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 October 20, 2017 | Rhino

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
For their third album, The Smiths are at the top of their game: a tortured crooning voice, crystalline arpeggios seeping from a limpid guitar, romantic and cynical lyrics, everything’s gathered for some 100% British pop, like The Kinks, The Who and The Jam knew how to create in their day… The Queen Is Dead, Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others are all introspective gems that the charismatic Morrissey transforms into pure poetry. Teenage worries, social paintings, subtle caricatures, Mozzer dips his pen here in the ink of perfection. © MD/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 18, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 29, 2010 | Mute, a BMG Company

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With guitarist/keyboardist Roland Wolf and Cramps/Gun Club veteran Kid Congo Powers on guitar added to the ranks, along with guest appearances from old member Hugo Race, the Seeds reached 1988 with their strongest album yet, the insanely powerful, gripping Tender Prey. Rather than simply redoing what they'd already done, Nick Cave and company took their striking musical fusions to deeper and higher levels all around, with fantastic consequences. The album boldly starts out with an undisputed Cave masterpiece -- "The Mercy Seat," a chilling self-portrait of a prisoner about to be executed that compares the electric chair with the throne of God. Queasy strings from a Gini Ball-led trio and Mick Harvey's spectral piano snake through a rising roar of electric sound -- a common musical approach from many earlier Seeds songs, but never so gut-wrenching as here. Cave's own performance is the perfect icing on the cake, commanding and powerful, excellently capturing the blend of crazed fear and righteousness in the lyrics. Matching that high point turns out to be impossible for anything else on Tender Prey, but more than enough highlights take a bow that demonstrates the album's general quality. "Deanna" is another great blast from the Seeds, a garage rock-style rave-up that lyrically is everything Natural Born Killers tried to be, but failed at -- killing sprees, Cadillacs, and carrying out the work of the Lord, however atypically. The echoing, gentle-yet-rough sonics on the Blind Willie Johnson-inspired "City of Refuge" and the gentler drama of "Sugar Sugar Sugar" also do well in keeping the energy level up. On the quieter side, Cave indulges his penchant for gloomy piano-led ballads throughout, and quite well at that, with such songs as "Watching Alice," "Mercy," and the end-of-the-evening singalong "New Morning." "Sunday's Slave" has a beautifully brooding feeling to it thanks to the combination of acoustic guitar and piano, making it a bit of a cousin of Scott Walker's "Seventh Seal." ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 16, 2011 | Mute, a BMG Company

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With this February 1996 album, Nick Cave took up his role as the bipolar preacher, caught between sin and redemption. Half goth-punk Johnny Cash, half infernal Lee Hazlewood, the brains of the Bad Seeds, a crooner to the core, told his stories of death, betrayal, sex, violence and passion... His cavernous voice and his Biblical pen fascinated fans. Behind him, the Bad Seeds were knitting together a blood-red score, a cocktail of blues and jazz on ghostly pianos, disquieting guitars and martial percussions. This is a Nick Cave in full Nosferatu mode, and he even has a couple of virgins to snack on: his double, PJ Harvey, on Henry Lee, and his compatriot Kylie Minogue for an erotic thriller entitled Where The Wild Roses Grow. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2015 | Beggars Banquet

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The Pleasure Principle was an important point of departure for Gary Numan, and a significant breakthrough moment in the context of his long and storied career. Released about six months after Replicas, it was an instant commercial success, quickly reaching the dizzy heights of number one in the UK Charts. On this record, his third solo effort (and first under his own name), Numan abandoned guitars completely, instead embracing a more synthetic style of production. The album heralded the purely electronic, distinctly robotic sound that this modern icon has become most famous for today. Numan employed a variety of Moog synthesizers to realise The Pleasure Principle, achieving his trademark sound largely by use of the distinctive ‘Vox Humana’ setting. Throw in a healthy dose of production trickery; including flanging, phasing, layers of reverb, and some solo violin, and you are the rest of the way there! Numan was influenced by the greatest pioneers of electronica - Kraftwerk’s epochal Autobahn ghosts the track ‘Cars’ (the very same synths were used!) – and, subsequently, he influenced a generation of new artists. Numan blazed a trail for Nine Inch Nails’s industrial rock, Afrika Bambaataa’s hip-hop explosion, and even early-2000s club bangers like Basement Jaxx’s immortal ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ A pleasure indeed.
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2015 | Beggars Banquet

