this is a list of albums. it's not exactly my top 25 for the decade, but it's close. i like to overanalyze so i decided i'd make it easier and narrow my 25 by limiting each band to one album. i've been a bit behind on new music of late so i'm sure i'm missing stuff i'd like.
i was having too hard a time ordering them by preference so i've just randomly assigned them an order. deal with it. why 25? why not? that's as good a reason as any.
now that we've set the ground rules, here's the list with minimal explanation:
1. menomena - friend and foe (2007)
these are some weird dudes. their song writing process is even weirder. the music, however, is excellent and i'd like them to make more.
2. gogol bordello - super taranta! (2007)
you can't trust gypsies.
3. shins - chutes too narrow (2003)
back when i was driving from sc to pepperdine every weekend i listened to this album like it was going out of style... which it was.
4. the notwist - neon golden (2002)
listen to this album and try to figure out how a band that started in germany's grunge-metal scene made such an awesome indie rock/electronica album.
5. the flaming lips - yoshimi battles the pink robots (2002)
this is a great album, but you should probably listen to the soft bulletin instead.
6. wolf parade - apologies to the queen mary (2005)
the guys in this band are in about 37 bands, none of which have made any albums nearly as good as this one or the newer wolf parade album, at mount zoomer.
7. the good, the bad, the queen1 (2007)
i prefer to think that when damon albarn and paul simonon were writing the songs for this album that simonon did most of the work because the clash were much better than either blur or the gorillaz.
8. ted leo and the pharmacists - shake the sheets (2004)
sure, this guy's a crazy leftist, but he makes good music. just because i'd side with johnny ramone over joey ramone in a political debate doesn't mean i can't enjoy this album.
9. vampire weekend - vampire weekend (2008)
i really wanted to hate this band. they're ivy leaguers who dress like philosphy grad students and sing about grammar and architecture. thankfully, they made a record that lived up to the insane amount of internet hype they generated.
10. okkervil river - the stage names (2007)
this one's pretty darn good.
11. arcade fire - funeral (2004)
montreal was founded in 1642. 362 years later arcade fire made this album and i finally found something not to dislike about french canada. if i had actually ranked these albums, this one would probably be number one. "rebellion (lies)" is one of the best songs ever recorded and the only to capture my utter distaste for sleep.
12. animal collective - sung tongs (2004)
okay, i get it. this should say merriweather post pavillion instead of sung tongs, but i haven't heard it yet. i'll get to it eventually so get off my back already.
13. sufjan stevens - illinois (2005)
"john wayne gacy, jr." is an outstanding song. wait while i listen to it again... okay you may proceed.
14. ...and you will know us by the trail of dead - source tags and codes (2002)
conrad keely probably did too many psychotropic drugs after this album came out. that's the only way i can figure that the band's subsequent albums failed to come close to this one.
15. andrew bird - armchair apocrypha (2007)
i saw this guy open for the decemberists at the hollywood bowl which was excellent. the last time i was on a plane, i had "fiery crash" stuck in my head.
16. the decemberists - crane wife (2006)
picking this album over the hazards of love or any of the others was tough. the facts are these: "o valencia!" is my cell phone ring; my old roommate made a halloween costume based on "shankill butchers"; "sons and daughters" made for an epic sing along at the last concert i attended; the live performance of hazards was insane, but so was seeing the band play with the l.a. philharmonic in '07.
17. interpol - turn on the bright lights (2002)
remember when the strokes were supposed to reclaim the world for rock and roll? neither do i. what i do remember is that this album is awesome and so was antics. our love to admire? not so much.
18. modest mouse - good news for people who love bad news (2004)
this is our moment of indier-than-thou, self-righteous idignance: when "float on" hit the radio, everyone and their mother started listening to modest mouse which was cool. less cool, however, was that everyone acted like they'd discovered this new band and they hadn't. they had been around for eleven years. plus it's not discovering a band if you first heard them on mainstream radio or saw a video on mtv. my first introduction to modest mouse? a band t-shirt with a moose on it when i was 14.
19. wilco - yankee hotel foxtrot (2002)
this album always reminds us of super cool 94.3 which was an actual independent radio station2 in orange county for about a year before it switched to spanish language. they played the heck out of "heavy metal drummer." seriously, they killed that song. of course, hearing a great song over and over beats the heck out hearing crazy town.
20. at the drive-in - relationship of command (2000)
a lot of people like the mars volta better than at the drive-in, but i prefer the focus and restraint of the latter over the experimentation for experimentation's sake of the former. that's probably why i'd pick rubber soul over sgt. pepper's.
21. beck - sea change (2002)
songs from this album are usually my least favorite part of his live shows, but the songs are ridiculously good. i'm still surprised that beck was able to make this album.
22. the deadly syndrome - the ortolan (2007)
these guys need to record another album and you need to hear this one. get on it.
23. spoon - girls can tell (2001)
i could just as easily have picked kill the moonlight or gimme fiction, but i listened to this one the other day on a run and i'm humming "chicago at night" right now.
24. clap your hands say yeah - clap your hands say yeah (2005)
i heard it from a friend; the revolution never happened.
25. ryan adams - heartbreaker (2000)
for the longest time, i considered ryan adams nothing more than a punchline because he made ulysses s. grant look like a lightweight and put out what seemed like an album a month3. then i started listening to this album and, while i kept making jokes until he sobered up, i also gave him the musical respect he deserved.
1the band doesn't really have a name, but it's damon albarn from blur, paul simonon from the clash, simon tong from the verve, and tony allen from africa 70 produced by danger mouse.
2indie 103.1 was owned by clear channel which makes them about as independent at tibet.
3wikipedia lists eleven this decade. i'm not sure, but i think that's how many albums the rolling stones put out in the sixties when most bands could record and release an album between breakfast and lunch.