Monday, 9 June 2014

Johnny Zhivago's 50 Favourite Albums Part 2 (25-1)

25. Boston - Boston

Often viewed as one of the best debut albums of all time Boston's self-titled album is one of those records that simply refuses to come off the turn tables. I remember going to buy this album for my dad for his birthday or Christmas and just ended up keeping it for myself. Being chalk full of classic Rock & Roll tracks Boston cemented themselves among the great American groups of the '70's with catchy riffs, blazing guitar solos and mind-boggling vocal range from lead man Brad Delp.

24. Searching For A Former Clarity - Against Me!

Against Me!'s first take at a concept album of sorts ...Former Clarity was the album that set up my standing order to pick up any Against Me! album even if I hadn't heard one song from it yet. Where their 2nd album was an obvious shift from their debut Reinventing Axl Rose, on Searching For A Former Clarity the band goes even deeper. Longer, more melodic songs become the norm while blitzkrieg-esque punk anthems are in short supply, however by the time the final track....the title track...clicks by a short breath is all you need before you need to listen to it again.

23. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

Black Dog. Rock and Roll. The Battle Of Evermore. Stairway To Heaven. Misty Mountain Hop. Four Sticks. Going To California. When The Levee Breaks.

Need I really say more?

22. The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me - Brand New

Brand New's departure album. It continued down the path that their previous album Deja Entendu set them on and away from their emo/pop punk origins. It is widely viewed as Brand New's best...and it almost turned out completely different. Being released in 2006 the band started recording the album in 2005. Soon after the tracks they were working on were leaked on to the internet and spread around via p2p websites.  At the time it affected some members of the band and they scrapped the demos and began work on new material which would eventually become the album. When I got this CD I was excited for the content but also the booklet to maybe get some insight as to what some of the songs are about, only to find that there is no booklet. Just the album cover and a picture of a young lad with an explorer guitar. The title and band name does not appear anywhere on the album cover either.

21. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

When people talk about Pink Floyd and their albums it's usually The Wall or Dark Side Of The Moon that get the nod for their best. 1975's Wish You Were Here has always been the one for me. Those other 2 are great for sure, but there is something about Wish You Were Here.  Maybe it's that there are only 5 tracks on the album (with 2 being the "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" opus). Maybe it's the obvious references to former Floyd member Syd Barrett, and how most of the words are almost a lament for him. This album has always resonated well with me.  And here it sits at 22

20. Static Age - Misfits

It's dirty, it's raw, it's brutal, it's fucking bad-ass. The songs that would be released on 1997's Static Age were actually recorded back in 1978 and should have been released as their debut. Though the band couldn't find a label to release it, the quick and explosive tracks would be released as B-sides and live recordings over the early years of The Misfits. They won 30 hours of studio time with a major label recording studio in exchange for the use of the name of Glenn Danzig's Blank records. Sid Vicious' mother would visit the studio during the midnight sessions, invited by Danzig himself. Her son had OD'd the night before and Glenn didn't want her to be alone....pretty compassionate for the guy who wrote "Bullet". This is the one album on this list that I do own on vinyl.

19. Silver - Moist

For a long time I considered Moist my second favourite band. They broke up in 2001 and have since fallen down the list, but it was albums like 1996's Creature and 1994's Silver that put them on the radar and keep them there still to this day. It's one of those albums that every song could have been a single and every week I had a new favourite track from it. Since they were from Canada there were many opportunities for me to see them live. They came to my home town a bunch of times. One of my first trips to a music festival was to see them at Edgefest in Ottawa (my first crowd surfing experience) and I saw a few members at a McDonald's on the 400 Highway. Don't think I haven't retold those stories again and again.

18. Iowa - Slipknot

Big time Slipknot fan and please believe it was a task to only have one album on the list, but Iowa came around at a very musically rich time of my life and I still associate many of the songs from it with some very happy memories. That is a great feature that music can have, maybe the songs weren't ultra successful or the band never won any accolades, but if the songs awaken something inside and are powerful enough to invoke real feelings then they've done their job. And those moments become more for you. Strange to associate songs off of Iowa with happy memories as much of the subject material is definitely from a dark place in Corey Taylor's life. Thats his gift to his listeners and I thank him for it.

