June 23, 2004


OK, indulge me, I've indulged myself....

It's partly the disgust, rage and disappointment of actually seeing the Observer list : where it's not drably canonic, it's absurd (and not in any interesting way, absurd in that there are obviously people out there who get paid to write about music whose taste has not moved on since they were first year undergraduates); and where it's not canonic or absurd, it's infuriating. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions! Fucking Lloyd 'couldn't write his way out of a paper bag' (MES) Cole. Good God, the only place I expected to see his smug chubby chops again was staring at me from out of a car boot.

And I can hardly bear to say it, but The Stone Roses being placed, never mind about getting to number 1. This is far more depressing than reality TV pop, jeez, people who are prepared, in 2004, to vote that over-hyped slice of slight retro-puffery as the best British album ever made , well, they deserve only the worst, the most mediocre, of everything. Yeh, you can understand a momentary aberration when it came out, people getting carried away, intoxicated on Brown's manc swagger (I mean, Brown's solo stuff and that single he did with UNKLE obviously tower above anything the Roses achieved; and they should be placed oooh as high as 312), temporarily letting the guard down and the standards slip when there was a paucity of alternatives. But, now, in 2004, after a decade of time-shattering rhythmic psychedelia, after Loveless, after garage, do we really need to stir that undead r and r cavader? Oasis, too. And Echo and the 'moon in june' Bunnymen.

All those tedious undergrad poster boys. What dream-deprived, desire-decayed, quotidian mire do those who voted live in?

So it's partly the rage, and partly the inspiration of Marcello and, even more, of Jim (still no permalinx; see Monday 21st June entry), partly because it's a bit of fun....

k-punk's top 100 british albums --- arranged by decade (though I'm sure I've got some of the dates wrong, I just did it by memory). Naturally, it's been thrown together, so it's a bit rorshach blot, not rationally considered (and possibly all the better for that), not objective (what would that mean?), not even pretending to be, it's an attempt, not to Mount Rushmore-like inscribe in stone, with the Big Other at my shoulder, a sacred list of albums that are 'Good', but to record those albums that were Events in my life, that changed things, that forever altered my scanning patterns, my expectations, perceptions...

There are almost certainly horrendous omissions ...

Yes, it's too white, too male (but then, so am I), the eighties are over-represented (but then, that's when I was most impressionable)....


Dizzee Rascal – Boy in Da Corner
Oxide and Neutrino Present: the Solid Sound of the Underground
Oxide and Neutrino – Execute
David Sylvian – Blemish


187 Lockdown – 187 Lockdown
Tricky – Pre Millennium Tension
Goldie – Saturnz Return
Massive Attack – Protection
Breakdown Presents: Drum & Bass Selection 3
Suburban Base and Moving Shadow Present The Joint LP
Various - Techsteppin’
The Dark Side: Hardcore Drum and Bass Style (React)
Marvellous Cain – Gun Talk
World of Twist – Quality Street
Tricky – Maxinquaye
Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works
Basement Jaxx - Remedy
MBV – Loveless (also here)
Barry Adamson - Soul Murder
Altern 8 – Full on Mask Hysteria
Renegade Soundwave – Soundclash


New Order – Movement
J AMC – Psychocandy
The Fall – Grotesque
The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour
Japan – Tin Drum
John Foxx – Metamatic
Visage – Visage
OMD – Architecture and Morality
Blue Nile – Hats
Associates – Sulk
Adam and the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier
Joy Division – Closer
Happy Mondays – Squirrel and G-Man
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
African Headcharge – Off the Beaten Track
The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
23 Skidoo – Seven Songs
23 Skidoo – The Culling is Coming
London Posse – Gangster Chronicle
Mark Stewart + Maffia – As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade
Annie Anxiety – Jackamo
The Cure – Pornography
Bauhaus – Mask
Scritti Politti – Provision
ABC – Lexicon of Love
Simple Minds – New Gold Dream
Magazine – The Correct Use of Soap
Test Dept – The Unacceptable Face of Freedom
Pet Shop Boys – Actually
Pet Shop Boys – Please
Durutti Column – Vini Reilly
Gang of Four – A Brief History of the Twentieth Century
Ultravox – Rage in Eden
Siouxsie and the Banshees – A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Soft Cell – This Last Night in Sodom
Marc and the Mambas – Torment and Toreros
The Pop Group – For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?
Happy Mondays – Bummed
808 State – Quadrastate
The Cure – Seventeen Seconds
The Jam – Greatest Hits
Virginia Astley – In Gardens Where We Feel Secure
Brian Eno – On Land
Cabaret Voltaire – Voice of America


