The Six Best Shitty-Sounding Records

Categories: Nitpick Six

4. The Strokes, Is This It?

No single element of Is This It? is particularly pleasing. The vocals are distorted, the guitars are trashy, the bass is thin and the drums sound as though they were recorded in a cardboard box factory (perhaps that is what Drew Barrymore's bedroom sounds like). These instruments may not pop on their own, but all these disparate elements blend together into something that, OK, it still doesn't sound very good. The sound quality of Is This It? can be seen as a wink to its antagonistic title. With all the buzz around the Strokes in the band's infancy, there is something great about putting on the record and thinking, "Is this really it?"

3. The Mountain Goats, All Hail West Texas

When discussing shitty-sounding records, the term "lo-fi" is the buzzword at the tip of the tongue. Lo-fi albums by the Microphones and Emperor X and Death Cab For Cutie (seriously, how good is We Have The Facts still?) did not make this list because they do not actually sound shitty. All Hail West Texas by the Mountain Goats does. The record was recorded on a Sony Walkman, it was the last Mountain goats album not done in a studio and it happens to contain some of the greatest songs John Darnielle has written. It is not the shittiest-sounding record in the Mountain Goats' discography, and many would argue it is not his best, but it is his best shitty-sounding record.

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