From Bedroom To Festival Stage: The Best Albums Made At Home

From Bedroom To Festival Stage: The Best Albums Made At Home


So, as social distancing and self-isolation has steadily become a paramount practice in order to ensure the safety of both yourself and others that may or may not be more vulnerable, boredom setting in and twiddling thumbs is a genuine prospect. 

The fact that we'll be leading very different lives temporarily isn't all bad, however. People around the world are already investing this newfound time alone into productivity, self-reflection, learning, and encouraging others to do so; both Moog and KORG have even released synthesiser apps for free, so you can channel social distancing into your future career in music. 

Some of the best albums in recent history were created with very minimal equipment in bedrooms, kitchens, attics, and garages, so we've collated a list of the most memorable and impactful to provide some much needed inspiration in this most strange and uncertain of times. 

Who knows, it could be you on a festival stage in the near future? Here's our best albums made at home.


The Streets - Original Pirate Material (2002)

 

Arguably one of the UK defining albums of the 00s, Mike Skinner's under the pseudonym of The Streets encapsulated inner-city working class life via catchy, garage-infused hip hop. His iconic debut was recorded by Skinner in a rented flat in Brixton, South London, added an extra layer of authenticity to his wry, socially aware lyrics. And the vocals were recorded in a cupboard. 

 

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (2011)

 

Taking it back to basics, Dave Grohl fancied drawing from the angsty teenage years spent playing away in his parents garage, choosing to record Foo Fighters' 2011 full-length Wasting Light in his garage using strictly analog equipment for that home-brewed aesthetic. Ironically, it's usually the kids making the racket on the drums and p**sing off the parents, not the other way round. 

 

Beck - Odelay (1996)

 

The American's fifth album Odelay is arguably his most career-defining, and was recorded in a small room amongst the vast record collection of prestigious hip-hop producers the Dust Brothers. What started out as an intimate, soul-searching session of solo recordings, Beck flipped them on their head due to the negativity engulfing his life in that moment, incorporating samples from the many records he consumed whilst working on the project. Now you've got Spotify, so embrace the eclecticism. 

 

 

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)

 

An album that entirely encompasses the ethos of self-isolating and social distancing; choosing to write, produce, and engineer a collection of sparse tracks inside an isolated cabin in Wisconsin due to a recent heartbreak, Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver created one of his generations most influential albums. Since then his layered, cavernous vocal recording technique has been adopted by countless artists the world over.

 

Bob Dylan & The Band - The Basement Tapes (1975)

 

Recorded in 'Big Pink', Bob Dylan's house in Woodstock, this album didn't see the light of day until 8 years after the sessions took place. After his noted motorcycle accident, Dylan refrained from public outings instead inviting The Band (fka The Hawks) to jam and put some tracks together in the comfort of his own home. If anything, it was almost a precursor to his later work, with inward-looking lyrics replacing his canny ability to distill contemporary issues into anthemic folklore. 

 

The Prodigy - Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004)

 

Crashing into the charts with Fat Of The Land in 1997, The Prodigy took rave global. Having gestated on a handful of tracks for nearly seven years after, Liam Howlett tore up the rulebook, ditched the methods that had made the trio a success, and created an entirely new project solely on a laptop. Arguably the first album of its kind, especially when you consider Howlett admitted to making tracks whilst watching telly in bed. Casual.

 

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days (2014)

 

It's pretty common nowadays for entire albums to be professionally produced in an artist's bedroom, but Mac DeMarco is arguably the posterboy of this DIY, indie sensibility due to his distinct, lo-fi, heartfelt slacker rock aesthetic. As documented in Pitchfork 'Macumentary' Pepperoni Playboy, DeMarco holed himself up in a tiny box room (or the 'JizzJazz studio' as he affectionately refers to it) chocca with keyboards, guitars, amps, and cheeky grins, creating what was safely his breakthrough album.

 

 

Four Tet - New Energy (2017)

 

Probably the most suitable example for current times, when Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet sought an introspective angle on electronic music so hunkered down with a basic laptop, speaker, midi keyboard, with only a quaint view of forest vistas through a small window in his home studio to accompany him. Marrying a vibrant club spirit with delicate, relaxing sounds, New Energy is his comforting work to date. 

 

Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (1982)

 

Initially recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder as a set of demos to later work on the next E Street Band album, Bruce Springsteen quickly realised the rough sketches didn't warrant the bombastic, heartland rock production that signified his work up until then. Rather, he harnessed the wandering, isolated nature of what was to be Nebraska's lyrical content, and found critical acclaim in abundance.

 

Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)

 

Mainstream music's most unique and in-demand artist of this era is none other than Billie Eilish. Her innovative ASMR-esque vocal stylings were cultivated after years of practice in her bedroom at home, so that's where she recorded; a fruitful partnership with older brother Finneas at the production helm saw Eilish rise meteorically to become pop music's contemporary icon, winning countless awards (including a clean sweep at the Grammys) all at the ripe age of 18. Not bad for a home recording. 

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