In the December issue of Blender, the magazine’s editors have compiled what they see as the “The 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever,” opening with this little graph:

Mumbled lyrics, couldn’t-care-less strumming, white dudes in sweaters–what’s not to love about indie rock? Born 25-odd years ago in suburban garages and spread via college radio, it has made distortion into something hummable, boredom into something thrilling and aimlessness into a raison d’être–and these days, thanks to blogs and the fine people at Grey’s Anatomy, it’s more popular than ever.

Grey’s Anatomy and blogs? Cute. Let’s take a look at 100-50 here and then round it up post-jump. There are a lot of classic albums on this thing … and a lot that aren’t.

100 The Shaggs – Philosophy Of The World
99 Dream Syndicate – The Days Of Wine And Roses
98 Palace Music – Viva Last Blues
97 The Mekons – Rock ’N’ Roll
96 TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
95 The Dismemberment Plan – Emergency & I
94 Half Japanese – Greatest Hits
93 Big Black – Atomizer
92 Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
91 The Chills – Kaleidoscope World
90 Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
89 Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll
88 Daniel Johnston – Yip/Jump Music
87 Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
86 Flipper – Album – Generic Flipper
85 The Clean – Anthology
84 Beat Happening – You Turn Me On
83 The Misfits – Walk Among Us
82 The Embarrassment – Heyday 1979-83
81 The Vaselines – The Way Of The Vaselines
80 Feist – The Reminder
79 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
78 The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
77 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
76 Le Tigre – Le Tigre
75 Galaxie 500 – Today
74 The Fall – 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong
73 Meat Puppets – Up On The Sun
72 The Mountain Goats – We Shall All Be Healed
71 Stereolab – Refried Ectoplasm
70 Mudhoney – Superfruzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles
69 Nick Drake – Pink Moon
68 Descendents – Milo Goes To College
67 Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising
66 Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
65 Various Artists – No New York
64 Cat Power – The Greatest
63 Nirvana – Bleach
62 The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
61 LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
60 Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
59 Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
58 Built To Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
57 Bikini Kill – Pussy Whipped
56 Archers Of Loaf – Icky Mettle
55 Bad Brains – Bad Brains
54 Unrest – Imperial F.F.R.R.
53 Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
52 Bright Eyes – Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
51 Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
50 Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous

49 Spoon – Kill The Moonlight
48 Mission Of Burma – Vs.
47 Green Day – Kerplunk
46 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
45 Fugazi – Repeater
44 Various Artists – Wanna Buy A Bridge?
43 Black Flag – Damaged
42 Brian Eno – Another Green World
41 Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
40 New Order – Power Corruption & Lies
39 Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
38 The Strokes – Is This It
37 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
36 Elliott Smith – Either/Or
35 Liz Phair – Exile In Guyville
34 Superchunk – On The Mouth
33 The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
32 Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
31 Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand
30 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
29 Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
28 The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
27 M.I.A. – Arular
26 Belle And Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
25 Sebadoh – III
24 The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
23 Yo La Tengo – Painful
22 Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II
21 The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers
20 The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday
19 Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
18 Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
17 The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
16 Slint – Spiderland
15 X – Wild Gift
14 De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising
13 Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade
12 Dinosaur Jr – You’re Living All Over Me
11 Minutemen – Double Nickels On The Dime
10 The Smiths – The Smiths
09 Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers
08 My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
07 The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
06 Arcade Fire – Funeral
05 Pixies – Surfer Rosa
04 R.E.M. – Murmur
03 The Replacements – Let It Be
02 Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
01 Pavement – Slanted And Enchanted

Nice to see Sebadoh’s III so high, but while we’re talking numbers, how can they say indie rock started “25-odd years ago in suburban garages” and include The Velvet Underground? No bother – it’s a great record. Also by the numbers: Bands with two albums on the list: 4 (Pavement, Hüsker Dü; Meat Puppets); Hip-hop albums: 1 (De La Soul); 2007 albums: 2 (Feist, Animal Collective). They obviously took care to highlight only early indie releases from some of the major-bound superstars (e.g., Bleach, White Blood Cells) … so why so much Interscope? OK, what else did Blender get right and/or wrong? We’ll start: Where’s Jesus Lizard?

Comments (277)
  1. Greg  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0


  2. yeah, Gish. but illinois over michigan?

