Thursday, November 26, 2009
MP3: The Bear Quartet - Birds Are Singing Deep Within the Greenery
#1 - The Bear Quartet - Saturday Night
A West Side Fabrication 2005
Matt On Saturday Night:
The middle of the decade, saw, unbeknownst to itself, it's musically defining moment. Largely neglected by most of the world, The Bear Quartet had constantly been getting better in their previous 15 years as a band, and when Saturday Night appeared, it signaled a change. Elements that would not work on their own do as a whole. Where music dared to tread in the early part of the decade it went, and whereas music in the latter half attempted to poorly imitate this masterpiece.
MP3: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Wolf Among Wolves
#1 - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Master and Everyone
Drag City Records 2003
Joey On Master and Everyone:
"Master and Everyone" is the album I judge any Will Oldham record on. There isn't much to be said as a whole because the music really speaks for itself, but the time and place that created it birthed a bloom of perfection in my soul that probably can never be replicated, but that's okay: all I need is this, forever and ever.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
MP3: Tom Waits - Fish and Bird
#2 - Tom Waits - Alice
Anti Records 2002
Matt On Alice:
Released over a decade after its inception (due to the masters being stolen) perhaps might have made Alice even better. Originally a score, it's contextual separation from that event allowed the album to form its own visuals for the listener, and such a world that only Tom Waits can create. Our imaginations were always where a record such as this is meant to live.
MP3: The Velvet Teen - Radiapathy
#2 - The Velvet Teen - Out Of The Fierce Parade
Slowdance Records 2002
Joey On Out Of The Fierce Parade:
This album changed my life completely. And I don't mean listening to it. I mean I never would've left Connecticut, made the connections I made or anything without the existence of this album. For that it will always be special, but musically it is so perfect it only adds to the myth of it for me. And for the record, I would like the closing song "Death" to be played at my funeral.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
MP3: Jolie Holland - Mexican Blue
#3 - Jolie Holland - Springtime Can Kill You
Anti Records 2006
Joey On Springtime Can Kill You:
I was a pretty casual fan of Jolie Holland until "Springtime Can Kill You" came out and caused me to re-evaluate her back catalogue. It's such timeless music that again I can never see myself hating at any point in my life. "Mexican Blue" might be the saddest song ever written.
MP3: Spiritualized - Don't Just Do Something
#3 - Spiritualized - Let It Come Down
Arista Records 2001
Matt On Let It Come Down:
Grandiose opulence is what Jason Pierce aimed for, and such is what he got. On what is his most hopeful album, and most beautiful. The songs within contain so much depth, it takes tens—maybe hundreds—of listens to begin unravelling the web of beauty.
Monday, November 23, 2009
MP3: Laakso - True Love
#4 Laakso - My Gods
V2 Records 2005
Matt On Mclusky Do Dallas:
On their second album, the Laakso finally came into their own. Mixing their pop sensibilities with noisy, angular indie rock complimented Markus Krunegård's self-depricating lyrics better than before. The music is tense and dark, making that step from autumn into the cold Swedish winter.
MP3: The King Khan & BBQ Show - Why Don't You Lie?
#4 - The King Khan & BBQ Show - What's For Dinner?
In The Red Records 2006
Joey On What's For Dinner?:
Another game changer for me. Real dirty with plenty of doo-wop and rollicking punk something or others. Fuck yeah!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
MP3: Nada Surf - Killian's Red
#5 - Nada Surf - Let Go
Barsuk Records 2003
Joey On Let Go:
Nada Surf were good but they got great and reached a peak with "Let Go" that I don't know they've ever reached again. A perfect album and one that got me out of the gutter of growing up on what Connecticut calls "music". Gross.
MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - O Children
#22 - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
Mute Records 2004
Matt On Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus:
After the uneven (in Cave/Seeds standards) Nocturama, the Bad Seeds reconvened and this was the result. A refocusing found them reaching highs (and loudness) that they had not done prior.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
MP3: Dead Prez - I'm A African
#6 - Dead Prez - Let's Get Free
Loud Records 2000
Matt On Let's Get Free:
Nary two months into the decade, this debut was a statement to the world. Mixing leftist politics with amazing beats and flows, Dead Prez released what has since become one of the best hip-hop albums of all-time.
