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Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 18, 2016 | Light In The Attic

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Reissued by HackTone after its original CD issue in 1995, Heartworn Highways is the sonic companion to the classic 1981 documentary of the same name. David Gorman goes out of his way to tell listeners/purchasers that this disc is not the soundtrack to the film because there never was one. HackTone "had to go back to the original film elements and Nagra tapes with the film's editor and producer to create one," according to Gorman. They "spent months working between them and an audio restoration engineer in New York to make a stand-alone album out of audio that works perfectly well while watching the film but would sound horribly disjointed otherwise. In fact, most of the performances in the film are edited down to about 1/4 their original length." This is key because it must have been a very painful process at time--especially during the 'round table' recordings on Christmas Eve at the end of the album. The microphone was literally in motion during the entire evening, trying to capture whoever was singing lead; but you'd never know it by listening to the CD. The breathtaking sound quality is a credit to restoration engineer Alan Silverman. A number of performances were left off in order to make this fit onto a single disc. What is here is a vintage treasure trove of the then-emerging singer/songwriter movement from the (mostly) American South. What is most important to note is that these performances were recorded for the documentary; they are not licensed recordings from a catalog. Some of the artists included here are no longer with us, but their performances (e.g., Townes Van Zandt's "Waitin' 'Round to Die" and "Pancho and Lefty," Gamble Rogers' "Charlie's Place" and "The Black Label Blues") are chilling and top-notch. Yet, they are in context because these infromal performances are stunning throughout. Some of the truly notable ones are by songwriters who are not well known even now among the general populus -- for example, the great Steve Young, who decided on deeply moving covers of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" along with his own "Alabama Highway". Youngis the guy who wrote "Seven Bridges Road," "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean" (the anthem of Waylon's outlaw movement that didn't include him--though, who was an outlaw long before it became a marketing concept)--and his "Montgomery in the Rain." is also here. Larry Jon Wilson makes an appearance with his deep backwoods "Ohoopee River Bottomland," which is equal parts Tony Joe White and Lightnin' Hopkins, all of it wrapped in Young's swampy Georgia voice and guitar playing. Guy Clark is heard on five cuts, three of them well known, but "Ballad of Laverne and Captain Flint" makes it too. Other writers here include David Allan Coe and John Hiatt, both of whom originally hailed from the Midwest. Hearing Coe in this setting is especially rewarding, almost separated from his bullshit image, just playing and singing his utterly moving songs, especially "I Still Sing the Old Songs," done with only an acoustic guitar. The glimpses listeners get of Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle apart from the slick Nashville production on their own records is especially refreshing. This is a timeless collection that truly stands on its own whether or not you saw the film in 1981 (it is available on DVD thank goodness). It's a no-jive set of songwriters doing what they do best away from the hype, the myth-making, and the self-destructive impulses that have plagued many of them. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 30, 2015 | Rhino - Elektra

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The history of rock is full of bands that go unnoticed, along with their all-too neglected albums… Love and their record Forever Changes are at the front of the peloton in that category. Released in November 1967, this third studio album by the Californian quintet rivals some of the greatest records by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones or The Kinks because it offers a unique alternative. The ingenious and elusive Arthur Lee mixed together every genre imaginable on the album, from pop, jazz, folk and flamenco to psychedelic rock, psychedelia and classical music. With a touch of baroque, we find rather daring and audacious brass and string arrangements by David Angel. Carried by Lee's whirling voice and Bryan MacLean's clear guitars, Love created a record that is melancholic at some points, cheerful at others, but always very profound. The eclectic sound stems from its authors; Lee veers towards more bluesy rock melodies while MacLean is open to plural sonorities, whether they are classical or world music... The Summer of Love dismantled its tent for a few months and Forever Changes, an album that meanders between baroque pop and psychedelic folk, became the soundtrack of the disillusionment of America and its citizens. They were still dreamers, just perhaps aware of the fact that years to come wouldn’t be quite so multicoloured. In short, this album fuses the sublime with the sinister, and the years slide past this masterpiece without ever eroding its beauty. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released December 3, 2014 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 3, 2014 | Talitres

