Music Features

Top 100 Debut Albums (Artist Picks)

This is the final part of our Top 100 Debut Albums series of feature. To read the other installments, follow the links below. It's been a genuine pleasure to publish these articles and it's comforting to see that the debate is still raging on. Please feel free to get involved in the Disqus section and tell us all about your favourite debuts.

[Honourable Mentions] [100 to 81] [80 to 61] [60 to 41] [40 to 21] [20 to 1]

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My first full time job after leaving education was working in my local independent record shop, which was near enough to home for me to skate to, so life was good. My hometown wasn’t rife with good music lovers though, so we existed on selling top 40 releases (I know too many Shania Twain songs for my own good) and we had a few shelves of the good stuff that would fuel my days at work. Every year we would go to the Brighton record fair where i would be given a wad of cash to buy cheap stock for the shop. Completely ignoring what would sell, I was all arms and elbows, digging in crates for old power violence hardcore 7"s and lo-fi LPs. One record had 'NEW-EX RFTC' on the top corner and was an amazing black and white ink drawn cover. Asking the owner of the box I found out that the Hot Snakes Automatic Midnight debut LP I held in my hand was the new band of Rick and Speedo from Drive Like Jehu/Pitchfork, but was not out for another week. I didn't offer to hand the record back, I merely handed over the cash and clutched onto the little gem until I got home.

Getting home, I dropped the record on the player and was hit by possibly the most immediate punch of an opening track. It slayed from start to finish and still kills me every time I hear it. This album is a perfect 10/10 in terms of unstoppable down-stroke guitar lines, pummeling drums and eerie organ lines. It was totally inspiring and upsetting in equal measures as they had raised the bar in my eyes, of how good a record could be. There are no skip tracks on this record, so pick it up (the vinyl version is awesome, obvs) and get ready to be blown away.

There are other records that get more spins and have been more influential but I can safely say this record will always have a place in my top 5 albums. Get it!



Weezer. That record changed my life. Also, Strokes, Girls, Tame Impala, Felt, and Sean Lennon.



Camper Van Beethoven’s Telephone Free Landslide Victory is an unforgettable debut album from one of my favourite bands. It’s like Surfer Gypsy Punk Americana 80’s California. Ambiguity Song, Where the Hell is Bill?, Take The Skinheads BowlingOh No!, Wasted.  Every song is awesome and the lyrics are cool, mixed in with some rad instrumentals. This is how I wish every band could be, but that’s not possible.



Gorilla by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band is the debut album that left most of an impression on my teenage mind. Some may call them a novelty act, but I’ve always seen them as a punk band, with Vivian Stanshall as an even more venomous Johnny Rotten. Like The Mothers of Invention, they took the piss out of Sixties culture in a unique and absurdist way. Songs like I’m Bored, Jazz, Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold and The Sound Of Music must have been so refreshing to hear. I love the deliberate ineptitude, sound effects and different styles of music. It’s so packed with ideas that it still sounds as fresh to me as when I first heard it over fifteen years ago. My favourite songs are Jollity Farm and Look Out There’s A Monster Coming, with the insightful lyric “To cut down my weight, off comes my left leg.”



For me it was a close one, even though Placebo's S/T debut album showed me a lot about thinking outside the box in terms of 'Rock' music and showed a completely different aesthetic to the current norm, I’d have to go with Earth VS The Wildhearts as my ultimate debut album. Essentially what was recorded as a set of demos with the intention of further re-recording, the band's label went and released the results... and you cannot blame them. The BEST rock debut - still holds it's own in terms of energy, inventiveness, hooks - it has it all.



So I was walking through the centre of Leeds one day in the summer of 2003 when the gentle swells of Son et Lumiere appeared on my headphones and in my ears for the first time (someone had spiked my CD player!). I was mildly intrigued. Suddenly all hell broke loose. Crashing drums, rinsing guitars and bizarre falsetto vocals announced the arrival of The Mars Volta’s De-Loused in the Comatorium and for the next 70 minutes (and 9 years) I was fully hooked into prog heaven. What a motherfucking triumphant indulgent orgasm of a rock record! 

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No Ripcord would like to thank Ben Winbolt-Lewis, Nita Keeler, and all of the artists above for their help with this feature.