The Pixies, Complete ‘B’ Sides (2001)
This is a great compilation, which includes the first Pixies song I ever heard, ‘Wave of Mutilation’ (UK Surf). Top tracks for me are ‘Into the White‘ (oh my god, those drums at the beginning before Kim Deal starts intoning “And there ain’t no light”), and this fantastically ominous cover of Neil Young’s ‘I’ve been waiting for you‘.
Tindersticks, Curtains (1997)
I probably never would have come across this band, but my college housemate, who was into them, used to put songs on mixtapes for us. They have since established a place in my music collection with their lush, romantic, and slightly seedy dirges. Top track, ‘Rented Rooms’.
REM, Murmur (1983)
Still sounds amazing (and incomprehensible). Top track ‘Talk about the Passion’
Otis Redding, The Definitive Collection
A sunny evening compilation. Top track has to be ‘(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay’ because it is perfection.
Simon & Garfunkel, The Definitive (1992)
Simon and Garfunkel are one of the bands that made up the soundtrack to my childhood. They were probably one of the first bands to get me thinking about music. I remember asking my Dad how they got their voices to sound like that. Top track, ‘The Sound of Silence’.
Kristin Hersh, Crooked (2010)
I think Kristin Hersh’s recent solo work has been some of her best. This album is amazing, full of anger and grief, but also incredibly life-affirming. Top track, ‘Flooding‘ (live version).
Tanya Donelly, Lovesongs for Underdogs (1997)
Sometime in 1998 I went into HMV and decided to buy some CDs from their three for a tenner range. I’d heard a few tracks from Tanya Donelly’s previous band, Belly, and decided to give her solo album a try. This is still one of my favourite 90s albums. My top track is probably ‘Mysteries of the Unexplained’, but I can’t find a video for that one, so here’s Pretty Deep
Joan Armatrading, Joan Armatrading (1976)
This is another album that I break out when the sun appears. I associate it with warm summer evenings back in my twenties , drinking beer at lesbian barbecues. And it never fails to cheer me up. Top track: ‘Love and Affection’
Bjork, Debut (1993)
I must have been about sixteen when this came out. I remember seeing her performing on youth culture show ‘The Word’ and being blown away. I had fairly limited ideas about music and Bjork was one of the artists who broke open my appreciation of what it could be, as well as what female artists could do. Top track: Play Dead.