  3. internet gangsta  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0


  4. Jonny B  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Bee Thousand is so lo-fi it doesn’t even get italics.

  5. @ Jonny B

    Yeah, something like that

  6. ZipZapZopZoup  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    No “You Forgot It In People”?

  7. wordupagain  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 -1

    funeral is WAY TOO HIGH

  8. Chris Mackey  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    List of bands that should have NEVER made it on to this list (ie. will NEVER be “classic”):
    1) Art Brut
    2) Young Marble Giants
    3) Green Day
    4) Rilo Kiley (especially More Adventurous)

    Bands/albums that SHOULD have been on this list:
    1) The Cure – Pornography
    2) The Decemberists – Castaways and Cutouts
    3) My Morning Jacket – Z (or It Still Moves)
    4) Wilco – Being There

  9. milokiley  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Love seeing Milo Goes to College at #68…love that CD

  10. blender-is-awesome  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    never has the Shit-List tag been more appropriately used.

  11. Hartwell  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Ummm…Jesus Lizard is and always will be terrible. So, I am hoping they are in the trash where all crappy trash belongs. Next, I can’t comment on a list like this because, number 1, it is a Blender magazine list and therefore, stands for and means nothing. To anyone. And B, every time a list like this comes out, buttholes from all over spend way to much of their butthole energy writing in to say, “Hey, where’s one of my favorite albums?” No Michigan or You Forgot it in People? How could the brilliant editors at Blender get it wrong? Blender, the end-all, be-all music magazine for our time. So, please, don’t write a comment here asking where is this or that band or lamenting an inclusion you don’t agree with. It is a list made by a group of crappy magazine editors. Let it go.

  12. Bender-is-awesome  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Hey. Do I preach at you when you’re lying stoned in the gutter?

  13. andy  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I try so hard not to backlash against the arcade fire — funeral is a really good record — but it’s impossible not to want to take them down a peg when people insist on putting them higher on lists than bands like Husker Du and the Velvet Underground. I mean, c’mon!! They’re good — maybe even a defining band of the last few years — but, even if they have the potential, they haven’t had time to get THAT good. Can’t help but wonder if its just there to off-set the age of the other records in the top 20.

  14. zik  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    OK, if you’re going to include Velvet fucking Underground and then put them UNDER Funeral, your life privileges should be revoked.

  15. pearl  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    @ andy
    i agree
    i love arcade fire but really, they are ranked too high here.

  16. Jonathan  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    well i suppose if Grey’s Anatomy is a reliable source for “indie rock”, then this list is great. but in the real world, this list sucks.

  17. My Quick Thoughts.

    90 Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
    Why this? Why not Feels?

    89 Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll

    80 Feist – The Reminder

    79 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    Good, but shouldn’t be on this list this high.

    77 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
    A great loss of credibility with this choice.

    64 Cat Power – The Greatest
    Maybe. But a little high.

    52 Bright Eyes – Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
    Very high in the grand scheme of things, should be farther back

    51 Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
    Very high.

    50 Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous
    Not even their classic material. It’d be one thing if this was Take Offs and Landings, but they chose the wrong album!

    46 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
    April Fools?

    38 The Strokes – Is This It
    Way too high. Maybe in the 80s or 90s, but not in the 30s

    33 The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
    Seriously? At 33?

    30 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    Should be way higher.

    27 M.I.A. – Arular
    Way too high, but still on this list

    06 Arcade Fire – Funeral
    Should be considerably farther down the list.

    This list is very recent. It’s not really based on “Greatest of All Time”, but rather a list of “Best of what you may have heard from a limited panel of judges”, which probably means it’s just a slow month at Blender.

  18. No Soft Bulletin? No Spaceman 3? No Pulp? Broken Social Scene? But they were sure to include Wolf Parade?!
    What a bunch of clowns.
    Shit list indeed.

  19. Clete  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Hartwell got it right on the nose. Except for what he said about The Jesus Lizard. He had his head up his ass one that one…


  20. lou buttler  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    “arcade fire sucks, moan, bitch, bitch, cry, emo, moan. I hate my liberal arts classes so much. Why isn’t any band now as cool as the velvet underground. I hate lists, but I loved misshapes.

  21. only one elliott smith album?

  22. sussbomb  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0


  23. alex  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    It’s funny – the only choice they got absolutely right was #1. But why on earth is Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain almost forty spots below it? And Funeral at #6?! Bee Thousand should be much higher. Execution of All Things should be the only Rilo Kiley album on here and it should be much further down. How many of these are actually indie recordings in the true sense of the word? FRANZ FERDINAND ahead of Beat Happening, Daniel Johnston, The Vaselines, Built to Spill (aka the real pioneers)…you’ve simply got to be kidding me.

  24. Jughed  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    It’s a pretty comprehensive list, but it’s nothing that they couldn’t have just copied from an “Encyolpedia of Rock” manual. I wouldn’t take anything Blender publishes about music too seriously, however. Their last cover had a “Pussycat Doll” on the cover.

  25. First of all Blender is a horrible magazine with questionable taste. But- I like this list? I have enjoyed all most all of these records and the ones that I haven’t heard (Half Japanese, The Clean) I plan on investigating. I even “get” the 1 hip-hop choice.

