I have always been fascinated by what music musicians listen to when they aren’t creating their own music. What music inspires them, what albums do they return to again and again—their “desert island” discs. With this in mind I decided to ask some of my favorite New Jersey musicians to name their top 10 favorite albums of all time. Not the albums that they think are “important,” or that have influenced many other artists or ones of technical merit. I wanted to know their very favorite albums that they love just because the records mean the most to them.
New Brunswick indie band dollys is creating some of the most innovative and well-crafted pop music out there. Between last year’s brilliant first full length album Oh, Please through to the singles they released in its wake which were then collected on the 2016 compilation album Low Year, the amount of excellent songs the trio are putting out is pretty staggering. Drummer-Vocalist Natalie Newbold is a big part of the band’s success. In addition to being a great drummer she has an amazing voice well suited to the bright, harmony filled songs the band are know for.
You can check out dollys for yourself when they play the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival in Jersey City on Saturday September 10th.
Without further ado, Natalie’s list is below. Like all of our other participants she found the project not as easy as it may appear.
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Every time I listen to this record I discover some new melody or part that just completely blows my brain apart. There’s just so much to enjoy on Pet Sounds. You can sing along to every instrument, harmony or part. It’s so amazing.
The Beatles – Revolver
I think every Beatles’ record at some point in my life has been my favorite but I just keep coming back to Revolver. It’s like the golden standard for indie pop or something. I’ve gotten so many good ideas from listening to Ringo’s drum parts or Paul’s bass lines or the melodies.
Pixies – Doolittle
Since high school I go through phases of my life where I will only listen to this record for a couple weeks. It’s kind of freaky but there’s just something so special about Doolittle. It’s on the fringe of every genre with strange but thought provoking subject matter, howls, growls, riffs and amazingly catchy songs.
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
My ultimate lady, bad-ass, mega-hero made a masterpiece and I can’t get enough. Whenever I listen to this record I feel so inspired that I just want to drop what I’m doing and write.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
When I was a kid my mom would play Fleetwood Mac all the time and I didn’t really appreciate how awesome they are until recently. My mom gave me her records when I was in college and Rumors lived inside my turn table for months.
Elliott Smith – Either/Or
I don’t think there’s a record that means as much to me as Either/Or. Amazing songwriting and heartfelt, undisguised lyrics that have made such a powerful impact on me as an artist.
Weezer – Pinkerton
I had a tough time picking between this record and the Blue Album but I’m in a Pinkerton phase right now! I love putting it on really loud during long drives: shouting every lyric and singing all the crazy guitar solos.
Beck – Sea Change
This is my ultimate “hey I’m sad and just need to be sad for a bit” record. The arrangements and sounds on Sea Change are really inspiring. Beautiful lush string movements and interesting instrumentation create moments of a dark and brooding ambience only to be pushed out by clear acoustic guitar and voice. I also love the drum and percussion sounds!
Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
Jeff (Jeff Lane, dollys guitarist-vocalist) and I got tickets to see Stevie perform this entire record in Philadelphia last year and it was wonderful. Songs in the Key of Life feels like his masterpiece and is consistently impressive throughout. His musicianship is masterful but the songwriting always feels natural and is never alienating and I have no idea how he did that.
Nirvana – Nevermind
Oh, man. I had so many Nirvana shirts in middle school. After I heard this album all I wanted to do was to be in a band. I think I listened to it so much that by the time I was in college I couldn’t listen to it anymore. Now that I’m a teacher, I see just how much this record still inspires kids to pick up an instrument and start a band. It’s given me a whole new appreciation of the timelessness of Nevermind.
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
The Cardigans – First Band on the Moon
Paul McCartney and Wings – Band on the Run
Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Nick Drake – Pink Moon
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Radiohead – The Bends
The Clash – London Calling
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Have a Great Labor Day