NME.COM

The greatest indie albums of all time

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • TV On The Radio, 'Dear Science' (2008). A genre-straddling colossus, testament to the bottomless imagination of uber-producer Dave Sitek. Pic: Guy Eppel

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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.

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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.

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • Arcade Fire, 'Funeral' (2004). The first major fruits of their genius, including the almost unbearably euphoric 'Rebellion (Lies)'. Pic: Phil Wallis

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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'.

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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.

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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.

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • MGMT, 'Oracular Spectacular', 2008. Their kaleidoscopically brilliant debut, responsible for a subsequent lesser wave of mildly psychedelic US hipster bands. Pic: PA Photos

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009

  • 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.

    Photo:

    Added: 09 Jul 2009