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Record Sleeve
181. The Only Ones
Even Serpents Shine
This band didn't so much ride the New Wave as stand on the beach in the shade watching. Save in the knowledge that they had the best riffs and the most distinctive singer anyway.
Record Sleeve
182. The Cure
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
No one will question The Cure's ability to record more or less perfect singles in the dozen. But although albums were not their strong point a very fine single album waits to be compiled from this 75 minute long double LP.
Record Sleeve
183. Wire
Chairs Missing
So there were probably a few art students too many in this band. This might be the reason why this album sounds so hopelessly contrived. But in spite of (or maybe rather because of) this it still fascinates to this day.
Record Sleeve
184. Soft Cell
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
This brought a certain party vibe to the otherwise slightly austere synthipop scene. And what a strange and kinky party that was.
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185. Yazoo
You And Me Both
The combination of a soulful voice and electronic background sounds was a novelty back then. Later in the 00s this kind of music was all over the place but none of its creators matched Yazoo's unique songwriting skills.
Record Sleeve
186. Leftfield
1995   Review
This was the best of the bunch of electronic albums that surfaced in the mid 90s. More varied than simultaneous releases by Underworld, Chemical Brothers etc. And as usual in that genre the guest vocalists provided the stand-out moments.
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187. Cocteau Twins
Reducing their instrumentation to an absolute minimum yielded surprisingly rich results. And what strange and colourful song titles they coined for their songs.
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188. Simon & Garfunkel
A bit uneven and confusing this one but not as much as their multi-million selling album released two years later. However 'America' and 'Mrs Robinson' are eternal classics without question.
Record Sleeve
189. Aztec Camera
High Land, Hard Rain
It's a bit of tragedy if you reach your artistic peak as early as Roddy Frame who was only 19 when he put together this magical set of songs. Cause afterwards, of course, the only way was down for him.
Record Sleeve
190. The Byrds
Turn, Turn, Turn
This was their last song based work before they started experimenting. First with drugs, then with their music. Both with rather mixed results.
Record Sleeve
191. Red House Painters
Red House Painters
1993   Review
While some of the long songs on this 70min long double album might be a bit exhausting to listen to, the rest surely is as intense as possible. And all this wrapped up in one of the best artworks ever.
Record Sleeve
192. The Human League
This marks the exact point in time when the torch was passed from Kraftwerk to this lot. And 'Dreams Of Leaving' is without doubt the best electronic track ever.
Record Sleeve
193. Felt
The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories
Felt were one of the most archetypal representatives of the mid 80s indie guitar avalanche. But contrary to other main players like The June Brides or The Loft they stayed together long enough to finish a complete album. Ten complete albums to be precise.
Record Sleeve
194. Real Estate
Crystal clear guitar lines, hushed vocals and no synthetic sounds. There were a lot of bands in the 80s who sounded exactly like this, but few of them were as good as Real Estate in 2014.
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195. Manic Street Preachers
The Holy Bible
1994   Review
One of the most analysed, dissected, examined and reviewed albums ever. A monument, a provocation, an enigma.
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196. Portishead
Brutal electronic soundscapes meeting fragile vocals. This was light years away from the cocktail party background music Portishead made in the 90s. And 'The Rip' is certainly a contender for song of the decade.
Record Sleeve
197. The Heart Throbs
Cleopatra Grip
A long forgotten female fronted band best known for their allusive album titles. So when they sang "I am not an angel" you could be sure they were not kidding.
Record Sleeve
198. Arctic Monkeys
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
The Arctic Monkeys were the final opportunity for the British music press to over-hype a band. And boy did they use it. But don'st let this put you off.
Record Sleeve
199. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
This band could easily have been on a C09 cassette alongside The Drums and Crystal Stilts, save for the fact that none of them are British. Nostalgia can be a good thing sometimes.
Record Sleeve
200. The Boo Radleys
Giant Steps
1993   Review
When around 1993 the bands on the legendary Creation label simultaneously turned to the 60s for inspiration, it was The Boo Radleys who gained the most profit from it. Sadly their next album was a step too far.
I'm fully aware that some rather important genres like soul, hip-hop or punk are not represented in this list at all. But as much as I admire the invention and historic significance of albums like 'What's Going On', 'It Takes A Nation Of Millions ...' or 'Never Mind The Bollocks ...' for one reason or the other they are not as close to my heart as the records listed above.
Also some may object that there must be albums by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan that are better than, say, that The Heart Throbs album at number 197. They're wrong.
A last remark: if you take a closer look at the release dates of the records in the list you may notice that roughly a third of them belong to a very narrow period of time namely the six years between the release of Pixies 'Surfer Rosa' in March 1988 and the suicide of Kurt Cobain in April 1994. A period that in my eyes signifies the Golden Age Of Independent Music.
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