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When the first album from Micah P. Hinson came out in 2004, the Americana crowd was shocked by the almost unnerving maturity from the pen of this young Memphis songwriter. An early spell in jail probably imparted a lot of precocious wisdom to this new bard with an odd baritone voice which is always lingering at the edges of tunefulness. Wrapped up in a fairly minimalist instrumentation punctuated with an echo to lift it up, this melancholy writing is rooted in his wild years. Not a thousand miles from Bright Eyes, Smog, Sparklehorse, Silver Jews, Lambchop or Willy Mason, Hinson consistently finds a killer melodic move, a little heady motif that adorns these stories of broken hearts: to stunning effect. He's a sharp melodist first and foremost, who sparingly injects drops of piano, cello, flute, melodica or organ into the hearts of these miniatures. Years after its release, Micah P. Hinson & The Gospel Of Progress remains an elegiac summit of timeless country-folk, just as sombre as it should be. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2014 | Big Brother

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If Definitely Maybe was an unintentional concept album about wanting to be a rock & roll star, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is what happens after the dreams come true. Oasis turns in a relatively introspective second record, filled with big, gorgeous ballads instead of ripping rockers. Unlike Definitely Maybe, the production on Morning Glory is varied enough to handle the range in emotions; instead of drowning everything with amplifiers turned up to 12, there are strings, keyboards, and harmonicas. This expanded production helps give Noel Gallagher's sweeping melodies an emotional resonance that he occasionally can't convey lyrically. However, that is far from a fatal flaw; Gallagher's lyrics work best in fragments, where the images catch in your mind and grow, thanks to the music. Gallagher may be guilty of some borrowing, or even plagiarism, but he uses the familiar riffs as building blocks. This is where his genius lies: He's a thief and doesn't have many original thoughts, but as a pop/rock melodicist he's pretty much without peer. Likewise, as musicians, Oasis are hardly innovators, yet they have a majestic grandeur in their sound that makes ballads like "Wonderwall" or rockers like "Some Might Say" positively transcendent. Alan White does add authority to the rhythm section, but the most noticeable change is in Liam Gallagher. His voice sneered throughout Definitely Maybe, but on Morning Glory his singing has become more textured and skillful. He gives the lyric in the raging title track a hint of regret, is sympathetic on "Wonderwall," defiant on "Some Might Say," and humorous on "She's Electric," a bawdy rewrite of "Digsy's Diner." It might not have the immediate impact of Definitely Maybe, but Morning Glory is just as exciting and compulsively listenable. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 2, 2014 | Epic - Legacy

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Boston is one of the best-selling albums of all time, and deservedly so. Because of the rise of disco and punk, FM rock radio seemed all but dead until the rise of acts like Boston, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. Nearly every song on Boston's debut album could still be heard on classic rock radio decades later due to the strong vocals of Brad Delp and unique guitar sound of Tom Scholz. Tom Scholz, who wrote most of the songs, was a studio wizard and used self-designed equipment such as 12-track recording devices to come up with an anthemic "arena rock" sound before the term was even coined. The sound was hard rock, but the layered melodies and harmonics reveal the work of a master craftsman. While much has been written about the sound of the album, the lyrics are often overlooked. There are songs about their rise from a bar band ("Rock and Roll Band") as well as fond remembrances of summers gone by ("More Than a Feeling"). Boston is essential for any fan of classic rock, and the album marks the re-emergence of the genre in the 1970s. © Vik Iyengar /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 22, 2014 | Masterworks

