12 votes

AlbumLove recommendations thread: May 2022

Choose one album
that you love
that you think deserves more love

Tell us what it is, and why.


Previous posts in series


Additional Details

What is this?

It's a new post series I'm trying out! Each month people can use the AlbumLove thread to post an album they love and explore those posted by others.

I'm planning to put up a new AlbumLove thread on the first of each month for a few months to see how these go as a trial run. If people like it we can keep it going — if they don’t it’ll fizzle out and I’ll stop.

Why AlbumLove?

In this day and age, algorithmic recommendations for music are easy to come by, and it's trivial to seek out new music that interests you by searching online. AlbumLove offers an opportunity to sift through music loved by others, including those who might have divergent tastes from you. Think of this as an opportunity to listen outside of your comfort zone, with music that you know someone else adores, from a small pool of thoughtful hand-selected options.

What do I post?

Any album that you love and that you feel deserves more appreciation. There are no restrictions on genre, year, or anything else, and nothing is “too popular” or “too niche”. If you think it needs more love — for whatever reason — then it’s welcome in AlbumLove.

Name the artist and the album, and then, most importantly, share what you love about the album. It could be the music itself, but it could also be your associations with it -- maybe the album reminds you of someone you love, or you saw the band live and got a new appreciation for the studio songs.

Also, commenting on others' recommendations is encouraged! If you love something that someone else shared, let them know!

Do I have to listen to what everyone else posts?

Nope. You don't have to listen to anything if you don't want to. This is about creating a menu of options that people can explore as they wish.

Can I post more than one album in a month?

Nope. Limit one! This helps us be more selective about what we choose, as well as preventing the threads from getting flooded with too many contributions to keep track of.

Why albums and not songs/artists?

I like albums. :)

Seriously though, I feel like it's a very different thing to like an album as a whole versus a few songs or just an artist's general vibe. I like the idea of quantizing music for appreciation in the same way we might do with books or movies.

What about EPs?

Fair game!

20 comments

  1. [9]
    Akir
    Link
    I honestly wasn't thinking about taking place in this because I don't want to deal with a music streaming account, but then I realized I could probably listen to most of your recommendations on...

    I honestly wasn't thinking about taking place in this because I don't want to deal with a music streaming account, but then I realized I could probably listen to most of your recommendations on Youtube as long as I was OK with potentially worse audio quality and the occasional advertisement.

    I figured that I'd start off with a Motoi Sakuraba album. He's an insanely prolific musician and in the late 90s and early 2000s he reached what I personally think was his peak period with the release of several arrangement albums for the video game soundtracks he was making at the time. Every single one of them is pure gold, so it was really hard to figure out which one to actually recommend.

    Today I'm recommending Shining The Holy Ark, not because it's his best, but because it's the most quintessentially Sakuraba of all his albums. For those unfamilliar with his works, or those who have only heard his Tales compositions or Dark Souls, Motoi Sakuraba has a style heavily inspired by 70s progressive rock artists like Yes, and his melodies often include improv-styled progressions. He is an incredibly talented pianist and that comes across strongly in his composition and style. One of the principle reasons why I chose this album is because one track is a solo piano piece which really serves to showcase exactly how talented the man is without hiding behind a band or mastering; it's just him playing the piano, and it's dynamic, emotional, and just a bit haunting. It's probably my favorite track in the whole album.

    Because you'll never find a legal source to buy this album, here's a youtube playlist.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      PhantomBand
      Link Parent
      Fun fact: YouTube uses Opus (a modern audio codec) nowadays, so if you're watching/listening to newer videos, chances are the audio is actually good, as opposed to the days of 128kbps mp3 audio....

      but then I realized I could probably listen to most of your recommendations on Youtube as long as I was OK with potentially worse audio quality and the occasional advertisement.

      Fun fact: YouTube uses Opus (a modern audio codec) nowadays, so if you're watching/listening to newer videos, chances are the audio is actually good, as opposed to the days of 128kbps mp3 audio. Of course, old videos still have crappy audio, though. And may I recommend uBlock Origin to help with the advertisement issue? Ads will be a thing of the past if you install it (it's a browser extension).