17. Absolution - Muse

I've said it before and i'll say it again 2003 was a great year for music. Muse's Absolution felt like it was from the future and here now in 2014 I still think these songs hold up as good as any. "Time Is Running Out" was my pick for song of the year back in 2003. It blew my away with it's hard hitting bass and body-moving grooves. Almost sexual. Kind of like Radiohead after chugging a val love potion number 9. Thankfully the rest of the album was just as amazing and diverse. Songs raging from James Bond-esque spy themes to downright hard rock. Absolution was Muse's launching pad. Plain and simple.

16. O - Damien Rice

Definitely the shortest album title on this list, but Damien Rice's O is rich and full of joyous melodies, and acoustic treasures. Another album where many of it's songs whisk me back to a wet, hot Canadian summer. Rice actually produced this album himself and wished to release it without the aid of a major record label. Insert a joke about Irish stubborness if you will but when the songs are as good as they are here, who needs the help?

15. Everything I Long For - Hayden

A wonderful piece of Canadiana and a great debut from an at the time, up and coming musician. Though some of the songs from the album were written and released on an independent EP "In September" Hayden's major label debut Everything I Long For opened the door for many acoustic artists and got Hayden widespread attention. Especially the song "Bad As They Seem" which even got played on MTV at the time.

14. The '59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem

When i'm about to go on an epic drive through the city or a long roadtrip with a few companions and I need a good driving album to go along with the journey I don't look much farther than The '59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem. I got lucky with this one. Bought it on a whim as I caught the end of one of their sets and was midly impressed. Also a few people I knew talked about them or rather I recognized the name because they threw it around now and then and finally I was curious if the song "High Lonesome" was a cover of the song by the same name by Avail. Still to this day one of the best random purchase albums. Through and through, start to end it's a fantastic album. One of the best from that decade (2000s) and timeless songs inspired by girls, cars, Jersey nights, Springsteen and Seger.

13. Julie Blue - Joe Purdy

Some albums are not only enjoyable because all the music on it is fantastic, but the circumstances under which they were written and recorded is just plain cool. Joe Purdy's river record Julie Blue was written and recorded over the period of a weeks while he rented out a small cabin on a river in upstate New York. Nothing but himself, some equipment and the nature around him to be inspired by. Thats something I would love to do, find something to be inspired by and just surround yourself by it and see what comes out.

12. Yield - Pearl Jam

Yield was kind of the resurgence of Pearl Jam in the 90's. Sure Vs and Vitalogy had some classic PJ tunes on them, but Yield was promoted and featured heavily on radio. They even made a video for "Do The Evolution" something band hadn't done since 1992's "Oceans". Again, this one reminds me of a certain time in my life when my and a buddy were too young for bars and niteclubs, but old enough to be restless and obsessed with girls. With precious else to do with all of our awkwardness and teen angst we'd cruise around on hot summer nights and blast songs like "No Way", "Brain Of J" and "Given To Fly" into the ether. It was a simpler time in some respects. I hope kids nowadays can still connect to moments like that.

11. Master Of Puppets - Metallica

Maybe you thought i'd forget about Metallica. Never! My boys!! The very birth of Thrash Metal when Master Of Puppets  hit in 1986 every other metal band in the world knew they'd be competing to be #2. Even Ozzy noticed the crowd got smaller after Metallica left the stage when they opened for him. Not a misstep anywhere on this flawless piece of music. A staple on almost any greatest album list ever done. It also invokes a little sadness as it would be Metallica's proto-typical bass player Cliff Burton's final work. He would be killed in a bus crash during their European leg of the Master Of Puppets tour. Listen for his swan song on the album entitled "Orion".

10. The Bends - Radiohead

Here we go the top ten! This is not going to be easy, but I knew The Bends had to be in there, one of the quintessential albums from the 1990's. Even if you aren't a fan of the direction Radiohead would go in shortly after this album's release there is a song on it for you. Guaranteed. I picked it up for the same reason most people did, because I liked "High and Dry" or "Street Spirit" but as the tracks continue it becomes impossible to skip them and you realize you just listened to 48 minutes of Radiohead and enjoyed it.

9. Violence Has Arrived - Gwar

Many of you might just scoff at this, but I meant it when I say i'm a Gwar fan. Not just trying to be ironic or hipsterific. Violence Has Arrived has impressed me on many levels. Maybe Gwar was trying to make a tongue in cheek album and yes there are those moments to be found here, but they also pulled together some of the most impressively written and cohesive metal songs in recent history. "Immortal Corruptor" is just that: immortal, it stood strong against other hard rock and metal songs of it's era and still does. "Biledriver", "Beauteous Rot" and "Licksore" are other speedy and thrashy gems to bang along too. Gwar's best album and one Dave Brockie should be proud to be remembered for.

