Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Top 100+ of the 2000s: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Y2K and Have Serious Problems

t's sad how long it took me to come up with this list...but I was trying my best to get it down to the socially acceptable round number of 100. I failed obviously. As i sat at 107 I decided that if i wretched it up to 110 maybe no one would notice...or maybe they'd think it was a clever numbering cue as we are headed into '10. 'Fraid not folks, I'm just that indecisive and noncommittal

Having said that...

110 Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet

I Get Wet (2001)
is the major-label debut album from solo artist Andrew W.K.. It is noted for its controversial artwork as well as its hit singles "Party Hard" and "She Is Beautiful". The album is great partying music...especially if you still chug beers and smash them on your forehead. Still? Great.

109 Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles (2001) is the first full-length LP by Toronto-based duo Crystal Castles. They've been described as "the kind of music that you just want to follow like a cult, or hate, with every fibre of your being". People tend to lean towards the hate because I've heard nothing but horror stories about lead singer, Alice Glass. The funny thing is it makes me like them more...but I guess that's because I have a type. I'm attracted to crazy chicks. True story.

108 DangerDoom - The Mouse and the Mask
The Mouse and the Mask (2005) is a collaboration album by Danger Mouse and MF Doom under the name Danger Doom. The album is composed almost entirely of raps by MF Doom, performed over beats created by Danger Mouse sampling music from various television shows airing on Cartoon Network's programming block Adult Swim.

107 The Darkness - Permission to Land  

  Permission to Land (2003) is the debut studio album by English hard rock band The Darkness. In 2003 there was no escaping the novelty of "I Believe in a Thing Called Love"...and if you did escape it you missed out on a helluva album. Seriously. For those of you looking for a new fix of The Darkness go check out Justin Hawkins' new band, Hot Leg

106 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin'

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) is the commercial debut studio album by New York City rapper 50 Cent. You some times forget that this Vitamin Water rapper once brought us the best club banger ever. However, In hindsight, I'm thinking that Dr Dre deserved all the credit.

105 The Roots - Phrenology
Phrenology (2002) is the fifth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots aka Jimmy Fallon's house band. I read somewhere that they played Beck's "Loser" when Spencer Pratt was introduced as a guest. For that alone they probably deserve a higher ranking.

104 Wilco - A Ghost is Born

A Ghost Is Born (2004) is the fifth studio album by Chicago-based experimental rock band Wilco. This is their first album after the departure of Jay Bennett (RIP).

103 Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend (2008)
is the debut album by American indie rock band Vampire Weekend. The album was self-produced, with contributions from Jeff Curtin and Shane Stoneback. I wanted to hate it, but I couldn't. I blame Chromeo and their remix of "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance"

102 Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

(2009) is the third full-length studio album by indie rock band Grizzly Bear. The album is named after a small island in Dukes County, Massachusetts. They're Jay-Z's favorite indie rock band. Nuff said.

101 Teenagers - Reality Check
Reality Check (2008) is the debut album by French synthpop band The Teenagers. If I were making a remake of "Can't Hardly Wait" I'd definitely make sure that the 2010 version of Amanda entered her first scene to the opening twenty-two seconds of "French Kiss".

100 At the Drive In -Relationship of Command

Relationship of Command (2000) is the third and final studio album by post-hardcore band, At the Drive-In. Sadly the band broke up and half became Sparta, a band I wasn't supposed to like but I kind of did, and the other half became The Mars Volta, a band I was supposed to like but I really didn't. If it were up to me back in 2001 I'd have forced them to stay know, for the kids sake.   Will someone please think about the children! !  All that pent up rage would have made for even better At the Drive in albums.  They blew it!  At least they got two Christmases out of it instead of awkward silences at the dinner table and a parent sleeping on the couch.

99 Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006) is the debut album by English band Arctic Monkeys. Undaunted by the nonsensical Strokes comparisons and the unnecessary over hyping by NME (they of course ranked this album #4 for the decade) the band persevered through the inevitable post hype backlash and nicely filled the gap left behind by the Libertines.

98 Deathcab for Cutie -Transatlanticism

Transatlanticism (2003) is is the fourth studio album by Death Cab for Cutie. The eponymous track was featured in the only scene from Six Feet Under that didn't make me want to chase 100 sleeping pills with some Drano. Week after week that show was Gut Punch City, Population: The Fishers. DeathCab was able to recreate the magic behind Transatlanticism again this past Fourth of July @ The Hollywood Bowl with the help of the LA Philharmonic and some fireworks. I'm told it was a life altering event. Sadly I passed on a ticket and had arguably the worst Fourth of July in the history of Fourth of Julys. Note: Don't harmlessly "air bang" a girl if you don't know the girl's boyfriend....and said boyfriend has a chip on his shoulder...and a ponytail. Chances are he won't have a sense of humor.