      Back on topic though, what would you recommend if I like the Golden Sun OST? I'm only familiar with Sakuraba through his work on that, and the whole meme with the Dark Souls boss theme.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        I'm going to be honest with you, that particular soundtrack just completely slips through my mind. I actually played through Golden Sun during a vacation last year and I don't remember the...

        I'm going to be honest with you, that particular soundtrack just completely slips through my mind. I actually played through Golden Sun during a vacation last year and I don't remember the soundtrack at all. Listening to it right now, I'd say that you'll probably most like the work he did on the early Tales series. I actually particularly like his Tales of Phantasia soundtrack, but the rest of them are in the same "I like them but they're not terribly memorable for me" area as Golden Sun is.

        2 votes
        1. PhantomBand
          Link Parent
          Ah ok, wasn't aware that he also did the Tales OSTs. Haven't played any Tales games yet so that should be a nice thing to look forward to.

          Ah ok, wasn't aware that he also did the Tales OSTs. Haven't played any Tales games yet so that should be a nice thing to look forward to.

          2 votes
    2. [5]
      rosco
      Link Parent
      Wow, there is some heavy nostalgia coming though here! This album really takes me back to some of the games I loved on the Sega Genesis.

      Wow, there is some heavy nostalgia coming though here! This album really takes me back to some of the games I loved on the Sega Genesis.

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        I strongly recommend checking out the other arrange albums he put out in that timeframe I mentioned. I won’t mention the titles because of the rules, but honestly you just can’t go wrong.

        I strongly recommend checking out the other arrange albums he put out in that timeframe I mentioned. I won’t mention the titles because of the rules, but honestly you just can’t go wrong.

        2 votes
        1. kfwyre
          Link Parent
          Downthread discussions about other albums are totally fine! The rules are meant to keep top-level recommendations to one per person. But, if the opportunity arises to chase a rabbit (as it has...

          Downthread discussions about other albums are totally fine! The rules are meant to keep top-level recommendations to one per person. But, if the opportunity arises to chase a rabbit (as it has here), by all means go after it! Part of the richness of a particular album can be found in discussing its place in the author’s discography, after all.

          2 votes
        2. [2]
          rosco
          Link Parent
          I came across this band/album and it immediately made me think of you and the Motoi Sakuraba album. It's a little more up tempo, but I think the underlying feeling is similar. Hope you enjoy!

          I came across this band/album and it immediately made me think of you and the Motoi Sakuraba album. It's a little more up tempo, but I think the underlying feeling is similar. Hope you enjoy!

          2 votes
          1. Akir
            Link Parent
            It took me a while to get the time to sit down and listen to this but it looks like you found something special. Harumi Hosono is a name I have heard a number of times, and this album marks his...

            It took me a while to get the time to sit down and listen to this but it looks like you found something special. Harumi Hosono is a name I have heard a number of times, and this album marks his first collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, with whom he would start a band called Yellow Magic Orchestra which would end up being one of the most influential music acts of the 80s. If you listen to some of those albums you might see even more influence.

            1 vote
  2. rosco
    Link
    I love this thread, thanks again for putting it together kfwyre! All right, let's dive into May. Album: Hors-Pistes Artist: Robin Leduc Genre: Jazz/Indie Year: 2010 Listen Links: Spotify After my...

    I love this thread, thanks again for putting it together kfwyre! All right, let's dive into May.

    Album: Hors-Pistes

    Artist: Robin Leduc

    Genre: Jazz/Indie

    Year: 2010

    Listen Links: Spotify

    After my endorsement of Parcels last month, I want to focus on an older, lesser known album for May. Hors-Pistes is an album I listened to on repeat when it came out back in 2010. I actually found it on a website that showcases new artists called Booooooom.com that highlighted the great music video for Laissez-moi Passer. I was in my last year of college, had just come home from studying in Madrid, and was one of the insufferable kids trying to pad myself with some of the continental culture I missed.

