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Jun 14, 2013

Welcome to Ranked, our recurring series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all of their official studio albums from most essential to least essential. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Dan Lucas ranks Radiohead. And then at the end several of our other writers provide their own ranking of Radiohead’s albums.

Apr 17, 2013

Welcome to Ranked, our series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all their official studio albums from best to worst. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Austin Trunick ranks Orange Juice.

Aside from launching Edwyn Collins’ career, Glasgow’s Orange Juice left behind a lovelorn and defiantly catchy discography that largely went under-heard until recent years. As good as their albums were, they had a habit of falling out of print for long stretches of time.

Luckily, Domino Records is reissuing the band’s four studio releases on vinyl in the U.S. for Record Store Day. Hopefully your local shop will institute some semblance of law and order on April 20th, but if not, which Orange Juice album should you dive for first in the tangle of dirty, grabbing hands? Feel free to use our rankings as your guide.

Here are Orange Juice’s major releases, ranked from most essential to least.

Words by Austin Trunick

Apr 10, 2013

Welcome to Ranked, our recurring series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all their official studio albums from best to worst. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Michele Yamamoto ranks Bright Eyes.

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst began his career a teenage wunderkind in Omaha, Nebraska with strong ties to the burgeoning music scene and the band’s signature record label, Saddle Creek. Oberst popped up here and there as a solo artist, with a backing band, with a different backing band, playing in a friend’s band. As such, it’s difficult to trace every contribution made by Oberst, but undoubtedly he is best-known for his work as Bright Eyes, which is essentially Oberst with a rotating lineup of musicians that eventually formed a solid core with Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott.

From wunderkind to the next Dylan to something completely different, Bright Eyes has purportedly concluded its run with 2011’s The People’s Key (the last of eight original albums, all on Omaha’s Saddle Creek). And while it’s ideal to hear the progression through the years chronologically, here are Bright Eyes’ major original releases ranked from most essential to least.

[Omitted but Noteworthy: A Christmas Album (2002), Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005) (2006), and truthfully, all of the EPs released]

Words by Michele Yamamoto

Mar 27, 2013

It always begins the same way. Every January, drunk on the musical riches of the previous 12 months, we find ourselves convinced that no year could match its predecessor. Then—little by little—we discover we’re wrong. Here at Under the Radar we could argue that 2012 was an even better year for music than 2011 was, which is why we expanded our Top 80 best albums list from last year to a Top 100 best albums released in 2012.

Each of Under the Radar‘s writers submitted a list of their Top 35 favorite albums of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 100 albums of 2012 below. Included, when available, are Rdio streams for each album.

This list will also appear in Under the Radar‘s forthcoming Best of 2012 Issue and several of the artists on this list are interviewed in that issue.

Jan 03, 2013

Under the Radar‘s Hip-Hop Editor, Matt Fink (who also writes many of our feature articles), has put together a list of his Top 10 hip-hop albums released in 2012. We are regarding Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange more as an R&B album, rather than a hip-hop one, otherwise it would be #1 on this list.

Dec 31, 2012

The modern golden age of television continued in 2012. The best of television in 2012 once again showed off the possibilities of the format, in which plots and characters can be developed over the course of the many hours of a whole season (rather than the two to three hours that most theatrical movies offer). 2012’s television landscape took in myriad subjects—from zombie apocalypses to 1920s prohibition, from local political campaigns to international terrorist plots and CIA double agents, from the surreal shenanigans at a community college to the behind the scenes drama of a cable newscast. And then there was once again Doctor Who, whose main character can travel anywhere in time and space!

Louis C.K. had a most memorable date with Parker Posey and a most confounding talk show mentor in David Lynch. Parenthood movingly tackled both cancer and veterans, perhaps slowly changing its status as one of network TV’s more underappreciated dramas. The final seasons of 30 Rock and Fringe began, each show seemingly bowing out gracefully and on their own terms (the latter taking place 24 years after its previous season). And we were introduced to Lena Dunham and her very current (and also incredibly funny) worldview with Girls.

Each of Under the Radar‘s writers submitted a list of their Top 20 favorite television shows of 2012 and those lists were combined and calculated to form our master Top 50 TV Shows of 2012 list. Any show that broadcast new episodes in America sometime in 2012 was illegible. This list also appears in our Best of 2012 print issue.

The #1 show on our 2011 list was Community. If the start of its fourth season hadn’t been pushed back to 2013, then perhaps it would’ve taken the top spot again. Those third season episodes that did air in 2012, however, were good enough to land it at #2.

For a show to make this list it had to be picked by at least three different Under the Radar writers. Some shows that almost made the list, but didn’t have quite enough votes, include Nashville, Falling Skies, Revenge, Person of Interest, Revolution, The New Normal, Elementary, Sons of Anarchy, Merlin, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, True Blood, Episodes, Shameless, and others.

