Portishead Vinyl, CD & tapes by Portishead at Norman Records
Oh Portishead, with its "dock", and "power stations", and "modern marina development". Wait a minute, I'm making a very lazy joke aren't I? Let's try that again...
Oh Portishead, the undisputed champions of the trip-hop wars, the band who've best captured Britain's own uncomfortable sense of dread and malaise. Though all three of them, Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley, and Geoff Barrow, have each done good work outside of the band, none of it has ever matched Portishead's ethereal majesty.
To give you an idea of just how much thought goes into this band's work, for their enthralling debut Dummy, rather than just sampling other tracks (though they did do their fair share of sampling), they would record imaginary soundtracks, have them pressed to vinyl, and only then manipulate the sample. Nuggets like this make it very easy to forgive their steady work rate, just three albums, and a wonderful live album to show since they first appeared in 1994.
So far their only misstep has been calling their third album, uh, Third. Despite the name it is likely their best and most innovative album. By 2008 they'd outlived the trip-hop scene and were able to move beyond its constraints, making an album filled with industrial blast beats, disgusting sax solos, and a perfectly placed cowbell. At their current rate we're due an album some time in the 2040s. Fingers crossed they pick up the pace somewhat.