    Ok, enough context onto the album. The true diamond is Laissez-moi Passer. Listening to it will always improve my mood. That said the whole album is great and really diverse. The only overarching thread is how unapologetically french the album is. Sometimes it's a bit melancholy. Sometimes it's going on vacation. It's a little jazzy, a little indie, and very fun. I think this album sits in a really short wave of french bangers (a la the british invasion) from 2005-2010 including Yelle's 2007 album Pop Up and Justice's Justice. Both of those albums are also independently worthy of their own album love post.

    3 votes
  3. inwardpath
    Link
    TW Walsh - Fruitless Research Indie rock/pop/synth. Has worked on projects with my April AlbumLove artist (David Bazan). His own work is very different though and stands on its own. This album in...

    TW Walsh - Fruitless Research

    Indie rock/pop/synth. Has worked on projects with my April AlbumLove artist (David Bazan). His own work is very different though and stands on its own. This album in particular in its basslines, occasional vocoders, synths, and guitars just really shimmers - that's the best way I can describe it.

    It has this smoky but summery feel that is perfect for warm weather roadtrips both day and night.

    3 votes
  4. JRandomHacker
    Link
    Metropolis, Pt 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater Spotify, Deezer Still my favorite Dream Theater album after all these years. My brother and I both got into DT in the mid-2000s, and this...

    Metropolis, Pt 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater

    Spotify, Deezer

    Still my favorite Dream Theater album after all these years. My brother and I both got into DT in the mid-2000s, and this was the album that convinced me. It's a progressive metal rock opera with really impressive technical playing by all 5 band members. I'm an absolute sucker for concept albums and rock operas, so the storyline is a great added bonus. The Dance of Eternity is my favorite instrumental they've done - especially Jordan Rudess's keyboard work.

    On their 2019 tour, for the 20th anniversary, they played the entire album straight-through as the 2nd act of the show - what an experience that was. Especially because James LaBrie sounds better-than-ever live these days, compared to the late-90s when he had been recovering from vocal cord damage for several years.

    2 votes
  5. [4]
    scrambo
    Link
    Hmmm this was a hard one, but I'm a sucker for peacocking about music so I went with an album my dad introduced me to. Picture the early 90's. Extreme has released two incredible funk-(rock/metal)...

    Hmmm this was a hard one, but I'm a sucker for peacocking about music so I went with an album my dad introduced me to.

    Picture the early 90's. Extreme has released two incredible funk-(rock/metal) albums (with the latter going platinum), and gotten plenty of airtime on MTV. Grunge, is currently working on its meteoric-rise to become the defining genre of the decade. '89 & '90 were the best years for thrash metal albums EVER.

    And then there's White Trash. A funk-rock band that came onto this jumbled scene with their debut self-titled album. HOOOO BOY does it throw down. I am a HUGE sucker for genre fusions (Next months thread will have me either putting Mother's Cake or Extreme in), and this is no exception. The album is fantastic - the music is groovy, with a bunch of character. You can't help but get a little strut in your step while listening to it. Still a big fan of this album, even as I've wandered to other genres over the years.

    Href.plus link

    2 votes
    1. rosco
      Link Parent
      This is a really interesting sound, almost like Aerosmith and the B-52s had a love child. Great suggestion!

      This is a really interesting sound, almost like Aerosmith and the B-52s had a love child. Great suggestion!

      3 votes
    2. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      This is pretty fantastic. They remind me a lot of Cool Cavemen, just with a slightly different set of inspirations. And obviously not French.

      This is pretty fantastic. They remind me a lot of Cool Cavemen, just with a slightly different set of inspirations. And obviously not French.

      2 votes
      1. scrambo
        Link Parent
        Hey thanks! Feels good to get a positive response to a suggestion :D I'll have to check Cool Cavemen out, if they're anything like WT, I expect to enjoy them.

        Hey thanks! Feels good to get a positive response to a suggestion :D I'll have to check Cool Cavemen out, if they're anything like WT, I expect to enjoy them.