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Revelator is the debut studio album from the 11-piece Tedeschi-Trucks Band, who already have a reputation as a wildly exciting live jam group. That said, the record that Susan Tedeschi and husband Derek Trucks have recorded proves something beyond their well-founded reputation as a live unit: that they can write, perform, and produce great songs that capture the authentic, emotional fire and original arrangements that so many modern blues and roots recordings lack. The duo forged their two individual solo bands (Trucks remains with the Allman Brothers Band) and added some other players. Oteil and Kofi Burbridge and Mike Mattison, as well as drummers Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson are on board, as well as backing vocalists and a horn section. Produced by Trucks and Jim Scott, these 12 songs seamlessly meld blues, rock, Southern soul, gospel, and funk traditions into a heady, seductive, spine-slipping stew. The record also showcases Tedeschi as one of the finest vocal stylists in roots music, and Trucks, has become the only true heir of Duane Allman's bell-like slide guitar tone, his taste and restraint. More than this, Revelator offers proof that this pair and their bandmates are serious songwriters as well as players--anyone remember the original Little Feat? It's like that, but with a woman up front. While the single, "Midnight in Harlem," highlights the softer,side of the band with Tedeschi's soulful croon and Trucks' swooning slide, it's the harder numbers that fill out the story. The sexy opener "Come See About Me," the bluesy, gospelized "Don't Let Me Slide" (one of two cuts written by Trucks and Tedeschi with Jayhawk Gary Louris), the second-line funk-blues of "Bound for Glory" with its punchy horns; all of these offer evidence of the real depth that this band abundantly possesses. There's the skittering, slow-tempo guitar and B-3 soul-blues of "Simple Things," and the New Orleans-style horns introducing "Until You Remember," which can distract the listener for a moment from experiencing these songs for what they are-- until Tedeschi opens her mouth and lets the lyrics come up from her belly and drip from her lips and Trucks matches her emotion in his solo-- love songs; the likes of which we haven't heard since Delaney & Bonnie. The Eastern modal tinge in Trucks' playing and tablas dustinguishes "These Walls," tempered by the quiet conviction in the grain of Tedeschi's vocal would have made for a better single. The nasty, funky, Hendrixian droning blues of "Learn How to Love" is textured by Kofi's funky clavinet and Wurlitzer. Speaking of funk, Tedeschi takes her own smoking guitar break in "Love Has Something Else to Say," a slamming, break-ridden funk tune that quakes. It combines hard Southern Stax-styled rhythm, soul, blues, and nasty-ass rock. Revelator is a roots record that sets a modern standard even as it draws its inspiration from the past. It's got everything a listener could want: grit, groove, raw, spiritual emotion, and expert-level musical truth. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 24, 2014 | Touch and Go Records

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Rock - Released November 12, 2013 | Light In The Attic

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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The Clash sounded like they could do anything on London Calling. For its triple-album follow-up, Sandinista!, they tried to do everything, adding dub, rap, gospel, and even children's choruses to the punk, reggae, R&B, and roots rock they already were playing. Instead of presenting a band with a far-reaching vision, like London Calling did, Sandinista! plays as a messy, confused jumble, which means that its numerous virtues are easy to ignore. Amid all the dub experiments, backward tracks, unfinished songs, and instrumentals, there are a number of classic Clash songs that rank among the band's best, including "Police on My Back," "The Call Up," "Somebody Got Murdered," "Charlie Don't Surf," "Hitsville U.K.," and "Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice)," yet it's difficult for anyone but the most dedicated listeners to find them. A few of the failed ideas were worth exploring, but even more -- like the children's choir version of "Career Opportunities" or the Tymon Dogg song "Lose This Skin" -- weren't even worth pursuing. As the cliché says, there's a great single album within these three records, and those songs make Sandinista! worthwhile. Nevertheless, its sloppy attack is disheartening after the tour de force of London Calling and the focused aggression of The Clash. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Punk / New Wave - Released May 22, 2013 | Dischord Records