8. Ride The Lightning - Metallica

Can't keep them down! While Master Of Puppets was more critically acclaimed I always like Ride The Lightning a little more. It has more of my favourite Metallica songs on it ("For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Trapped Under Ice") and it's got some intense moments. Like James' screeching in the title track where it seems he's still trying to find his ranges in his singing voice. The hyper-fast "Fight Fire With Fire" and of course "Fade To Black" which is a staple of Metallica shows to this day. I will say that I prefer the instrumental track on Puppets more than "Call of Ktulu" on Ride The Lightning. This is the album from where they got their perfect album making formula. Many bands did. This is also the Metallica album that I have the most shirts from....three I believe and I saw them play this one live in it's entirety. That's right it may have been the first time (only time?) in history that they'll ever play the dreaded song "Escape"

7. Creature - Moist

The more I thought about this one the higher I wanted to put it. This is definitely the album every Moist fan should have, I know many people still favour Silver but for me this is where Moist showed their brilliant song writing prowess. From the high energy beginnings of "Hate" and "Resurrection" to the gloomy piano track "Disco Days" there is not a dull moment. Maybe a few moments where David Usher and co. allow the chance to wipe the sweat from your brow before drilling "Shotgun"'s bassline into your head. Every tracked is placed perfectly and performed with energy on the track which you can feel. This album is a huge reason why Moist still holds a dear place in my heart.

6. Pink Moon - Nick Drake

Sadly Nick Drake never got to see the heights of popularity his albums would eventually get to as they only started to gain an audience almost twenty years after his death. Pink Moon was his final, haunting recording. He'd go into the studio with just his guitar (unlike previous albums which featured full bands) and put shear heaven on to tape. He was not interested in marketing his work and was shy and not very confident on stage which led to little awareness of his albums. It's a shame really. Has there been such a beautiful combination of finger plucked guitar and piercing yet familiar vocals? I say not. It's the album I had in mind when I recorded an album with merely a guitar in hand....not that mine came any where close to this perfect.

5. The Closer I Get - Hayden

I love the album cover artwork for The Closer I Get. Combined with the songs it's a masterpiece of Canadian music. If Hayden stopped after this album was released I truly believe he'd still be viewed as a folk hero of Canadian music. A great mix of songs with a full band backing him up and chilling tunes with Hayden left alone with his guitar. This is Hayden's Pink Moon. His Harvest. His heart and soul.

4. Ten - Pearl Jam

Speaking of perfect albums. This is an album that PhDs could be written on, clocks could be set to and disputes could be settled over. Ten really stands alone among the other Pearl Jam albums. It's like they burned the studio and salted the earth after they released it. Forcing them to not try and duplicate it's blueprint. It blew audiences and critics away alike and was truly a musical manifesto for a young generation.
Ten was named after Mookie Blaylock's jersey number a former NBA player who Pearl Jam was a fan of and in turn Blaylock became a fan of the band. Man, I really should just post the whole album here...

3. Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV - Coheed & Cambria

The Afterman: Part 1 gets an honourable mention as does In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3, but for me Coheed and Cambria's best album is their third. Good, Apollo. The full title is much longer than even the one I have high lighted up there. It's got sweet songs ("Wake Up", "Always & Never"), dark songs ("Welcome Home", "Once Upon Your Dead Body") and straight up rock tunes ("The Suffering", "Ten Speed" and "Apollo I"). It showcases every cool aspect about the band: Musical proficiency man, check out the solos on this thing. The continuing story line of all Coheed's work, though the story takes an odd twist here, it definitely keeps things fresh. I think i'm going to go listen to it now.

2. As The Eternal Cowboy - Against Me!

When I got this album it stayed in my car for a whole summer. It would play in it's entirety once a day on my commute to and from work. I couldn't get enough. It blew me away. Here's a band known for there out of control and in your face hardcore music and it this album ends with one of the best acoustic songs ever written. Early on I decided this would be one of my desert island albums and it's one that I lend out to fellow music appreciators the most. As The Eternal Cowboy made me an Against Me! fan and that i'll always be.

