100 Albums Every Science Fiction and Fantasy Fan Should Listen To: 51-70

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It's the second day of our massive music countdown, in which we gesticulate wildly at the 100 albums that tickle our dendrites.


Today's crop of records brings you everything from zombie-fighting Japanese noise rock to mummified reggae to a heavy metal LP that'll make you want to shave every inch of your body. Remember, when you're swinging a battle axe, that extra chest hair weighs you down! And to peruse yesterday's selection of records, here's 71-100.

70. Sukia - Contacto Espacial Con El Tercer Sexo (1996)
The band Sukia — who named themselves after the eponymous antihero of a 1970s Italian vampire erotica comic — only released a single album of sinister, mostly wordless exotica. Fortunately, this underrated classic was produced by the Dust Brothers, the duo behind Beck's Odelay and the Beastie Boys' Paul Boutique. Peppered with drive-in movie noises, no-budget keyboard farts, and surf guitar to spare, Contacto is an aural party at Roger Corman's beach house. This record sounds the way a $1 VHS bin should smell. - Cyriaque Lamar

69. Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Solar Fire (1973)
More prog rock! And this time, it wears its Mellotron on its sleeve. This album positively drips with Mellotron, plus Moog synthesizer. Heavily influenced by Gustav Holst, this album pays tribute to the planets, including the goofy jams "Pluto the Dog" (featuring a dog barking!) and "Saturn, Lord of the Ring, Mercury, the Winged Messenger." The tone keeps ping-ponging back and forth — it starts out quite serious and meditative with the first ten-minute slow jam, but soon enough, they're racketing away like a British pub band that's won a dozen fancy electric keyboards in an epic raffle. - Charlie Jane Anders

68. Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
Of all the 1970s concept albums, this one could be the most surreal, complete with more than a little undercurrent of sexual anxiety. At every turn, the hero faces monsters like the "carpet crawlers," the man-eating Lamia, and the weird "slippermen" — strange, mutated phallus creatures that Peter Gabriel dressed up as on tour. There are birds that steal people's genitalia, books of erogenous zones that the hero studies to try and please women, and a self-centered brother (voiced by Phil Collins) who might be the hero himself. It's much, much weirder than you think it is. - CJA

67. Coheed and Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002)
It's really hard to pick just one Coheed and Cambria album, since all of their albums are a linked science fiction saga, but this is the first. And by many accounts, still their greatest album. We meet Coheed Kilgannon and his wife Cambria, who discover they're secretly terrorists, implanted with the deadly Monstar virus. It also established their "prog metal" sound, with hardcore guitar sound mixed with surprisingly soulful, emotional lyrics and vocals about time machines and crying yourself to sleep. - CJA

66. Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth (1998)
This album has been described as "The Silmarillion with guitars," and the surprisingly melodic guitar licks and operatic choruses pay tribute to the heroic deeds and bitter regrets in Tolkien's saga. You will hear the clash of steel against steel, celebrate like a lusty dwarf, and weep like a dark elf forsworn. - CJA

65. Yamasuki - Les Monde Fableaux des Yamasuki (1971)
Some record stores have a "World" music section — this LP belongs in the "Otherworld" bin. In the early Seventies, two French pop producers (one of whom was Daniel Vangarde, the father of Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter) made a record whose off-the-rails production has yet to be emulated. As WFMU explains:

The record started off as a cross-cultural dance project intended to bridge gaps between Europe and the Far East, but the two French pop producers in charge of the music quickly got carried away, learning Japanese, importing children's choirs and even hiring a famous Judo master from Japan to yelp and roar in the background.

Like an entire album's worth of mistranslated anime dialogue, the resulting record delights and confuses. Psychedelic guitars and drums smash headfirst into an out-of-tune children's choir screaming about samurais. Nothing on Earth sounds like this. With technology shrinking continents, will microniches like Yamasuki become the standard rather than the exception? - CL

64. Atari Teenage Riot - Burn, Berlin, Burn! (1997)
This is a compilation of cyberpunk-gone-street-fighting singles from the Digital Hardcore provocateurs. Led by aggressively sloganeering frontman Alec Empire, Atari Teenage Riot funneled punk's anti-establishment sensibilities into 10,000 exploding CD-ROM drives. The skronk-skronk of "Delete Yourself" is surprisingly clarion when you're surrounded by prying social media. - CL

63. Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep (1994)
In the early Nineties, RZA (the Shaolin madman of the Wu-Tang Clan) and Prince Paul (De La Soul's not-so-secret weapon) teamed up for this zany LP about demonic possessions and the Grim Reaper. On 6 Feet Deep, Gravediggaz presaged the magnet-obsessed horror rap acts of today...and still outstrips them all. And even if you can't stomach the gore, Prince Paul's production is flawless. - CL