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The fans are like a cult. And the cult that surrounds Fugazi must be one of the maddest in the history of rock. The hardcore scene's grand masters of Straight Edge (no booze, no drugs!), the Washington quartet has taken the genre to strange new places. On this fourth album from June 1995, released on Dischord, Ian Mac Kaye and friends took on dub (Version), angular rock (Combination Lock) and even ballads (Forensic Scene). And to reassure the most concerned long-time fans, we have classic Fugazi at their most biting and bloody (Downed City, Back To Base). Combining the worldviews of Public Image Ltd., The Fall et Black Flag, Red Medicine is the most beautiful, most menacing door onto the rock’n’roll of the 1990s. Hardcore was reaching the age of reason, and consolidating its neurons like never before. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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After a lengthy absence, Faithfull resurfaced on this 1979 album, which took the edgy and brittle sound of punk rock and gave it a shot of studio-smooth dance rock. Faithfull's whiskey-worn vocals perfectly match the bitter and biting "Why'd Ya Do It" and revitalize John Lennon's "Working Class Hero." © John Floyd /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 13, 2012 | Asthmatic Kitty

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Silver & Gold, the 2012 follow-up to 2006's Songs for Christmas, offers up another five-EP set of schizophrenic seasonal cheer from one of indie pop's most prolific and maddeningly detail-oriented overachievers. Housed in an incredibly colorful box that yields volumes 6-10 of the series, they are presented in meticulously decorated, single cardboard sleeves that feel like part of a graphic design thesis, and are accompanied by an 80-page booklet filled with lyrics, chord charts, childhood photos, and personal and production liner notes peppered with rainbow headers, temporary tattoos that include a skeleton Santa, a Manga unicorn and an emo-Jesus, and a construct-it-yourself holiday ornament (comic book-style instructions are provided). Stylistically, it's a lot to take in which, not surprisingly, applies to the music as well. For the most part, Silver & Gold stays true to Stevens' predilection for kitchen sink, lo-fi chamber pop, but he plays fast and loose with the formula, offering up nervy, post-rock oddities like "Mr. Frosty Man" and "X-Spirit Catcher," progressive folk epics in "The Boy with the Star on his Head" and "Christmas Unicorn," and an Age of Adz-inspired rendition of yuletide favorite "Alphabet Street," by Prince in lieu of just standards. That's not to say that the Christmas spirit has been subverted, as Stevens provides plenty of traditional holiday cheer ("Joy to the World," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Silent Night," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (which clocks in at 40 seconds and is performed only on recorders), and his band of disparate merry makers, who include Aaron and Bryce Dessner (the National), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), and assorted members of the Castanets and the Danielson Famile, among others, who help to keep things lively and spontaneous, resulting in an audio experience that's akin to pressing your ear against the door of a rehearsal room in a church basement, or watching a Wes Anderson movie while listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 1, 2012 | Charly

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Pop - Released July 10, 2012 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Woody Guthrie defined an era and culture in transition in his Dust Bowl ballads, his outlaw tales, his work and labor songs, antiwar songs, children's songs, political songs, and a host of love songs and songs that touched on philosophy, geography, and the hard work of living day to day in an emerging industrial world. He was kind of a maverick troubadour beat journalist, writing and drawing constantly, and new poems, writings, drawings, and even previously unknown songs and recordings have kept turning up even a decade into the 21st century. Smithsonian Folkways, to honor the centennial year of Guthrie's birth in 2012, has issued this three-disc set of Guthrie's songs housed in a beautiful 150-page hard-cover coffee-table book full of essays, letters, text, photos, drawings, and other Guthrie ephemera, including rare, previously unreleased recordings of Guthrie's earliest material, made in 1937 when he was working for a radio station in Los Angeles. Guthrie was not a simple man, and he was driven by energies and demons that often even he didn't understand, but he persisted, pushing himself across every possible creative medium of the times, and his life's work, which begins with his songs (but covers so much more, including an iconic autobiography that was later turned into a movie), made him into one of the most important and vital American artists of the 20th century. That story is presented here in this wonderful set. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 4, 2012 | Parlophone France

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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Universal Music International Ltda.

