There are a handful of albums everyone needs to have in their collection: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles, Metallica's Black Album, Under The Table And Dreaming by DMB and others.
This recommendation might surprise you, though.
I submit to you that Give Up, and album by The Postal Service, is one of those essentials. It's just that good, and it's the best intro to the Indie genre you'll find.
The Postal Service is a collaboration between Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie, and producer Jimmy Tambello, who works mostly with electronic beat bands. They laid down beats and vocals independently and sent tracks back and forth between each other using the United States Postal Service (hence the name).
The result was the groundbreaking album "Give Up" which combines Gibbard's powerful voice with Tambello's talent of taking any noise, even sound effects from classic video games, and turning it into a strong rhythm. Give Up is electronic and soulful.
The album starts strong with "District Sleeps Alone Tonight," "Such Great Heights," "Sleeping In," and "Nothing Better." The first four songs really pull you in.
Give Up loses a little steam with "Recycled Air," but then delivers another great song in "We Will Become Silhouettes." The final song, Natural Anthem, teases the listener with an extra long introduction and then closes the album with another strong vocal.
The sound is fantastic. I love this album, and I highly recommend adding Give Up to your library as soon as is humanly possible.