Slits – Cut
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Tubeway Army – Tubeway Army
Tubeway Army – Replicas
Ultravox – Systems of Romance
The Stones – Exile on Main Street
John Martyn – Solid Air
Roxy Music – Roxy Music
Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
Bowie – Low
Cabaret Voltaire – Mix Up
Pop Group – Y
Roy Harper – Stormcock
Bryan Ferry – Let’s Stick Together
Magazine – Real Life
Killing Joke – Killing Joke
PiL – Metal Box
John Barry – 007 10th anniversary edition James Bond Collection
Shirley Bassey – The Singles
Magazine – Real Life
Japan – Adolescent Sex
John Cale – Paris 1919
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Van Morrison – Moondance

BBC Radiophonic Workshop - BBC radiophonic music
Pink Floyd – Piper at the Gates of Dawn
The Stones – Let It Bleed
The Stones – Aftermath
The Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
The Beatles – Revolver
The Beatles – White Album


Pennies From Heaven OST
The Singing Detective – OST

What might have featured/ what might well feature in future, if I’d heard them enough/ recently/ at all:

Joe Meek ---- Throbbing Gristle ---- This Heat ---- Clock DVA ---- Human League --- The Who --- Imagination --- 10 cc ---

Posted by mark at June 23, 2004 11:27 PM | TrackBack

Just want to say for myself, re: 90s, 'DI Go Pop'. There. Said it. Nice list, though.

Posted by: oliver at June 24, 2004 12:25 AM

oh, ok, to be pedantic, I'll regret this, but:

drum & bass selection vol 1 and 2 on breakdown

sound of the pirates on locked on

chill out by klf

jungle hits vol 1 & 2 on street tuf


fourth draw down (as good as sulk)

the dreaming (as good as hounds of love)

empires and dance (as good as new gold dream)

more specials by the specials

special beat service by the beat

cupid & psyche 85 by scritti


the north star and the ravens by snady denny

and the stones um let it bleed should have been up beyond half-great sticky fingers, exile should have been well up because it's the best thing ever, and, I dunno, they're the best whatever, whenever,

aren't they? (Luke?)

Posted by: oliver at June 24, 2004 12:41 AM

ha ha! course!

Posted by: oliver at June 24, 2004 12:42 AM

I like DI Go Pop, but it wouldn't make the 100 (saw them live, they were amazing)...

Maybe Breakdown D and B 1 and 2 are better than 3, but I've only got 3 and 4...

Chill Out I haven't heard all of

Ditto lots of Associates stuff I really should have

and The Dreaming

Like Empires and Dance but, really, few things are as good as NGD

I realise most would choose Cupid and Psyche over Provision --- but Provision takes that fastidio-intricate micro-intense sumptuousness to its logical extreme...

Sandy Denny, not heard...

Posted by: mark k-p at June 24, 2004 12:52 AM

point of order: the altern-8 elpee came out in '92 so it should be in the '90s section. otherwise a splendid list. yes, 187 lockdown, absurdly underrated outfit/record - even if "kung fu" is on record as being simon bates' all-time favourite single (???!!?!?!?!!?). god yes, the unacceptable face of freedom, that's an astonishing record; a truer, harsher and yet more compassionate depiction of thatcherite britain than anything billy bragg achieved.

i hummed and hawed about putting in any mark stewart & the maffia (seeing as "the maffia" are all americans), partly because of the latter's treachery in backing jagger on TOTP when he came on to perform the beyond-loathsome "let's work." but the third stewart/maffia album (entitled "mark stewart" - 1987) is a milestone; the true beginning of trip hop, the missing link between tin drum and maxinquaye.

somewhere in my parched archive i have a 10,000 word piece on goldie's "mother" (the 60-minute version) which i wrote back in '98 and unsuccessfully pitched to the wire (no change there then eh?). if i can find it i'll put it up on the blog.

