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2000-2009: Sarah Andrew’s Top Ten Albums of the Decade

December 29, 2009

#1. Death From Above 1979: You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (2004). In the 1970s, the Rolling Stones got the job done as a quintet. Four Pixies ruled the 1980s. Nirvana stormed the 1990s trio-style. And in the 2000s, two Torontonians called Death From Above 1979 unleashed all the fury the decade could possibly handle. We’ll be down to a one-man show in the 2010s, I suppose.

Village Voice: I don’t get this.

#2. Unwound: Leaves Turn Inside You (2001). I don’t even know the titles of the songs. Never learned much about the band. For the duration of this 74-minute masterpiece, I know very little at all.

PopMatters: Unwound plays with a tightness and richness that few bands can touch anymore; they have turned into the metal Minutemen.

#3. Songs: Ohia: Ghost Tropic (2000). It’s a horse race of Alydar/Affirmed proportions to decide which Y2K Songs: Ohia release is better: The Lioness or Ghost Tropic. In the end, I’m an Alydar girl and Ghost Tropic wins by DQ via interference. The difference between the two albums is vast- The Lioness is easy to love and Ghost Tropic is more rewarding in the end.

Allmusic: “Everything moves as slowly as a three-legged dog, and anyone neither patient enough nor attuned to Molina’s style of songcraft (imagine Neil Young doing very mellow gypsy folk music) might very well be put to sleep.”

#4. The Rapture: Insound Tour Support Series Volume 19/Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks (2001). Before dance-punk was a thing, there was a really cool band called The Rapture. Before they got their act together and released the “Echoes” album, they had some really cool singles and EPs, including Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks and the Insound Tour Support EP. It was a bit of bad timing that kept their name out of people’s iPods, since their prime material and sound was never captured on a full-length. The essence of their best live material is on these two EPs.

Pitchfork: Jersey, of course, isn’t all ugly. It’s almost like New York sometimes. Likewise, New Jersey is what New York is always on the verge of becoming. Hundreds of thousands of Jerseyites stream in to the city every day, becoming part of the place for eight hours before shuttling back across the borderline. With a sound in constant, uneasy flux, the Rapture speaks (not always eloquently, but effectively) for the commuter– the ordinary-looking joe capable of blending into the Broadway crowds but forever holding a dirty secret in his irradiated little heart..

#5. Landspeedrecord! Road to Flight (2000). The boys from Baltimore first blew me away at local venues with their live set and then they followed through with their recordings, a rarity among DIY bands. And the album cover is a thoroughbred racetrack win photo! Rock and racehorses all the way.

PopMatters: Landspeedrecord! are caught somewhere between the new-wave cool a la Devo and punk brilliance. With as much contemporary influence to keep the sound modern, Landspeedrecord! also delivers enough unique style that will inevitably keep them out of the loop of “cool” with all the kids. For the listener, the key is to not overextend hisself or herself with effort to understand the wired sounds escaping the stereo, but instead to embrace them for what they are. Landspeedrecord! has come a long way, perhaps Road to Flight will take them to the more prosperous spot on the punk rock hill they deserve.

#6. Elliott Smith: Figure 8 (2000). The world lost a great talent in 2003. This was the last album released during his short lifetime.

Q Magazine: Most riveting are the ballads, where he conveys a devastating truth with conversational ease.

PS- I was at this show…

#7. Supergrass: Supergrass (2000). I admit that The Grass nabbed me with “Caught By The Fuzz” in 1994, but they really hit their stride and rung in the new decade in a decidedly non-Coco fashion with their eponymous LP. PS- I hate the word Britpop.

BBC: Too many reviewers concentrated on the rather tired vibe effusing the whole album, mistaking weariness for laziness. What Supergrass really represents is the consolidation of what In It For The Money had dared to let us dream: that this cheeeky Britpop trio had morphed into a truly world class band.

#8. The Breeders: Title TK (2002). Kim Deal is rock music’s Zenyatta. The Queen of Cool. All Wave, Steve Albini, Kelley Deal, all just contribute to her meteoric bossness.

Blender Magazine: Unfortunately, the songs on Title TK are mostly half-written train wrecks.

Kim Deal- The Queen of Cool

#9. The Thermals: F*ckin A (2004). Although their live set is nothing short of fantastic and their more recent releases got all the good press, I can’t deny the allure of their rowdy cousin.

cokemachineglow: Portland rockers the Thermal stand out as a lo-fi beacon of light in over-produced, uber-serious times. Whilst most rock has forgotten how to be fun, the Thermals remember the lessons of Robert Pollard and Lou Barlow and Kim Deal.

The Thermals at The Bell House

#10. Fugazi: The Argument (2001). Most of the time, I like the first or second album by a band more than any other album, but where Fugazi ended is where they just started to get it right.

New Musical Express: Whilst ‘The Argument’ still sounds unmistakably Like Fugazi, it’s the sound of an inspirational band, renewed, at play.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. lensjockey permalink
    January 15, 2010 10:43 am

    SUPERGRASS! yeah!

    what a great collection. really love this part of what you do so much.


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