MP3: Vincent Gallo - Yes I'm Lonely
#6 - Vincent Gallo - When
Warp Records 2001
Joey On When:
The loneliest record I ever heard. It's so magical and cold, stuck between the window and the bed at the night. I remember so much when I hear this record and it's probably why I can only do it so often. But it is very great and when I can do it, there is nothing I'd rather be doing.
Friday, November 20, 2009
MP3: Danava - Where Beauty & Terror Dance
#7 - Danava - Unonou
Kemado Records 2008
Joey On Unonou:
Solid record is metal goodness, kind of prog, all sorts of amazing. Danava was a shining star this decade, and I am grateful for them. Also maybe the best show I ever saw.
MP3: All Night Radio - Oh, When
#7 - All Night Radio - Spirit Stereo Frequency
Sub Pop Records 2004
Matt On Spirit Stereo Frequency:
Coming out of the ashes of Beachwood Sparks, Farmer Dave Scher and Jimi Hey collaborated on what was one of the best psychedelic pop albums in years. Ebbing and flowing every instrument used, as well as the samples, they have created mind-bending subdued music seldom seen this side of Spacemen 3.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
MP3: Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids
#8 - Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
Matt On Supreme Clientele:
The sophomore slump was thrown off Mount Everest on this one. Tony Starks delievered an epic 21 Burroughsesque view of the world barely two months into the decade, and, almost ten years later, the world is still trying to decipher it.
MP3: Lightning Bolt - On Fire
#8 - Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow
Load Records 2004
Joey On Wonderful Rainbow:
It's fair to say my life changed entirely once I heard and got into Lightning Bolt. The sounds, the art, everything about them was completely mind melting and inspiring. "Wonderful Rainbow" is the best of the bunch, but they're all winners.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
MP3: All Night Radio - Daylight Till Dawn
#9 - All Night Radio - Spirit Stereo Frequency
Sub Pop Records 2004
Joey On Spirit Stereo Frequency:
Half of Beachwood Sparks doing the best drugs and hitting a whole other plane. They created and quickly destroyed a universe of endless possibility, one that is unique and special. I bet DMT elves helped shape this one, I swear it.
MP3: My Morning Jacket - Phone Went West
#9 - My Morning Jacket - At Dawn
Darla Records 2001
Matt On At Dawn:
One would think that the connector album between The Tennessee Fire and It Still moves would be awkward, but in true My Morning Jacket fashion it's an ethereal twilight trip through an Ozark-like countryside—and the one that put them on the map.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
MP3: The Icarus Line - On the Lash
#10 - The Icarus Line - Penance Soirée
V2 Records 2004
Matt On Penance Soirée:
On Penance Soirée, The Icarus Line, thirty years after the release of Raw Power, picked up where The Stooges left off. Thirteen noisy, brutally loud rock and roll songs, oozing sex and violence in every note. Yet, in our times, an album like this is unfortunately an anomaly instead of the norm.
Monday, November 16, 2009
MP3: Sleater-Kinney - Entertain
#11 - Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
Sub Pop Records 2005
Joey On Album:
This album still rocks harder than anything in the past couple of decades. Sleater-Kinney went out beyond on top, closing the curtain on the best album they ever made and maybe that Sub Pop could ever put out since. "Entertain" is the ultimate fuck off song to the music industry at the time and, what a surprise, it still applies today. Download this album.
ALSO: I would also post "Modern Girl" in a perfect world as it is an incredible song, but if you've never heard this album/band it's not the best place to start. Nonetheless, here is a video from Burn To Shine of them playing it and it's awesome.
MP3: The Tough Alliance - Something Special
#11 - The Tough Alliance - A New Chance
Sincerely Yours 2007
Matt On A New Chance:
Cementing 21st Century pop music, TTA mixes the gorgeous Islamic prayer songs with pitch-shifted samples over the course of the this record. Combine those elements with their own musical prowess and the knack for a damn fine melody, and you assume that in Göteborg it's always summer.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
MP3: Lightning Bolt - 2 Towers
#12 - Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow
Load Records 2004
Matt On Wonderful Rainbow:
Pummeling and brutal, the second proper Lightning Bolt record finally captured the intensity of their live sets in a take home package, complete with the ever so grand art of Brian Chippendale. However, we are also still waiting for a Barkley's Barnyard Critters hologram to accompany one of their records.
