Monday, January 18, 2010

Well, here it is, folks.

It's taken me quite a while to finalize this list, be it because I've been struggling to recall favorites from the first part of the decade that deserve mention, or because I'm insecure about the quality of my list in comparison to those of my peers (Danny, Peter, Jeff - this means it's your fault I've taken so long...). Now that it's been a good two months since I'd begun to think about the decade's best, I'm tired enough of the idea of creating the perfect list to force myself to feign indifference at any forgotten mentions, and some Xanax will probably help me with the list-esteem issue. So, here we goooooo!

26. In Ghost Colours - Cut/Copy: After a long-delayed flight from Australia threatened to cancel their P-fork '08 set, hearing "Hearts on Fire" sneak out from behind Animal Collective's set and running over to join the bouncing crowd for the two songs they played made me love this record all the more.
25. Satanic Panic in the Attic - Of Montreal: The first time I heard "Rapture Rapes the Muses" while co-hosting my friend Kathy's radio show my mind was blown because it was then that I truly realized how little I knew about music and how much I wanted to learn. If their fans and their subsequent records hadn't diminished the listenability of SPitA, it'd probably be top-10.
23. (tie) #3 - Suburban Kids with Biblical Names/You're so Silent, Jens - Jens Lekman: Swedish indie pop is one of the greatest things to happen to music this decade, and both of these artists exemplify why. I really like Night Falls Over Kortedala, but I can't exclude the collection that showcases "Black Cab" no matter how hard I try.
22. Slow Dance - Jeremy Jay: French post-punk revivalism in 2009? Fucking yes.
21. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Too noisy to be twee, too twee to be noisepop, POBPAH's C86 revivalism gives me hope for the next decade's music.
20. Alight of Night - Crystal Stilts - Simple chords, when draped in enough noise and distortion, prove that you don't need to be technically proficient to make a fantastic record. Substandard equipment helps. While probably technically part of the whole "shitgaze/glo-fi" movement, Crystal Stilts do what they do so well that none of the genre's other bands really even need to exist.
19. Album - Girls: Danny said it well enough for me to not need to repeat. Also, since on the 1st of January, 2010 I vowed no alcohol until the Girls show on 1/31 at Walter's, I really love them and want it to be the day of their show.
18. Up the Bracket - The Libertines: If There's a Riot Goin' On was the most appropriate album to snort a line off in the 70s, "Up the Bracket" is, along with Blood Visions (RIP Jay :( ) certainly the best for the '00s.
17. High Society - Enon: Maybe the best "Indie Rock" album of all time.
16. Paper Television - The Blow: "True affection floats"
15. Every Night - Saturday Looks Good to Me: "All Over Town" is one of my favorite songs to listen to on a warm day while driving with the windows down.
14. Underachievers Please Try Harder - Camera Obscura: While "If Looks Could Kill" and "French Navy" might be amazing singles that showcase the best of a fully-realized band's potential, the underachievement of "Underachievers" is just so damn cute.
13. Suburban Light - The Clientele: A great October record that I really listened to for the first time on a rainy October evening.
12. Let it Bloom - Black Lips: Maximum fucking rock and roll.
11. Love Visions - Nobunny: I kind of wish I lived in San Francisco so I could have heard these guys (and Hunx) earlier.

10. The Last Match - The Aislers Set

Through benefit of barely squeaking out of the 90s, I love this record because of how 90s noise-pop it is. I kind of get the impression that every No Age/Vivian Girls/Wavves/Girls wishes they could have made this absolutely perfect record themselves. More than anything, Aislers Set understand the necessity of noise and melody, and they pour the perfect amount from each beaker into each song. Bonus points for covering 14 Iced Bears.

9. The Mysterious Production of Eggs - Andrew Bird

Listening to this record sometimes feels like an adult "story time" where Andrew is sitting in the center of a circle with a big picture book open to illustrate his song's nameless protagonists. One of the rare instances where an album could likely stand on its lyrical merit alone, the melodic prowess of the storyteller is doubly effective.

8. Rings Around the World - Super Furry Animals

My favorite part of this album is how it sounds like Paul McCartney is doing the backing vocals in "Receptacle for the Respectable" and how you check the liner notes and see his name in there and think "damn I was right" while all he did was like blow on a comb or something.

7. The Museum of Imaginary Animals - Pram

The problem with decade-end lists is that if you listen to a lot of music you'll inevitably happen upon the circumstance where you hear something very late in the decade that hasn't had the time to marinate like the rest of the selections you'll likely include. When I first heard this album I knew it was one of the best, and I'm pretty confident I've not erred on this one at all. It's whimsical, haunting, and beautiful. I urge all Stereolab fans to get it immediately.

6. Margerine Eclipse - Stereolab

Whether on stage, in a car, while lying in bed reading a book, or concentrating intently on every note, I love listening to Margerine Eclipse. Though, as Peter pointed out, Sound-dust was the last album with Mary Hansen before her untimely demise, and after spending a week straight listening to that album exclusively while driving, it took one listen of Margerine Eclipse for me prefer it over Sound-dust. I especially can't get enough of the hypnotic and chilling "Someday...someday...someday" in "La Demeure."

5. Tower of Love - Jim Noir

When we get together
I always hope there'll be nice weather
between us
there's nothing worse
than when you turn into a thunder storm with me

4. Guitar Romantic - Exploding Hearts

Every song on this album is so good that you just as you start to think it's the best song on the album you remember how good each and every other song on there is. WHY THE FUCK DID THEY HAVE TO DIE?

3. In the Valley of Dying Stars - Superdrag

Of all the cases where the nature of the American music industry cheated a band (and the fans they never had the chance to earn), that of In the Valley of Dying Stars, because of the sheer marketability of a sound so compatible with the radio landscape of the era, stands so astoundingly far ahead of the pack. I feel privileged to have known of their existence at a time when they could be enjoyed as they matured, and followed through their demise and eventual resurgence. Also, there probably isn't a more fun song to sing/yell while running across a snow covered Mudd Field when you're 19 and wasted.

2. Dear Catastrophe Waitress - Belle & Sebastian

The number one music-related regret of my college career involves missing Belle & Sebastian at the Pageant my sophomore year because at that point I thought they were "boring". I've been wrong about many things, but this error is high up on the list. The undeniable excellence of another of their shows in early '06 that involved a 4-hr road trip and the absolute farthest seats from the stage only served to broaden the wound built by the missed opportunity of seeing them close up at a place that was a 20-minute walk away.

1. Is This It? - The Strokes

By now it's all been said, it's all been read; this is it.


Danny said...

This is perfect! I had something really important to say here but I forgot it as I was typing (ha ha ha).

It was going to end with me asking "when do I just start telling people that Eric's my main influence?"

What the fuck am I talking about though haha.

Yes, though, good god damn list!

J said...

Just wondering, for the sake of curiosity, how close (or how far away) the Shins were to making this list?

Eric said...

the shins aren't too far off...either Chutes too Narrow or Oh, Inverted world probably would have cracked top 40 or top 50

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