1990s

Red House Painters – Down Colorful Hill

Style: Slowcore, Singer/Songwriter

Moods: Depressive, Existential Late Night Bus Rides, Autumnal, Lethargic, Introspective, Moody, Alienation, Sad, Misanthropic, Sombre, Melancholic, Poetic, Pessimistic, Breakup, Sentimental, Lonely

Musical Qualities: Slow, Sparse, Atmospheric

Sun City Girls – Torch of the Mystics

Style: Free Psych, Experimental Rock, Surf, Arabic Folk

Vibe: Desert, Mystical, Manic, Ritualistic, Tribal, Surreal, Eccentric, Playful, Psychedelic, Spiritual, Eclectic, Raw

Musical Qualities: Riffs, Dissonant, Fuzzy, Dynamic, Improvisation

Dirty Three – Ocean Songs

Style: Chamber Rock, Slowcore, Post-Rock

Vibe: Aquatic, Melancholy, Flowing, Patient, Soothing, Meditative, Longing, Lonely, Dreamy, Mellow, Lethargic

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Loose, Soft, Instrumental, Loops, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Violin, Drums, Electric Guitar, Loops, Melodica, Piano, Harmonica

Six Organs of Admittance – Dust & Chimes

Style: Psych Folk, American Primitive Guitar, Ritual-Folk

Vibe: Forest, Ritualistic, Seeking, Mystical, Witchy, Nocturnal, Adventure

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Droney, Fingerstyle, Loose, Percussive, Modal, Raga

Outkast – ATLiens

Style: Southern Rap, Psychedelic Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul

Vibe: Futuristic, Spacey, Philosophical, Surreal, Urban, Cerebral, Confident, Conscious, Storytelling, Determined, Conceptual

Musical Qualities: Technical, Progressive, Lyrical, Sampling, Group Vocals, Rhythmic

Tortoise & The Ex – In the Fishtank 5

Style: Experimental Rock, Noise Rock

Vibe: Angsty, Hypnotic, Muscular, Deconstructed, Anxious, Aggressive, Surreal, Moody

Musical Qualities: Noisy, Dissonant, Repetitive, Rhythmic, Improvisation, Spoken Word

Flying Saucer Attack – Chorus

Style: Bedroom Psych, Drone, Noise Pop, Shoegaze, Space Folk

Vibe: Nocturnal, Murky, Dreamy, Introspective, Hazy, Hypnotic, Intimate, Washy, Ritualistic

Musical Qualities: Feedback, Drone, Atmospheric, Noisey, Lo-Fi

Smog – Red Apple Falls

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Slowcore, Alt-Country, Loner Folk

Vibe: Existential, Warm, Morning, Spiritual, Deadpan, Peaceful, Poetic, Introspective, Lonely, Melancholy, Mellow, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Slow, Lo-fi, Lush, Soft, Sparse, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Pedal Steel, Piano, Hammond Organ, Guitar, Trumpet, Drums, Drum Machine, Hurdy Gurdy, French Horn

Richard Youngs – Sapphie

Style: Lo-Fi Songwriter, Loner Folk, Slowcore

Vibe: Intimate, Sad, Ethereal, Hypnotic, Heartfelt, Stream of Consciousness, Introspective, Longing, Depressive, Lonely, Melancholy, Loss

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Acoustic, Lo-Fi, Minimalistic, Raw, Repetitive

Squarepusher – Feed Me Weird Things

Style: Drill & Bass, Future Jazz, IDM

Vibe: Mechanical, Winter, Energetic, Urban, Nocturnal, Chaotic, Cold, Anxious, Futuristic, Mysterious, Surreal

Musical Qualities: Rhythmic, Instrumental, Technical, Complex, Sampling, Fast

Instrumentation: Drum Machines, Fretless Bass, Electric Bass, Sampler, Synthesizers, Keyboards

Portishead – Roseland NYC Live

Style: Trip-Hop

Vibe: Noir, Brooding, Sensual, Passionate, Melancholy, Angsty, Sombre, Mysterious, Cinematic, Anxious, Sad, Dark

