The 10 Best Winter Albums

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Wes as a wee cub

 

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.

the xx, album, cover, art

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.

fleet foxes, album, cover, art

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.

nin, nine inch nails, pretty hate machine, album, cover, art

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.

knife, silent shout, album, cover, art

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.

sigur rose, parentheses, album, cover, art, ()

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.

bon iver, for emma forever ago, album, cover, art

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.

beck, sea change, album, cover, art

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.

antlers, hospice, album, cover, art

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.

sufjan stevens, greetings from michigan, album, cover, art

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.

radiohead, kid a, album, cover, art

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.

Just Missed

simon, garfunkel, bookends, album, cover, art

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.

edgar winter, only come out at night, album, cover, art

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.

gza, genius, liquid swords, album, cover, art

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.

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