MP3: Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio
#12 - Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts Of The Great Highway
Jetset Records 2003 / Caldo Verde Records 2007 (reissue)
Joey On Ghosts Of The Great Highway:
I had just turned 21 in Portland and went to my job at 6 in the morning. Ezra gave me a copy of this for my birthday and I could only listen to it on a disc man because a few weeks back someone broke into my car and stole my stereo. I was pretty hung over from the night before so I went home early from work and bought some gloves, because my hands were endlessly cold in Portland for some reason. I felt great and the sun was rising slowly and this album played. Total magic. There are a million other stories to this record like pretty girls on trains and bummer lonely nights, but the first time is still the best.
Oh, but one time when I worked at the record store in Indianapolis, Mark Kozelek called because he was friends with the boss. He sounded like a pussy, but I was still pretty stoked. I left the note "Mark Kozelek called. - Joey" on the big boss man's desk and I'm sure it's still there, even though he fired me.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
MP3: Marissa Nadler - Mexican Summer
#13 - Marissa Nadler - Songs III: Bird on the Water
Kemado Records 2007
Joey On Songs III: Bird on the Water:
I will listen to this album forever. It is truly one of the best things to come from music.
MP3: Dead Meadow - Everything's Going On
#13 - Dead Meadow - Shivering King and Others
Matador Records 2003
Matt On Shivering King and Others:
Three records in, and Dead Meadow drops a fucking bomb. In addition to superior production when compared to their previous albums, Shivering King takes the sludge, drone and shoegaze up into a shroomed-out bliss.
Friday, November 13, 2009
MP3: Matt Sweeny & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Blood Embrace
#14 - Matt Sweeny & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Superwolf
Drag City Records 2005
Matt On Superwolf:
Who knew of the most quiet and tense albums of the decade could be also be one of the most cathartic? Slowing plodding through a midwinter's field, our heros take a jackhammer to the permafrost to hibernate in.
MP3: Talkdemonic - Dusty Flourescent/Wooden Shelves
#14 - Talkdemonic - Beat Romantic
Arena Rock Recording Company 2006
Joey On Beat Romantic:
Maybe the best band out of Portland currently. I love Talkdemonic. "Beat Romantic" is so fucking great and enjoyable and the song I posted is my favourite song from it. The part where it is strings and banjo is the most beautiful part of any song ever.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
MP3: Black Mountain - Don't Run Our Hearts Around
#15 - Black Mountain - Black Mountain
Joey On Black Mountain:
This shit is right on. If I had a band it would be this band: stoner metal with drone chick and dude vocals, completely capable of taking it down a notch and then skullfucking you when you become complacent. Don't sleep on that new record too long homies.
MP3: The Weakerthans - One Great City!
#15 - The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site
Epitaph Records 2003
Matt On Reconstruction Site:
Personally, I find this record to be criminally underrated in large circles. The Weakerthans finally found their home in slightly slicker production values to finally put the focus on John K. Samson's lyrics and give the music the light it had always deserved.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
MP3: Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet
#16 - Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet
Island Records 2001
Matt On I Get Wet:
The party album of the decade. AWK takes the gash slaying so far up the totem pole on his debut that he's in hedonist utopia. A must for everyone; hit play and everyone gets wet the old fashioned way.
MP3: Joanna Newsom - Inflammatory Writ
#16 - Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender
Drag City Records 2004
Joey On The Milk-Eyed Mender:
Great album. I saw her at UConn one time right before Ys came out and it was just her playing those songs. It was nuts. Chris and Maggie were there and I ran into Sean and Ryan from Quiet Life too. It was a romp. The Milk-Eyed Mender is the one for me and I remember Ezra made me a birthday mix one time before I moved in with him and this was the first song on it. Since then it's seemed like a great way to start a mix or album, even though this is the 5th song on the actual album.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
MP3: The Black Keys - Girl Is On My Mind
#17 - The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
Fat Possum Records 2004
Joey On Rubber Factory:
Yeah, I still have fond memories of drinking whiskey and PBRs and driving (don't do it kids) with this as loud as my car stereo would go in Portland that one time with Morgan. It was the first time he ever heard this album and we put this song on repeat and made up the lyrics as drunk folks do. Also, I only own this on a shitty promo cd-r that Epitaph sent Borders in 2004 and Amber made sure to set it aside for me as I expressed an interest of it to her. Matt knew Amber too. Do you know what happened to her, Matt?
MP3: Fireside - Backwards Over Germany
#17 - Fireside - Get Shot
Matt On Get Shot:
On what is presumed their final album, the legendary Fireside mix their classic chugging indie rock with feedback-covered drums and noisy swathes. A great swansong that, while looking back over their career, also hinted that their next record could, if it existed, be even better.