Alright before I get to the number one album I have to list off some albums that almost made the cut. Here are some honourable mentions!

- Clumsy, Our Lady Peace
- Evil Empire, Rage Against The Machine
- Folklore, Nelly Furtado
- Lateralus, Tool
- Harvest, Neil Young
- Pinkerton, Weezer
- Automatic Midnight, Hot Snakes
- Aesop Rock, None Shall Pass
- American Pie, Don McLean

Alright I could go on forever...but let's find out what my favourite album of all time is...

1. Load - Metallica

Is it any wonder? A little history here. I came from a small town in Northern Canada. We had 3 radio stations, 2 easy listening and 1 country. My family had no cable and i only really heard interesting music when my friends would lend me a tape or something. Then came 1996. We finally got a rock radio station and my parents had cable installed so I was able to tune into Much Music! I was surrounded and bombarded by new music for a whole Summer...I could finally join in the discussion and be up to speed. For my birthday my parents got me a CD player and told me to pick one CD to go with it. "Until It Sleeps" had caught my attention so I chose Load. And thus began my musical journey. I lucked out that every song was incredible. I wanted to get a guitar and play along. I wanted to be James Hetfield. I wanted to see if all music was as awe-inspiring as this. I was hooked and there was no turning back. Now, I know some purists...hell even some casual readers might be lol-ing their heads off at the Metallica and Load of all albums, but it still stands the test of time. Songs like "Outlaw Torn", "Bleeding Me" and "Mama Said" are pure emotion. Something modern music often lacks. "Until It Sleeps" and "King Nothing" should be right up there as 90's staples with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. And personally without this album I never would have taken the musical journey I did. I wouldn't be aware of all these fantastic songs on all these albums. And I definitely wouldn't be sharing them with all of you. Do not be afraid to let your preferences be known. Stand with them and be proud. They are more a part of you than you might realize.

Thanks again as always for reading!

It was quite a journey! I hear my old friend Rob Reid has seen this list and is about to let us know what his Top 50 albums are! I'll keep ya posted on that!

Until then...grab an album you haven't listened to in a while, put it on and disconnect for a bit. If at least for an hour. You've got plenty to spare.

Johnny Zhivago (The original Jay Zed)

@jonnyzhivago <---- Twitterssss

Monday, 2 June 2014

Johnny Zhivago's 50 Favourite Albums Part 1 (50-26)

I Didn't read Kurt Cobain's diary when they released it. Many people have told me I should and that i'd enjoy it, but I just feel like it's his journal y'know? Not every aspect of every celebrity's life needs to be exposed. Later on down the road I heard that within his journal he jotted down his 50 favourite albums. This piqued my interest and I shamefully went hunting for it online. To see which albums he thought were the best and to see where much of his inspiration was seeded was interesting to me. It got me thinking about which albums would be on my list. Well here they are. I tried to be as honest as possible here...i'm sure there are plenty on this list that will make you scoff, or scratch your head. But it's my list and i'm not going to be all hipster and include obviously inspirational albums even when i've never heard them. Please enjoy! Johnny Zhivago's 50 Favourite Albums.

50. Aoxomoxoa - The Grateful Dead

From a young age I identified with the Grateful Dead. Loved the carefree attitude, the tye-dye and psychadelic imagery. Sure the music was great, but it was the life style that made me wish I was alive in the 60s. I liked the music, but it was tough for me to find an album to put on and enjoy all the way through. I at first tried their 1987 release In The Dark, but outside of "Touch Of Grey" it didn't do much for me. Of course there was Skeletons In The Closet, but I always thought greatest hit albums were a bit of a cheat. Then I heard Aoxomoxoa their third (and almost forgotten) album. It's not too experimental that you can't get into it, but it's also just groovy enough that you can put it on and chill all the way through. Love the crazy album title and artwork as well.

49. Razorblade Suitcase - Bush

The copy I own of Razorblade Suitcase was released when Bush still had to put that silly X after their name in Canada. So on my CD shelf I have this one by Bush X and Sixteen Stone by Bush. Haha. I know many people might scream blasphemy at me picking this one over Sixteen Stone but 'Swallowed' and 'Greedy Fly' are my 2 favourite Bush songs. Better than anything on their first album, plus I felt they took a few more chances here that paid off. "Cold Contagious" and 'Mouth" weren't terribly mainstream but they showed Bush's desire to expand in new directions.