Curb Your Enthusiasm was on 2011’s list, but didn’t air new episodes in 2012 and so wasn’t eligible. Shows on our 2011 list that were eligible this year, but didn’t make the 2012 cut, include Treme, Blue Bloods, Being Human (U.K. version), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy, 2 Broke Girls, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Raising Hope. Taking their places are such new 2012 shows as Girls, The Newsroom, Arrow, Hunted, Ben and Kate, Go On, The Mindy Project, and Smash.

NBC is the most represented broadcast network on this list, followed by a tie between ABC and FOX. HBO leads in terms of cable networks, followed by a tie between AMC and FX.

Did we get it right? Which shows should be on this list and which ones shouldn’t?

Dec 21, 2012

Each of our writers submitted their personal best albums of 2012 list for when we calculated Under the Radar’s master Top 100 Albums of 2012 list. Here are John Norris’ Top 45 albums of 2012.

Dec 20, 2012

Each of our writers submitted their personal best albums of 2012 list for when we calculated Under the Radar’s master Top 100 Albums of 2012 list. Here are Austin Trunick’s Top 15 albums of 2012.

Instead of focusing on the releases on my list that earned (well-deserved) near-universal acclaim, I’ll write about the few that landed near the top of my ballot but didn’t seem to catch on so widely.

- Sophia Knapp’s breezy debut album easily spent the most time on my turntable out of any record this year, and I still keep coming back for its smooth, disco-era Stevie Nicks feel.

- I probably would have gone much higher with Chad Valley’s LP if I hadn’t already been so enamored with his vocal work on Jonquil’s early-2012 album, Point of Go; it’s probably my most feel-good album of the year.

- I don’t know how they could live up to the intensity of their live shows on record, but Light Asylum’s first full-length is a great collection of aggressive, industrial-influenced dance music.

- Foxygen’s EP was all over the place and fun; they have an album coming out soon that improves on their brand of bonkers.

- Junk Culture’s debut went too under-heard; his punch-drunk rhythms and woozy synth work made for another great debut record in 2012.

- The Darcys had me at “full Steely Dan cover album.”

There are several great albums that, for some reason or another, I just couldn’t get into on early listens—Grimes comes to mind, in particular—but have really grown on me. There always seems to be a record or two that I don’t start obsessing over until I’m already a year late. By Austin Trunick

Sep 13, 2012

Welcome to Ranked, our regular series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all their official studio albums from best to worst. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Dan Lucas ranks Wilco.

Since rising from the ashes of alt-country staples Uncle Tupelo, Chicago’s Wilco have emerged from their former incarnation’s shadow to become one of the most critically-adored bands of the past two decades. In between becoming game changers in the music industry and winning legions of fans over to the Americana genre, they’ve developed their sound and recorded some of the most gorgeous music never to make the radio.

Here are Wilco’s major releases, ranked from most essential to least.

Words by Dan Lucas

Sep 06, 2012

Welcome to Ranked, our regular series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all of their official studio albums from best to worst. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Austin Trunick ranks The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Riding seemingly out of nowhere on a wave of harsh fuzz and candy-sweet hooks, Scottish brothers William and Jim Reid—leaders of The Jesus and Mary Chain—would inspire dozens of other acts to turn up the gain dials on their amplifiers with the release of their 1985 debut, Psychocandy. Though the band’s sound and lineup would change many times until their breakup 14 years later, the handful of classic albums they put out in that time was amongst some of the most influential indie records of the era.

Here are The Jesus and Mary Chain’s major releases, ranked from most essential to least.

Words by Austin Trunick

Jul 09, 2012

Welcome to Ranked, our new series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all their official studio albums from best to worst. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Austin Trunick ranks Belle & Sebastian.

Over the course of 17 years, Belle & Sebastian have gone from precious and endearing to frustratingly scattered, before reinventing themselves with a more grandiose sound somewhat far removed from their bedroom-pop beginnings. What began as a collective of musicians tightly shrouded in mystery has spun into a much larger musical identity. The whole time they’ve been mainstays in the realm of indie music, with their first few albums serving almost as a rite of passage for fans who enjoy the gentler side of the spectrum.

Here are Belle & Sebastian’s major releases, ranked from most essential to least.

Words by Austin Trunick

May 30, 2012

Welcome to Ranked, our new series in which one of our writers takes an artist’s catalogue and ranks all their official studio albums from best to worst. The order is decided by the individual writer, rather than our editors. If you disagree with our ranking then please let us know in the comments section. This time Austin Trunick ranks Beck.

Like a latter-age David Bowie, Beck Hansen has built a long, successful music career largely because he’s (rarely) recorded the same album more than once. A genre chameleon capable of swapping hats multiple times on a single record, half the thrill of being a Beck fan is in the surprises he’ll throw our way with each track he releases.

With a new Beck album rumored to be just over the horizon, it’s anyone’s guess at this point just what direction he’ll choose to take it. We’ve ranked Beck’s 10 major studio releases below, from most essential to least, with an explanation of our placement following each entry.

