The Best of the ’00s Part 4: #70-61

Away we go …

70 Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) (left) – It has always amazed me that this band went from “She Don’t Use Jelly” to this – a prog rock epic for the 21st century. Yet, oddly, I have trouble of thinking of a lot of things to say about the album beyond the fact that I like hearing the music.

69 Hot Chip – The Warning (2006) – They started off a little more electrosynth than they have become, but no less fascinating. “And I Was a Boy from School” is a minor epic in synthpop, up there with “Blue Monday” and “It’s a Sin”.

68 Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position (2007) – If Patrick Wolf doesn’t have one of the longest careers of anyone on this list, I would be surprised. Then again, he might also never release another album, that is the way of the musical prodigies like Wolf. This album is so richly textured but it is really the utter brilliance of the the title track that has me returning to The Magic Position.

67 Various Artists – Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2006) – Should I admit I’ve never actually watched the movie from which this soundtrack is culled? No matter, the music is what really matters, with some excellent live performances from Dead Prez, Black Star and a show-stopped by the Roots with Erykah Badu. This would put to rest any argument that hip hop artists aren’t musicians.

66 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008) – I suppose the Fleet Foxes are sort of the logical progression from Appalachian folk rock into the realms of alternative rock. Fleet Foxes might be considered Palace Music re-envisioned in a pop music world.

65 Konono No. 1 – Congotronics Vol. 1 (2005) (right) – It is hard to ignore an album made by a bunch of musicians who made most of their instruments from scrap cars on the streets of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The music ends up emerging into an almost trancelike universe showing a sort of parallel evolution of sound.

64 Mclusky – Do Dallas (2002) – It must be fun to be a bunch of badasses like Mclusky? I mean, they have the balls to play sounds like “The World Loves Us and Is Our Bitch” or “Fuck this Band”. They were severely underappreciated during their brief, two album, existence, sort of a Welsh version of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.

63 The Black Keys – Thickfreakness (2003) – I’ve always felt a little sorry for the Black Keys. I mean, fundamentally, are they that much different than the White Stripes, musically speaking? Both borrow heavily from guitar-centric blues, both rose out of the indie rock ranks, yet only one became international superstars … and it wasn’t the Black Keys. Did the right band become famous? Maybe … maybe not.

62 Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning (2005) – When Bright Eyes released their dual album I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, I was one of the few who liked the electro-pop Digital Urn better than It’s Morning but ah, tastes do change I suppose (although I still think “Easy/Lucky/Free” from Digital Urn is one of Bright Eye’s best songs and videos). I’m not sure I care for the track that Conor Oberst’s career has gone since, but I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning has staying power.

61 The Pipettes – We are the Pipettes (2006) (left) – OK, so maybe The Pipettes are one of those bands that gets a lot of credit because it was constructed of three attractive British female singers. It might have helped a lot. That being said, this sort of soul revival was a very nice welcome in the midst of a very moody decade – this is why I still love my real pop music, no matter what the hipsters try to tell us.

Here is the iTunes iMix for 70-61.

If you’ve missed the rest of the best, here are 80-71, 90-81 and 100-91.


Getting back on track

Back on Track

So, I’ve been in a bit of a music funk lately. Not sure why, but nothing caught my attention and I couldn’t really get in the mood to write any new reviews. I suppose this happens to everyone, but I’ve slowly been attempting to reboot and get back on track.

I was going to post a new top 10 from my iPod, but it is a mess right now. I mean, of the Top 20 songs right now, 8 are from the new Girl Talk album, Feed the Animals, which I recommend to everyone, everywhere (heck, you can download for a price of your choosing). I’ve also been quite fond of the new Fleet Foxes album, but it doesn’t even register on my iPod playcount because I listened to the physical CD while working in the lab (a real CD? Go figure). My other recent acquisition that has gotten a lot of playing is the Silver Jews Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea.

Oddly, the late spring releases, on the whole, have sort of disappointed me. I was really looking forward to the new Islands record, Arm’s Way but it fell flat. Death Cab for Cutie’s Narrow Stairs just hasn’t stuck, but then again both Transatlanticism and Plans took a few months to sink in. El Perro Del Mar’s From the Valley to the Stars was just a little too laid back to the point of narcolepsy and the Long Blondes’ “Couples” was a disaster compared to the treat that was their first album. Maybe this has been why I’ve been unable to stay focussed on music lately: too much disappointment.