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at June 24, 2004 08:30 AM

surprised you forgot about No U Turn's 'Torque' Mark

Posted by: steve_hyperdub at June 24, 2004 09:25 AM

project undermined by continued kowtowing to now-meaningless 50s marketing category (cf use of word "album")

in future lists shall:
i. define their OWN (new and for-now unrecuperated) aesthetic-shaping limitation categories (from a distance resembles a fly; has just knocked over the watercooler; maybe would have been an album if it wasn't a type of benelux cheese - YOU'VE READ FOUCAULT YOU KNOW THE DRILL!!) (ie haha marcello included jazz insects tape on his = he is in the clear here!!!)
ii. WHY ARE WE ALL STILL TIMIDLY PROPPING UP THE HEGEMONY OF OUR OWN FINGERNUMBER PEOPLE!! ppl voted for Lloyd Cole cz they like his way with a tune; the reactionary intellectual laziness that STILL DEFERS to the EVIL NEOLIBERAL DECIMAL has NO SUCH ACCEPTABLE VALIDATION!!

(failure to accede to i. => withdrawal of privilege even to MOUTH the word "dub")

Posted by: mark s at June 24, 2004 11:49 AM

(that k-punk list seems to come in at 104 btw so he = in clear also, acc.the NumerologyPolice spokesdigit)

Posted by: at June 24, 2004 11:58 AM

oh dear oh dear

Posted by: oliver at June 24, 2004 12:39 PM

Mark Sinker, make yr way over to the hyperstition blog (http://hyperstition.abstractdynamics.org) fortwith - hegemony of digits under assault there - n-1!!!

If I've added it up wrong --- well, no surprise, arithmetic's never been my strong point ---

Steve, yes 'Torque' was one of the 'horrendous omissions' I warned of... Makes me wonder if I've lost my copy actually...

Marcello, obv agree with you about MS; I saw them live at the time Mark Stewart came out, still one of the most electric experiences I've had at a gig...

Wasn't sure about the Altern-8 date --- but reminded of it thanks to yr list, what a fabulous record, prolecore, must post something on that ---

Marcello, you, Kodwo and Steve Hyperdub are the only people I know who like 'Mother'; I did a piece on it too (compared it to Scott Walker as I recall), must dig that up...

Posted by: mark k-p at June 24, 2004 12:54 PM

actually it might be interesting to try and draw up a "serious" foucault-type list of the required characteristics of the post-whatever art"work" viz
i. resists established routines and processes of commodification (like: what length is it? where do you file it? is it too easy to review?]
ii. is to be completed by the responses of you-the-viewer
iii. [to be completed by the responses of you-the-viewer ]

Posted by: mark s at June 24, 2004 01:15 PM

...and i proclaim the winner in all three categories to be -

"the wit and wisdom of ronald reagan" (stiff records, 1980)!

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at June 24, 2004 04:19 PM

feeling lot's of empathy here, mark, apart from: I never liked the fucking Stones, but I do like the Roses album. Several albums in the wrong decade, but you did say it was put together really quickly, so I'll let it pass. Gonna try and do my own list too...

Posted by: Nick at June 24, 2004 11:15 PM

i apologise about the Stone Roses.

