It's past midnight, you're home alone, drink in hand. Maybe you just got back, or maybe you've been there all night. I think you know what time it is...
  1. Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle, by Bill Callahan (Side A only)
    Smoggy Bill's preeminent breakup record, side A delivers the sad bastard goods. The first three tracks are the best. Side B lets some air into the room, but that's not what you're here for.
  2. The Air Force, by Xiu Xiu
    Easily my favorite Xiu Xiu record, it's their least histrionic and most tender. The first half is more low key, peaking with the one-two punch of Smiths-referencing "PJ in the Streets" and the quietly harrowing "Bishop, CA." The back half gets slightly more hysterical, reaching fever pitch with the frenzied "Save Me Save Me" and "The Fox & the Rabbit" before closing with the beautiful, elegiac "The Wig Master". It stretches the Mope O'Clock vibe to its limit, but in the best possible way.
  3. The Covers Record, by Cat Power
    Chan Marshall is probably my favorite singer, and her idiosyncratic collection of covers is gorgeous and devastating in the way so much of her best original material is. Moon Pix is almost as good a choice, but the Covers Record's sequence of "Sweedeedee", "In This Hole", "I Found A Reason", and "Wild is the Wind" is undeniable.
  4. On the Beach, by Neil Young
    This stone cold classic also stretches the limits of Mope O'Clock, at least on side A. The second half is immaculate and always just what the mope doctor ordered, however, especially the title track. You could listen to side B on repeat for hours and have just as rewarding a wallow as you could cycling through the other entries presented here.
  5. Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill, by Grouper
    Liz Harris's magnum opus, marrying her distinct mixture of reverb, delay, and ghostly vocal harmonies to a more pronounced pop sensibility than she'd previously displayed. "Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping" is the obvious monster highlight, but "Stuck", "Fishing Bird", and "We've Gone to Sleep" are almost as exemplary, and the record as a whole is a seamless listening experience, with nary an echo out of place.
  6. Either/Or, by Elliott Smith
    Striking the perfect balance between his bare bones beginnings and the expanded hifi arrangements to come, Either/Or features Smith's sharpest and most consistent songwriting. The opening salvo is invincible, with tracks 1-4 "Speed Trials", "Alameda", "Ballad of Big Nothing", and "Between the Bars" all arguably serving as career highlights. "Rose Parade" and, good god, "Angeles" stand out on the second side, and "2:45 am" is defiantly bleak enough to counterbalance the upswing of "Say Yes".
  7. Blood on the Tracks, by Bob Dylan
    I don't know what I could possibly say about this record that hasn't been said a billion times already. It's a total cliché, but for good reason. I listened to "Simple Twist of Fate" A LOT in college.