MC5 Kick Out the Jams (1969)
The MC5 were total crap, and Kick Out the Jams is their definitive crap statement--a hippie rock record that tries desperately to be anything but. Recorded live at Detroit's Grande Ballroom, Kick Out grinds on too long (its 36+ minutes feel like 3,600), shapeless and with a forced, "hip" revolutionary vibe. Sheer boredom. I'll give a gold star to anyone that listens to this shitfest all the way through without drumming their fingers or doodling pyramids, swastikas, and googly eyes on a piece of junkmail.
Rolling Stones Exile on Main St. (1972)
The greatest rock band of the late '60s/early '70s. More world-crushing hits than you have MySpace and Friendster friends. Sure. True. Still, as much as the snobs parade Exile as the band's "best record EVER," it's actually their weakest pre-1982 work. Exile's songs are some of the Stones' least catchy, most passionless, not to mention murky and full of cool-dude-drunk-rockstar posturing. Follow your heart, ear, and brain on this one, and the truth will be revealed. Exile is sub-par.
Television Marquee Moon (1977)
If all the bands who list Marquee Moon as an influence actually LISTENED to this record, they'd hemorrhage, squirt blood out their ears, and DIE outta sheer embarrassment. Television was never any good because Tom Verlaine is a boring motherfucker. For everything his buddy Richard Hell was--angry, bright, conflicted, dangerous--Verlaine was his dull, stuffed-shirt opposite. And it shows in his music: Bad poetry; nerdy guitar jams; rock removed of rhythm.
A Certain Ratio I'd Like to See You Again (1982)
Kids "discovering" ACR nowadays is like the children of 2025 fetishizing Right Said Fred. Back in the day, people had zero respect for ACR. They were a joke, bottom rung Manchester chumps. But enough time has passed that anything that even peeked inside the Hacienda's front door is nostalgized into something it wasn't. Stiff-spined British guys playing phony funk for stiff-spined British guys. In khaki shorts. And fake tan cream. Awesome!
Uncle Tupelo No Depression (1990)
Calling this album "visionary" is like saying my beater Volvo is the Starship Enterprise. Uncle Tupelo was a clunky punk band trying to be country--but not trying hard enough. (Faux whiskey-soaked swagger and banjos = not enough.)
Drive like Jehu Yank Crime (1994)
Strained, too-white, frat-rock emocore sung by a guy that can't write lyrics and an art-tainted band damn near INCAPABLE of birthing a good riff. The rest of John Reis' trip--Hot Snakes, Rocket, et al--just builds on this one. In a bad way.
Polyphonic Spree The Beginning Stages of... (2003)
This one's for the British snobs, those NME-fed hype-junkies. The way The Beginning is talked up you'd imagine 29 angel-pure voices harmonizing symphonic like Beach Boys and Girls about god and group sex and poison punch. Not even close. The music itself is plain ol' indie pop. Yep, behind the flowing white robes and let's-go-down-to-the-river-and-pray schtick, the emperor is totally naked, pasty, and has back zits. Anyway, when your bandleader is the dude from Tripping Daisy, you're in for a stinky ride down Crap River.
!!! Louden Up Now (2004)
Louden Up Now takes the Crap Snob Records cake, eats it too, then shits it out and calls it "music." Or rather, "funk." This is a band I always liked the idea of, but in execution you just can't listen to it. Nic Offer's voice gets increasingly sharp and ugly as the tracks move along, and the movement they do make is the lowest-rent disco'd trance PC-made nonsense EVER. Dance, hipsters, dance. Just know, if you see me moving to this, it'll be at the end of a fucking rope.