their debut album is mildly pleasant/

Posted by: scott at June 25, 2004 01:39 AM

A dutch list: 80 british + 40 continental

80 british albums

70's Black Sabbath-Black Sabbath
70's Black Sabbath-Paranoid
70's Bryan Ferry-Let's stick together
70's Fleetwood Mac-Rumours
70's John Barry-Themeology
70's Joy Division-Unknown Pleasures
70's Led Zeppelin-II
70's Linton Kwesi Johnson-Forces of Victory
70's Mike Oldfield-Tubular Bells
70's PiL-Metal Box
70's Pink Floyd-Wish you where here
70's Sex Pistols-Never mind the bollocks
70's Specials-The Specials
70's The Stranglers-IV Rattus Norvegicus
80's 23 Skidoo-Seven songs
80's A Certain Ratio-To Each
80's Adam & The Ants-Kings of the wild frontier
80's Au Pairs-Playing with a different sex
80's Baby Ford-Fordtrax
80's Basement 5-1965-1980
80's Cabaret Voltaire-2 x 45
80's Cabaret Voltaire-8 Crespuscule Tracks
80's Cabaret Voltaire-Red Mecca
80's Cabaret Voltaire-Three Mantras
80's Durutti Column-LC
80's Fad Gadget-Under the Flag
80's Gang of Four-Entertainment
80's General Strike-Danger in paradise
80's Glaxo Babies-Nine months to the disco
80's Human League-Reproduction
80's Human League-Travelogue
80's Joy Division-Closer
80's Mark Stewart & the Mafia-Learning to cope with cowardice
80's Medium Medium-The Glitterhouse
80's New Order-Movement
80's PiL-Flowers of Romance
80's Rip Rig + Panic-God
80's Rip Rig + Panic-I'm Cold
80's S'Express-Original Soundtrack
80's Siouxie & The Banshees-JuJu
80's Soul II Soul-Club Classics vol 1
80's Test Department-The unacceptable face of freedom
80's The Beat-I just can't stop it
80's The Clash-Sandinista
80's The Fall-Hex Enduction Hour
80's The The-Soul Mining
80's This Heat-Deceit
80's UB 40-Signing Off
90's (Formation Records)-Unified colours of drum & bass
90's (V Records)-V Classic Volume II
90's Basement Jaxx-Remedy
90's Black Dog Productions-Bytes
90's Dave Clarke -Archive One
90's DJ Hype pts true playaz-In the mix vol 1
90's Dope Dragon-Wayz of the dragon
90's Ed Case-Sound of the pirates II
90's Fatboy Slim-Better Living through chemistry
90's Full Cycle:-Music Box
90's Goldie-Ring of Saturn
90's Grooverider presents-Hardstep Selection vol 1
90's Hardleaders 4 Into the jungle-
90's Hardleaders 6 presents Jungle Dub II-
90's James Lavelle-Fabric Live
90's Kemistry & Storm-DJ Kicks
90's LTJ Bukem-Mixmag live! vol 21
90's Metalheadz-Metal Box
90's Metalheadz-Platinum Breaks
90's Ninja cuts: funkjazztical tricknology-
90's No U Turn-Torque
90's Orbital -In Sides
90's Ragga Twins-Reaggae owes me money
90's Soul II Soul-Vol 2 The nineties
90's The Prodigy-Experience
90's Tricky-Nearly God
90's Tricky-Pre Millenium Tension
90's UNKLE-Psyence Fiction
90's Zed Bias-Sound of the pirates
00's Dizzee Rascal-Boy in the corner
00's Oxide & Neutrino-Execute

40 albums from the continent

70's Can - Tago Mago
70's Ennio Morricone - Once upon a time in the west
70's Giorgio Moroder - From here to eternity
70's Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express
70's Kraftwerk - Die Mensch Maschine
70's Metal Urbain - Anarchy in paris
80's Abwarts - Der westen ist einsam
80's Allez Allez - African Queen
80's Andreas Dorau - Blumen und Narzissen
80's Arbeid Adelt - Jonge Helden
80's DAF - Alles ist gut
80's Der Plan - Normalette Surprise
80's Die Haut - Burnin the Ice
80's Einsturzende Neubauten - Halber Mensch
80's Einsturzende Neubauten - Kollaps
80's Fehlfarben - Monarchie und Alltag
80's Front 242 - Backcatalogue
80's Kiem - Keam
80's Kraftwerk - Komputerwelt
80's Laibach - Nova Akropola
80's Liaisons Dangereuses - Liaisons Dangereuses
80's Mekanik Kommando - Snake is queen
80's Minny Pops - Sparks in a dark room
80's Nasmak - 4 Our Clicks
80's Nexda - Nexda
80's Palais Schaumburg - Palais Schaumburg
80's Plus Instruments - Februari April 1981
80's Suspect - Above suspicion
80's TC Matic - L'apache
80's The Honeymoonkillers - Les Tuers de la lune miel
80's Urban Dance Squad - Mental Floss for the globe
80's Yello - Claro que si
90's Alec Empire - The Destroyer
90's Fierce Ruling Diva - Fierce Ruling Diva
90's Fucking Hardcore 4
90's Maurizio - M
90's MC Solaar - Qui sθme le vent rιcolte le tempo
90's Ruffneck - Da True Core
90's Soon E MC - Atout...point de vue
90's Tresor 1992 Klang der Famile

Posted by: sapstra at June 25, 2004 11:53 AM

yes it's painful that the Observer still has to indulge in the obvious for its lovingly prepared canon, enlisting the help of true knowledgables like Emma Bunton, but why we're enagaging with its feature I would also defend 'The Stone Roses'. Pure ecstasy wonder that album. It may only be backward trickery but the intro to Don't Stop mimics the e-rush, while even the references (Marr, S&G, Hendrix) are not exercises in mere nostalgia.

but yes anything from mate's tapes to faceless techno label compilations should qualify...

