Mystery Album No. 1
No, Rob Thomas is not the only reason he's famous. If you think so, then you don't deserve to know about this album; it's too precious for your touch. Not that his recent work with pop artists is bad, but this classic '70s album is just far better. After performing at Woodstock (with 16-year-old drummer Mike Shrieve), this group produced album after album of Latin-influenced hard rock and blues, making them one of the best known groups from the decade. This vinyl record, released after their self-titled album, topped the charts at No. 1 and was re-released in 1998. Many of its classic tunes are also on their "best of" album.
Mystery Album No. 2
There is no other band name that will make you more nostalgic for Halloween antics or grunge rock. After battling a wicked case of writer's block, depression and inter-group dating, this Chicago-based band finally produced a top-10 album (a good thing, too, 'cause rumor has it the frontman was going to call it quits if it wasn't a hit). Unlike other bands of the day, this alt.rock group focused on more epic, melodic ballads rather then smash-and-grab anthems. My song of choice every time I revisit this prog-rock classic is named after my favorite sandwich spread. Yum.
Mystery Album No. 3
Overcoming the dreaded one-hit-wonder label, these British experimental rockers produced six albums in 10 years, the record in question being lucky No .4. The Oxford-learned crew fought hard against being undervalued in the music realm by constantly redesigning their sound, even though some coughed that Pink Floyd had done it before (and better) 20-some years earlier. This 2000 release isn't their most well-known, but beloved still by not only rock fans, but electronica fans, as well. I don't recommend it for late-night driving; it's just too soothing.
Sean Costanza at Blackbird Buvette
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