We at LxL are men for all seasons, and winter is no exception. As three people grown up and still suffering through the Midwestern cold, we get the meaning of winter. So we know you need a little musical help to get you through the harsh cold. Here are our top ten albums of winter. Enjoy.
10. The xx – The xx
The xx makes the list for a second week in a row, but for a completely different reason. Their sparse but effective debut certainly hints toward the grey days of winter that all but run completely together.
9. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
I may be more a fan of Fleet Foxes sophomore effort, but their self-titled debut showed that they’re take on the folk music of the American Northwest was second to none. Throw this disc on while road-tripping from Spokane, WA to Eugene, OR during the brisk days of early winter.
8. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
Lyrically more bleak than a winter with no end, but also the most “dancey” of NIN albums, Pretty Hate Machine was the beginning of something great. Word of caution: PHM is not necessarily the album to lift you out of your winter doldrums.
7. The Knife – Silent Shout
Silent Shout is not for the musically unadventurous, just as taking on a black diamond is not for the athletically unadventurous. Plug into some Knife and hit the slopes after a fresh powder for the perfect winter day.
6. Sigur Ros – ( )
No band is more wintery than Icelandic icons Sigur Ros, so it was just a matter of which album separated itself. LxL felt that ( ) was a notch above the rest.
5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
The folklore of Justin Vernon sequestering himself in a cabin to record this album is well-known, but the longing for something past or future speaks to how many feel about fall or spring during the long winter months.
4. Beck – Sea Change
An album taking inspiration from a failed relationship certainly needed to make list of winter albums, as things die during winter. Luckily for us, Beck’s pain is our gain.
3. The Antlers – Hospice
Not many albums are more bleak than Hospice. From the haunting opening track “Kettering”, to the desperate vocals of “Sylvia”, Hospice delivers a dark but extremely mature debut.
2. Sufjan Stevens – Greetings From Michigan
Sufjan is able to lyrically cover myriad locations, landmarks, and other significant facts about Michigan, a state known for its harsh winters. All of this is somehow done in a musically cohesive package, helping Greetings rise to number two on our list.
1. Radiohead – Kid A
Kid A is not the only Radiohead album that had a shot at this list, and is a band whose music has always skewed more toward winter arena rock than summer festival mainstay. On what is probably their most popular album Radiohead reaches shattering highs and devastating lows, much like the unpredictable Indiana winter of 2011-2012.
Wes: Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends
Simon and Garfunkel always manage to do so much what appears to be so little; like acoustic guitars and beautiful harmonies. Much like how a hibernating bear makes it through an entire winter with one large meal.
Todd: Edgar Winter – They Only Come Out At Night
Todd’s new infatuation with the L.A. glam scene has led him to a love of Edgar Winter. You can catch Todd jamming to “Frankenstein” dressed in only pair a painted-on acid washes, nipple clamps, and a bleach-blond wig most weekend nights on the streets of West Hollywood.
Austin: GZA – Liquid Swords
One of the top 3 post-Wutang-Clan member’s albums, GZA delivers with the precision of a cold-blooded assassin to RZA’s typically crisp production. Listen to this album while sculpting blocks of ice with a samurai sword.
Editor’s Note: This originally published in 2012.