Sunshine's Top 10 Favorite Debut Albums

If you listened to the latest episode of The Music Ark (located on Stitcher and iTunes) you would have heard the Blanchard Brothers at it again, regaling us with their list of their Top 10 Debut Albums. If you haven’t listened, please put a pause on reading this and check out The Music Ark podcast. What you would not have heard is my silky voice over your speakers because the Blanchard Brothers decided not to send me the invite. I chalk it up to their own selfishness and need to always have a microphone but I am not a petty person and I do forgive them, however it would be a missed opportunity to not give you even more examples of stellar 1st outings from some of my favorite bands. So below, without further ado, are my Top 10 Debut Albums!

10. Blue Scholars by Blue Scholars (2004)


Blue Scholars consists of DJ Jazbi and MC Geologic out of Seattle and they have been slaying the underground hip-hop scene since 2002. This home-grown hip-hop stays rooted in the youths of the two bandmates, consistently creating tunes depicting the blue collar world they come from with anthems of youth empowerment and a calling to fight against oppression and a world afraid to self-examine. Blue Scholars is the perfect encapsulation of all these beliefs and every lyrical line performed is packed with passionate, powerful poetry pleading for us to make a difference and it’s beautiful.

Favorite Tracks: “Bruise Brothers”; “Selfportrait”; “Sagaba”;

9. The Inevitable and I by HRVRD (2009)


Drop kicking their way out of the Charlotte music scene, HRVRD’s hyper-melodies and heavy riffs gave birth to a hypnotic sounds that ebbed and flowed through balanced instrumentations with some horns for flare. The Inevitable and I is strangely addicting. It subtly demands your attention as it softly lays an Anthony Green style of vocalization over strong musicality and talent. HRVRD released a solid follow up in 2013’s From The Bird’s Cage but quietly disbanded in 2014.

Favorite Tracks: “French Girls”; “An End Weight”; “Hand to Hesitate”

8. Gorilla Manor by Local Natives (2009)


LA indie-rockers hit the jackpot with this little diddy as it is downright emotive. It bounces from track to track, as Local Natives proves to have a propensity for nailing the details. They have precise harmonies and uplifting tracks with no fillers. It is 52 minutes and 40 seconds of pure joy.

Favorite Tracks: “Sun Hands”; “Who Knows Who Cares”; “Stranger Things”

7. I Am Hollywood by He Is Legend (2004)


Quick riffed and loaded with a solid balance of melodic vocals and bolstering screams, He Is Legend puts together a beautifully condensed record that hits you in the mouth in the best way possible. Strong breakdowns and the vocals of Schuylar Croom elevate this album to the top of the post-hardocre scene.

Favorite Tracks: “The Seduction”; “The Greatest Actor Alive or Dead”; “China White”

6. Are You Experienced by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)


Over and over, this record sets the bar musically for all other musicians. Hendrix was a brilliant arranger and his guitar riffs are ever changing and chaotically structured. However, one cannot overlook the drum stylings of Mitch Mitchell who easily falls on the list of greatest Rock N Roll drummers of all time.

Favorite Tracks: “Manic Depression”; “The Wind Cries Mary”; “Fire”

5. Illmatic by Nas (1994)


A groundbreaking, game changer to the Hip-Hop scene in 1994. It defined the times as other artist copied the album structure and sample styles. Most likely the greatest use of hip-hop/jazz fusion, Illmatic was a street symphony of the life and times of every boy who grew up in the projects and gives people the opportunity to understand a world they might not know. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, with an ounce of hope.

Favorite Tracks: “N.Y. State of Mind”; “The World is Yours”; “One Time 4 Your Mind”

4. Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose by Against Me! (2002)


Fast, Loud, and Powerful, Reinventing Axl Rose is guaranteed to not sound like anything else in your collection. Simple riffs and song structure backed by the powerful yells of a teenage anarchist brings a passion and energy to this album that is hard to replicate. Throw in the use of crowd chants and you have a punk-rock sing-along that is worthy of multiple plays.

Favorite Tracks: “Pints of Guinness Make You Stronger”; “We Laugh At Danger and Break All the Rules”; “Baby, I’m an Anarchist!”

3. Mutual Friends by Boy (2011)


A soft and charming outing from this Swiss-German duo. Every song is indie-pop perfection with as these two girls push catchy tunes with subtle harmonies that lighten the mood and steal your heart.

Favorite Tracks: “Little Numbers”; “Railway”; “Skin”

2. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not by Arctic Monkeys (2006)


It’s gritty in its presentation but you will always find yourself bobbing your head while listening to the distortion and unique vocals of Alex Turner. The album has surprisingly strong songwriting and only seems to get better with every listen. At it’s core, it is fun, exciting, and the perfect anthem for any partying youth. It also is the fastest selling debut album in the UK ever so, that means something right?

Favorite Tracks: “Dancing Shoes”; “Riot Van”; “From the Ritz To The Rubble”

1. Parachutes by Coldplay (2000)


This album is a perfect example for the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts. Each track compliments the one before it as they compile together to create a beautiful ode to missed opportunity and lost love. Martin’s vocals are haunting while perfectly blending with the rest of the quartet. This album is perfect.

Parachutes (Domestic Only)
By Coldplay

Favorite Tracks: “Shiver”; “Spies”; “We Never Change”

That's all for now, stay tuned for my Top 10 Favorite Sophomore Albums and the latest Music Ark podcast where The Blanchard Brothers will reveal their lists as well. 

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