97 Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
Tha Carter III (2008) is the sixth studio album by American hip hop rapper Lil Wayne. If this were a countdown about album covers you wouldn't be seeing this album till the very end. You really can't beat a baby, suited up, with some face tats and a pinkie ring. I suppose if you put a chimpanzee riding a segway on the cover you might come close. It's too bad the brainless track "Lollipop" was the lead single. The rest of the album is very much the opposite of that track. I just don't get rap sometimes because "Tie My Hands" and "Shoot Me Down" seem like far superior songs to "Lollipop". I'm guessing it didn't scare too many people away since it was the number one selling album of 2008.

96 Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That

It's Never Been Like That (2006) is the third studio album by French alternative rock band Phoenix. Yep. They're French. Who Knew. Why is it that when they sing there's no accent. At all. Get those same people in an interview and BOOM it's Jacque Cousteau time. I'll never understand this. It doesn't matter. With such catchy songs like the ones here no one wants to hear them talk. This album really put Phoenix on the map and was the precursor to what was to come in 2009.

95 Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
Only by the Night (2008) is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kings of Leon. Yes, this is a damn catchy album but they're a hard band to root for. When they struggled gaining an American audience with their previous releases they bitched about how the English listeners were far more informed and hip to developing sounds. Of course the minute they got popular here in their home country they proceeded to bash every frat boy who got dragged to one of their arena shows by his girlfriend who wanted to belt out "Sex on Fire". You reap what you sow, Followills. You reap what you sow. If you haven't tired of "Use Somebody" yet check out the RAC Remix.

94 Gorillaz - Gorillaz
Gorillaz (2001) is the self-titled debut album by "virtual" band, Gorillaz. This album sold over seven million copies and it earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band. Who exactly are they beating? Alvin and the Chipmunks? Seriously is there a more ridiculous waste of time than The Guinness Book of Records? Oh Yeah, the Grammys.

93 Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007) is the sixth studio album by Austin, Texas indie rock band Spoon. This album is home to "The Underdog" aka the most used soundtrack song that you've never heard. It's been used in "Chuck", "I Love You Man", "How I Met Your Mother" and "17 Again"....or so I hear. I swear.

92 The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell

Fever to Tell (2003) is the debut album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Who in 2003 would have thought the love song of the decade would come from these three NY geeks. "Maps" became an instant classic and Fever to Tell showed everyone that a band could have a female front woman who matched the low fi scuzzed in your face sound that the instruments were producing.

91 The Knife - Deep Cuts
Deep Cuts (2006) is the second full-length album from Swedish electropop duo The Knife. The brother and sister duo of The Knife have listed David Lynch, Aki Kaurismäki, Korean cinema, Trailer Park Boys, Donnie Darko, and Doom as inspirations for their work. That really doesn't tell you much besides explaining some of the hidden incestuous undertones prevalent in this album. That however didn't seem to frighten Grammi voters as they swept the awards in 2007. Nope that's not a typo. The Swedes have annual music awards named The Grammis. Goofy, I know.

90 Kanye West - Graduation
Graduation (2007) is the third studio album by hip hop artist Kanye West. Kanye's Pet Sounds? That might be pushing it but at the time it was refreshing to see an artist change his sound, even though his sound was clearly market tested and widely popular. Inspired by U2 to make more inspirational, anthemic rap music, West incorporated synthesizer into his production and dabbled with electronic music while sampling a wide spectrum of musical genres and artists. As someone who haas loved Daft Punk since "Da Funk" it was fun to see them, with the help of Kanye, garner fans from a new demographic. Nothing was funnier to me than sitting in traffic and hearing samples from "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" blasting from fellow motorists. Thanks to Kanye, Daft Punk made their first ever live televised appearance in 2008 at the Grammys. If putting up with Kanye West's jerk antics is what it will take for these kinds of things to happen I'm all for him drop kicking Taylor Swift at the Grammys next year.

89 Ghostface Killa - Supreme Clientele
Supreme Clientele (2000) is the second album by Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah. This barely made the list - not because it isn't awesome (because it is) but because if not for a stint in the clink this would have been released in the 90s. Smart move because he would have been behind Ol' Dirty Bastard (Return to the 36 Chambers) and the Gza (Liquid Swords) on the top 100 of the 90's list. He was Innocent I say! Getting locked up was strictly a marketing ploy by Ghost Face - nobody wants to be the third best Wu Tanger.

88 Justice - Cross

, alternatively known as Cross (2007), is the debut album of the French duo Justice. Like Daft Punk, this Euro electro house dance duo crossed over into the mainstream, but there journey wasn't aided by Kanye's Midas touch. No, Justice did it with an additively hypnotic video for their lead single, D.A.N.C.E. (an ode to Michael Jackson in 2007 - how visionary) and an amazing live show. I saw them at the Detourfest in 2007 and was blown away by how two unassuming french dudes chain smoking cigarettes and looking generally disinterested could totally enthrall an audience. My mother chain smokes and I've never found her to be all that exciting but it worked for Justice. People lost their minds at that show. Maybe my mom should try remixing MGMT.