48. A Healthy Distrust - Sage Francis

I'm a rock guy at heart. I like guitars, drums, hard vocals. Punk, metal, alt-rock, know the kind. That being said I can always enjoy a well written and produced rap/hip-hop track. Though I must admit, the songs by rap groups I enjoy I either never got a chance to absorb the albums they came off of or just thought the single was enough. Sage Francis' A Healthy Distrust however, has some magical moments on it. Call it rap, hip-hop, slam poetry,'s a great mix of melody, quick paced vocals and hard hitting issues.
"Sea Lion" was the song that got me to take a closer look.

47. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

Ahhh Rumours....

I don't know if i've ever seen a greatest album list thingy where this album wasn't included. Admittedly I am a Fleetwood Mac fan. Though some of my favourite songs are not on this album...Rumours is just too pure a listening experience to look past. From 'Second Hand New' to 'Gold Dust Woman' you know what you're getting when you pop this baby in the CD player.....yeah. Purists might say that only way to listen to some of these albums is on vinyl, which is cool and all...but c'mon I was born in the 80's. By the time I was ready to build an album collection, CDs were the way to thats the way I have enjoyed the majority of these albums. Some tapes!

46. Hours - Funeral For A Friend

Back to back bands from the UK up in this! Funeral For A Friend got their start in 2001, and while many fans feel Hours was a departure from the norm for a group, it was the one that really turned me on to them. Songs like "All The Rage", "Roses For The Dead" and "Streetcar" kept their hardcore roots on display while other songs like "History" and "Drive" showcased new talents. Hours was only their second album out of six as of 2013.

45. Insomniac - Green Day

I guess I sort of showed up to the 90's music party late. I missed out on the releases of albums like Nevermind, Superunknown and Dookie. Later on when i'd go back and check them out I felt that those bands had better releases 2 or 3 albums down the line; Like Green Day. I understand why Dookie was hyper popular, but to me, again this is merely my opinion, Insomniac much more enjoyable album. With harsher punk anthems and sharper guitars. Maybe the singles didn't get this across, but perhaps my favourite Green Day song lies within Insomniac's plastic housing: "Bab's Uvula Who?" also "Walking Contradiction"

44. So Jealous - Tegan & Sara

East Coast Canadian sweethearts Tegan & Sara already had a few albums under their belts by 2004, but when So Jealous hit the stores and airwaves people outside of Canada started to notice. The White Stripes would go on to cover "Walking With A Ghost" from this album and Tegan would be invited to provide guest vocals on an Against Me! song. Though the duo has since got into more pop-oriented territories, they still perform the folky, angsty hits from So Jealous in concerts to this day.

43. City Of Evil - Avenged Sevenfold

I will never forget when I first heard "Bat Country"...those drums. Pretty sure I went out and picked this album up based on those kick drums alone. Some drummer out there right now is saying "Really? You like the drums on "Bat Country"? Maaannnnnnnnn I could play that shiznit in my sleepy-sleeps!!!" Fine, but to me it was a perfect storm of musical proficiency, high energy music and just general bad assery. That's what I like about Avenged Sevenfold. I also have The Sounding Of The Seventh Trumpet and Hail To The King by these guys, but I think City Of Evil tops them all.

42. Rubber Soul - The Beatles

Again most album lists might have included Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper's or The White Album from the Beatle's vast catalog. Rubber Soul did it for me mainly because of "Norwegian Wood", that song still sits atop my list of favourite Beatles songs. Apparently the UK track listing was different from the North American one. Where the UK version kicks off with 'Drive My Car', our first track was 'I've Just Seen A Face' which is obviously the version i'm familiar with. Also another one of my fave Fab Four songs is "We Can Work It Out" and while it was not included on the album it was written during the Rubber Soul sessions. So, i'm counting that.

41. Before These Crowded Streets - Dave Matthews Band

Although I enjoyed a few tracks here and there from later albums by DMB, I consider Before These Crowded Streets the last of the great album trifecta by The Dave Matthews Band. I had Crash on this list but the more I thought of it, this album had more of an effect on me and it's songs are the ones I go back to more often. It's a dark and dreamy album, dealing with all sorts of themes and using layers and layers of instruments to construct the sound they wanted. That's saying something for Dave Matthews and Co. Each member of the group is a skilled and proficient multi-instrumentalist.  Epic tracks like 'Don't Drink The Water" and "The Last Stop" which have become crowd favourites, stand among upbeat tracks like "Stay (Wasting Time). Those are happy releases from some of the darker DMB songs like "Halloween" and "The Dreaming Tree". I'm always taken back to 1998 when I hear these songs.

