20. Go Tell Fire to the Mountain – WU LYF
I noticed a band with a ridiculous name appearing on music blogs and googled the name. Something like World Unite Lucifer Youth Federation came up and I navigated to their website. The page was cryptic and dark. I watched videos of what seemed like old stock footage under the impossible-to-decipher vocals and heavy drum beats. I downloaded the album, and the next day listened to it while picking strawberries in the rain. It was a Friday and I was cold and my fingers began to prune. Later I would drive to my girlfriend’s house 100 miles away.
19. An Empty Bliss Beyond This World – The Caretaker
After a fight with my girlfriend weeks earlier—I think, or later, or maybe just moments earlier (it’s hard to remember a summer anyway)—I found myself on Facebook deleting the majority of my friends. I needed something to listen to, as the process would end up taking two hours. I put on The Caretaker’s new album and thought I’d made a mistake. It was just sounds, old-seeming sounds, like the musical accompaniment to a 1930s black-and-white Looney Tunes, or Louis Armstrong’s “St. James Infirmary Blues.” Weeks later I listened to it again lying on the ground, and then with my girlfriend in bed, where we agreed we would purchase the record on vinyl the following summer once we got a lease and I moved my record player from my parents’ house to New York.
18. Leave Home – The Men
At some point in the summer I wanted to only listen to loud music. But this record came out before then. Recommended by a friend, it took me three tries to get through the first song, usually stopping the track on my iPod at work before even 90 seconds had passed. When I finally did break through that first song, I listened to the album a lot more, mostly driving, once in my girlfriend’s hometown, after we’d purchased Blizzards from Dairy Queen; I remember she asked who the band was and upon my reply, said, “I thought this was from the 80s.” We would lie in her basement and eat the ice cream until one of us, almost definitely me, started to fall asleep.