By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photo by Jeanne Rice>Frank Black, Dog In the Sand. A momentous record for Frank, in which he finally comes to terms not only with his own past but also with Kim Deal. I mean, let's be honest—he was supposed to write "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
>George Fryer, Decaf. This record really caught me off-guard the first time I heard it. "Complete," "full" and "finished" come to mind. Recorded at his home studio with George doing all of the instruments, I couldn't help but love this record and the band that he put together to profess his admiration for Babs.
>Alice in Chains, Live. Captured at the height of their highs and the lowest of their "highs." This disc showcases one of the greatest rock vocalists I've ever had the privilege to see live. One can only imagine what could've been if Nancy Reagan had just said, "yes!"
>Bob Mould, The Last Dog and Pony Show. Being from the Midwest originally, I can't overstate the influence of Hüsker Dü and Bob Mould on my wanting to play music—for all the right reasons. The team of Grant Hart and Bob Mould gave Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson of the Replacements a run for their money. God bless Minneapolis!
>Lefty, 4, 3, 2, 1really captures the heart and soul of punk ideals and commercial sensibilities on this, their major-label debut. Saying that a band's live show actually sounds like the record is a testament to four guys who love what they do. It's kind of like they're saying, "Come on in. . . . We will bite, but you will like it!"—a feat that's as rare as an Iowa vacation.
>X, anything and everything. Having just seen them recently with the original lineup shows me that people will do just about anything for money. John Doe and Billy Zoom are two positives who will never acknowledge that the other's "negatives" helped carry them to the top. Can't they all just get along?
>Beatles, 1. I've been waiting for this to come out for some time now. It's almost sacrilegious to have all this on one plate, don't you think? And what's for dessert? All the 2's and 3's?
>The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds. Here's a little secret, people—Carl Wilson had the best voice in the Beach Boys. "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations" (tracked during the Pet sessions) turned Carl from mere mortal into something to be worshiped daily while receiving communion. Amen!