OK, so, first off, this is just a start. To cover my love of Jazz, Blues (Rest in Peace B.B. King), and every other musical genre I love, I’d need at least 100 albums…probably more. There is no theme to this particular list, just 5 Classic albums that I love, and why.
Guided By Voices-“Alien Lanes” (1995)
When I first heard this album in 1995, it changed my musical landscape…Part Beach Boys, part Beatles, part Indie-Rock, part 60’s Garage band, part just dudes next store rocking out, all the way rad. GBV’s simple, short, hook driven rock anthems inspired my 20s. And when I heard they were a bunch of middle aged, blue collar, beer drinking, part time musicians from Ohio recording on a simple 4-track, I had found my band. So much so that I mimicked some of their recording and guitar stylings in playing and recording the music for our skateboard company Stereo Skateboards (www.stereoskateboards.com) second video “Tincan Folklore”. You’ll hear some GBV is those jams in the video w. Tommy Guerrero, Ray Barbee, and Ethan Fowler, we were all fans. Must listens on this album include “A Salty Salute”, “Watch Me Jumpstart”, “As We Go Up We Go Down”, and “Motor Away”. For bonus GBV listening grab the albums “Bee Thousand” and “Vampire on Titus” also.
The Smiths “The Queen is Dead” (1986)
Another one that changed my perspective on music. I remember seeing a video or two for the Smiths on MTV’s “120 minutes” in the mid to late 80’s and thinking I’d never heard or seen anything it. Part gothic Elvis, part killer alt rock band, wrap in the mystery of Morrissey and his crooning cryptic lyrics, and you’ve got musical awesome. I was baffled, but hooked.The dark song/album titles, the album visuals, the black and white music videos w. old movie clips in them, all were one of a kind at the time. We were mostly listening to hip hop and punk at the time, but liking the Smiths in the late 80s WAS PUNK AS FU@#. I won’t call out particular songs as this album is one of those start to finish listens. For bonus fun and to truly annoy your homophobic friends who don’t like the Smiths, crack a bottle of wine and have a “Morrissey dance party” as you listen.
Beck “One Foot in the Grave” (1994)
Another game changer. This is one of the albums that really prompted me to buy a 4-track and start creating my own songs. Released shortly after Mellow Gold and the runaway success of “Loser”, “One Foot in the Grave” was the music lover’s Beck album. The alt-country vibes of the album, the humor, the DIY lo-fi production, the contributions from Calvin Johnson from K-Records, this album just rules. It also leaves you with the feeling, “wait a minute, I could do this”, which is why this is another album that influenced the music I made for our Stereo video “Tincan Folklore”. A few jams I love off this one include: “He’s a Mighty Good Leader”, “Sleeping Bag”, “I Get Lonesome”, “Cyanide Breath Mint” (classic Beck!), “Hollow Log” and “A*****e” which was later covered by Tom Petty. If your shopping iTunes, buy the Deluxe Edition w. a killer alternative version of the song “It’s All in Your Mind”.
Descendents “Enjoy!” (1986)
I had to include this album because it largely fueled my High School rebellion. Almost no one knew who Descendents were when I was growing up, and if you did, you got it. From power-pop punk jams to get you hyped to skate, to love lorn ballets to that girl w. the punky hairdo ignoring you in class, this album is a true classic for any skateboarder who was alive in the 80s. Favorite jams on this one include: “Wendy”, “Hurtin Crue”, “Sour Grapes”, “Get the Time”, and “Cheer.
Public Enemy “Yo! Bum Rush the Show!” (1987)
When my big brother Rodney brought this album home for the first time, my mind was blown. It was so unique, so raw, so infectious, and one of the most POWERFUL things I’d ever heard. The first song “Your Gonna Get Yours” sets the tone for the album and just hits you over the head like a ton of bricks. We would listen to this album on repeat for hours. Even the album cover is insanely powerful, that photo basically says “don’t FU#K with us! We’re about to tear shit up and say something really meaningful!”. I was lucky enough to see P.E. live at the Hollywood Palladium shortly this album was released, and they were even MORE powerful live. This album is a Classic, and if you were were lucky enough to hear it for the first time when it dropped in 1987, you knew the music world had to run for cover.
Until next time!
—- CHRIS PASTRAS