87 Cat Power - The Greatest
The Greatest (2006) is the seventh studio album by indie rock artist Chan Marshall, a.k.a Cat Power. Cat Power roped me into her music by 1) being crazy (like i said - I have a type) and 2) releasing some amazing covers - Sonic Youth's "Psychic Hearts", the Velevet Undergrounds "I Found A Reason" and Oasis' "Wonderwall" - a version that trumps both the original and the stellar Ryan Adams version. I'm a sucker for covers. Once she had me enthralled by her covers she released "The Greatest, an album of beautiful original material. Then she really tried to win my heart by canceling the album's support tour and admitted herself to Miami's Mount Sinai Medical Center -- the result of a breakdown.

86 Miike Snow - Miike Snow
Miike Snow (2009)is the eponymous debut album from Miike Snow. The Guardian spoke highly of this band, saying Miike Snow's "coolly emotional pop suggests A-Ha meets Animal Collective." Can you think of a better compliment than that? I certainly can't. Amazingly enough these Swedes are the same guys who wrote Britney Spears' "Toxic" and produced Madonna, Kelis and Jennifer Lopez. That mention in passing is the closed any of those artists will come to sniffing this list.

Girls - Album

Album (2009)is the debut album by the indie rock band Girls and home to my favorite song of 2009 - "Lust for Life". Honestly I'd like to rank this even higher but I'm a realist. I'm quite aware that I'm so in love with "Album" that there hasn't been enough time for me to take a step back and look at it objectively as a historian.

84 Ween -White Pepper
White Pepper (2000) is Ween's seventh full-length album. When most people think of Ween they think of the annoying jerks belting out "Push Th Lil' Little Daises" and that's too bad because White Pepper is a phenomenal record. This album is more polished and radio friendly than your typical Ween record. Funny, I wouldn't have known it's awesomeness if it hadn't been for an ex-girlfriend who forced it down my ear throat. That girl and I, we had our differences. Mainly I wasn't a fan of her stance on crying in public - she was for it. Huge advocate of it actually. It ended up not working out between us... but she gave me White Pepper so it was a positive experience in my eyes.

83 Daft Punk - Discovery

Discovery (2001) is the second studio album by the French house duo Daft Punk. I remember going to the CD store (does anyone still do that?) the Tuesday this album came out and being quite disappointed on its initial spin in my discman. It was a huge change of style and pace from their debut album that i knew and loved. Didn't they know I feared change? It sat on my bookshelf and taunted me for weeks. I felt obligated to give it a few chances again as I did spend $15.99 on it. I eventually came around to it after countless listens to "Aerodynamic" and "Digital Love". By writing this I realized how different of a world we live in now. 2009 Del wouldn't think twice about disposing of an album that didn't strike his fancy right away simply because there's nothing tangible reminding him of his mistake. Once that mp3 hits my external hard drive I could very well never come across it again.

82 Zwan - Mary Star of the Sea
Mary Star of the Sea (2003) is Zwan's only album. The Billy Corgan led Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most popular bands of the 90s and in 2003 the Billy Corgan led Zwan were set to be one of the most popular bands of the 2000s. It never happened. Seven months after this album was released the band broke up. In the years following the breakup, Corgan would try to explain why Zwan fell apart so quickly. He blamed egos (not his obviously), accusations of sex acts between band members in public. people carrying drugs across borders, and people in the band sleeping with the producer's girlfriend while they were making the album. This sounds like standard stuff to me, Billy. It's pretty much people acting like they're a frigging rock band. Grow a pair. After that didn't get people on Team Corgan he felt the need to elaborate:

Sex and drugs and junk. Tick off the list: heroin, band members having relationships...You don't trust the person next to you. I'm on the bus. I send an email to somebody and I throw my BlackBerry in my little day bag. The next day, my ex-girlfriend calls me screaming. Somebody in the group went into my BlackBerry and forwarded her an e-mail that another girl sends me. I mean, that's the kind of stuff we were dealing with.

I'm shocked that this petty cattiness hasn't been turned into a pilot for the CW yet. Let's make it happen! The beauty of the idea is the whole season could feature songs from this album. "Mary Star of the Sea" deserves a second life!

81 The Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

Bitte Orca (2009) is a studio album by experimental rock band Dirty Projectors, The sound on "Bitte Orca", highlighted by male/female call and response vocals layered over jangly guitars and constant tempo changes, is oddly accessible...or I suppose I should say is, all things considered, SURPRISINGLY accessible for a band whose last two albums were:
  • The Getty Address, a gibberish infused "noise opera"concept album about a suicidal Don Henley, oil, ancient Mexico, and post-9/11 America
  • "Rise Above", an album of Black Flag songs as re imagined from memory, fifteen years after listening to it.
Yeah, they think they're pretty damn clever. That didn't stop them from winning over David Byrne. If you're OK in his book, you're OK in mine. Their collaboration was the lead track, and one of the many stand outs on the "Dark Was The Night" compilation, and it appears to have paid off for the band's growth structurally and sonically....or maybe its because they stopped trying to scare people off by being too clever for their own good.

