For our inaugural Valentine’s Day epipod, we take a listen to an album full of passion and want, an album full of self-reflection and obsession. With just one album (and really just 2.5 band members), The Postal Service gave us “Give Up” back in 2003 — an album that meant so much to so many people, and one that exemplifies the extremes of love and lost. Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello’s masterpiece album struck a chord — one that still strikes hard 15 years later.

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You can buy or stream Give Up by The Postal Service online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 

 

At the end of the day, Hootie and the Blowfish may have just been four good dudes from South Carolina who hit lightning in a bottle (of probably Bud Light) and offered a pop-heavy, feel-good answer to grunge. But give Darius Rucker & Co. their due: “Cracked Rear View” is one of the best debut albums of all time and it gave us memorable, catchy hits — many of which are way deeper than you may have originally noticed.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Cracked Rear View by Hootie and the Blowfish online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 

 

They were like nothing we had seen or heard before. From the opening growls of “Welcome to the Jungle” to the pop sensibilities of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and the anthemic “Paradise City,” Guns N’ Roses was the next generation’s answer to Led Zeppelin. And “Appetite for Destruction” pulled back the curtain on the debauchery and insanity that was L.A. and the Sunset Strip in the mid-1980s. Sure, they used hairspray … but mainly just to light a Molotov cocktail to set fire to hair metal. Axl, Slash, and the boys would go on to sell a mere 30 million copies of “Appetite.” And they left a path of destruction in their wake.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 

 

In our inaugural “Listener’s Choice” episode and final epipod of Season 1, we tackle the third album from Run the Jewels. RTJ combines the best attributes of rap and hip hop: fierce and insightful lyrics that make you think from a different point of view, and insane beats and production that transport you to dystopian, apocalyptic streets. Wrapped up within the fierce fire of RTJ’s lyrics are humor, vulnerability, and a sincere desire to make things better. That sincerity comes through by the fact that this group has made every one of its albums available as a free download. RT&J is the new PB&J … and it’s delicious.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Run The Jewels 3 online at iTunes,  Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon. 

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The Beach Boys and Kacey Musgraves both produced quintessential Christmas albums – they just happened to be generations and decades apart. The similarities are striking: both albums are a mix of well-known holiday standards plus original compositions – and all are true to the artists’ unique sounds. Both albums make you excited for all of the “Ribbons and Bows” of the season and the coming of “Little Saint Nick.”

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream A Very Kacy Christmas online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.

 

It’s frankly one of the great mysteries in music: Why isn’t the English band Elbow more popular in the United States? After all, this band of longtime friends has produced some of the most captivating sounds and albums for more than two decades. Their 2008 album, “The Seldom Seen Kid,” even won the Mercury Prize for best album in the UK – topping giants such as Radiohead, Adele, and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Singer Guy Garvey’s poetic longing is fully embraced by the sonic backing of the rest of Elbow, resulting in anthemic and haunting masterpieces such as “Starlings” and “One Day Like This,” while also featuring grooves like “Grounds for Divorce,” “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver” and so much more.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow online at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.

 

It’s the quintessential breakup album, full of heartache and remorse, remembrance and longing. “Blood on the Tracks” is quintessential Bob Dylan at his most poetic — and beautiful.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan online at iTunes,  Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.

 

Green Day’s “Dookie” brought punk rock to the masses in the mid-90s — yet resulted in the band being ostracized from the punk community due to its mainstream success. It transcends punk rock, and 25 years later this album is still full of fist-pumping hits like “When I Come Around,” “Longview,” “Welcome to Paradise” and more.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Dookie by Green Day online at iTunes,  Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.

 

Geographic name-dropping, songs about Saabs and golf courses, and of course questions of love and faith. Vampire Weekend’s third album, “Modern Vampires of the City” showcased the band’s songwriting and song content growth – and was considered by many as the best album of 2013. But don’t fret: there’s still plenty of catchy hooks, popped collars and high-fallutin’ themes – the things we all tend to love Vampire Weekend for anyway.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend online at iTunes,  Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon.

 

It was an album that record execs and studio heads initially rejected. But “Kick” by INXS would go on to produce a slew of top 10 hits worldwide, turning the band – led by charismatic frontman Michael Hutchence – from Australian heroes to the people’s choice in rock and roll, putting them on par with U2 and R.E.M.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Kick by INXS online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .

 

For some, “The Boxer” is The National’s greatest album. However, in this epipod of Finest Worksongs, we take a look at what be their most quintessential album, “Alligator.” It’s an album of both confidence and introspection, of colorful characters and average Joes. All sung with a sound unique to The National.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Alligator by The National online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .

 

At the time it was released, this album was overshadowed by Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and even some monsters from Sesame Street. But a dozen years later, “The Reminder” by Feist holds up as an accomplishment of an artist with a clear vision, a bevy of talented friends and a voice like none other.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream The Reminder by Feist online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .

 

It’s a tale as old as time: Man reads Ann Frank’s “The Diary is a Young Girl.” Man weeps for three days straight. Man dreams of building a time machine to go back and save her. Man writes arguably one of the greatest Indy rock albums of all time. Can you say “cliche?”

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .

 

If you were anywhere near a college campus in the mid-1990s, you were probably going to hear the Dave Matthews Band – either coming out of a dorm stereo or being played by a guy with an acoustic guitar. Before too long, though, the DMB was everywhere. The mix of guitar, horns, violin, and impeccable drumming – along with Matthews’ unique vocals – was a revolutionary sound in mainstream rock music. But is it still?

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Under the Table and Dreaming by Dave Matthews Band online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .

 

The red leather jacket. The single white glove. The “Moonwalk.” The “Thriller”Dance. Of the 9 songs on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” 7 would be Top 10 hits. The album would go on to sell 66 million copies worldwide — and counting. And music would never be the same again.

References in this Epipod:

You can buy or stream Thriller by Michael Jackson online at Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, and Amazon .

For our second epipod we dive into Smashing Pumpkins’ second album, Siamese Dream. This is Billy Corgan’s masterpiece – an album so over-budget and so mind-boggling perfect that it led to drug abuse, infighting and innuendo – and arguably one of the most successful albums of the 1990s.

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Welcome to Finest Worksongs! What better way to begin a podcast about great albums than by reviewing this masterpiece by our favorite band? 

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