Blender : Best indie rock albums of all time

Blender Magazine has complied a list of the 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of All-Time. I am not sure why people even attempt to do this. Really, all time? 100? M.I.A. on a Indie Rock album list? The list should just be titled “100 albums we think are really great”. Here it is:

100 The Shaggs – Philosophy Of The World
99 Dream Syndicate – The Days Of Wine And Roses
98 Palace Music – Viva Last Blues
97 The Mekons – Rock ‘N’ Roll
96 TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
95 The Dismemberment Plan – Emergency & I
94 Half Japanese – Greatest Hits
93 Big Black – Atomizer
92 Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
91 The Chills – Kaleidoscope World
90 Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
89 Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll
88 Daniel Johnston – Yip/Jump Music
87 Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
86 Flipper – Album – Generic Flipper
85 The Clean – Anthology
84 Beat Happening – You Turn Me On
83 The Misfits – Walk Among Us
82 The Embarrassment – Heyday 1979-83
81 The Vaselines – The Way Of The Vaselines
80 Feist – The Reminder
79 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
78 The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
77 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
76 Le Tigre – Le Tigre
75 Galaxie 500 – Today
74 The Fall – 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong
73 Meat Puppets – Up On The Sun
72 The Mountain Goats – We Shall All Be Healed
71 Stereolab – Refried Ectoplasm
70 Mudhoney – Superfruzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles
69 Nick Drake – Pink Moon
68 Descendents – Milo Goes To College
67 Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising
66 Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
65 Various Artists – No New York
64 Cat Power – The Greatest
63 Nirvana – Bleach
62 The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
61 LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
60 Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
59 Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
58 Built To Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
57 Bikini Kill – Pussy Whipped
56 Archers Of Loaf – Icky Mettle
55 Bad Brains – Bad Brains
54 Unrest – Imperial F.F.R.R.
53 Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
52 Bright Eyes – Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
51 Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
50 Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous
49 Spoon – Kill The Moonlight
48 Mission Of Burma – Vs.
47 Green Day – Kerplunk
46 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
45 Fugazi – Repeater
44 Various Artists – Wanna Buy A Bridge?
43 Black Flag – Damaged
42 Brian Eno – Another Green World
41 Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
40 New Order – Power Corruption & Lies
39 Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
38 The Strokes – Is This It
37 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
36 Elliott Smith – Either/Or
35 Liz Phair – Exile In Guyville
34 Superchunk – On The Mouth
33 The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
32 Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
31 Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand
30 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
29 Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
28 The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
27 M.I.A. – Arular
26 Belle And Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
25 Sebadoh – III
24 The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
23 Yo La Tengo – Painful
22 Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II
21 The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers
20 The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday
19 Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
18 Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
17 The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
16 Slint – Spiderland
15 X – Wild Gift
14 De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising
13 Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade
12 Dinosaur Jr – You’re Living All Over Me
11 Minutemen – Double Nickels On The Dime
10 The Smiths – The Smiths
09 Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers
08 My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
07 The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
06 Arcade Fire – Funeral
05 Pixies – Surfer Rosa
04 R.E.M. – Murmur
03 The Replacements – Let It Be
02 Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
01 Pavement – Slanted And Enchanted


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One Response to Blender : Best indie rock albums of all time

  1. John says:

    This is one of the silliest lists I’ve ever seen. Not least of all because the people who made it seem not to realize that “indie rock” is a historically specific term. Let me break this down for them: After punk, we get what might be called “post punk,” “college rock,” or “alternative rock,” associated with artists like R.E.M., The Smiths, The Replacements, The Pixies, et al. I would argue that indie rock only emerges in the early 1990s when alternative rock goes mainstream with the commercial success of bands like R.E.M., U2, and Nirvana. Because there needed to be an alternative to the alternative – that is, a place for bands like Pavement, Slint, Sebadoh, Guided by Voices, et al to differentiate themselves from what had become mainstream – we get small independent labels that cater to a niche audience. Hence, indie rock. Then came Pitchfork and the term became more well-known.

    All of which is to say: it is preposterous to call bands like The Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators “indie” simply because they had a sound that seemed to prefigure that of today’s indie rockers. It’s only slightly less goofy to include hip-hop artists, because to me “indie hip-hop” is a beast of a whole different sort. Those artists – De La Soul, etc. – are responding to a trend that exists within hip-hop as its own genre. And late 70s/early 80s bands, don’t get me started. Black Flag, X, Fugazi, and Bad Brains would have considered themselves to be punks of a certain variety. Big Star was a power pop band – they just happened to be awesome, which doesn’t necessarily make them indie. I could go on, but seriously.

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