[Note: We’re skipping over long-unavailable records such as Golden Feelings or A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight, and unreleased (yet leaked) tapes such as Banjo Story, Fresh Meat + Old Slabs, Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape, and Beck, Like the Beer, as well as any of the Beck.com exclusive material. Perhaps a guide to Beck rarities is called for in the future?]

Words by Austin Trunick

Feb 08, 2012

It may have been a difficult year for many people for a multitude of reasons (not least of all, the weak economy), but 2011 was certainly a great year for music. Here at Under the Radar we’d argue that it was an even better year for music than 2010 was, which is why this year we’ve come up with a Top 40 best debut albums of 2011, versus last year’s Top 30.

Each of Under the Radar‘s writers submitted a list of their Top 20 favorite debut albums of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 40 debuts of 2011 below.

Dec 22, 2011

Each of Under the Radar‘s writers submitted a list of their Top 20 favorite TV shows of 2011. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 50 TV shows of 2011. The list will also appear in Under the Radar‘s forthcoming Best of 2011 Issue.

Favorites from last year’s list, Mad Men and Eastbound & Down didn’t show new episodes in 2011—thus were ineligible in this year’s vote. However, favorites Modern Family, 30 Rock, and Community hung on—joined by such newcomers as American Horror Story, Game of Thrones, New Girl, and Suburgatory. Basically, any show that aired new episodes in America sometime in 2011 was eligible. Check out our final rankings below.

Dec 21, 2011

It may have been a difficult year for many people for a multitude of reasons (not least of all, the weak economy), but 2011 was certainly a great year for music. Here at Under the Radar we’d argue that it was an even better year for music than 2010 was, which is why this year we’ve come up with a Top 80 best albums of 2011, versus last year’s Top 50.

Each of Under the Radar‘s writers submitted a list of their Top 30 favorite albums of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 80 albums of 2011 below.

This list will also appear in Under the Radar‘s forthcoming Best of 2011 Issue and 36 of the artists on this list are interviewed in that issue. Stay tuned for more info on the issue.

Feb 03, 2011

Under the Radar‘s writers re-listened to many of 2010’s notable tracks, debated, and then each submitted a list of their top 30 tracks of 2010. A shorter version of this list appears in our Year-End/Best of 2010 Issue, but below we’ve expanded it to include our top 100 favorite songs.

Jan 28, 2011

Under the Radar‘s Best of 2010 Issue, which is on stands now, features our picks for the Top 50 TV shows of 2010, meaning any show that broadcast new episodes sometime from January to December 2010. Here we present an expanded list, one that includes our thoughts on each of the shows in our Top 15.

Jan 14, 2011

Under the Radar‘s writers played many of 2010’s notable games, debated, and then each submitted a list of their Top 10 games of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 20 games of 2010 below.

This list also appears in our Year-End/Best of 2010 Issue, which is on stands now (until late-January 2011). That issue also features interviews with many of the artists on our Top 50, including Sufjan Stevens (who’s on the cover), Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Avi Buffalo, Beach House, The Black Keys, Caribou, Club 8, Delphic, Rose Elinor Dougall, Gayngs, Lost in the Trees, Janelle Monáe, of Montreal, Owen Pallett, Plants and Animals, Mark Ronson, Sleigh Bells, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Van Etten, and Yeasayer.

Jan 05, 2011

Under the Radar‘s writers re-listened to many of 2010’s notable debut albums, debated, and then each submitted a list of their top 20 debuts albums of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 30 debut albums of 2010. Check out the list below.

This list also appears in our Year-End/Best of 2010 Issue, which is on stands now (until late-January 2011). That issue also features interviews with many of the artists on our Top 50, including Sufjan Stevens (who’s on the cover), Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Avi Buffalo, Beach House, The Black Keys, Caribou, Club 8, Delphic, Rose Elinor Dougall, Gayngs, Lost in the Trees, Janelle Monáe, of Montreal, Owen Pallett, Plants and Animals, Mark Ronson, Sleigh Bells, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Van Etten, and Yeasayer.

Dec 20, 2010

Under the Radar‘s writers re-listened to many of 2010’s notable albums, debated, and then each submitted a list of their Top 20 albums of the year. Those lists were all combined and tallied up to form Under the Radar‘s master Top 50 albums of 2010 below.

This list also appears in our Year-End/Best of 2010 Issue, which is on stands now (until late-January 2011). That issue also features interviews with many of the artists on our Top 50, including Sufjan Stevens (who’s on the cover), Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Avi Buffalo, Beach House, The Black Keys, Caribou, Club 8, Delphic, Rose Elinor Dougall, Gayngs, Lost in the Trees, Janelle Monáe, of Montreal, Owen Pallett, Plants and Animals, Mark Ronson, Sleigh Bells, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Van Etten, and Yeasayer.

Dec 14, 2009

These are the best albums put out between 2000 - 2009

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