Nick Drake - Bryter Latyer
XTC - Black Sea
The Velvet Underground & Nico - s/t
Aerosmith - Rocks
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Cocteau Twins - Treasure
Tool - Ænima
I realize you're not an idiot and probably know, being on a music forum, that the self-titled VU album is the one with the couch rather than the one with the banana but I've included both. The last two tracks kill the banana album and the couch album has my favorite VU song in "What Goes On", and it's in fact without a shit sing, and I have fond memories because I picked it up from a street vendor's on a high-school trip to Toulouse, although I sold it ages ago.
I don't really like Animal Collective and tried Pavilion first. It was in the "entry-level hipster garbage" Family Circus cartoon, and it's named after a local concert venue so it seemed the ideal place to start. It's okay and it grew on me but it's not my favorite of the (few) Collective albums I know.
Ænima is the first and last Tool album I've heard. Wanted to like it when I was a big prog-, and Crimson, fan, but it's boring shit. Bought Opiate from Tower, the second new vinyl record I bought, and bleh. I'd rather read the comments on the Mark Prindle page, although "Hooker With a Penis" is a guilty favorite.
Tried the Cocteau Twins when I was branching out from the Stone Roses and Primal Scream and stuff like that and never managed to like it.
Is there a better-loved Babbler band than XTC? I've struggled to get into them but Black Sea is terrific, though there's something of a drop-off on the second side.
Aerosmith's '70s albums are perfectly acceptable and Rocks is one of the best. It's solid and beats a lot of '70s rockers, but not spectacular. It's there if I need it. It was one of the first thrift-store LPs that I bought in high school so there's the added nostalgia factor.
I love how completely different Nick Drake's three albums were in a brief career. I think nowadays I'd prefer Five Leaves Left but in college I dug the hell out of Layter, every hint of roughness and testosterone polished out of it, and it sounded like Belle & Sebastian. I still like the feel of it, the cover, the melodies, the songs.