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Behind all the Bowie-esque mimicry, the second and final album from Tubeway Army remains a true masterpiece of new wave electronica. Diving straight into the prose of Philip K. Dick, the Gary Numan helmed group scorched Replicas through with science fiction; the man-machine, androgyny, and other related themes all crop up frequently. Released in April 1979, the record was preceded by the hit single Are ‘Friends’ Electric? The track still offers a perfect, synthetic brand of pop; at the heart of which lies Numan’s clear sense of melody and streamlined choruses. Behind the impressive instrumentation, an arsenal of Moog and analogue synthesizers of all kinds, Tubeway Army recorded an album that well and truly marked the dawn of the 1980s. © CM/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released December 1, 2014 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 3, 2014 | Talitres

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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

Alternative & Indie - Released October 27, 2014 | Koowood

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 27, 2014 | Rough Trade

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The British press seems eager to add the Libertines to the canon of great British bands as soon as possible. Not just because their music carries on the traditions of previous greats from the Beatles to the Clash, or because of their involvement with already-legendary figures like Alan McGee, Mick Jones, and Geoff Travis, or because their peers in the British music scene just weren't as interesting to cover, but because the band's future always teeters between dazzling and dangerously uncertain. At the very least, they're guaranteed a spot in the history books as one of the most volatile bands ever to come out of the U.K. McGee, who has dealt with such notoriously difficult personalities as Oasis' pugnacious Gallagher brothers and My Bloody Valentine's hyperperfectionistic genius Kevin Shields, has called the Libertines "the most extreme band I've worked with." Co-frontman Pete Doherty's stints in and out of rehab, jail, and the band itself lend the Libertines an unpredictability that's both brilliant and frustrating. The Libertines' self-titled second album -- which was released when Doherty was out of the band, awaiting trial after pleading guilty to possession of an offensive weapon, a switchblade he picked up after fleeing rehab in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand -- ends up being frustratingly brilliant: it's not a pathetic last gasp from a band crumbling under the weight of its troubles, but it's not entirely a rallying, rousing cry in the face of these problems, either. Yet, considering how shaky Doherty's own existence, much less the Libertines', often seems, it's more than a little remarkable that as much of this album works as it does. Both Doherty and Carl Barat have grown as songwriters since Up the Bracket, and this album's best songs use Doherty's problems and the duo's strained camaraderie as fodder. On "Campaign of Hate," the single "Can't Stand Me Now," and "What Became of the Likely Lads?" they find common ground and sardonic fun in being inelegantly wasted: "Blood runs thick/We're thick as thieves." But most of The Libertines' strongest moments aren't necessarily its catchiest ones; rave-ups like "The Narcissist," a putdown of the "professionally trendy," and "Arbeit Macht Frei" fall flat, and "Don't Be Shy" is a draggy mess made more uncomfortable by Doherty's stumbling, burned-out vocals. However, when the Libertines don't pretend that the party is still going on and give in to their collective hangover, the album really takes shape. Interestingly enough, the band's darkest moments shine the brightest, and The Libertines' most ambitious songs seem to have been the easiest for them to pull off. "Last Post on the Bugle," "The Man Who Would Be King," and "The Saga" have a martial intensity and plenty of angry, self-aware lyrics ("You dig my bed/I dig my grave"), but these songs, "Tomblands," and "Road to Ruin" still feel more effortless than the album's stabs at lightheartedness. Ever since their first single, "What a Waster," the Libertines' experience has been about life imitating art imitating life, and The Libertines is an accurate, sometimes uncomfortable reflection of the band at this point: more scattered and unstable than they were on Up the Bracket, but also more ambitious and more interesting. If they can somehow hold themselves together without losing the tension that gives them their spark, The Libertines might prove that the people who called them "the most important band of their generation" weren't being hasty after all. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 24, 1991 | Warner Bros.

