Friday, 17 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - The Full List

Two months and 50 odd posts after I started this thing here's the coup de grĂ¢ce. The final list, in full, on one page (which I could probably have done from the off and saved you all a lot of bother). My 50 favourite debut albums of all time - click the links for more information on each album.

There are some omissions; albums I don't own, albums I haven't lived with long enough to really appreciate, one or two albums I do love but didn't have anything interesting to impart. It's a good list though, I really like everything on it and would highly recommend anything that made the top 25. More than anything, I enjoyed re-listening to albums I hadn't played in some time, a few of these showed how important the moment you first heard a tune can influence how much you enjoy it later on.


50. Sparklehorse "Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot" (1995)
49. Pink Floyd "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (1967)
48. Guns n' Roses "Appetite for Destruction" (1987)
47. Young Marble Giants "Colossal Youth" (1980)
46. Beiruit "Gulag Orkestar" (2006)
45. Big Country "The Crossing" (1983)
44. Brakes "Give Blood" (2005)
43. The Wonder Stuff "The Eight Legged Groove Machine" (1988)
42. Mogwai "Young Team" (1997)
41. Mudhoney "Superfuzz Bigmuff" (1988)
40. Masters of Reality "Masters of Reality" (1988)
39. Japandroids "Post Nothing" (2009)
38. Minutemen "The Punch Line" (1981)
37. Black Sabbath "Black Sabbath" (1970)
36. Arcade Fire "Funeral" (2004)
35. The Fall "Live At The Witch Trials" (1979)
34. Field Music "Field Music" (2005)
33. New York Dolls "New York Dolls" (1973)
32. The Smiths "The Smiths" (1984)
31. Desaparecidos "Read Music / Speak Spanish" (2002)
30. Billy Bragg "Life’s a Riot with Spy vs Spy" (1983)
29. The Breeders "Pod" (1990)
28. Iron Maiden "Iron Maiden" (1980)
27. Marillion "Script For A Jester's Tear" (1983)
26. Les Savy Fav "3/5" (1997)
25. The Gun Club "Fire Of Love" (1981)
24. Dr. Feelgood "Down By The Jetty" (1975)
23. Sex Pistols "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols" (1977)
22. X-Ray Spex "Germ Free Adolescents" (1978)
21. AC/DC "High Voltage" (1976)
20. R.E.M. "Murmur" (1983)
19. The Damned "Damned, Damned, Damned" (1977)
18. P J Harvey "Dry" (1992)
17. The Stone Roses "The Stone Roses" (1989)
16. Wire "Pink Flag" (1977)
15. Dexys Midnight Runners "Searching for the Young Soul Rebels" (1980)
14. Patti Smith "Horses" (1975)
13. Godspeed You Black Emperor! "F♯ A♯ ∞" (1998)
12. Jeff Buckley "Grace" (1994)
11. The Undertones "The Undertones" (1979)
10. Nirvana "Bleach" (1989)
9. The Stooges "The Stooges" (1969)
8. The Specials "Specials" (1979)
7. Nick Drake "Five Leaves Left" (1969)
6. Stiff Little Fingers "Inflammable Material" (1979)
5. The Sonics "Here Are The Sonics" (1965)
4. Television "Marquee Moon" (1977)
3. Fugazi "Repeater" (1990)
2. Ramones "Ramones" (1976)
1. Pixies "Surfer Rosa" (1988)

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.1 "Surfer Rosa" Pixies (1988)

My number one pick is from my favourite band of all time and is probably also my favourite album of all time (though both these things are subject to change at fairly frequent intervals).


It's another full length option winning out over an earlier mini-album. That's semantics though, either record would have claimed top spot.

Produced by hardcore legend Steve Albini with his typical sparse but energetic vibe. Kicking off with a trademark Albini drum sound on Bone Machine it clatters through three more tracks before the pace lets up a little with the wonderful Kim Deal sung Gigantic and best known song Where Is My Mind?. Thirteen tracks in a little over half an hour and not a dud song amongst them.



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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.2 "Ramones" Ramones (1976)

1, 2, 3, 4!


This album won't be a surprise if you followed my 70s list. Fourteen perfect tracks of lightning fast punk that hits you straight between the eyes again & again.