62. Fantômas - The Director's Cut (2001)
From one supergroup to another! This Mike Patton-helmed metal ensemble recruited members of The Melvins, Slayer, and Mr. Bungle for a gothic cover album of creepy cinema tunes. What other record transforms the themes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me or Rosemary's Baby into stoned head-banging fodder? - CL

61. Misfits - Walk Among Us (1982)
Before Glen Danzig became America's greatest lycanthrope archivist and after he escaped from his holding vessel in the Weapon X complex, he was in a band. For real! And by gum, they were a catchy band who sang about zombies from space! -CL

60. Manowar - Hail To England (1984)
Remember Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time? I'm fairly certain Manowar got sucked through a similar dimensional disturbance. Anyway, this album of priceless barbarian metal is like arriving at Valhalla, only to discover a sprawling golden metropolis of viking bathhouses. Apply liberally, dungeon masters, both in the d20 and whips-and-chains senses. -CL

59. Cybotron - Clear (1990)
This compilation of 1980s singles from Detroit techno mavens Juan Atkins and Richard Davis is a danceable compendium of synthesizer stabs and tracks about a glowing digital metroplex (where Afrika Bambaataa is presumably on city council). Quite possibly the best electro collection ever pressed — it says a lot that Clear sounds plenty futuristic decades later. - CL

58. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — original soundtrack by James Horner (1982)
The late 1970s and early 1980s are full of epic soundtracks, from Star Wars to Superman to Indiana Jones. But for our money, this is the most memorable and distinctive of the bunch, and the biggest pleasure to listen to on its own. Fittingly for a movie that's both about dealing with aging and mortality and kick-ass space combat, this soundtrack melds a melancholy main theme with some stirring action cues. Instant goosebumps. - CJA

57. Björk - Homogenic (1997)
Ms. Guðmundsdóttir may have gone full science with her 2011 release Biophilia, but its the glacial electronics that keep bringing us back to Homogenic. In what could effortlessly score a cyborg tearjerker, a Scandinavian fantasy epic, or a documentary about Greenland sharks, Björk has crafted stunning music that demands to be played on snowy nights, when the flurries form the outlines of cyborg polar bears.- CL


56. Scientist - Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires (1981)
When he wasn't busy fighting the Space Invaders or duking it out with Pac-Man, dub wizard Scientist was composing reality-warping tracks about murdering the Universal Studios roster. Perhaps Scientist's finest outing, this album's echo and reverb are so powerful they'll annihilate Nosferatus and shambling corpses. - CL

55. Guitar Wolf - Planet of the Wolves (1997)
For over two decades, Nagasaki garage rockers/Z-movie enthusiasts Guitar Wolf have waged an unceasing war against the undead, aliens, and other nefarious forces that make reality less interesting. Just see their unapologetically nutbar zombie flick Wild Zero. Planet of the Wolves is probably their most memorable LP, although Jet Generation is boss too. Imagine the Ramones playing their guitars with shotguns. - CL

54. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F♯A♯∞ (1997)
These understated Montreal instrumentalists sound like the apocalypse in the best way possible. Just ask Danny Boyle. As he admitted in 2002, "For me, the soundtrack to 28 Days Later was Godspeed. The whole film was cut to Godspeed in my head." - CL

53. Tangerine Dream - Phaedra (1974)
This venerable German electronic troupe has had an absurdly prolific career, punching out dozens of LPs and memorably scoring cult flicks like Near Dark and The Keep. A good place to start with Tangerine Dream is this groundbreaking album, which is not unlike traversing the Oort cloud. - CL

52. Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030 (2000)
Sandwiched between producer Dan the Automator's work with Dr. Octagon and Gorillaz, Deltron 3030 was an extension of the former and an aperitif to the latter. On this hip-hop concept space opera set in a dystopian future, legendary MC/Kitty Pryde hype man Del tha Funkee Homosapien raps about global conspiracies, mechs, and galactic derring-do. The Deltron gang (not forgetting you, Kid Koala!) is set to reunite this summer, and we couldn't be happier. - CL

51. Iced Earth - Dystopia (2011)
Most of the songs are based on dystopian SF movies, including Brazil, Dark City, V For Vendetta and Soylent Green. They tell the story of people trapped in a prison-like city-state, until their emancipation in the final song. And they have classic 80s metal sound that makes you want to form the devil sign with your fingers. - Annalee Newitz



Corpore Metal

Okay, this list is looking better and better to me, not all the 70s and 80s stuff, which I experienced childhood through and really can't be bothered with since I heard it already, but for the obscure Nineties, Oughts and Teens stuff I wasn't aware of even as a KEXP listener. Now I got more stuff to put in my music database.

Thanks IO9!