Posted by: murray at June 25, 2004 07:00 PM

Of course the Observer list was rubbish, but what would you expect with Danny Baker and Charles Shaar Murray ( a bloke who makes Ian Mc Shane look hip and probably has pictures of Mick Jones all over his Mac) on the judging panel. I can't be bothered to do 100 - I'm too pissed off that Sweden have been knocked out of Euro 2004 - but here's some ones I'd definitely stick on my 100 - assuming I wanted to do British music a favour, rather than disgrace myself at the next UN summit

COIL - Love's Secret Domain
BETTY BOO - Boomania
T REX - Electric Warrior
ADAM AND THE ANTS - Kings of the Wild Frontier
WHITEHOUSE - Thank Your Lucky Stars
POGUES - Red Roses for Me
MOTORHEAD - Orgasmatron
ADVERTS - Crossing the Red Sea With the Adverts
V/A - Raw Records Punk Collection
DJ SCUD - Ambush
V/A - Ministry of Sound- Back to the Old Skool Vol 1
CRASS - Best Before 1984 (SIDES 1 AND 2)
NURSE WITH WOUND - Merzbild Schwet
NURSE WITH WOUND - Soliloquy for Lilith
V/A - An Afflicted Man's Musica Box
BUZZCOCKS - Another Music in a Different Kitchen
HUGGY BEAR - Taking the Rough With the Smooch
GOLDFRAPP - Black Cherry
DAVID BOWIE - Scary Monsters
RUTS - Grin and Bear It
V/A - The Portable Altamont
V/A - Just Ragga 7

See, I've given up already :)

Posted by: Martin at June 27, 2004 02:08 AM

Nice list - y'see coming up with a 100 ain't that easy! Pogues I thought abt including (1st album) and perhaps shd have... Mel and Kim, loved the singles, never heard the elpee.. Whitehouse require further exploration... Bauhaus, no, yr being harsh...

Sapstra, great list too ... could and perhaps shd have included Nearly God, The Prodigy Experience is a major omission on my part, UB40 Signing Off is something I've been meaning to revisit for some time...

Posted by: mark k-p at June 29, 2004 12:32 AM

Strange lack of Ivor Cutler in all these lists. Whither Dandruff?

And if you can have compilations, how about the Messthetics series of collected postpunk/UK 78-82 singles from Hyped To Death? It might not be strictly permitted in the Observer to promote CDRs from the USA in a flag-waving celebration of Britpop but where else are you going to find the essential postpunk goodness of the Desperate Bicycles and those early Scritti Politti tracks?

Posted by: amblongus at June 30, 2004 03:00 PM

Oh...I agree with you on the Desperate Bicycles...but I almost feel like starting a blog JUST to slag off the Messthetics series

(PS- sorry, I forgot 'Germfree Adolescents' by X-Ray Spex)

Posted by: Martin at June 30, 2004 07:45 PM

Wot no Felt, Family, Badfinger, Incredible String Band, Buzzcocks, Who, Echo and Bunnymen...? Tho hats off for The Associates.

Posted by: simon b at August 4, 2004 01:55 PM

just got mesthetics cds - 3 & 8 - all brit DIY bands - desperate bycycles - dumm dum dum et al what happened to all these bands and why is it left to americans to collect and resurect these classics?


Posted by: alfie at August 5, 2004 01:41 PM

Yeah, Mark, and where's Zeppelin 4? HL's Dare? Sabbath's Master of Reality? Hawkwind's Space Ritual? CDGC's PawnHearts? London Possee?Monochrome Set? Orange Juice? Small Faces' Ogden's? I could go on.

OMD - purlease. Sylvian? Totally overrated.

Posted by: simonb at August 5, 2004 02:57 PM

Bauhaus? C'mon! Where's the Specials, man? X ray spex - good call, MArtin. And the adverts 'red sea'? I rate it highly. More crap in MArk's list - Eno - total pseud, tho Warm Jets is fun.

Posted by: simonb at August 6, 2004 11:27 AM

all a bit (post-?)gofik white boy, innit. as if all the best british music is from the 80's.

Posted by: intruda at September 9, 2004 02:01 AM