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Essentials A-Z: H & I

BlueCalx "Joe"
 
Through The Trees
Through The Trees
"Country-ish home-grown miserablism recorded in a bathroom. The music is warm and atmospheric; the lyrics are strange on the surface and heartbreaking underneath."
Bummed
Bummed
"Madchester's favourite ecstasy-guzzlers The Happy Mondays are easily eclipsed by their social antics, but their music was far better, full of invention (and some plagiarism) as well as great lyrics."
Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches
Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches
"The far better third album was their peak. Sean Ryder's lyrics are perfect start to finish and it's pretty hard to find a better drinking record."
The Pearl
The Pearl
"Harold Budd could write pointless new age twaddle one year and the next come up with atmospheric genius. Him and Eno here form so much emotion and imagery from so little, it's a wonder how it happened"
Head Hunters
Head Hunters
"The jazz funk movement it inspired was mostly an abomination, so it's easy to forget how good its genesis sounded."
Maiden Voyage
Maiden Voyage
"His first great record before he got almost recklessly experimental. Probably his best, still."
The House of Love
The House of Love
"Really under-rated jangle-pop that the world ignored and history forgot."
Zen Arcade
Zen Arcade
"Something of an epic hardcore opera of a boy who runs away from home, which still manages to cling to melody amongst the roars of razor-wire guitars."
New Day Rising
New Day Rising
"Their most balanced; Zen Arcade was more glorious noise than melody, but this catches them at the exact mid-point between the two."
Flip Your Wig
Flip Your Wig
"Who'da thunk it! It actually sounds like pop-rock sometimes, but it also sounds flippin' great."
Warehouse Song Stories
Warehouse Song Stories
"Dispensing with their punky roots almost entirely, they also delivered their best record; every song is perfectly crafted."
Golden Greats
Golden Greats
"Forgetting the fact that he looks like a gibbon forced into a baggy shirt, this is his finest post-Roses hour."
Hope is Important
Hope is Important
"The unsung kings of credible British indie rock, Idlewild started off (largely) very uncommercial indeed. Shows that Roddy used to scream like a Taz the Tasmanian devil's Scottish cousin."
100 Broken Windows
100 Broken Windows
"Gravitating away from the shouting and shambling tidal waves, 100 showed them embracing their more melodic side, but not forgetting their roaring roots."
The Remote Part
The Remote Part
"Their shot at stadium rock and it works brilliantly. One of the first records I ever bought with my own money and it still stacks up incredibly well."
Warnings/Promises
Warnings/Promises
"Probably their best yet. This sees them embracing folk as an influence and forgetting punk altogether. The songs themselves are their most enduring and personal."
Make Another World
Make Another World
"Another great shot at stadium rock."
Post Electric Blues
Post Electric Blues
"Their most difficult and un-sure-footed, but rewards tenfold once it gets under your skin (requires A LOT of plays to get into)"
Turn On The Bright Lights
Turn On The Bright Lights
"One of the ten best albums of the 2000's. The post-punk revival starts here and swings between brilliantly driven miserable rock songs and soaring atmospheric elegies."
Antics
Antics
"Balancing the two extremes of ...Lights, Antics is their most accessible (but still a slow burner). Every song is great though."
Our Love To Admire
Our Love To Admire
"At once their most ambitious and patchy. Plenty of good songs besides though."
The Creek Drank The Cradle
The Creek Drank The Cradle
"While the music (mostly consisting of a few acoustic guitars, vocals and banjo) has a warm glow, the vocals and lyrics often sound troubled but always deeply personal."
Killers
Killers
"Since their T-shirts are worn by fleets of moronic posers, it's easy to forget that Iron Maiden are a great metal band and one of the few to have great crossover potential without sacrificing ideas."