Musical Qualities: Orchestral, Live, Lush, Dense, Rhythmic, Sampling

Maleem Mahmoud Ghania with Pharoah Sanders – The Trance of Seven Colors

Style: Gnawa, Spiritual Jazz

Vibe: Ceremonial, Hypnotic, Communal, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Uplifting, Serpentine, Warm, Desert, Tribal

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Acoustic, Repetitive, Chants, Improvisation, Microtonal

Instrumentation: Guimbri, Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Group Vocals, Clapping

Sam Prekop – Sam Prekop

Featuring Jim O’Rourke, Josh Abrams, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor, John McEntire, Julie Pomerleau, & Archer Prewitt

Style: Chamber Pop, Jazz Pop, Lounge Music

Influences: Bossa Nova, Math Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Gentle, Breezy, Intricate, Summer, Intertwined, Mellow, Bright, Smooth

Musical Qualities: Lush, Soft, Polished, Melodic

Aphex Twin – …I Care Because You Do

Style: Braindance / IDM, Acid Techno

Vibe: Anxious, Ominous, Romantic, Aggressive, Playful, Bittersweet, Surreal, Mechanical

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Melodic, Instrumental, Noisy, Repetitive

Instrumentation: Drum Machine, Synthesizers, Organ, Sampling, Drums, Percussion

Bardo Pond – Amanita

Style: Psych, Shoegaze, Free Rock

Vibe: Cathartic, Searching, Cryptic, Heartfelt, Warm, Hypnotic, Sensual, Meandering, Nocturnal, Lethargic, Introspective

Musical Attributes: Collective Improvisation, Dense, Washy, Riffs, Lo-fi, Loose

Leslie Winer – When I Hit You You’ll Feel It

Style: Trip-Hop, Dub Poetry, Post-Industrial

Vibe: Brooding, Surreal, Mechanical, Feminist, Surreal, Evocative, Muscular, Dreamy, Witchy, Aggressive, Urban, Storytelling, Conversational

Musical Qualities: Spoken Word, Loops, Beats, Dub

Ghost – Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet

Style: Psychedelic / Chamber Folk

Vibe: Pastoral, Spiritual, Sentimental, Haunting, Medieval, Spring, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Progressive, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Cello, Flutes (Kaval, Recorder), Hurdy Gurdy, Drums, Piano, Tanpura, Analogue Synthesizers, Electric Guitar, Tympani, Vibes

Pullman – Turnstyles & Junkpiles

LP, Thrill Jockey, 1998 Reissue (2015) Style: Chamber Folk Vibe: Pastoral, Peaceful, Warm, Focused, Morning, Intertwined Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Technical, Melodic Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitars, Acoustic Bass, Classical Guitar, Irish Bazouki, and Dobro

Yo La Tengo – Electr-O-Pura

Style: Noise Pop, Shoegaze, Indie Rock

Vibe: Autumnal, Nocturnal, Intimate, Heartfelt, Bittersweet, Eclectic, Sentimental, Romantic, Raw, Reflective

Musical Qualities: Loose, Melodic, Noisy, Driving, Jammy, Vocal Harmonies

Mark Hollis – Mark Hollis

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Ambient Chamber Jazz, Post-Rock

Vibe: Peaceful, Intimate, Introspective, Spiritual, Reflective, Meditative, Melancholy, Mellow, Sentimental, Ethereal, Autumnal

Musical Qualities: Soft, Sparse, Acoustic, Atmospheric


Instrumentation: Voice, Bassoon, Clarinet, Piano, Upright Bass, Flute, Trumpet, Guitar

Laika – Silver Apples of the Moon

Style: Trip-Hop, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock

Vibe: Busy, Chaotic, Nocturnal, Psychedelic, Energetic

Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Polyrhythmic, Studio-as-an-instrument, Dense, Sampling, Percussive

Gastr Del Sol – Camofleur

Style: Post-Rock, Avant-Rock, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Cryptic, Warm, Cerebral, Spring, Exploratory, Eclectic, Melancholy

Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Progressive Structures, Melodic

Robert Wyatt – Shleep

Style: Surreal Pop, Imaginative Singer/Songwriter, Prog-Pop, Canterbury Scene

Vibe: Dreamy, Ethereal, Airy, Floating, Surreal, Eclectic, Introspective, Complex, Mellow, Imaginative, Atmospheric

Musical Attributes: Progressive, Melodic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Active listening, Jazz-Influenced

David Grubbs – The Coxcomb [Review]

Style: Primitivist Theater, Avant-Folk Minimalism, Drone

Vibe: Pastoral, Alienation, Hypnotic, Abstract

Musical Attributes: Sparse, Theatrical, Repetitive, Minimalist, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Voices, Organ, Cello, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Saxophone

Ghost – Lama Rabi Rabi

Style: Progressive Folk-Rock, Psych-Folk, Raga Rock

Vibe: Mysterious, Earthy, Eclectic, Epic, Exploratory, Psychedelic, Ritualistic, Tribal

Musical Attributes: Progressive, Dynamic, Acoustic, Complex

Gastr Del Sol – 20 Songs Less

Style: Avant-Folk, Experimental, Math-Rock

Vibe: Sporadic, Chaotic, Abstract, Agular, Cerebral

Musical Attributes: Noisy, Glitchy, Collage, Complex, Electro-acoustic, Instrumental, Studio-as-an-instrument

Cat Power – Moon Pix

Style: Slowcore-Country, Singer-Songwriter

Vibe: Brooding, Hypnotic, Conversational, Reflective, Intimate, Lethargic, Confident, Moody, Overcast

Musical Attributes: Slow, Repetitive, Focused

Slint – Spiderland

Style: Post-Rock, Math Rock, Post-Hardcore, Slowcore

Vibe: Angsty, Angular, Cold, Heavy, Impressionistic, Suspenseful

Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Existential, Poetic, Storytelling

Musical Attributes: Dynamic, Slow, Dissonant, Raw, Repetitive

Tricky – Maxinquaye

Style: Trip-Hop, U.K. Hip-Hop
Vibe: Dark, Nocturnal, Sexual, Surreal, Eclectic, Introspective, Love
Musical Attributes: Sampling, Beats, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Lyrical

Jim O’Rourke – Halfway to a Threeway

Style: Chamber Folk–Pop, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Warm, Lush, Deadpan, Uplifting, Soothing, Humorous, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Melodic, Polished

Unkle – Psyence Fiction

Style: Trip-Hop

Vibe: Moody, Urban, Dystopian, Eclectic, Nocturnal, Dark, Melancholy, Groovy 

Musical Attributes: Sampling, Dynamic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Polished

Mos Def – Black on Both Sides

Style: East Coast Hip-Hop, Boom Bap, Jazz Rap

Vibe: Conscious, Uplifting, Groovy, Confident, Urban

Lyrics/Themes: Philosophical, Political, Black Pride, Racism, Spiritual, Islam

Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Sampling, Beats, Turntables, Live Instrumentation (Rhodes, Electric Bass)

Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Age Pop

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, French Pop, Lounge

Vibe: Spacey, Lush, Retro-Futuristic, Catchy, Groovy, Motorik, Nocturnal, Uplifting

Musical Attributes: Melodic, Headphone Album, Odd Time Signatures, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Lyrical

Lyrics: Philosophical, Political, Communist, Bi-Lingual (English and French)

Instrumentation: Synthesizers, Vibraphone, Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Brass, Strings, Keys (Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Wurlitzer)

Portishead – Portishead

Style: Trip-Hop

Vibe: Noir, Nocturnal, Sad, Dark, Witchy, Sinister, Depressive, Angsty, Anxious, Sombre, Introspective

Instrumentation: Vocals, Turntables, Sampling, Guitar, Keyboards, Synth, Drums

Amon Tobin – Permutation

Style: IDM, Trip-Hop, Electro-Jazz, Drum n’ Bass

Vibe: Nocturnal, Surreal, Futuristic, Energetic, Mechanical, Ominous, Urban

Musical Attributes: Sampling, Complex, Rhythmic, Repetitive

Slowdive – Pygmalion

Originally released in 1995 on Creation Records 2012 Music On Vinyl reissue Format: LP