80 Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
The Life Pursuit (2006) is the seventh album by Belle & Sebastian.  This happens to be B&S's most successful release to date...and it peaked at 65 on the US Charts.  How did an album this good get so widely ignored while bands like P.O.D and YellowCard were burning up the charts at the same time?  Less YellowCard and more Belle and Sebastian makes the world a better place.

79 White Denim -Workout Holiday

Workout Holiday (2007) is the second release for Austin, Texas-based rock trio White Denim, consisting of nine self-recorded songs. Also known as the "Tour EP".  I saw them perform most of this album at Spaceland on April Fools Day and it was no joke.  They were throwing down loose grooves that actually had the hipster crowds of Silverlake  bouncing around. That takes skills.  Even more skill is needed to get me to move.  They pulled it off...much to the horror of everyone around me.

78 Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (2008) is the fifth full-length studio album by the Icelandic band Sigur Rós,  The title translated in English is "With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly" which pretty much describes their sound to a T. Knowing that they can sometimes be a bit unaccessible the band made a  conscious effort to shorten the track lengths and to sing, for the first time ever, entirely in English.  Clearly their transformation into the Ramones didn't stick when you hear this album but they did manage to nail down one track in English (All Alright) and all the songs here are shorter than "Stairway to Heaven" so you can't say they're not trying.

77 Muse - The Resistance

The Resistance (2009) is the fifth studio album by English alternative rock band Muse.  If you've listened to the lead single "The United States of Eurasia" than you'll know that there is bit of a Queen influence in this album.     Beyond that though there seems to be an endless amount of pomp and piano codas. Hardly a bad thing.  The album is a quite a change from what you'd expect from Muse...especially when you get to "Exogenesis".   In a way I'm contradicting myself because Exogenesis parts 1-3 are standard Muse tracks, bombastic guitar pitch shifts with soaring falsetto vocals, but the band  married them to classical pianos and a full orchestra to give them even more of a sense of urgency and power. This space rock song is split in to three parts, or movements (for you classical music snobs), entitled "Overture", "Cross Pollination" and "Redemption" spanning 13 minutes in total telling the story of  mankind leaving the destructive planet we’ve created for ourselves, and going to populate somewhere else in the universe.

76 Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand (2004) is the debut album by Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand,  Who would have thought that dancy garage rock with tons of underlying homo eroticism would be so popular in the less progressive olden days of 2004.  Actually I guess not a lot has changed since then, which makes this band's efforts that much more impressive.  If Sacha Baron Cohen were to have released an album in the 2000s this would have been it.   Michael is just about the most gay song ever recorded...not that there's anything wrong with that

75 The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
Get Behind Me Satan (2005) is the fifth album by alternative rock duo The White Stripes.  After seeing them live I called Jack White  "The Prince of Rock".  The people I was with because It sounded like a pretty lame thing to say but I meant The Artist Formerly Known As.  There seem to me no limits to the genius behind his songwriting and his showmanship.  I guess that makes Meg White Vanity or Appolonia.  Whatever her name is she finally got a chance to shine on Passive Manipulation.  In true passive manipulation mode Jack let her have a whole thirty-five seconds of solo time.  Knowing her issues with anxiety I'm sure that suited her just fine. 

74 Girl Talk -  The Night Ripper

Night Ripper (2006) is the third album by Girl Talk.  Greg Gillis, AKA Girl Talk drifted away from the digital scratching and undesirable samples of his first release, Unstoppable, and instead embraced who he was:  The mash up world's god among me.  What he does goes so far beyond what other mash up artists were doing.  One of his songs will incorporate at least 25 lengthy samples that will not reinvent a track but instead create an entirely new animal.  I imagine this is what God felt like when he created the duck billed platypus.  I'm sure of it.  I just compared Girl Talk to God.  Can you feel the rapture coming down upon us?  I'm sorry.

73 Sigur Ros - Takk
Takk...(2005) Icelandic for Thanks is the fourth full-length studio album by the band Sigur Rós.  I have no idea what they are singing on this album and I don't care. I don't speak icelandic but it doesn't matter.  The music spirits you away to a place where there are no language barriers.  They could be singing their own personal Icelandic interpretations of Baby Got Back and it would still seem otherworldly and ethereal.  An episode of V used a track by them as a soundtrack to a scene that showed Anna, the Vistors leader, using a special chamber to extend a positive, comforting influence, called "bliss", to her kind all over the motherships and on the planet.  Someone should have told her she could have used an ipod full of Sigur Ros instead. Aliens, such showboats.

