Top 10 best albums recorded at Pachyderm Studio
As the studio enters a new era with Duluth's Trampled by Turtles recording their latest album there with Low frontman Alan Sparhawk, it's high time for a look back at past music made in Pachyderm's hallowed halls that still has plenty of life of its own. Here, we rank the 10 best albums that were created at one of Minnesota's most famous recording studios.
10. Soul Asylum - Grave Dancers Union
While a good chunk of Grave Dancers Union was recorded at the Powerstation in New York, the Minneapolis band did return home to record some parts of the album at Pachyderm (with some help from Gary Louris and Kraig Johnson). Soul Asylum's biggest-selling, breakthrough record remains divisive amongst longtime fans, but their smash-hit singles and evocative ballads have endured. The group certainly branched out from their mostly regional appeal before this album, and the indelible material on Grave Dancers Union helped propel them into the national spotlight -- acclaim they certainly earned after years of hitting the clubs hard with their spirited live shows.
9. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
This is another record that wasn't recorded entirely at Pachyderm, but Bird and his band (with locals Martin Dosh, Haley Bonar, and Jeremy Ylvisaker) spent some quality time recording there -- while also recording at the Crazy Beast Studio in Northeast Minneapolis. Armchair Apocrypha is filled with material that Bird still works into his setlists to this day. And maybe it's the redolent album art, but these songs always tend to hit home during the cold Minnesota winter.
8. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Post-rockers Explosions in the Sky poured a lot of time and energy into the recording of their fifth album, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, and it shows. It's a studied blast from a band who were completely firing on all cylinders during the lengthy recording session, as the album's six expansive songs all gloriously coalesce in a wall of taut noise and blissful release. For most EitS fans, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone remains a longtime favorite, with these songs sounding as inventive and vital as they did the moment they first came to life in Pachyderm's intimate studio.
7. Palace Music - Arise Therefore
Will Oldham's haunting collection, Arise Therefore, is initially a difficult album to immerse yourself in, but once you do the payoffs are real. The songs seem to arrive out of thin air, with Oldham whispering his concerns in your ear as if sharing a secret that he only wants you to know. Steve Albini produced the record (and would return to Pachyderm many times to record), and it remains one of the most refined, elegiac statements that he has been a part of in his distinguished career.