Bark Psychosis – Hex

Originally Released in 1994 on Circa Records 2017 Fire Records reissue Format: LPx2, 45 RPM

Trans Am – Trans Am

Originally released in 1996 on Thrill Jockey Records 2017 Reissue on clear vinyl Format:: LP

Fly Pan Am – Fly Pan Am

Style: Experimental Rock, Post-Rock
Influences: Kosmische Musik, Minimalism
Vibe: Minimalistic, Exploratory, Spacey, Raw, Noisy, Abstract
Musical Attributes: Instrumental, Repetitive, Analogue Recording

Tortoise – Tortoise

Originally released in 1994 on Thrill Jockey Records 2016 reissue Recorded November 29 thru December 5, 1993

David Grubbs – The Thicket

On experimental musician David Grubb’s first dedicated songwriter outing, he synthesizes technical bluegrass banjo and fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing with imaginative arrangements, abrupt stylistic shifts, philosophical questioning lyrics, improvisation, and drones. Featured musicians include drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), bassist Josh Abrams (Natural Information Society), and drone violinist Tony Conrad.

Brokeback – Field Recordings from the Cook County Water Table

Doug McComb’s first album as Brokeback is imbued with pastoral Impressionism, experimentalism, and a sense of Zen contentment. The record is mostly centered around his Bass VI, a short-scale bass with six strings that is trebly enough to function in both guitar and bass roles. This versatile instrument is usually wet with chorus and reverb that sculpt a fluid, aquatic tone to complement the slow, tranquil melodies. Outside of some solo pieces Doug is joined by a variety of accompaniment including lap steel guitar, synth, upright bass, Rhodes, vocals from Mary Hansen, and light percussion provided by producer/Tortoise bandmate John McEntire. This is a record that can be appreciated from a passive impressionistic standpoint, as well as under the microscopic attention of an engaged ear. (Follow link for full review)

Recommended for fans of Tortoise or Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western soundtracks

Dirty Three – Horse Stories

The third album from the Melbourne (Au) violin/guitar/drum trio consists of loose, drifting instrumentals that conjure images of vast, open plains. Though the music here is often melancholic and lethargic, it is occasionally swept up with bursts of passionate energy and possessed by cathartic longing (especially the pleading and utterly beautiful violin solo on “Warren’s Lament”). All three instrumentalists have very individual styles that complement and dialogue with each other in refreshingly unique ways.

Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP

“Side A is cut at 45rpm and features “Moya”, a broiling cascade of upward scales that repeatedly explodes beyond its own threshold. “BBF3” on Side B clocks in at 18 minutes, and was the band’s most lyrical, multi-movement music to date — more elaborated melodic figures wind around an angry spoken-word field recording (infamously culminating in the recital of the speaker’s poem — verses lifted straight from Iron Maiden)”

Palace Brothers – Palace Brothers

Style: Singer/Songwriter
Subgenres: Slowcore, Country, Folk
Vibe: Depressive, Intimate, Lonely, Sad, Introspective, Raw, Loner
Musical Attributes: Lo-fi, Sparse, Raw, Simple

Do Make Say Think – Do Make Say Think

Album Information: This album was self-released on CD in 1997 This pressing was released by Constellation Records in 2013 Format: 2xLP, 180g, Includes die-cut sleeve with 4 alternative cover inserts

Slowdive – Soulvaki

Album Information: Originally released in 1993 on Creation Records This pressing was manufactured in 2011 by Music on Vinyl for Sony Music

Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup

Album Information: Originally released in 1996 on Duophonic Records This pressing was released in 2013 on 1972 Records Produced by John McEntire & the Groop Recorded in London and Chicago Format: LPx2

Jim O’Rourke – Bad Timing

An introspective, instrumental journey of pastoral fingerstyle guitar, occasionally joined by piano, synth and horn arrangements