72 Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
Hail to the Thief (2003) is the sixth studio album by English alternative rock band Radiohead.  This happens to be their most uneven release...even still it manages to rank pretty high in my eyes.   Perhaps uneven isn't the word I'm looking for.  What I meant was disjointed.  Going from the back to back seamless concept albums of Kid A  and Amnesiac I began to have a certain expectation of the new Radiohead.  Of course the minute you get comfortable with Thom Yorke and company they go ahead and switch gears on you.  Hail to the Thief plays like a collection of EPs of unreleased material from the two different Radioheads we all know and love:  The OK Computer Guitar rockers (see Myxamatosis) and The Electronic Kid A's (see Backdrifts)

Various Artists - Dark Was the Night
"Dark Was the Night (2009) is the twentieth compilation release benefiting the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS."   I hated placing a compilation disc on this list, but this double disc album is too good to ignore.  This is the lazy mans mixtape.  Why take time and energy into culling together your own mixtape when you could have the RHO put together an amazing group of artists.  With their cloud they were able to not only get your favorite artists but had them contribute NEW materiel.  Even I couldn't pull that off...unless I pulled a Misery/Celtic Pride on a few bands post Spaceland..but that seems like a lot of work and I couldn't';t even know where to begin.  Where does one purchase chloroform?  These are questions I don't want to have to ask.   Instead I let RHO do all the work.  By my count there are eleven artists on these discs who are featured on this countdown.  Those are the kind of numbers you just can't turn your cheek at.

70 Interpol - Antics

Antics (2004) is the second album by New York City-based indie rock band Interpol.  It feels like decades ago that, with the release of  "Antics", Interpol was supposed to take the lead  in the cluster fuck that was the post punk revival of the early Aughts. It never happened.   They'd never see the same success after the solid efforts put forth here and I never understood why.  The pained vocals by Paul Banks were still present but I guess there was a little less doom and gloom on this one.   Interpol boldly pumped the brakes on the pain game for this release and and with that lost a little bit of who they were

69 Green Day - American Idiot
American Idiot  (2004)is the seventh studio album by the American punk rock band Green Day.  If long ago you had asked me what band would rise from the ashes of the apathetic and listless 90's and be reborn as the mouthpiece of the Anti Bush America my first guess would have been Nirvana.  I could have seen Cobain,growing older, and as a father, turning into an artist who could galvanize the youth of America, politically, and not have it feel forced. He'd simply be doing it to ensure a positive future for Francis Bean and the naked Nevermind baby. Thanks to drugs, guns, and Courtney Love that never happened.  My only other guess would have been Rage Against the Machine.  The formation of Audioslave stripped all credibility from Tom Morello and company. Damn You Chris Cornell.  Who did that leave us with?  That's right, Green Day.  With albums named after poo and songs about masturbation they were definitely not the most likely of candidates.  Against all odds they somehow outgrew their nasal jerk pop punk persona and became the champions of tomorrow's hope and ideals.  "American Idiot" was a huge change for them  and for many became the soundtrack to the Bush Era.

68 Wu Tang Clan - The W

The W (2000) is the third album by the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. After the double disc failures of 97's "Wu Tang Forever" the hip hop avengers form Shaloin came back in a strong way with the W.   Rap in the late 90s seemed obsessed with double disc releases.  It was an awful fad.   As much as I love the Wu Tang Clan I couldn't handle the filler heavy 120 minute of Forever.  The Wu realized this and cut out all the crap and left us with 59 minutes of streamlined back to the basics Wu Tang bangers.

67 Sigur Ros - ()
( ) (spoken as "Brackets" or "Parentheses") (2002) is the third full-length album from Icelandic band Sigur Rós.  This album's lack of a title or track names is the perfect Sigur Ros entry in the catalog of their albums.  This album's total lack of identity is the very essence of who this band is...or what they are to us, as non Icelandic music listeners.  They are truly what we make of them.  What are moods are and what wee see fit for them to say to us....and in the end that is the real message musicians are trying to deliver to us.

66 Band of Horses- Everything All the Time
Everything All the Time (2006) is the debut album of indie rock band Band of Horses.  When this album was released I constantly confused the band with the Kings of Leon and My Morning Jacket.  Mind you I did this without hearing a note of their music.  For some reason their moniker reminded me of the other two bands.  They seemed interchangeable.  I felt like I could maybe pop any of those three artists in my stereo, throw on some wranglers, and drink some moonshine in a hip southern town.  As it would turn out I wasn't far off...but I was floored by what I'd here in the chilling opening echo-y howls in "The Funeral".  After listening to that track I never confused them with anyone else ever again.

65 Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once OST
Once (2007) is the soundtrack to the film of the same name recorded by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. For anyone who still hasn't seen this movie go out and rent it.  Experiencing the songs first in the organic manner in which they are presented in this movie helps capture that raw and personal feeling that will last well after the movie is over. After I saw the move I had the soundtrack in my car for a solid three weeks.  The storybook ending of the two leads falling in love during the making of  the film is now ancient history as they have recently announced their break up.  Now they're just a failed relationship between a creepy 37 year old and a 19 yr old clearly with daddy issues.  That doesn't change the fact that they made a beautiful film and an equally beautiful soundtrack.