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Released in 1972, Transa was recorded by Caetano Veloso during his exile in London, England, shortly before his return to Brazil. The sound of '70s electric rock predominates, fused with Brazilian rhythms and percussion, berimbau sounds, and his own violão playing. Several lyrics in English, and also in Portuguese, carefully avoid direct reference to politics, which may be found disguised in all songs, especially in the melancholic and depressed images of the poem by Gregório de Matos, "Triste Bahia," for which Veloso wrote the music. "It's a Long Way" also makes ciphered references to the political situation and was broadly played in the '70s. The broad use of pontos de capoeira (music used for accompaniment of capoeira, a martial art developed by Brazilian slaves as a resistance against the whites) can also be understood in that sense. The album also has "Mora na Filosofia," a classic and beautiful samba by Monsueto that scandalized people with its rock rendition. © Alvaro Neder /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 13, 2011 | Proper Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Stereophile: Record To Die For
Jesus of Cool was a jukebox, spinning out a series of perfectly crafted -- and decidedly quirky and subversive -- pop singles. In contrast, Nick Lowe's second album, Labour of Lust, is the work of a bar band, in this case Rockpile, playing the hell out of the same type of songs. Naturally, the result is a more coherent sound that may be a little less freewheelingly eclectic, but it is no less brilliant. Recorded simultaneously with Dave Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary, Labour of Lust benefits from the muscular support of Rockpile, who make Lowe's songs crackle with vitality. Working primarily in the roots rock vein of Brinsley Schwarz but energizing his traditionalist tendencies with strong pop melodies, a sense of humor, and an edgy new wave sensibility, Lowe comes up with one of his best sets of songs. Not only is his only hit, the propulsively hook-laden "Cruel to Be Kind," here, but so are the rampaging outsider anthem "Born Fighter," the tongue-in-cheek, Chuck Berry-style "Love So Fine," the wonderful pure pop of "Dose of You," the haunting "Endless Grey Ribbon," the druggy "Big Kick, Plain Scrap!," and the terrific "Cracking Up," as well as his definitive version of Mickey Jupp's "Switchboard Susan." It's an exceptional collection of inventive pop songs, delivered with vigor and energy, making it one of the great records of the new wave. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Virgin Records

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While Gish had placed the Smashing Pumpkins on the "most promising artist" list for many, troubles were threatening to break the band apart. Singer/guitarist/leader Billy Corgan was battling a severe case of writer's block and was in a deep state of depression brought on by a relationship in turmoil; drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was addicted to hard drugs; and bassist D'Arcy and guitarist James Iha severed their romantic relationship. The sessions for their sophomore effort, Siamese Dream, were wrought with friction -- Corgan eventually played almost all the instruments himself (except for percussion). Some say strife and tension produces the best music, and it certainly helped make Siamese Dream one of the finest alt-rock albums of all time. Instead of following Nirvana's punk rock route, Siamese Dream went in the opposite direction -- guitar solos galore, layered walls of sound courtesy of the album's producers (Butch Vig and Corgan), extended compositions that bordered on prog rock, plus often reflective and heartfelt lyrics. The four tracks that were selected as singles became alternative radio standards -- the anthems "Cherub Rock," "Today," and "Rocket," plus the symphonic ballad "Disarm" -- but as a whole, Siamese Dream proved to be an incredibly consistent album. Such compositions as the red-hot rockers "Quiet" and "Geek U.S.A." were standouts, as were the epics "Hummer," "Soma," and "Silverfuck," plus the soothing sounds of "Mayonaise," "Spaceboy," and "Luna." After the difficult recording sessions, Corgan stated publicly that if Siamese Dream didn't achieve breakthrough success, he would end the band. He didn't have to worry for long -- the album debuted in the Billboard Top Ten and sold more than four million copies in three years. Siamese Dream stands alongside Nevermind and Superunknown as one of the decade's finest (and most influential) rock albums. © Greg Prato /TiVo