Dizzee Rascal, ‘Boy In Da Corner’ (2003). Before he was ‘Bonkers’, he was the freshest voice British hip-hop had produced in years. NME has launched a poll to determine the ultimate indie record – and the result is down to you. Choose from well over 100 albums at NME.COM/greatestindiealbum. Pic: Andy Fallon
The Cure, ‘Disintegration’ (1991). So dark, label bosses walked out when they heard it. ‘Pictures Of You’ is plangent indie desolation on the most colossal scale imaginable. Pic: PA Photos
TV On The Radio, ‘Dear Science’ (2008). A genre-straddling colossus, testament to the bottomless imagination of uber-producer Dave Sitek. Pic: Guy Eppel
Elliott Smith, ‘Either/Or’ (1997). Named after a philosophical treatise by Søren Kierkegaard, Smith’s third album is the archetypal quiet-man-with-turbulent-emotions record. Six years after this, he plunged a knife into his heart. Pic: PA Photos
Primal Scream, ‘Screamadelica’ (1991). Aided by DJ/producer Andy Weatherall, with this ecstatic masterpiece Primal Scream – previously unremarkable guitar-janglers – redefined the limits of what an ‘indie’ band could achieve. Vote for ‘Screamadelica’ at NME.COM/greatestindiealbum. Pic: PA Photos
Spiritualized, ‘Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Space’ (1997). Released the same year as Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’, many critics rated this the better album. A gospel-shoegaze epic, it united Jason Pierce’s three obsessions – heartbreak, opiates and God. Pic: PA Photos
Sonic Youth, ‘Daydream Nation’ (1988). Literary, mysterious, allusive – but also enormously heavy and dissonant in a shruggingly cool, sunglasses-at-night kind of way, this remarkable album is essentially The Bible for indie hipsters. Pic: PA Photos
Blur, ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ (1993). Recorded when the band were £60,000 in debt and in danger of being dropped, this was Blur’s salvation. Swapping shoegaze/baggy for sharply-observed mod pop was the smartest move they ever made. Pic: PA Photos
Pixies, ‘Doolittle’ (1989). The fact that ‘Debaser’ and ‘Here Comes Your Man’ have become beer-flinging indie-disco staples does a disservice to the sheer, scabrous weirdness of Black Francis’ lyrics. To to vote for ‘Debaser’, head to NME.COM/greatestindiealbum.
Massive Attack, ‘Blue Lines’ (1991). A genuinely unclassifiable work of genius, veering from languid dub (‘Safe From Harm’) to symphonic elegance (‘Unfinished Sympathy’). Perhaps the most widescreen and authentic vision of ‘Britishness’ ever created.
The Streets, ‘Original Pirate Material’ (2002). Easy to forget how absurd the idea of a white English rapper seemed before Mike Skinner came along. On ‘Weak Become Heroes’ he made an ecstasy epiphany the stuff of poetry. Pic: Dean Chalkley
Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ (2009). Few bands peak with their ninth album, but that’s precisely what the Baltimore genre-hoppers did with this expansive, brain-engulfing masterwork. Pic: PA Photos
Interpol, ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’ (2002). Returning US alt.rock to the pit of gloom where it spent much of the late-’80s, Interpol represented the new rock revolution’s blackened underbelly. Pic: PA Photos
Arcade Fire, ‘Funeral’ (2004). The first major fruits of their genius, including the almost unbearably euphoric ‘Rebellion (Lies)’. Pic: Phil Wallis
Mogwai, ‘Young Team’ (1997). Taking the ‘quiet-loud’ template to heart-rending/ear-bleeding extremes, Mogwai’s debut album provided a counterblast to Britpop’s chest-puffing pomp. Pic: PA Photos
Ryan Adams, ‘Gold’ (2001). Released back when his quicksilver talent was matched by a fully-functioning quality control gauge, this is still the alt.country renegade’s best-selling album to date. Pic: David Ellis
Pulp, ‘His’n’Hers’ (1994). Beneath Jarvis Cocker’s suburban sex-vignettes lay a rich strain of English melancholy, typified by the epic ‘David’s Last Summer’. Pic: Kevin Westenberg
Radiohead, ‘The Bends’ (1995). This was going to be ‘Pablo Honey’ part two – until a night out watching Jeff Buckley convinced the band to change tack. Cue acoustic guitars and the mesmerising likes of ‘Nice Dream’. Pic: PA Photos
British Sea Power, ‘The Decline Of British Sea Power’ (2003). Eccentric and idea-filled, the Brighton band’s debut album is cherished by those who believe indie should be about more than just hedonistic ‘anthems’.
Klaxons, ‘Myths Of The Near Future’ (2007). Cynics dismissed Klaxons as a day-glo hipster in-joke – until the trio released this startlingly accomplished and unique debut album. Pic: Andy Willsher
Weezer, ‘The Blue Album’ (1994). Their debut album was a refreshing blast of deft, primary-colour pop in a US scene dominated by sour-faced grunge. Pic: PA Photos
Oasis, ‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994). It went through many versions – two early, rejected mixes have still not seen the light of day – but ultimately Owen Morris’ everything-in-the-red mix captured the might of Oasis’ live shows. Which is the greatest indie album of all time? Cast your votes at NME.COM/greatestindiealbum Pic: PA Photos
Iron And Wine, ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ (2004). Like a modern-day, bearded Nick Drake, only without the suicidal depression, Sam Beam’s hypnotic folk lullabies summon a timeless, placeless, pastoral idyll. Choose between well over 100 albums at NME.COM/greatestindiealbum – and suggest your own additions to the list at NME.COM/blogs.
Pavement, ‘Slanted And Enchanted’ (1991). Released the same year as Richard Linklater’s film ‘Slacker’, Pavement’s debut gave voice to a generation of smart-yet-directionless college kids.
Vampire Weekend, ‘Vampire Weekend’ (2008). The initial pitch – indie meets afro-beat – was misleading: Vampire Weekend’s debut proved they were really just a smart guitar band with a bristling armoury of perfect songs. Pic: Danny North
MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’, 2008. Their kaleidoscopically brilliant debut, responsible for a subsequent lesser wave of mildly psychedelic US hipster bands. Pic: PA Photos
Elbow, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ (2008). Propelled by sky-scraping hymn to positivity ‘One Day Like This’, a lesson to indie bands: keep writing wonderful songs and you will eventually get a break.