I love the first four or five Ramones albums a lot but their debut remains my absolute favourite. It was the first I heard, has killer tunes from start to finish and set the template for a career blending Johnny's psycho guitar thrashing with Joey's love of great pop tunes.



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Monday, 13 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.3 "Repeater" Fugazi (1990)

I'm applying my slightly inconsistent full length album rule again and ignoring the earlier (though just as brilliant) 6 track E.P.


I first heard Fugazi thanks to an ITV documentary that explored their history and independent ideology as well as Ian MacKaye's straightedge lifestyle. I wasn't initially drawn in by the music but was fascinated by their anti-music business D.I.Y. approach and ethical beliefs.

I'd intended to investigate their music much earlier but only got round to giving them a go in the last 5 years. Repeater was the first album I picked up (my natural tendency is to work through a band's catalogue in chronological order) but I loved it from the off and it was rapidly followed by everything else the band has released. They've been ridiculously consistent but Repeater just about edges out the rest.



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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.4 "Marquee Moon" Television (1977)

Seminal New York Art Punk album.


It took me three goes, separated by several years, to finally get my head around this album. As is often the case this proved to be worth the effort and it's now one of my all time favourite albums.

Tom Verlaine & Richard Lloyd's twin guitar sounds are phenomenal, like something from another planet and a huge influence on so many bands that followed.



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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.5 "Here Are The Sonics" The Sonics (1965)

I mentioned The Stooges as predating Punk but this next band beat them to the punch by a good 4 years ...


A blistering album that doesn't let up from start to finish. Every track is a real corker and I absolutely love it.

Gerry Rosalie's voice is wild & raw, unfettered howling of the highest order. The drumming is incredible & the guitar sound low and dirty.

I saw them live last year for the second time. Despite most of the band being in their late 70s they rocked as hard as any band I've seen and really blew the roof off.



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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.6 "Inflammable Material" Stiff Little Fingers (1979)

Time for something a little more Punk ...


Stiff Little Fingers don't always get the recognition they deserve but they've become one of my favourite bands. They were as noisey and energetic as any of their Punk contemporaries but in Jake Burns and (non-band member) Gordon Ogilvie had a pair of truly great songwriters. They mined a seam of Punk that combined a catchy sound similar to The Undertones with the harder edged noise of bands like the Pistols & The Damned.

Inflammable Material is my favourite SLF album and is simply perfect from start to finish.



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Monday, 6 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.7 "Five Leaves Left" Nick Drake (1969)

A wonderful, beautiful and sublime album.


Nick Drake was such a remarkable talent. A brilliant songwriter with a gorgeous voice, he recorded three albums that are all immaculate. Five Leaves Left is an LP I can put on anytime & enjoy. One of my go to records if I'm feeling stressed, it has the power to chill me out & cheer me up.



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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.8 "Specials" The Specials (1979)

The best album to come out of the Two Tone movement.


This also made my 70s list so I suspect I already told you this story but, here we go again ...

I first saw this album at my best pal's Blue Peter bring & buy sale. I guess this would have been late 1979 or early 1980. I was into Madness, and recognised the 2 Tone logo, but didn't know much about The Specials. The cover really grabbed me though, the band looked cool and I desperately wanted to buy it. The record was only £3 but I hadn't really planned to buy anything and didn't have enough money. I failed to convince the seller to accept the £1.64, blunt pencil & bit of string I had in my pocket and so made the mad dash home to get Mum or Dad to fund me. By the time I got back they'd sold it to someone else.

I was quite a bit older by the time I did buy The Specials but it's been a huge favourite of mine ever since.



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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.9 "The Stooges" The Stooges (1969)

As Iggy says in his current 6music trailer, The Stooges were punk before Punk was a thing.


There's a lineage that runs from The Sonics to The Stooges and leads to the US & UK Punk scenes of the late seventies. They were hugely influential and their first two albums are both brilliant.

The debut album is pretty perfect, full of energy, distortion and fun. It features three of their best know tunes in I Wanna Be Your Dog, No Fun and opener 1969 but the quality is high throughout and the pace is unrelenting.

It's an album that makes me want to sing along ... with my top off (though frankly that's an image no-one wants in their head).



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