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Top 10 all-time favorite albums from Brooklyn artists

January 8, 2013

Over at the Sound Vat blog, they counted down their Top 25 Canadian Albums for 2012, which was picked up by our friends at analog.am. Following in their footsteps, and with all due respect to the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas — who once responded to a question about potentially moving from New York City to Brooklyn with a sarcastic “yeah, the cultural center – you’re not allowed to be a new band if you’re not from Brooklyn […] nah, I just can’t do it” — I present my 10 all-time favorite albums from Brooklyn artists.  Because as we head into 2013, Brooklyn really is the center of the music universe.

Once again analog.am came through – this time creating a page based around 2bitMonkey’s favorites below!  After you read the list, check it out and buy some vinyl!  Let’s give the site a little love by buying a record from one of Brooklyn’s finest.

A few notes:  This list is alphabetical, not in order from 1-10.  Also, I chose no more than 1 album from any artist; otherwise, this might have just been a list of the National’s discography. (Speaking of which, I included the National who formed in Brooklyn and call it home.  Yes, I know the individuals are from Ohio.)  Finally, I cheated a bit — it’s really a list of 10 plus one bonus album from before Brooklyn was BROOKLYN, from a man who was born in the borough and exudes Brooklyn circa 2013, even if he was Lower East Side circa 1966.

So here we go, without further ado (because there’s been a lot already), my 10 all-time favorite albums from Brooklyn artists:

  • The Drums: The Drums.  If it’s good enough for Morrissey …
  • Friends: Manifest! I can’t explain it, but “Friends Crush” was possibly my favorite song of 2012.  So Manifest! makes the list, despite the exclamation point!
  • Liars: WIXIW. You may have heard the story about the Decemberists 2011 release The King Is Dead being called “the best R.E.M. album of 2011,” the same year that R.E.M. themselves released Collapse Into Now.  Well WIXIW is the best Radiohead album in a decade.
  • Matt & Kim: Grand. Brooklyn band names album after Brooklyn street where they live.  Easily makes the cut. (Helps that they didn’t live on Lorimer or Driggs.)
  • MGMT: Congratulations. Yes, I actually like this one more than Oracular Spectacular.
  • The National: Boxer. Easily could have gone Alligator or High Violet.  The National on an incredible run right now.
  • Sleigh Bells: Treats. Amazing debut album, great follow-up with Reign of Terror too.  Plus, has there ever been a more Brooklyn story than this?sleighbells_treats_vinyl_thumb

In March 2008, guitarist Derek Miller moved to Brooklyn to find a female vocalist for some song demos he was working on. In April 2008 he started working at Miss Favela—a Brazilian bistro in Williamsburg—and in July 2008, Alexis Krauss and her mother dined at the restaurant. Miller expressed his interest in finding a female vocalist for his new project and Krauss was immediately volunteered by her mother. The two met in a park and listened to Miller’s demos through headphones. Krauss was pursuing a Rhodes Scholarship at the time, but decided to join forces with Miller instead.

  • They Might Be Giants: Flood.  “It’s a brand new record, for 1990.”  Sadly I haven’t actually found this one on vinyl.  But I do have vinyl copies of The Else and Join Us each autographed by John & John!
  • TV on the Radio: Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. Or Dear Science.  Really.  You make the call.
  • Yeasayer: Odd Blood.  If only their 2010 e-release Live at Ancienne Belgique was available on vinyl, it would have been the greatest live album ever from a Brooklyn band.
  • The Velvet Underground: Velvet Underground & Nico. Lou Reed was born in Brooklyn.  So there.

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