The Best of the ’00s Part 9: #20-11

Into the top 20!

20 Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor (2006) (left) – I know the rest of the universe appreciates Lupe, but I feel that within my circle of music-oriented friends, Lupe goes underappreciated. Of course, any rapper that wants to work giant robots into their rhymes, well, I am all over it.

19 Radiohead – Amnesiac (2001) – Radiohead pulled the throttle back a bit on the full-on synth-rock sound and got it so right. I find myself listening to Amnesiac more than any other Radiohead album, and that includes OK Computer. Go figure.

18 Interpol – Antics (2004) Even the creepy video for “Evil” couldn’t stop me from being one of the few that think that Antics far outshines their debut.

17 Tullycraft – Disenchanted Hearts Unite (2005) – I’ll be the first to admit, my personal experience in Seattle between 2004-06 plays a very large role for Tullycraft’s high ranking. However, Disenchanted Hearts Unite is the gold standard for indie pop of the decade.

16 Decemberists – Picaresque (2005) – “Mariner’s Revenge Song” is worth the price of admission. More than worth it. You get a bonus with any purchase.

15 Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica (2000) (right) – It is hard to believe that in the ten years since the turn of the century, Modest Mouse has become a mainstream, arena rock band after starting as a Pacific Northwest oddity. Sure, the later albums were the ones that made the Mouse famous, but The Moon & Antarctica still gives me chills.

14 The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free (2004) – Mike Skinner has had a very up-and-down decade, a least musically. The Streets debut was solid, yet somewhat inaccessible outside the garage scene. All the albums since A Grand Don’t Come for Free have been a bit of a mish-mash of ambition. However, A Grand Don’t Come for Free, a hip-hop concept album, worked on so many levels, right down to the show-stopping final song “Empty Cans”.

13 Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (2005) – To me, Silent Alarm might be the album that captures the mood of the decade.

12 Beta Band – Hot Shots II (2001) – I saw the Beta Band in Eugene, Oregon in the early 2002 and it still stands today as by far the best live show I saw in the last 10 years. I usually find myself getting bored at live shows, but the Beta Band kept me absolutely captivated for hours – and I wished they went on. It is hard for me to imagine the decade without the Beta Band playing as my soundtrack.

11 Beirut – Gulag Orkestar (2006) (left) – I can’t even take credit for finding this one. Susan picked this out at Amoeba in Berkeley mostly based on the little review on the front. We popped it into the CD player in my car and I was stunned – where had this been all my life? Seems like things in my life like to run in parallel.

Here is the iMix for #20-11.

And a recap: And if you missed them, here are #100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-31, 30-21.

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Best Albums of 2008 – #20-11

Two days left in 2008 and I’ll finally start posting my best of 2008. I also want to mention a late-arriving honorable mention, that being the Crystal Castles self-titled album. I only got it about a week ago and I quite like it. Look for #1-10 tomorrow and my 2008 mix to go with it. Anyway, on to numbers 20 through 11 for 2008:

20. Reefer: Reefer – This year, Islands released their follow-up to Return to the Sea, and wow, did Arms Way stink. However, Nick Thornber, who left Islands before Arms Way, released what could be seen as the real heir to Return to the Sea. Bizarre, laidback and somewhat unfocused, it is just far more entertaining that Thornber’s former band’s release.

19. Coldplay: Vida La Vida – Bite me. If anything, Coldplay is catchy as hell, even if they are just U2.1.

18. Kanye West: 808s and Heartbreak – Now presenting: Kanye West’s Postal Service’s Give Up.

17. Maus Haus: Lark Marvels – A real darkhorse for the top 20, this album is something like Modest Mouse without the arena rock metamorphism the Mouse has experienced. Well worth your time to check out.

16. Shearwater: Rook – Really intense and full of atmosphere yet oddly familiar sounds. Almost impossible to describe this album except “haunting”.

15. Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Lie Down in the Light – Speaking of haunting, Will Oldham (aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy) has become much less haunting and much more accessible since his days in Palace. This album is definitely the alternative folk rock that doesn’t bland you to death.

14. Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea – Maybe not the best Silver Jews’ album, but definitely the most focused since American Water. One of those truly underappreciated American bands.

13. Bloc Party: Intimacy – OK, so, a lot of people dissed Bloc Party’s Intimacy. I’m not entirely sure if it was because (a) Bloc Party is no longer cool in their eyes; (b) the sophomore album A Weekend in the City was a disappointment; (c) Intimacy is kind of schizophrenic or (d) all of the above. Whatever the reason, they are wrong. Sure, Bloc Party suddenly finds itself maybe a little too enamored with their synths and yes, maybe they’re just the 00’s version of Jesus Jones, but, well, those are two things that I am susceptible.

12. Xiu Xiu: Women as Lovers – Jamie Stewart is the patron saint of tortured electronic geniuses in America today.

11. Ratatat: LP3 – The most nuanced Ratatat album thus far, it brings in a lot of diverse sounds – both energized and relaxed. Now, they just need to release another hip-hop remix album.

Look for #1-10 tomorrow!


The return of … music?

So, the election is over.

Baseball season is over.

And suddenly, Erik is feeling music again.

What happened? Well, I think that should be pretty obvious. A lot of tension was lifted from my mind after Barack Obama won the presidency (can you dig it?!) I’ll have more to say about this, but right now I’m a little too busy trying to get ready for a weekend field trip and an interview, so instead I’ll post my first iPod top 10 in months. Enjoy!

  1. “Like This” by Girl Talk
  2. “The Menace” by Mongrel
  3. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
  4. “Shame on a Nigga” by Wu Tang Clan
  5. “Blind” by Hercules & Love Affair
  6. “Freiwild” by K.I.Z.
  7. “Flux” by Bloc Party
  8. “Dance Wiv Me” by Dizzee Rascal with Calvin Harris
  9. “Mumtaz Khan” by Ratatat
  10. “I Lost You” by the Walkmen