The 50 Weirdest Albums Ever

An incredible journey into a far-out world of dream jazz, skronk rock and sonic insanity.

The 50 Weirdest Albums Ever

by Mojo Staff |

IN ORDER TO TRULY blow one’s mind, one must travel to the far reaches of the music cosmos – to a place where Throbbing Gristle, Barbra Streisand, Captain Beefheart, Bongwater, Tim Buckley and Boredoms reign supreme and sonic adventures into the unknown are an essential part of daily life. A dimension where flipped-out acid rock rubs shoulders with records that reconfigured our conception of what music could be while manifestations of further-out lunacy – some barely recognisable as music at all – hover while laughing maniacally.

Welcome, then, to our list of the 50 Most “Out There” Albums Of All Time. Dig in, hold on tight and when you've emerged from the mayhem, let us know what we've missed by voting for your own ultimate weird record. We’ll compile a readers’ list as soon as our wigs have unflipped.

50. Paddy McAloon – I Trawl The Megahertz

MOJO SAYS:

Steve McQueen, we hardly knew you.

49. Basil Kirchin - Quantum

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Music and sound manipulated into something entirely other.

48. Ottilie Patterson - Spring Song

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Insane/inspired romp through period poetry and more.

47. Bongwater Double Bummer

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Sprawling 2-LP debut from New York art couple who made Kim and Thurston look like Margot and Jerry Leadbetter.

46. Ennio Morricone - Escalation

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Wildly psychedelic opus to peculiar painted lady film.

45. John Zorn - Naked City

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Genre-slashing "compositional workshop" led by NYC jazz heretic Zorn.

44. AR & Machines - Echo

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German guitar guru's crazed journey to the centre of the instrument.

43. William S Fischer - Circles

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Mutant R&B from New York City's answer to David Axelrod.

42. Wild Man Fischer - An Evening With Wild Man Fischer

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Frank Zappa unleashes the outsider artist's outsider artist on an unsuspecting world.

41. Throbbing Gristle - Second Annual Report

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Punk preached chaos and anarchy, but only TG truly achieved it.

40. Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

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Underground goes overground in womb-spaceship to the stars.

39. Mercury Rev - Boces

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Kosmic Katskills kombo unlearn the rules of rock music. Flutes are involved.

38. Tim Buckley - Starsailor

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Folk singer as screaming mood instrument. Starsailor fans need not apply.

37. Dreamies Auralgraphic Entertainment

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52 minute psychedelic odyssey: the '60s aren’t over yet.

36. Cybotron - Cyber Ghetto

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Grim vision of technoid future ruled "by the dark overlords of conformity".

35. C.A. Quintet - Trip Thru Hell

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A tribal re-enactment of the apocalypse by the ghosts of The Count Five.

34. Barbra Streisand - …And Other Musical Instruments

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Not your usual Barbra LP. Oh no.

33. The Stark Reality - …Discovers Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop

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Boston funkateers’ dizzying one-off atonal psych-jazz junket.

32. Steven Jesse Bernstein - Prison

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A suicidal Seattle writer records his last testament with the help of half of Pigeonhed.

31. Scott Walker - Tilt

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A "torture chamber music" entree into one man’s private hell.

30. Esquivel! - Four Corners Of The World

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Speed thrills by Mexican avatar of bachelor pad pyrotechnics.

29. Alexander 'Skip' Spence - Oar

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Post-breakdown psychedelia from former Moby Grape and Jefferson Airplane man.

28. Joe Meek And The Blue Men - I Hear A New World

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The Clangers co-directed by Brian Eno and Liberace.

27. Comets On Fire - Field Recordings From The Sun

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Santa Cruz shamen dyno-blast psych-rock into the 21st century.

26. Diamanda Galas - Plague Mass

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Apocalyptic anti-liturgy. Not for the faint-hearted.

25. The Monks - Black Monk Time

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GIs In Deutschland go AWOL, get tonsures, write punk rulebook.

24. Gordon Jenkins - Seven Dreams

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Because they thought "nightmares" in the title wouldn’t sell?

23. Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy

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A mind-blowing mélange of modernist classical ambition and basement-level hippy blather.

22. Perrey & Kingsley - Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight On The Moog

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The world remade as ferocious cartoon, via Moog-electrodes to the testicles.

21. Patty Waters - College Tour

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The woman who influenced Diamanda Galas and Yoko Ono.

20. Boredoms - Super Ae

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Osaka’s noise terrorists find infinite groove on the surface of the sun.

19. Hawkwind - Space Ritual

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Space barbarians set the controls for the heart of the brain.

18. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

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Indie navel-gazers push amps, pedals and record label to melting point.

17. Lightning Bolt Wonderful Rainbow

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Breakthrough tumult from elemental experimental duo: riffs, noise, chaos.

16. The Residents - Ralph Records 10th Anniversary Radio Special!

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The Residents drive one half of Penn and Teller insane...

15. The Holy Modal Rounders - The Moray Eels Eat...

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Acid-folk opus from Rounders’ spin-off, featuring Sam Shepard.

14. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

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How to blow the finest minds of your generation without even trying.

13. The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat

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Speed, sex, and drugs. Rock'n'roll? Barely.

12. Os Mutantes Os Mutantes

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Brazilian LSD teens dismantle Beatles, put them back together wrong.

11. The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka

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Four psychedelic masterpieces. Play simultaneously.

10. White Noise - An Electric Storm

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Directions to the next century by a million short cuts.

9. The United States Of America - The United States Of America

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"The price is right – the cost of one admission is your mind."

8. John Coltrane - Ascension

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“A guaranteed soul rinsing,” promised the original sleeve-notes...

7. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love

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Three go mad on 4-track. Rock guitar takes a vacation in Wonderland.

6. Faust - The Faust Tapes

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Freewheeling, jump-cutting Krautrock in excelsis.

5. Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician

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LSD, slaughterhouses, AM radio, scary clowns and Ozzy Osbourne conspire on one of the most unsettling records of all time.

4. Funkadelic Maggot Brain

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"Play like your mother just died," George Clinton ordered Eddie Hazel. So he did.

3. Miles Davis - Agharta

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Uncompromising jazz/rock/funk thing, knocked out in an afternoon.

2. Sun Ra - Space Is The Place

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The man from Saturn wants to take you back there.

1. Captain Beefheart Trout Mask Replica

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The claustrophobic inside-outsider art-blues of the Magic Band’s wildest hour.

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