Sunday, January 26, 2003

Yup, it's a best-of list one month after 2002 is already over! Eventually I'll probably add links to all the band names but for now if you want to buy albums by these groups yer gonna have to google or yahoo 'em. So now, in no particular order...

Damon Albarn and Friends "Mali Music" -
The Blur front-man travels to Bali and records Alan Lomax style then brings the tapes back to Iceland to re-jigger for Western ears without losing any of the original flavor.
The All Golden "A Long Good Friday" - Syd Barrett meets Joy Division at a Guided By Voices house party.
Badly Drawn Boy "About A Boy Soundtrack" - The cat in the hat makes a strong argument for cohesive pop-style soundtracks. Personally I like this better than his new "proper album".
Beck "Sea Change" - Beck rides the over-cliched lovers tumble over Niagara Falls while trying out his best Nick Drake impression...what saves him are beautiful songs with knock-out string arrangements provided by Daddy Beck.
Box-O-Car "In The Future...On Mars!" - Power-glam? Glam-pop? Who cares? This rocks!
David Bowie "Heathen" - The Thin White Duke re-teams with Tony Visconti to create his most timeless album since...well, when he last recorded with Tony Visconti in the '70's. Points off for the lame single "Slow Burn" and the even lamer Pete Townsend guitar solo. I love ya Pete, but...
Bright Eyes "Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground" - A mess of an album that couches backwoods finger picking inside an orchestra of bliss.
The Cells "We Can Replace You" - Chicago premier power-pop band finally get around to releasing their debut's about time!
Cody ChesnuTT "The Headphone Masterpiece" - This is the only disc I've only heard half of and already it belongs on this list. Sly and the Family Stone meet Prince and The Strokes and hide out in ChesnuTT's bedroom to create a sprawling lo-fi labor of love.
Coldplay "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" - Over-hyped but still a pretty album.
DJ Shadow "The Private Press" - Great for relaxin' and dancin'. We like both kinds of music here...
Doves "The Last Broadcast" - Also over-hyped but pretty. (Meaning: miles ahead of the rest of the crap on the radio."
The Flaming Lips "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" - If I had to pick the best of the year this would be it. Even without the band providing one of the most visually and emotionally intense live shows and without Wayne Coyne being quite possibly the nicest front-man in rock...the fact that the band can turn out something this beautiful and emotionally real in this fucked up world is truly inspirational.
Interpol "Turn On The Bright Lights" - Joy Division meets...Joy Division!
Local H "Here Comes The Zoo" - Scott sure takes his time between albums but the man knows how to write a vicious rock song. Definitely the hardest rocking thing out of the Mid-West this year.
N.E.R.D. "In Search Of..." - The Neptunes can't rock,but they sure can roll.To be honest this isn't in my CD player all that often but when it's needed it fully satisfies.
Pavement "Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe and Reduxe" - Ten years later and the battle still rages between Pavement and Nirvana for "Most Influential '90's band. Sure Nirvana brought punk above ground again, but every one who bought this Pavement album went out and started their own band VU-style spawning the indie-rock revolution. This little package adds all kinds of cool bells and whistles too.
Polyphonic Spree "The Beginning Stages Of..." - The ex-Tripping Daisy singer co-ordinates this orchestral collective that is traveling down the same path laid out by The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev and tossing their own over-reaching sun-drenched melodies all over the place.
Primal Scream "Evil Heat" - Not the group's best album in recent years but nobody out-spooks them or out-grooves them in the electro freak-out department.
Pulp "We Love Life" - Plants yay! Seriously this appeals to the not-so-closet Anglophile in me.oasis would be here if they had a little more heart.
Queens Of The Stone Age "Songs For The Deaf" - This deserves to be here if only because they got Dave Grohl back where he belongs; behind a drum-kit. The fact the songs kick total ass only sweetens the deal.
Sigur Ros "( )" - My absolute favorite "Veg-out-on-the-couch-and-pretend-I'm-like-totally-dosed-or-something" album. Extra points for proving lyrics mean absolutely nothing in glacial prog-rock.
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives "Behind The Music" - The most exuberant return to 1968 this year. The album is good but it's only on this list because I saw them live and they blew me away with the amount of heart they throw into their music.
Weezer "Maladroit" - Who releases an entire album on-line in MP3 form, pisses of their label and then proceeds to out-sell their previous album thus dis-proving the label's theory that MP3s and file-sharing are killing the music industry? Only the kickiest most riff-tastic geeks on the block!
Woolworthy "Recycler" - Just when I though pop-punk was dead does this song collection come my way. A healthy dose of The Replacements mentality and super-tight songs set this ahead of the pack.

The Eels "Soul Jacker" -
Out-Beck-ing Beck this year in the wacky folk-beat category.
Super Furry Animals "Rings Around The World" - Surprise! Bet you didn't see that one coming...
Wilco "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel" - Even though this isn't their best album, or even the best version of this album since the demos seem to pack more punch, this deserves to be on here for making the Major labels look like the big fat fools that they are.

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