40. Return To Cookie Mountain - TV On The Radio

Stumbled upon this album by accident kind of. I knew there was a band called TV On The Radio thanks to a guitar magazine I was reading around 2008. I also knew there was a band called Television, an older prog rock group from the 70's. I remember reading a "pick of the week" section of the magazine where various journalists would list off some of their favoiurite albums. One day when I was at the CD store I recalled the article and remembered one journalist recommending an album by TV On The Radio, but I couldn't remember the name...i was pretty sure the album cover was blue-ish. When I got to the TV On The Radio section there was only one album there...but it was not blue. I didn't want to leave empty handed so I grabbed it. Turned out to be Return To Cookie Mountain which also turned out to be a great album! The blue-ish album I was thinking of was Dear Science, though the article I was recalling was actually suggesting the Television album Marquee Moon which also had elements of blue. Such a series of hoopla in the end, landed me a very decent album.

39.  Lover/Fighter - Hawksley Workman

Again, thought the guy's debut album was great, but it was Hawksley Workman's second effort Lover/Fighter that you could hear the advances on. Even a couple hidden bonus tracks are fantastic and make this album an enjoyable listening experience all the way through. I like the reversible album covers too, you can pick the Lover side or the Fighter side. While it's not essential for a great album, but I like it when an artist puts thought into the packaging as well.

38. No Code - Pearl Jam

Of the albums released in the 90's by Pearl Jam No Code is the one that gets overlooked the most. Sad state of affairs that is. It's likely because there was no mega-hit radio single off of the album, but rather a series of Neil Young inspired slower tracks and some artsy songs that some might consider off the wall. To me it was a consistently good album all the way through. Some of my favourite Pearl Jam songs come from this album, "Mankind", "Red Mosquito", "Off He Goes", "Hail Hail" I could go on. Talk about album packaging too, No Code included a series of Polaroid pictures with the lyrics of several songs on them. Not every copied contained every Polaroid either and the album cover was a collage of other pictures meshed together to make the triangle/eyeball symbol of the album when the packaging was all spread out.

37. ...And Out Come The Wolves - Rancid

There were many bands who helped the revival of punk music in the mid-90's, but I don't think any album skyrocketed interest in the genre more than Rancid's ...And Out Come The Wolves. The first exposure I had to Rancid was when they performed on Saturday Night Live. I thought they were great, but I wouldn't buy this album for at least 10 years. No real reason, I guess I knew it would be a great album and it would be there when I was ready to pick it up. It's a great introduction to punk if you're unfamiliar with the genre and is absolutely habit forming.

36. Siren Song For The Counter Culture - Rise Against

Where Rancid ran with the punk-rock ball in the 90's, Rise Against got the forward pass in the early 2000's and punted it clean over some mountains. Rise Against had a great aggressive feel for those ready to burst, and singer Tim McIlrath's voice was different enough to make us listen to his oft-political lyrics. This is the Rise Against album that i've absorbed the most and the only reason it isn't higher is because of what they did to "Swing Life Away". I heard the demo version first and still think it's superior to the over produced version that made this cut.

35. Relationship Of Command - At The Drive-In

How to describe At The Drive-In? It is not an easy task. Take some elements of punk, some metal and experiment with samples and hardcore elements and there ya have it I guess. But if you want a better idea give Relationship Of Command a listen. It will make you rethink everything you knew about your favourite albums and you'll rifle through your CD collection in an attempt to find some deep gems you may have missed. At The Drive-In were not long for this world as they suffered a schism in 2001, half the band would go on to form Sparta and the other half would become The Mars Volta.

34. Damaged - Black Flag

The last few have been very punk oriented and i'm very comfortable with that. There was a time when all I wanted to listen to, play and live was punk music and the punk lifestyle. Precious few albums exemplify the genre better than Black Flag's Damaged. Often viewed as punk's shining gem, it's full of minute to minute and half knuckle bleeding anthems. It's barely polished and perfect by any means, but thats how punk was before it got mixed with rock and pop.

