371. two-headed boy

Neutral Milk Hotel‘s 1999 album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea gets a special nod here for giving us the most recent selections on the list. Though it should be noted that the entire decade of the 1990s is rather woefully neglected mainly because Philip Random had mostly stopped buying new vinyl by then. “CDs were the thing at first, and then mp3s. But something about In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – I just had to have it in full twelve-inch form. And not just for the cover, though it’s a hell of a cover. Nah, it just didn’t feel right unless I was getting some vinyl hiss and ticks, like a throwback to those times when the blemishes mattered. The blemishes always matter, which main Neutral Milkman Jeff Mangum makes clear every time he opens his mouth and thus his soul, young man with a whole new way of turning breath to voice. And the whole album’s strong. Not an unnecessary moment. Including the few seconds it takes to flip it over between sides.”

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811. a light in the black

Rising was Rainbow‘s second album, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the cover that grabbed me: God’s (or perhaps Lucifer’s) own hand thrusting from the waves of a boiling storm, grabbing a rainbow straight out of the sky. And the music’s mostly up to it (even if, like me, you were never that much of a metal fan), particularly something like A Light in the Black that storms so fiercely for your heart and soul, you tend to forget your biases. All hail the dark and mysterious power of Ritchie Blackmore‘s guitar, and the rest of the band for that matter.” (Philip Random)

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954. Holland 1945

“The cut-off date for this list is officially August 2000, because that’s when I started putting it together, though you may have noticed there’s precious little in the way of 1990s stuff included. This is because it’s an all vinyl apocalypse that I’m exploring here and I pretty much stopped buying new vinyl in 1989, mainly because that’s when CDs took over (for worse more than better, I’d argue, but that’s a whole other tangent). One album I did need to own on vinyl was 1998’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. Because the cover’s a damned fine work of art, so I wanted it big, and because it just had to be heard in analogue form, with hisses and crackles, and all manner of other sweet imprecisions. And, in the case of Holland 1945, all that semen staining the mountaintops.” (Philip Random)

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