dean Blunt - Black Metal [Rough Trade]


4. Current 93 - I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: A Channel [Coptic Cat]

4. Current 93 - I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell: A Channel [Coptic Cat]


5. Swans - To Be Kind [Young God]

5. Swans - To Be Kind [Young God]


 
6. Burial Hex - The Hierophant [Handmade Birds]

6. Burial Hex - The Hierophant [Handmade Birds]


7. Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom [Polyvinyl]

7. Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom [Polyvinyl]


8. Tujiko Noriko - My Ghost Comes Back [Editions Mego]

8. Tujiko Noriko - My Ghost Comes Back [Editions Mego]


9. user703918785 - Suki Girlz [Self-Released]

9. user703918785 - Suki Girlz [Self-Released]


10. Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny [Cult]

10. Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny [Cult]



These are wordier:

FOREVER!