I. Little Dragon -- Ritual Union [2011, 2011] / Peacefrog Records, UK
I was lucky enough to find this in the used section at Encore Records (Ann Arbor, MI) for <$20. I didn’t realize it was a scarce record at the time, but knew I liked Little Dragon. This album is fantastic all the way trough.
Favorite Track(s): Crystal Film, Ritual Union
II. Clifford Brown -- Study in Brown [1955, 1955] / Emarcy, Japan
Also got this one for cheap in the used section at AKA Records (Philly, PA). This is one of my favorite all-time jazz albums. Max Roach tears it up, as does Brown.
Favorite Track(s): Cherokee, Swingin’
III. Passion Pit -- Manners [2009, 2009] / Frenchkiss Records, Columbia, Europe
This was the 2nd record I ever bought. Was super lucky to buy it on Amazon for <$20 in winter of 2011.. had no idea it would become scarce. Manners is basically the defining album of my senior year in high school, and will probably always hold a special place in my heart despite how well or poorly Passion Pit ages.
Favorite Track(s): Little Secrets, Seaweed Song
IV. Lee Morgan -- Search for the New Land [1964, 1964] / Blue Note, USA
I picked this album up at Shagri-La Records in Memphis, TN on a whim as I really like Lee Morgan but had never heard the album. The all-star cast sold me (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Grant Green, Billy Higgins, & Reggie Workman on bass) and it has since easily been my #1 most played album. The dynamic between Green and Hancock is incredibly soothing from the moment the needle drops.
Favorite Track(s): Search for the New Land
V. El Ten Eleven -- El Ten Eleven [2004, 2010] / Bar None, USA
This album is nothing short of masterful IMO. It’s catchy, easy to listen to, complex yet accessible, and very creative. The full album is up on youtube and definitely worth checking out. I bought this one directly from the band via their bandcamp page.
Favorite Track(s): Connie
VI. Pat Metheny Group -- Pat Metheny Group [1978, 1978] / ECM, USA
Bought his album in Encore Records (Ann Arbor) for <$5. I’m a big Pat Metheny fan but had not heard of this album. I quickly read the first amazon review while in the store which described the album as “better than sex”. That was all I needed. It’s a great album.. very weather channel-ish but extremely captivating. I keep finding myself coming back for more.
Favorite Track(s): San Lorenzo
VII. Donald Fagen -- The Nightfly [1982, 1982] / Warner, USA
This is one of my mom’s favorite all-time albums and thus, has become one of my favorites. It also helps that this album sounds incredible. I bought this very used copy at Spin City Records in Memphis, TN.
Favorite Track(s): The Nightfly
VIII. Dntel -- Life is Full of Possibilities [2001, 2011] / Sub Pop, USA
This is the 10th anniversary version on red and white vinyl.. fantastic album which was the precursor to the Postal Service with this collab with Ben Gibbard. I bought this one at Underground Records in Ann Arbor, MI after selling my fluid mechanics textbook at the end of a semester (I don’t know why I still remember that lol).
Favorite Track(s): Anywhere, Anyone
IX. Pedro the Lion -- Options [2002, 2012] / Jade Tree, USA
Bought this one in Every Day Music in Seattle, WA. It’s a super sad album but also super well produced. The guitars & drums sound great throughout, especially on the title track. Full album is up on youtube
Favorite Track(s): Magazine
X. Enemies - We’ve Been Talking [2010, 2013] / Heavyweight, Ireland
I bought this album as soon as I saw it was reissued in 2013. It’s a seriously mighty yet accessible and stunning mathrock album… definitely among my top 5 albums from the last several years.
Favorite Track(s): Fierce Pit Bosses, Morse Code, Gabbi Gabby