Run-D.M.C., "Raising Hell"
I'm sure I've told the story before, but Raising Hell was the first album I remember buying for myself. I heard "Peter Piper" on the radio while we were driving to Pullman, WA, and I was entranced. I didn't know exactly what that was, but I memorized the name of the act, and later found the cassette tape and bought it for myself. There was a certain excitement in buying a record with a bad word in the title, as well as just the unknown of not really knowing what to expect from it. I loved it, of course, and I still listen to this album to this day. While I didn't become a music hound right away, this was my first step down that path, and will always hold a special place for me.
The Flaming Lips, "The Castle"
Around the time of The Terror, the Lips spent a lot of time fuckin' around, with album-length covers, various nonsense limited releases, collaborations with everybody on the planet, and just a whole cavalcade of stuff, very little of which is more than a novelty. It took until 2017's Oczy Mlody for them to make another "proper" album, although I'm sure they'd vigorously disagree with that characterization. It's a late-model Lips record, so it's kinda spacey, it's contemplative, it's sorta pschyedelic, and it's pleasant. Not their best work, but it's nice enough.
U.S. Maple, "Make Your Bedroom Great"
Fuck yeah. U.S. Maple always sound like they're playing three different songs at the same time, a disorienting effect made more disorienting by Al Johnson's bizarre whispered affect and Mark Shippy's dedication to tuning idiosyncracies. U.S. Maple were totally original, and thoroughly fascinating. I always have time for bands that sound like nobody else, and U.S. Maple fits that extremely well. Hard to pick a favorite album from them, but maybe this one, Acre Thrills?
The Chemical Brothers, "It Doesn't Matter"
I've mentioned it before, and I'm mentioning it again: it's both strange and very cool that Dig Your Own Hole became a hit record.
Basehead, "Not Over You"
During the grunge explosion, when the slacker aesthetic was suddenly the subject of (frequently clueless) trend pieces, Basehead had a brief moment in the sun as "slacker rap". I guess there weren't really other comparisons for this version of laid-back music, so that's what we got stuck with. It's not a bad record, and listening to it now, you can certainly see how it ended up with that label. There was no associated movement, though, and people largely moved on pretty fast.