Monday, November 09, 2009
MP3: Mastodon - Megalodon
#18 - Mastodon - Leviathan
Relapse Records 2004
Matt On Leviathan:
Who knew that after releasing this in 2004 that Mastodon would become one of the premier bands in modern metal? One part metal, one part prog and all parts awesome, Mastodon took Moby Dick and made it even more badass (as if it needed any help at that part).
MP3: The Blow - Fists Up
#18 - The Blow - Paper Television
K Records 2006
Joey On Paper Television:
Great pop music, killer beats and hooks like gum. This makes it because it still feels fresh anytime I give it a spin.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
MP3: Jason Anderson - Tonight
#19 - Jason Anderson - Tonight
ECA Records 2007
Joey On Tonight:
Jason Anderson is New England to me and seeing how much I moved around this decade, it was important for me to have a piece of home in some capacity, even if I was running from it. So there's that. Then there is the fact that Jason is so fun and positive and this record "Tonight" has the gang vocals which are a staple of his live shows. That is important. This song has a shout out to Stop & Shop. That's it right there. Good night.
MP3: Phoenix - Sometimes In The Fall
#19 - Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
Astralwerks - 2006
Like the Andrew W.K. for the French, Phoenix gets people wet with suaveness and charm rather than sheer intensity. A party album for the modern sophisticate.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
MP3: Boris - Farewell
#2o - Boris - Pink
Southern Lord (US) 2005
Matt On Pink:
This is Boris's album. Largely unknown to a majority of the world, Pink is what finally got everyone into the sludgy metal that the Japanese had long since known. Brutal and loud, tidal wave of noise.
MP3: Built To Spill - Alarmed
#20 - Built To Spill - Ancient Melodies Of The Future
Warner Brothers Records 2001
Joey On Ancient Melodies Of The Future:
There are better Built To Spill albums (this year's There's No Enemy could take this spot over with another year of listens), but this is the best one of the decade, plus as any fan knows there is no such thing as a bad Built To Spill album. Fair enough.
A guitar centric band includes some trippy keys to compliment emotion which takes you anywhere from "Strange" to "The Weather". It becomes quite a ride the entire listen through, always enjoyable and always important. That's why I love Built To Spill.
Friday, November 06, 2009
MP3: Beachwood Sparks - Yer Selfish Ways (Matt's pick)
MP3: Beachwood Sparks - The Hustler (Joey's pick)
#21 - Beachwood Sparks - Once We Were Trees
Sub Pop Records 2001
Oh shit we both like this record and put it at the same spot. You get a double dose in one post.
Matt On Once We Were Trees:
It was tough decision as to which Beachwood Sparks album to include, but ultimately, it's their last full-length that perfectly summates the band as the last purveyors of Gram Parsons' "Cosmic American Music".
Joey On Once We Were Trees:
We used to be bummed there was going to be no more Byrds or Gram Parsons music. Now we're bummed that their is no Beachwood Sparks music. Well, they are "back together" so we'll see... could be what the new decade needs. But this decade did just find with the Sparks and all related projects. Pitch perfect shit right here.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
MP3: Converge - Reap What You Sow
Uhhh I told Matt I wasn't going to introduce him or do guest posts anymore since he really does this with me 100%. A partner if you will. But I haven't set up a system to make you know I didn't post this yet, so Matt did. Fuck yeah!
So basically Joey and I were talking about whether or not we should do posts in between the decade feature, and it was decided that such should be the case if something wows us. The new Converge album slays so much gash one could say they run train on the music of 2009. Play this loud and enjoy.
MP3: Mclusky - Dethink To Survive
#22 - Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas
Too Pure Records 2002
Matt On Mclusky Do Dallas:
Discordant angular punk-fueled anger is how you could best label Andy Falkous and his (not so) merry band of Welsh liquor hounds. In a just world, Mclusky would be bigger than U2.
MP3: Girls - Laura
#22 - Girls - Album
True Panther 2009
Joey On Album:
It really is weird including a release from this year on a decade list. Shit, this one only came out a few months ago. That's what happens when you don't wait another year to do these things: Oh well. I really like Girls' "Album" and over time, it could even be higher on this list. I think all of the songs are great and it's way original sounding and they do drugs and brag about it which is always cool. Fuck yeah.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
MP3: Jana Hunter - A Goblin, a Goblin
#23 - Jana Hunter - Carrion EP
Gnomonsong Records 2007
Joey On Carrion EP:
I think it says a lot when an EP makes a list made up of albums. I do really, really like this one: the Carrion EP is half new songs and half demos from Jana Hunter's previous record "There's No Home": that math leads to something that is allllllll good. The new songs mesh so well with the demos that it becomes it's own entity, completely haunting and entirely intimate. It sounds like someone sitting in a tree, luring you with the sweet sounds of a music box, leaving you to sit in the leaves and become everything around you. Or something.
