The title says it all. I’ve been spinning a ton of genre classics from emo to shoegaze lately so let’s dive in.
5. American Football – American Football (1999)
American Football’s self-titled debut LP is a bonafide classic among fans of 90s punk and emo (raises hand*). It, along with bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, The Appleseed Cast, and Jimmy Eat World popularized the genre and helped craft the sonic landscape that would go on to inspire countless of fantastic acts even today. I can’t help but wince a little when people label pop/punk bands like Panic! At the Disco (blah) and Fall Out Boy as emo, or worse yet, associate the brand of emo to bands like them alone, because it really is a genre that has such a rich history behind it. The aforementioned acts really can’t compare to records like this one. It’s a musical journal filled with heartbreak and longing. If you want to hear one of the cornerstones of emo make sure to check this out, it’s lovely.
4. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991)
Loveless is the seminal shoegaze record of the 90s and it deserves every bit of critical praise it has received. Like the cover suggests, the songs are buried beneath this harsh, blurry fuzz and any sense of traditional melody and structure is difficult to find. Yet somehow this juxtaposition between the violent and gentle works so incredibly well. Every minute Loveless gives us is beautiful. The sounds are intricate and entrancing and dangerously easy to get lost in. If you’re in the mood to challenge your tastes I can’t recommend a better record.
3. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt (2010)
Forgive me for abandoning all subtly but trust me when I say it’s completely justified: The Wild Hunt may be the most gorgeously human folk record I have ever heard. Kristian Matsson’s crooning, rough vocals soar higher and more earnest than any singer I have heard in this genre. The music itself, consisting of a sole guitar and in the concluding track a piano, is intimate and organic. It’s like sitting on a hillside in the evening, grabbing your guitar, and belting it out at the top of your lungs because at that moment you love life and this earth we’ve been given more than anything else. I absolutely adore it.
2. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math (2011)
Shoutout to my awesome mother who bought me this record for Easter. Simple Math is a massive rock record that at times displays some curious elements of Brand New’s music, specifically in tracks “Mighty” and “Virgin.” As someone who started listening to these guys with last year’s A Black Mile to the Surface, it’s been a bit of a grower for me, but with each spin, I’m finding something more to love. Even if it doesn’t end up being a favourite it’s better than actual math, of that I am certain!
1. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (1975)
Springsteen is a musical legend and a genuinely nice guy to boot. His music has a timeless feel to it and it sounds just as wonderfully crisp today as it would have in the 70s. Born To Run is what I’ve been spinning the most and by all accounts, it’s a flawless opus. The hooks are unrelenting and the vocals are ardent and genuine. It’s simply music anyone of any age or background can connect with and love.