64 The Wrens - The Meadowlands

  The Meadowlands (2003) the third studio album by The Wrens.  If i had to go out on a limb I'd guess that this is the least popular album on the list...and that my friends is a travesty. Perhaps people don't respond well to defeatist rock by I did. Still do.  The struggles of the band and the seven years this took to release is palpable from track to track.  They sounded as if they were at their wits end..and at times like those you have nothing to lose.  They left their steaming bloody carcasses on this album for our amusement.  Are you not Entertained?  This year they've triumphantly returned and set forth on a Meadowlands tour to celebrate their twenty anniversary as a band.  They're the indie rock version's of Anvil.  Don't believe me?  Read their bio here.

63 The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004) is the debut album by The Go! Team.  This band was solely the brainchild of Ian Parton,  He wanted to mash his favorite things including Sonic Youth-style guitars, double dutch chants, and movie car chase music into one full sound experience. .He started jamming these sounds together and eventually recorded Thunder, Lightning, Strike in his parents' kitchen.  This led to the recruitment of a full band and a vocalist named "Ninja" to tour with them.  I saw a show of theirs after the release of this album and it was exactly the sound that Ian Patton was looking to accomplish. 

62 Coconut Records - Davy
Davy is Coconut Records' (aka Jason Schwartzman) 2009 sophomore release.  Have you ever watched "Slackers" and thought to yourself "Cool Ethan sure is badass...but you know what would make him REALLY badass? If you added some steel drums and  maybe a glockenspiel."Done.   Whoever said actors shouldn't try and be musicians hasn't listened to "Davy"...or Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time".    Judging from the tight hooky tracks on Davy, Max Fisher finally found his niche.  What makes Coconut Records efforts that much more impressive is that Schwartzman did this all by himself.  Eddie Murphy had an assist form hit machine and cocaine lover, Rick James.  Advantage: Schwartsman.

61 Muse - Absolution

Absolution (2003 ) is the third studio album by English alternative rock band Muse. From the very onset of the jangling piano keys of Apocalypse Please there is a sense of panic and urgency that runs throughout this album. When they sing that "Time is Running Out" you really believe them!   Knowing this and feeling sympathetic Muse gave the listener a reprieve with "Falling Away With You" and "Interlude".  After that it is straight back to cranking up fear and paranoia with "Hysteria".   If one album needs to go into a time capsule to capture the general sentiment of  2003 this is it. Fear and mistrust was prevalent. We led the world into a war with questionable intentions and an unforeseeable outcome.  Absolution does a great job of expressing that hopeless feeling. Quite a hefty album for a band many unfairly labeled as a Radiohead knock off.  This is everything that "Hail to the Thief" wanted to be and more.

60 Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream

59 Albert Hammond JR - Yours to Keep

58 Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News

57 Outkast - Speakerboxx / The Love Below

56 The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow

55 Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place

54 Yo La Tengo - I'm Not Afraid of You and I'll Beat Your Ass In

53 Kayne West - The College Dropout

52 Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene

51 Brian Wilson - Smile

50 Grandaddy - Sumday

49 Passion Pit - Chunk of Change

48 Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It

47 Killers - Hot Fuss

46 The Libertines - Up the Bracket

45 The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free

44 The National - Alligator

43 Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

42 Danger Mouse - The Grey Album

41 Queens of the Stone Age - Songs For the Deaf

40 MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

39 Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP

38 Okkervil River Black - Sheep Boy

37 Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

36 Radiohead – Amnesiac

35 Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress

34 The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

33 Battles - Mirrored

32 Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

31 Outkast - Stankonia

30 Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

29 Jay-Z - The Blueprint

28 Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

27 Stars - Set Yourself on Fire

26 Johnny Cash - American III

25 The Postal Service - Give Up

24 M83 - Saturdays = Youth

23 The National - Boxer

22 Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

21 The Antlers – Hospice

20 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

19 Explosions in the Sky - All if a Sudden I Miss Everyone

18 The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

17 The Hold Steady - The Boys and Girls in America

16 Kanye West - Late Registrations

15 The White Stripes - White Blood Cells

14 The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

13 TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

12 The Strokes - Is This It?

11 Radiohead - In Rainbows

10 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

9 TV on the Radio - Dear, Science

8 The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

7 The Avalanches - Since I left you

6 Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights

5 M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us

4 Beck - Sea Change

3 The Arcade Fire - Funeral

2 Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

1 Radiohead - Kid A

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Album of the Year by The Antlers: or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Become Obsessed

