Top Albums of Decade (2000-2009): 21-30

best-of-2000s-21-30Radiohead and Michael Penn would have found their way onto my top albums of the 90’s, but the rest of this list is brand new to me this decade; a good sign.

21. Late Registration (2005) – Kanye West – People are going to forget Kanye due to his tabloid craziness and his VMA “Ima let you finish” rant – but no one produced as consistently great music as Kanye did. I don’t generally like entire rap albums – a lot of them tend to be 2 or 3 good songs and a lot of filler. Even the skits on this album work for me.
22. Picaresque (2005) – The Decemberists – Following in the footsteps of Neutral Milk Hotel, this is a geek band with lush production, varied instrumentation, and great lyrics.
23. Kid A (2000) – Radiohead – After O.K. Computer, Radiohead went in a totally different direction. This is what great bands do. More electronic in sound, it almost eschews guitars. As great as O.K. Computer is (my all-time favorite album), Kid A and Amnesiac are the two albums that cement Radiohead as a great concert act.
24. Post-War (2006) – M. Ward – Who knew? Quietly M. Ward has become a songwriter’s songwriter. His songs seem older than they are – almost whimsical. Not country; not folk; not pop – a little bit of everything.
25. 12 Memories (2003) – Travis – This is Travis’ response to 9/11 and near personal tragedy. It works in a different way than their other albums. It’s still poppy – but it just seems better than Coldplay generally is.
26. Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 (2007) – Michael Penn – There’s never any wasted space in a Michael Penn album. Power-pop brilliance from one of the masters of the form.
27. Asking for Flowers (2008) – Kathleen Edwards – I’ll say more about Edwards when we get to the top 10 (that would be foreshadowing). She is simply one of the best singers songwriters around.
28. Illinoise (2005) – Sufjan Stevens – This is an epic album with brilliant songs. Nothing else sounds like it – except for another Sufjan Stevens album.
29. Sam’s Town (2006) – The Killers – This album keeps moving up the list. Not their most popular – likely because it’s a concept album that rejected the overtly pop sound of their debut album. Rewards repeat listening, seriously – this album started in 60’s on this list. I’m not sure it shouldn’t be higher.
30. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007) – Spoon – They never set the world on fire for me, but they are the most consistently very good band out there. Very catchy songs that doesn’t sound like everyone else.

The running list can be found here:  Top 100 Albums: 2000-2009

Top Albums of the Decade (2000-2009): 51-60

First 50 down; 50 more to go.

51. MTV Unplugged (2001) – Jay-Z
52. Gimme Fiction (2005) – Spoon
53. Antics (2004) – Interpol
54. The Greatest (2006) – Cat Power
55. Broken Boy Soldiers (2006) – The Raconteurs
56. Failer (2002) – Kathleen Edwards
57. Hot Fuss (2004) – The Killers
58. Treble & Tremble (2004) – Earlimart
59. Neon Bible (2007) – Arcade Fire
60. The Optimist LP (2001) – Turin Brakes

top_100_51_60comments: I didn’t realize how great Jay-z was until this album; thank the Roots for that one. Kathleen Edwards quickly became one of my favorite artists. A worthy successor to Shawn Colvin. Earlimart channels Elliot Smith in an album designed to honor their friend. BTW – I like the Raconteurs more than the White Stripes.

Top 100 albums 2000-2009: 100-91

Over then next two weeks I’m going to be posting my favorite albums of the past 10 years, 2000-2009. Note I say my favorites – I know that there are albums that I might have missed or should have been higher, but these are the ones I think rank.

I won’t talk about all of the albums. Only comments where necessary. Would love to hear your comments.

91. Kill the Moonlight (2002) – Spoon
92. Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah (2005) – Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah
93. You & Me (2008) – The Walkmen
94. Born Again in the USA (2006) – Loose Fur
95.  musicforthemorningafter (2001) – Pete Yorn
96. You Were Here (2000) – Sarah Harmer
97. Alligator (2005) – The National
98. Sunset Studies (2000) – Augie March
99. These Four Walls (2006) – Shawn Colvin
100. The Weight is a Gift (2005) – Nada Surf

comments: Loose Fur is a side protect of Jeff Tweedy and Born Again in the USA was an album I liked more than most Wilco albums of the decade. musicforthemorningafter by Pete Yorn has some great. Spoon had a great decade and became one of my favorite bands. Kill the Moonlight has some great songs and a lot of songs you’ve heard in movies and television.

