Here is my list of some perfect musical works of art, in no particular order, other than putting the more obscure, out of print, and hard to find records near the top. The more obvious, well known records are placed towards the bottom. If one of these perfect records does not turn you on, try the next perfect record, or come back later, and try your luck again. I’ll keep adding more records over time.
Take a chance, and enjoy!
Opal – Happy Nightmare Baby – SST Records 1988
Not sure why this is currently still out of print and not available on Spotify. The vocalist and keyboard player Kendra Smith is mesmerizing on this record. Guitarist and songwriter David Roback went on to form Mazzy Star. The description on this YouTube video does a great job of detailing this record and quoting reviews. This is a great, perfect record for putting on some headphones and lying back in a comfortable chair.
Transfer – Faded Signal – Obscure Magpie Music 2006
Transfer is out of San Diego CA. One summer night in ’06 or ’07 a friend and I decided to go see a well known local band on a weekend in Seattle. We got there early and put $5 into a video game right when these unknown out-of-towners opened up the show. About one minute into their set, we abandoned the video game full of credits and went to the front of the stage. We rocked out hard with these guys, bought all their CDs and stickers, and afterwards showed up with all of our friends every time they traveled up here. This album is a wonderful display of genius songwriting and superbly perfect record making. They also have an EP called “Sunken Eyes” which is really good as well. They have other records if you can find them. Good luck!
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter – Reckless Burning – Barsuk Records 2003
I’m not sure how or when I came upon this band in Seattle. I probably saw them open for a bigger act at the time, but I can’t remember exactly. I do remember falling in love with every aspect of this perfect record. Jesse’s wonderful voice and sweetly sad lyrics; Phil Wandscher’s haunting guitar work, and all the sublime contributions by the other musicians, singers, and producer Tucker Martine. Highlights for me include the songs Lonely Still, Don’t Let Me Go, and Love Me Someday. Jesse has put out many records after this one.
Jackpot – Weightless – Future Farmer 2000
A friend gave me a copy of this record after they played a local show while on tour and I love the drunken, lazy, no good, slacker musician slant of this record. It’s a perfectly genius piece of art.
Eleni Mandell – Thrill – 2000
Eleni Mandell is a wonderfully gifted and talented songwriter and performer. She is prolific as well with over 10 albums and many singles to her name. After hearing the hypnotic, perfectly performed and recorded Thrill for the first time in 2002, I wasted a ridiculous amount of time figuring out how to get Eleni to marry me. For many years I caught every show I could, totally in a trance, making an idiot of myself, all due to her amazing songs and dream inducing singing voice. You should go buy all of her records now. Go! Do it!
Shudder To Think – First Love, Last Rites – Sony 1998
As a not extremely obscure soundtrack record for a pretty good indie movie, I’ve always loved this one. Many well known artists sit in on a bunch of these great songs: Jeff Buckley, Liz Phair, Nina Person, Robin Zander, John Doe, and Billy “it’s not stoner music!” Corgan. My good friend (and singer/sax player in Low Wires) Jimmi, lambasted me the first time I played this for him: “Why the hell did you wait so long to show this to me?! It’s perfect!”
Brad – Shame – Loose Groove Records 1993
Brad was a side project of Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam featuring amazing vocalist and keyboardist Shawn Smith and Malfunkshun drummer Regan Hagar. Shame was the first of many Brad records and the great band Satchel was an additional byproduct of these collaborations. I highly recommend this perfect record.
Them Crooked Vultures – 2009
Them Crooked Vultures is a super group comprised of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). If this amazing record had come out 10 or 15 years earlier, the band would have completely dominated the world. Just sit down and listen to the whole perfect album front to back. You’ll want to thank me afterwards.
Yes! Check back from time to time. This list will get longer. I’ll run out of time before I run out of perfect records to recommend. Cheers!