The Antlers - Hospice

This intimate yet grandiose album tells the story of a grief stricken nurse assigned to take care of a young girl who is terminally ill with cancer. Just to make sure that wasn't sad enough they also manage to throw in a song about abortion. This album makes Ben Folds' "Brick" sound like "The Thong Song." Sounds like a party doesn't it? I've literally listened to nothing else but it all day. I've tried to move on but I find myself transfixed by it. Hospice hardly contains the party starter subject matter of a "Feed the Animals" but it is as good, if not better. I know that's a bold statement, especially coming from me, but something about this CD grabs hold of you and squeezes feelings out of you...whether you want it to or not. I'm guessing this is what I was supposed to feel when everyone raved about that Grizzly Bear CD. NPR has named it the best album of the year so far and I'm pretty sure I agree with them. My obsession with that album got so bad that I actually took my noise canceling Bose headphones to listen to it while I went to sleep. To be fair it was also partly because I didn't want to hear my neighbor's awkward sex noises anymore. I need to stop. I don't want to over hype this more than I already have. I tend to do that to people. No one will ever appreciate an Apple Pan burger now because of how many times I've raved about them. Consider this a steak burger.

OK, No more typing for me, just go ahead and buy it and find out for yourself what I've already learned: The Antlers made a heart wrenchingly beautiful album.

NY, go check them out on the 21st.

Track: The Antlers - Bear

Grab em:

New York Hospitals EP (2008)
Download (free)

Cold War EP (2007)
Download (free)

Beatles for Sale: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Be Indecisive

We are officially less than one month away from 09/09/09 AKA the release date for The Beatles Rockband. I'm beyond excited about this. My neighbors, not so much. For some reason they don't like our Post SM Pier concert jam sessions. Perhaps its because we haven't yet had the chance to harmonize three vocal tracks at once. They're going to be in for such a treat soon. The people at Harmonix really did a top notch job with all the animations in this one. I would definitely watch a full movie in the style of the Beatles Rockband Trailer, Those 2 mins and 48 seconds are a 1000 times more fun and inventive than the torture that was "Across the Universe". I was crushed when I saw that movie. I had no idea it was going to be, how can i put it nicely, so "showy". (not that there's anything wrong with that).

To celebrate the game I'm going to attempt to pepper this blog with some Beatles flavor.

My first selection is Revolver. It's impossible to not start with Revolver, home to the greatest Beatles song of all time: Eleanor Rigby. I was struck by the beauty and pain that it invoked. At the time I was reading Dicken's Great Expectations (ah High School reading) and I saw parallels to Miss Havisham . Probably an obvious correlation for most but for a guy who had not to long ago gotten Vanilla Ice's cd as a confirmation gift this was a revelation.

I know I LIT-TRA-LEE called just called "Eleanor Rigby" the best Beatles song ever, but I may have jumped the gun...even though I've had countless years to formulate my answer. While listening to Rubber Soul its impossible for me to not place Rubber Soul's "Norwegian Wood" right up there with Rigby.

Not only is it a great song but it was the first Beatles track to use sitar and it has a nice Lennon anecdote behind the songs meaning. Lennon said of the song:
"I was trying to write about an affair, so it was very gobbledegooky. I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences ... girls' flats, things like that.

Coded messages about two timing on your wife. Ballsy. No wonder he never changed his Facebook status to "in a relationship". Dude wanted to play the field!. Contrary to those statements, during a press conference back in 66 in LA this is what they had to say about the song:
Reporter: In a recent article, Time magazine put down pop music. And they referred to "Day Tripper" as being about a prostitute...
Paul: Oh yeah.
Reporter: ...and "Norwegian Wood" as being about a lesbian.
Paul: Oh yeah.
Reporter: I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it, and what your feeling is about the Time magazine criticism of the music that is being written today.
Paul: We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all
So it's either about cheating on your wife or lesbians. The Beatles were Skinemax before Skinemax. Or gay porn:

Reporter: "May I ask about the song 'Eleanor Rigby?' What was the motivation or inspiration for that?"
John: "Two queers."
(room erupts with laughter)
John: "Two barrow boys."
Paul: (jokingly) "Oh, it's getting disgusting, this press conference.

Sounds like classic doublespeak and diversionary tactics to throw Lennon's wife off the cheating trail. Well played.
The Beatles = Great Wingmen.

Again, whatever the actual meaning is I think this has to be counted as my favorite Beatles song. That is until I start thinking about Sgt Peppers' "A Day in the Life".

Screw it. It is impossible to pick one song. I think its safe to say they're all #1 in my book........except for Yellow Submarine.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CD Collections, Already Dead? Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Do the Denial Shake

We can all agree that thanks to iTunes, iPods, and CDRS , our old CD libraries have become completely irrelevant. Fact: No one needs cds anymore. At least that is what I’m currently trying to tell myself. I’ve done something today that is forcing me to falsely embrace this mantra. You see, thanks to my recent actions I’m currently in a state of denial.

Today was the day I decided to take my once untouchable CDs to SecondSpin to trade in for cash. As it already stands my extensive cd collection had already been whittled down to just the bare bones of a music aficionados life blood Long ago I convinced myself that I could part ways with most of my cds after copying them over to my external hard drive…and from there another external hard drive.Yes, two hard drives are a bit excessive but I couldn’t live with myself if I lost all of those mp3s. Finally feeling secure about the backups I was freed to sell back these old cds to Second Spin (for more cds) that I had no emotional attachment to.