33. Automatic For The People - R.E.M

Outside of this album I am not the biggest R.E.M fan, but I really do think Automatic For The People is a must own for any serious music collector. It seems like the members of the group were meshing together better than they ever had and it seems they even allowed themselves to have some fun with a few of the tracks. From poppy highs of "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" to crippling lows of "Nightswimming" and even the overplayed "Everybody Hurts" Automatic For The People is a definitive 90's album without being obnoxious about it.

32. Toxicity - System Of A Down

From open to close. Morning to night. 6 to 12. Black to white. Toxicity is a rollercoaster ride of an album. At first I wasn't sure what to think of this band I was hearing through my buddies' car stereo. Over time however, I was happy to announce I was wrong for once and welcomed System Of A Down into my world. Toxicity gave us 3 singles and could easily have yielded many more in early 2001. A time when metal was fusing with rap and was in danger of becoming stale. System Of A Down's second album exploded on to the scene and turned the metal world upside down in a hurricane of destruction. Grabbing as many loyal listeners of other genres as it could. I can still put this album on and forget that a certain track is on it....a happy surprise indeed.

31. Morning View - Incubus

Incubus were always on my radar of good bands, but 2001's Morning View made me a fan. So many people in my walk of life have recommended the album to me and i simply say "Dude, I know. I own it" and then there's a brief period of nodding and awesomeness. I like when you can tell on a record that the band had an enjoyable experience recording the album and it's evident that they were getting inspired by everything around them. Even nature as exemplified by the sound of chirping frogs that close out the record. Morning View is a perfect lazy Summer's day album.

30. Good Mourning - Alkaline Trio

Alkaline Trio are great...on record. Every time i've seen them live it must have been an off night for them, but thats ok. They've got a bunch of great albums to choose from when I want to enjoy their music and 2003's Good Mourning is their best.  More punk, but with a morbid sense of humour and jacked up energy Good Mourning keeps you plugged in until the last track "Blue In The Face" which it finally slows down and lets you breathe. Something i've noticed that many of these albums i'm listing from the 2000's were released in 2003. Good year for music then yes.

29. Ganging Up On The Sun - Guster

I bought this album because of "One Man Wrecking Machine" but didn't get around to giving it a fair chance until years later. Holy hell I was missing out. Much like The Dave Matthews Band each member of Guster is a multi-talented musician and they even switch up singing duties, which makes each album sound like a mixed tape. From bongo rythmed sing alongs, to introspective alt-rock jams Ganging Up On The Sun has quickly become a staple in my car stereo. Guster have plenty of good albums, but this one tops them all for me.

28. Let It Be - The Replacements

This one is new to me but I can already tell by it's flavour that it'll be one I cherish for a long time. Getting their start as a punk band The Replacements grew wary of the punk scene due to the many rules threw at them by the scene they were apart of that they though was the "no rules" scene. They made the album Let It Be in 1984 and left the punks in their dust. They even laughed in the face of musical sacrality by naming their album the same as one of The Beatles' most popular. Though not commercially successful Let It Be was raved about by critics and fans alike. And me!

27. White Light, White Heat, White Trash - Social Distortion

This album came out in a time before downloading. So if you wanted a song you heard of the radio you had to go to the store and buy the single or the album. I lived in a smallish Northern town. We didn't get the singles, so I went out and bought a copy of White Light, White Heat, White Trash by Social Distortion. It was one of those cases where every song on the record was great. Sometimes you luck out like that and other times the album is abyssmal beyond the few singles (I'm looking at you Crazy Town).  After deciding I was a fan of the group I began to find out more about Social Distortion and liked what I read. Respected by many, even with limited mainstream play and success. This is one band on my musical bucket list I have yet to scratch's hoping there is still time!

26. In Utero - Nirvana

We all know Nevermind. We know it front and back, straight on and upside down. It's a great album yes, but to me the influences are a little over bearing on it. Like Nirvana was trying to write songs for The Pixies or Killing Joke. Incesticide  was essentially an album of covers and b-sides, a cool album, but really just something they threw out there to satisfy fans. I feel In Utero was the album Cobain, Grohl and Novoselic dreamed about making when they were young fans of music. It's sound is so fresh and raw. It's full of life and colour, like there is really something for everyone. Again one of those cases where the singles are not the best songs. Definitely my favourite Nirvana album and i'm glad Kurt was around long enough to see this album be released.

Part 2 coming soon!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read dis!