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers' best album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik benefits immensely from Rick Rubin's production -- John Frusciante's guitar is less overpoweringly noisy, leaving room for differing textures and clearer lines, while the band overall is more focused and less indulgent, even if some of the grooves drag on too long. Lyrically, Anthony Kiedis is as preoccupied with sex as ever, whether invoking it as his muse, begging for it, or boasting in great detail about his prowess, best showcased on the infectiously funky singles "Give It Away" and "Suck My Kiss." However, he tempers his testosterone with a more sensitive side, writing about the emotional side of failed relationships ("Breaking the Girl," "I Could Have Lied"), his drug addictions ("Under the Bridge" and an elegy for Hillel Slovak, "My Lovely Man"), and some hippie-ish calls for a peaceful utopia. Three of those last four songs (excluding "My Lovely Man") mark the band's first consistent embrace of lilting acoustic balladry, and while it's not what Kiedis does best as a vocalist, these are some of the album's finest moments, varying and expanding the group's musical and emotional range. Frusciante departed after the supporting tour, leaving Blood Sugar Sex Magik as probably the best album the Chili Peppers will ever make. ~ Steve Huey
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 14, 2014 | 4AD

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Deciding to scale back the overly pretty sound on Blue Bell Knoll while experimenting with more accessibility -- -- the Twins ended up creating their best album since Treasure. From the start, Heaven... is simply fantastic: on "Cherry-Coloured Funk," Guthrie's inimitable guitar work chimes leading a low-key but forceful rhythm, while Raymonde's grand bass work fleshes it out. Fraser simply captivates; her vocals are the clearest, most direct they've ever been, purring with energy and life. Many songs have longer openings and closings; rather than crashing fully into a song and then quickly ending, instead the trio carefully builds up and eases back. These songs are still quite focused, though, almost sounding like they were recorded live instead of being assembled in the studio. Due credit has to be given to the Cocteaus' drum programming; years of working with the machines translated into the detailed work here, right down to the fills. "Fifty-Fifty Clown," starting with an ominous bass throb, turns into a lovely showcase for Fraser's singing and Guthrie's more restrained playing. But the Twins don't completely turn their back on Knoll's sound; "Iceblink Luck," has the same lush feeling and a newfound energy -- the instrumental break is almost a rave-up! -- and everything pulses to a fine conclusion. There are many moments of sheer Cocteaus beauty and power, including the title track, with its great chorus, and two spotlight Guthrie solos: "Fotzepolitic," a powerful number building to a rushing conclusion, and the album-ending "Frou Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires." Possessing the same climactic sense of drama past disc-closers as "Donimo" and "The Thinner the Air," it's a perfect way to end a perfect album. ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 14, 2014 | 4AD

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The first Cocteaus album to feature a full-band lineup since Treasure was also their first full studio record released in America, resulting from the group's stateside deal with Capitol. Much to longtime fans' surprise, the Twins in fact were much more content with Capitol than 4AD, hinting at their eventual full departure from that label. This was all well and good, but the trio's new inspiration didn't fully translate into their work, unfortunately. While Blue Bell Knoll has some striking moments that are pure Cocteaus at their best -- the opening title track is especially lovely with a keyboard loop leading into Fraser's ever-wonderful vocals, a light rhythm, and a great final Guthrie solo -- it's still the band's least noteworthy release since Garlands. The feeling throughout is of a group interested in dressing up older approaches that have served them well, but aren't as distinct; the quite-lush arrangements by Guthrie are fine but the songs are a touch more pedestrian. Blue Bell Knoll has enough initial steam, however, to ensure that there are reasons to listen, happily. "Athol-Brose" has the inspirational feel that the Twins can easily create. "Carolyn's Fingers," the clear album standout, is perhaps the strongest individual Cocteau song since "Aikea-Guinea," with Fraser singing against herself over a rough, hip-hop-inspired rhythm while Guthrie peels off a fantastic main guitar melody and Raymonde contributes some supple bass work. After that amazing opening, things slowly but surely slide back a bit; most of the rest sounds okay enough to listen to, but the heartgripping intensity that defines the Twins at their best isn't present. ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2014 | A&M

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 26, 2001 | WM UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 26, 2001 | WM UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 25, 2013 | Beggars Banquet

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2011 | Geffen

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Geffen Records

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