So yes, as Dave said this was my amazing idea. I kicked off the list and when the guys followed with their lists they got MUCH more verbose with their descriptions. Mine are brief and frank... mostly.
Enjoy....in no particular order:
1. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)
Favorite lyric: "So drunk, in the August sun, and you're the kind of girl I like, cause you're empty, and I'm empty, and you can never quarantine the past"
2. Black Crowes - The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
Two guitar southern/classic/awesome rock. "If you feel like a riot then dontcha deny it..."
3. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
A prototypical "creeper" album. It doesn't hit you over the head at first but give it 5 listens and you'll be on your 200th listen before you know it.
4. Elvis Costello - My Aim is True (1977)
His debut. I listened to this album every day for months and months around 2000 - 2001 and tried to write songs in the vein of it. Still working on it.
5. The Strokes - Is This Is (2001)
Two guitar rock became cool again with this disc. Great songs about living in the city, drinking, girls, etc. A classic.
6. The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart (2001)
Not too far removed from the Strokes but more atmospheric. A album that really sounds like a whole band writing together.
7. Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
His first electric album opens with Subterranean Homesick Blues. Ballsy stuff. The rest of the songs are equally amazing and most were recorded in one take.
8. Derek & the Dominoes - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
Heroin, Patty Boyd, blues jams, slide guitar. Wanna fight about it?
9. Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994)
Looking back it's a pretty indulgent affair, but it was my soundtrack for the end of college.
10. The Beatles - A Hard Days Night (1964)
The first album on which they wrote all their songs. Favorite song: I Should Have Known Better
11. The Smiths - Singles (1995)
I was never in England in the 80s but I'm sure this album feels just like it. And this is kind of cheating since it's a compilation, but this was introduction to the band and it resonates the most. If I had to choose and album it would probably be The Queen is Dead (duh!). Added bonus: If you're into androgyny, The Smiths are for you.
12. The Band - The Band (1969)
It's no coincidence that I've been dying to be in a 5 piece band since... well... always.
13. Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
Perfect headphone/Saturday night album. I can't believe it's 11 years old. There was a night in college we decided to do Century Club... after doing 100 shots of beer I came back to my room and listened to this disc on repeat all night as the room spun.
14. The Hold Steady - Boys n Girls in America (2006)
The Hold Steady's first foray into melody. Great songs about living in the suburbs, drinking, girls, etc.
15. Morphine - Cure for Pain (1993)
I moved to Cambridge and discovered this album just weeks after Mark Sandman died. Cambridge definitely made me feel like I was "free now to direct a movie, sing a song, or wrote a book about your truly," and when they film the biopic of my life I'll insist that this be the soundtrack for that portion of the movie.