MP3: Bill Callahan - Too Many Birds
#23 - Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
Drag City Records 2009
Matt On Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle:
It's always a tough call to include a new album on a decade culminating list, however I feel that this is more than worthy. Either on my computer or turntable, Bill Callahan just speaks so eloquently as if he's a preacher without a church, or the old sea dog at the end of the bar.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
MP3: Andreas Mattsson - Summer of Speed
#24 - Andreas Mattsson - The Lawlessness Of The Ruling Classes
Hybris Records 2006
Matt On The Lawlessness Of The Ruling Classes:
Taking years to make, the former Popsicle man eschews the meticulousness craft and delicacy with which he crafted a very, very underrated pop masterpiece. In years time, I hope this album is looked at in the manner it deserves.
MP3: Rilo Kiley - So Long
#24 - Rilo Kiley - The Execution Of All Things
Saddle Creek 2002
Joey On The Execution Of All Things:
This may seem like a kind of cheesy choice these days, and rightfully so: Rilo Kiley played us all for fools. There was such a promise of greater things coming from them and their actor backgrounds were quirks, sure, but it was nothing worth focusing on (though the press sure did... a lot). Here were some folks from California making really great, warm sounding pop music that came across as heartfelt and completely honest. So once they knew we were hanging on their every word, they dropped their cards and revealed that the whole thing was a bluff. They really were the assholes you'd think they would have been and used any type of (shudder) indie cred to gain the money and recognition that their sub par acting careers could no longer bring in. Bravo: my rat is off to you, sirs and madam.
So over the years, it became really hard to like their past Barsuk and Saddle Creek output, because every time you heard them, it was near impossible to ignore the pain behind the sham. Things have finally changed though: now, after hearing their last 2 god awful records and accepting them as something else entirely, those old records shine brighter. If anything, they represent easier times, when you could trust a band outright and just enjoy things for what they were.
"The Execution Of All Things" is a damn fine pop record. There is not a dud on it and at the time, nothing else sounded like it. People were still weary of female fronted music and the alternative country whatever sound was fresh and underplayed; Saddle Creek itself was worth a damn, putting out their talented friends and not chasing flashes in flashy pans like they do now (I think it was this band fucking them over that jaded them and if so, bummer. Get over it).
The song I am choosing from this record is a song by Blake Sennett, who seems like he is a dick, but a talented one at least. If you can back up your dickery, it makes it easier to swallow. Plus, The Elected was/is bad ass and probably deserving of a slot on this list, but alas... So yes. If you know this record, you know the Jenny Lewis songs. That's fine, they're so great. But this song, this song always gets me floating and really deserves so much more love. Like this record. We were young, sure, but nostalgia is in this year and I'm playing along. Enjoy.
Monday, November 02, 2009
MP3: Early Man - War Eagle
#25 - Early Man - Closing In
Matador Records 2005
Joey On Closing In:
When I took the plunge into stoner metal a few years back, Early Man were in the forefront of that decision. It saved my brain, giving me faith in music and live shows once more and I will always be thankful for that. "Closing In" is not to be fucked with, every track is a slice leaving you bloodless and craving more, endlessly. I probably listen to this album or at least a song from it every week and it truly is the blueprint of all things great.
MP3: Deerhunter - Calvary Scars II / Aux Out
Alright here is how this is going to go, and I'm probably only going to say this once: Every day until we finish, myself and Matt Giordano are counting down the very best albums of the decade. We each have our own awesome fucking lists and sometimes we share a few picks. Either way, both lists are the official stance on the music of this decade. Matt is kicking us off and my post will come later in the afternoon, from there it switches back and forth until our #1, when you get a double fucking punch. K.O.? You fucking know it. Enjoy!
#25 - Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
Kranky Records 2008
Matt on Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.:
This double-disc opus was the statement the American indie rock scene of the latter part of the decade was looking for. A band unabashed in their approach and attitude, with the country's press completely at the whim of the charismatic Bradford Cox.