    You can quibble over the rankings, but if this list has people explore these records – i’m all for it.

  26. Chauncey  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    define “indie-rock”. are albums only on independent records eligible? blender sux

  27. i didn’t know indie-rock was turning 25, how did i miss that birthday party?

  28. andy  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I don’t think the arcade fire suck — and I’ve been out of college for quite awhile. I just think it’s bizarre to see a record that influenced so many of the records on this list below a fun, interesting record that may or may not even stand the test of time — let alone change the musical landscape. It’s not just the velvs, what the hell are the Smiths doing under arcade fire?

  29. Is this a joke? This is a joke, right?

  30. thatguy  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I, for one, cannot BELIEVE no one has bashed The Hold Steady at #20. You bitches are always so damn divided about that band!

  31. Steve  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    People who make their own lists on this page deserve a punch in the nose. Knock that shit off.

  32. John  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    The albums on here are all valid except for a few (Franz, Brut, Le Tigre) but the order is seriously fucked.

  33. chase  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I agree that too much energy is spent on silly lists like this. I’m more interested in the attitudes that went into compiling a list, if any did. Were there descriptions or reactions to albums? Anything journalistic at all?
    If not it sounds like they methodically read through a few resources like allmusicguide, metacritic, pitchfork, and compiled the list without actually being familiar with very much of this music. I don’t see any other way Viva Last Blues, The Velvet Underground, M.I.A., and De La Soul should ever be on a single all-time list.

    What goes through the minds of a person who knowingly includes two pavement albums vs. one VU album (and how do they pick that one over the first LP or White Light…?)
    The answer is simple and doesn’t deserve debate; there aren’t minds like this. If it seems too frustrating and surreal to be real,well, it probably is. A machine built list for people who don’t know any better, and for their part, don’t really care to, and that’s fine.
    But for every kids that picks up this issue of Blender for the soft-core promise of its cover and hardly even notices lists like these, there’s gotta be a few who stumble across Will Oldham or The Shaggs and never look back.

  34. Michael  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Hold Steady’s “Separation Sunday” at #20? HAHAHA! And that’s over the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “The Aeroplane Flies High”, Mission of Burma “Vs.” and Fugazi’s “Repeater.”

  35. Listerine  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    lists blow.

  36. Jens  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Where’s the Moon and Antarctica???

  37. Maybe it’s just ’cause I’ve got them on the brain (happened to blog about them today), but… hullo, Drive Like Jehu? Can’t deny that band.

    Also, I have no quibble with Arcade Fire’s placement. The further away we get from that record, the more important it’s going to feel. I mean it.

  38. SuperUnison  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    My theory is that five guys sat down at Blender, each wrote down 20 “indie” CDs and then put them in this order. One of the guys has read “Our Band Could Be Your Life.” One of them hasn’t heard anything from 2007 other than “In Rainbows.” One is “over” Rolling Stone, but still reads it cover to cover. Hence, this post-Braffian clusterfuck.

  39. bbak  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Neutral Milk Hotel at 32?! That should be a top-20 shoe-in.

  40. so indie rock started 25 years ago, yet the 13th Floor Elevators are indie rock?

  41. oh.,  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I propose that comments #1 and #3 correctly summarized this post, and I would like to echo them again:



  42. Greydon Clark  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Love or hate them, The Jesus Lizard should be on this list and any other. People have been blatantly copying aspects of their sound for years.

  43. I’m putting the gun in my mouth…

  44. I just looked to see that they got #1 right. Yep. Moving on…

  45. Cody  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I really want to bitch about this list, but they gave the modern lovers some pretty high praise, and that makes me happy. I’m gonna go listen to jonathan richman for the rest of the day.

  46. KT  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    1. NMH should be much much higher. no effing question.

    2. re: Chris Mackey, Young Marble Giants are already classic. certified.

    that is all.

  47. dummy  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    I obviously don’t know what ‘indie’ means.

    I mean, isn’t it ironic that they have such obviously mainstream bands like Nirvana and REM on the list (albeit, for those two, only their ‘early’ records) yet nothing from The Clash, nothing from U2, nothing from the Cure? I can certainly recall a time when none of those bands would’ve been what you’d consider mainstream. (And the Cure–ever?) Seems like a big, big double-standard here.

    On the other hand, it was pretty neat to see X on the list (even if they don’t belong without the Ramones, Blondie, etc). I love me some X.

  48. flecton big sky  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    where are:
    The Grifters
    The Replacements

  49. Boy  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    Blender stepping all over hipster turf. Watch the hipsters flare up.

  50. bort  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 0

    i haven’t read all the comments but I would say a huge mistake is having Arcade Fire at #6. That is beyond ridiculous.

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