        1 vote
  6. Grzmot
    Link
    Forgotten Pleasures by Findlay Spotify I wouldn't know in which genre to place it in, somewhere around rock? But this woman has a talent to sing about love and life in a disgustingly approachable...

    Forgotten Pleasures by Findlay

    Spotify

    I wouldn't know in which genre to place it in, somewhere around rock? But this woman has a talent to sing about love and life in a disgustingly approachable way. It just clicks.

    Personal favourite: Off & On, followed closely by the opener Electric Bones and then Greasy Love.

    2 votes
  7. soks_n_sandals
    Link
    Singing For My Supper by Early James Genre: Americana/Rock Links: Spotify, Qobuz Some live recordings: Doesn't Matter Now, I Wash My Dishes in the Dark, Blue Pill Blues. Why I love this record:...

    Singing For My Supper by Early James

    Genre: Americana/Rock

    Links: Spotify, Qobuz

    Some live recordings: Doesn't Matter Now, I Wash My Dishes in the Dark, Blue Pill Blues.

    Why I love this record: James' album embodies the familiar and the authentic. His raw vocals and the relatable subject matter put this album into a category where both the vocals and instrumentation are constantly trading focus because both are so engaging. From singing along with his raspy, drawled delivery to whistling the guitar parts springing out of the mix, my role as a listener evolves with the rich melodies. The entire album is an ear worm, with an exceptionally well-ordered tracklist that spins for an appropriate 35 minutes. It leaves enough on the table that I'm always revisiting, but not fatigued. Overall, I find this album to be mature, with excellent songwriting and impeccable tones, but still organic enough to avoid feeling over-produced.

    2 votes
  8. dubteedub
    Link
    Album: October Forever Artist: Driveways Genre: Pop punk / Post hardcore Year: 2020 Listen Links: Spotify Deezer The last couple years have been big on pop punk / emo revival for me and after...

    Album: October Forever

    Artist: Driveways

    Genre: Pop punk / Post hardcore

    Year: 2020

    Listen Links: Spotify Deezer

    The last couple years have been big on pop punk / emo revival for me and after listening to the same albums / playlists, I found these guys last year and love this album. Driveways is a three piece set from Massachusetts (you can definitely tell from their accent at times) and they just have a really clean hard sound and great lyrical ability. I think this whole album is really solid, but my favorite tracks are Are you Afraid of the Dark?, Fifteen Over Five, Not for Nothing, and October Forever.

    This album makes me feel like an angry, angsty teenager and I love it.

    2 votes
  9. knocklessmonster
    Link
    Mastodon - Leviathan I first heard the track "Iron Tusk" playing Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, and had never heard anything quite like it before. Listening to this album felt like coming home,...

    Mastodon - Leviathan

    I first heard the track "Iron Tusk" playing Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, and had never heard anything quite like it before. Listening to this album felt like coming home, it had a lot of stuff I'd been looking for (more aggressive metal, interesting timings), and a lot of stuff I hadn't (chunky, fat downtuned guitars, virtuosic ballads). This album is also why I listened to most of Mastodon's discography, as well as other artists from The Melvins to ISIS, Earth, and Gojira.

    The thing that kept me around is that while I wasn't a huge fan of growly metal vocals, Mastodon's approach felt different than other bands, mostly death metal, that I'd been exposed to (and it was limited at that). There was still this melodic quality. The music, as hard and intense as it was, also carried this sense of melancholy. And the album is sort of a re-telling of Herman Mellville's Moby Dick. It also softened the genre up to me, in a way, that ultimately led me to enjoying bands like Meshuggah and Archspire that are more extreme.

    I think it works great as background music, but it also has a lot to peel back for intentional listening. Seventeen years after I first listened to it, the album is just as good as it was the first time. I frankly don't think anybody can go wrong with any of Mastodon's albums, they're one of those bands that has changed steadily, and has a phase for everybody, but Leviathan is an excellent primer.

    2 votes