So long “…And You Will Know Us From the Trail of the Dead”. We had some good times “Franz Ferdinand”. Hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave “Rilo Kiley”. Even though I had all of my music (117 gigs) backed up on MULTIPLE hard drives I could never bring myself to sell back certain cds, even if they hadn’t seen the light of a CD player laser since Clinton was in office.

Nevertheless I wanted cash for a new bike so I convinced myself it was time to clean house. I grabbed the remnants of a once proud collection and headed over to SecondSpin. Stepping into the store I felt a bit panicked. As I watched the salesclerk examine each cd for scratches I found my cds taking on a life of their own, making desperate last minute pleas with me. Elvis Costello’s Greatest Hits tried playing the whole “We look alike! Don’t do this” card. I didn’t bite. The Who’s Tommy looked at me as if I murdered Keith Moon and said “If I knew this was going to happen I would have joined Quadrophenia in the trunk of the Prius, all scratched up. At least those discs died with some dignity!The BeatlesThe White Album” looked at me incredulously as if to say “Um, HELLOOO I’m the White Album. You’re joking right?” Afraid not lads. That decision triggered something in me. I was frightened. I realized if I could hand over an album like The White Album for $9 I was capable of truly horrific things.

Years of memories and emotions came flooding in as I watched the register put prices on pieces of my life. These cds with their album art, their cd silk screen, and their cases each with their unique cracks all have specific stories that wouldn’t make sense to their new owners. They’d be lost on everyone but me. How could I abandon them and how could they love anyone else. I was the Daniel Plainview of SecondSpin. At that point I knew what it felt like to give up a child for adoption. True, it wasn’t hard to say goodbye to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Sure they hold a special place in my heart, but it’s more for novelty’s sake…like the time I hooked up with that wonky eyed fat girl with the onion breath. It was a great story and everyone had a good laugh but nothing inspiring came of it. The same cannot be said for The Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin…which I turned in for a measly $2. This was an album that re-introduced me to a band that I once thought was a one hit wonder. As it would turn out, I was reacquainted with a band that blew away their “She Don’t Use Jelly” one hit wonder label and this album would become the Pet Sounds of the late 90’s.

Some cds were too scratched up to be returned, others were not returnable as the store’s inventory was already at full capacity and each time I feigned indignation at these “slights”. In reality I was celebrating the salesclerk’s overly judgmental eye. Radiohead’s The Bends was rejected due to cd laser burning from overplaying that I immediately could translate back to when I first got the cd and I played it at least 1000 times in my old “top of the line” Sony cd walkman ( “Look it even comes with a wired remote!” ). That disc was my introduction to Radiohead outside of “Creep”. Even if it was scratch free I’m not sure $3 would be worth kissing goodbye the memory of riding in the backseat of a car studying the liner lyrics to “Black Star” till my eyes hurt.

The parting pains for Interpol, The Raconteurs, and Sigur Ros were there, but not nearly as bad as what I would see waiting for me at the bottom of the return pile: Beck’s Sea Change. Dare I part ways with Beck Hansen’s ode to breakup? What would I look to when I too suffered from crushing personal loss or heartbreak? Hearing it on my iPod simply would not do the trick. This album has always had a strong hold over me and I couldn’t bring myself to part ways with it. I hoped, no PRAYED that it would fail the scratch inspection. It didn’t. Of Course. As I inched closer to see what the return would net the salesclerk compassionately responded “Are you sure you’d like to return this?” I feebly responded with “Um…only if it’s more than $2”. As soon as I got $2 out of my mouth the register responded with, rather curtly I might add, a return price of $2.50. It surely heard me and now was testing my resolve. We both sat there string at Beck’s face, for what seemed like forever until I finally snatched the cd off the counter and said “I’ll keep it I need something to listen to on the way home”. Luckily the salesclerk was unaware that I easily have 80+ ripped cds in my car. It didn’t matter.

To me, nothing would feel more perfect to me than listening to “Already Dead” as I drove home with the dirtiest feeling $80 that I’ve ever put in my wallet. As I sit here looking at my return receipt taunting me like a long paper snake of lament part of me wants to drive back to the store and explain to “Brett” and his hipster moustache that I made a huge mistake. He could keep Maladroit and Chulahoma but not Icky Thump. Surely he’d made mistakes in the past hadn’t he? Could he not understand? Had he no regrets? I feel like Jason Robards in Magnolia pontificating about the pains of our actions. This is the regret that you make. He had nurse Phillip Seymour Hoffman to voice his regrets to. Now all I have is Beck.

So stupid, that fucking mind! Stupid! Jesus Christ! What would I think, did I think for what I’d done?”Earl Patridge (Magnolia)

Already dead to me now”
‘Coz it feels like I’m watching something die”
Beck Hanson (Already Dead)

Clicky Web Analytics