First things first: these are Lerberg CD/DVD racks from IKEA, a snip at £5 a pop. Each rack holds about 80 CDs; we have quite a lot so there are ten arranged in two columns of five on our spare room wall. Now just as with books once you start owning more than a few CDs you need a system whereby you can find the one you want, so these are alphabetised, with the exception of all the random compilations which are just randomly bunged on the bottom shelf. Anyway, the list is generated from those CDs which turn out to be of non-standard height thanks to some limited-edition packaging and (slightly unsatisfactorily in terms of rack space usage) therefore have to be slotted in on a diagonal. They're ringed in yellow in the picture and they are (in alphabetical order, naturally):
- Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes. A bit like Midlake's second album, this is a bit of a "grower" in comparison with its predecessor - there's nothing as joyously melodic as White Winter Hymnal or Tiger Mountain Peasant Song here. It's still great though.
- Here Comes That Weird Chill by the Mark Lanegan Band. This is the mini-album released in advance of Bubblegum in 2004. If you are perverse enough only to want one of them then Bubblegum is the one to have (Methamphetamine Blues is the only song they have in common), but really you ought to have both.
- I Might Be Wrong by Radiohead. This is the live album they released after the pair of "challenging" albums (Kid A and Amnesiac) with which they'd attempted to scare off anyone who'd wandered in after buying The Bends and OK Computer and was starting to get comfortable. Actually the slightly more rocky arrangements some of the songs require to come across in a live setting suits them quite well, and Radiohead are not a band much given to note-for-note retreads of the studio material anyway, so this is more interesting than most live albums, many of which can be a bit perfunctory. And it includes the previously unreleased gem True Love Waits.
- Takk by Sigur Rós. Better known as "the one with Hoppípolla on it". Now there's an argument that most of Sigur Rós' albums sound pretty much the same, an argument that I wouldn't necessarily argue too much with. The corollary of that is that you can have pretty much any album you like; if you are looking for a recommendation though I'd say their untitled 2002 album (featuring 7 untitled songs, helpfully) is probably the best one.