Cave In-

Until Your Heart Stops

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of metal, and this album pretty much started me down that road. Released in 1999 on Hydrahead Records, this album was pivotal in creating what we now call "metalcore". Though, it was entirely un-sucky. Crushing breakdowns, judding, and weird space-rock hooks have made this album a mainstay in my collection. How many albums can you honestly say you listen to again and again even 10 years later? And no, The Beatles don't count.

Botch-

We Are The Romans

Every bit, if not more important than Cave In's landmark album,

We Are The Romans

was Botch's final release. Bred in the Boston hardcore scene with the likes of Converge, Botch brought math-metal into the public eye. Intricacy is the name of the game on this one as strange time signatures weave in and out of brutal guitars and intense, screaming vocals. While bands like The Dillenger Escape plan have a similar vibe, this album truly owns, nay, reinvented the genre. Give it a listen ASAP. Also on Hydrahead, this album was rereleased last year as a 2 disc set, featuring live and demo tracks.

The Rentals-

Return of The Rentals

After being fired from Weezer, bassist Matt Sharp formed The Rentals along with fellow Weezer alum Patrick Wilson, vocalist Petra Haden, and a slew of guest musicians from bands like Elastica and Blur, and even SNLs Maya Rudolph. Chances are you've heard thie hit single "Friends of P", but not much more. Moog, guitar, and violin come together in a wonderful blend of pop, synth, and nerd-core like rock to create one of the most subtly excellent albums of the 90s. Highlights include "Please Let That Be You" in which Sharp describes a lonely existence, and a desperation to reconnect with one he loves.

Quasi-

Featuring Birds

Released in 1998, Quasi's

Featuring Birds

was a two piece effort by Sam Coomes and Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss. The album transition from noise to pop bliss easily, and tells of a grim future. The opening track, "Our Happiness Is Guaranteed" paints a tongue-in-cheek picture of a futuristic underwater city overrun with human like robots, and having to get used to the stark reality of a post-apocalyptic existence. Depressing anthems such as "I Never Want To See You Again" are accessible to anyone with a beating heart, and its poppy sound will get you going.

That's all for now, kiddies. See you next time with more albums you should probably own.