Day 82: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music

Indie rock, indie folk, art folk - even folktronica is a term that has been coined to describe the music of modern rock artist Bon Iver.

But his 2017 album 22 A Million, which is Chuck's Album of the Day, also is very experimental and has been occasionally tagged as art pop or art rock by reviewers.

Ironically, Kendall's Album of the Day - The Velvet Underground and Nico - is one of art rock's seminal albums. Released in 1967 with initial sales of roughly 30,000 units, the record grew in stature through the following decade and is now hailed as one of the greatest albums in the history of rock and roll. In response to the album's influence despite its meager sales figures, Brian Eno famously stated that "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

Eno himself was a member of one of the bands that was influenced by The Velvet Underground. He played synthesizer for Roxy Music and was on hand for the band's 1972 eponymous debut. That album - Roxy Music - is your bonus pick of the day.

- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb


Bon Iver

22, A Million (2017)

Why I Love It

Releasing an album full of strikingly original music is not an easy task in this day and age. After all, pretty much everything that can be done has already been done a hundred times over. But Justin Vernon created something as original as it is beautiful with this amazing album that ignores all boundaries while tapping into some real creativity. Experimenting with numerous instruments and sounds throughout the record, Bon Iver brings depth and character to the music like few artists I have ever heard even attempt to do. Even the song titles look different, incorporating symbols with words and numbers. The first time I heard the energy and mood of this album, it immediately grabbed my attention. Nearly four years later, it still has its hooks firmly into me. I can't listen to some of it without hearing all of it. All of the songs flow perfectly into the next to create a cohesive work of art. It's one of my favorite albums released in the last 20 years.

Album Highlights

"33 "GOD," "29 Strafford APTS" and "___45___"

Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day

Well, my apologies to Chuck. He's been singing the praises of this album ever since it was released, but I didn't really zero in on it until I sat down to write this review. And I have to say, it's one of the better albums I've heard in the world of pop music in quite some time. It's an album that defies easy categorization - just like my pick from 1967 below. And you'll hear distance echoes of The Velvet Underground and other art-rock underpinnings reverberating through the music of Bon Iver on this album. Definitely a pick that's worth your time.


The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)

Why I Love It

This is another album I discovered during my Austin years when I was a student at The University of Texas.

Thanks in no small part to the influence of my pal Chuck here, who's been counting these down with me, I was in a full exploration of popular music history by the time I got to Austin. This album was one of my favorite discoveries.

For 25 years or so, it's been a late-night companion carrying me down the road, or playing on the night stand while I stared at the ceiling in the dark mesmerized by the lyrics and the sounds. It was also the album that introduced me to the unique talents of Nico, another artist I featured earlier in this countdown. Andy Warhol was right - especially when it came to his promotion of The Velvet Underground.

Album Highlights

"Sunday Morning," "I'm Waiting For The Man" and "Femme Fatale"

Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day

I was oblivious to the greatness of the Velvet Underground for way too long in my life. But once I finally got around to exploring the band's music, I knew I was listening to groundbreaking greatness. Like other stalwart albums of the 1960s, this one was not a commercial success when it was released, but it has since been recognized as an all-time great record. I agree with that assessment 100%. "Sunday Morning" is as great of a way to start an album as you'll hear.

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