Juliette Lewis can’t lose – Daytrotter sessions

If you’re a indie or alternative music fan, and aren’t acquainted with Daytrotter, you need to acquaint yourself. Daytrotter is an indie music site like no other. They convince many up and coming and emerging artists to stop by their studios to do sessions with them.  They record these sessions and then offer them on their website for free. Their charge is to feature one new band a day, everyday, and to present 28 Daytrotter Session songs a week.  The list of artists is impressive: Aimee Mann, Death Cab for Cutie, Grizzly Bear, Spoon, Bon Iver, Juliette Lewis (more on her later) and the list goes on.

Recently Daytrotter posted a session with Juliette Lewis – yeah, that Juliette Lewis. I’m not used to actors actually being any good at music. Usually the best you can hope for is that thejuliette-lewis-daytrottery not embarrass themselves. Zoey Deschanel should have changed my mind about that, but it really hasn’t. Anyway, Lewis’ Daytrotter session is actually one of my favorites. It’s loose, spirited, and fun. Reminds me of Maria McKee in spots – that jangly, southern rock thing that started with Janis Joplin. I know I’m throwing out some big names there, but over the course of 4 songs – it’s easy to keep up appearances.

Plus it’s free but for the cost of your time to download and listen.

Juliette Lewis – Daytrotter Session

Aimee Mann – Daytrotter Session

Spoon – Daytrotter Session

Death Cab for Cutie – Daytrotter Session

Great Concert Week: Spoon & Kathleen Edwards

Last week I got back to going to concerts. Last year I don’t think I saw a single new band (geezer rock doesn’t count).  So in a week where I didn’t get Radiohead tickets – I think the concert gods are smiling on me.
Spoon & The Walkmen – Electric Factory – 4/10/2008
I was surprised by the Walkmen – their albums have been interesting, but I haven’t found them all that compelling. I definitely wasn’t psyched to see them – to the extent that we got to the Electric Factory late – expecting to miss most of the opening act. They’re great live. The lead singer has kind of an odd, nasally voice, but that’s never bothered me – and I really like their arrangements. It was nice to finally see a band as opposed to singer/songwriter rocking the guitar and nothing else, but in addition to the guitar they brought with them a horn section. Good times, good times.

I was fading fast for Spoon, so that kind of affected my opinion of the show. I enjoyed myself – thought it  was a really, really good show, just not great. Brit Daniels does a lot of tooling around and experimentation – and I wasn’t a big lover of the song choices, but like I said it was a really, really good show.

One thing I found interesting is that the show was sponsored by Camel cigarettes and as such was an over 21 show. Free cigarettes for everyone! Fucking marketers ;)

Kathleen Edwards & Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson started strong, closed strong and everything in the middle was excellent. He started with an acoustic version of the Dixie Chicks song “Easy Silence” which it turns out her wrote with the Chicks along with a great portion of their songs (including “Lullaby” (iTunes) which was the song Kristen walked into at our wedding). He closed with a song he wrote with his band Semisonic called “Closing Time”. I had no idea who Dan Wilson was until this point. He introduced the song be telling the audience that it was the most well hidden song about the birth of a child. As Kristen said, “I always thought it was about hooking up.”

I truly think Kathleen Edwards is going to have one of those careers. She sings about bad men, band times, and bad places. She’s only released three albums – and you probably have no idea who she is. She’s often compared to Lucinda Williams, and I hear it – but I think it’s the career that will be similar. 15 years from now, and some 7 albums later, you’ll know here name, she’ll be one of the most respected singer/songwriters of her generation, and I’ll be saying I told you so or I saw her when. A lot of people are getting that message – the TLA was as packed as I’d ever seen it.

I’m glad Edwards showed up with a full band. Too many singer/songwriters show with just their guitar – and I think that’s great, but it’s not what I want all the time. Aside from all the people who showed up who were there just for background music, it was still a great show.

Oh, so tired

The last week has been crazy.  Work has up and decided to be, well, work.  Haven’t had a real day off in over a week – and last week I spent 5 evenings in auto dealership negotiating Kristen’s new car.  Thank goodness that’s over.  So what do I do tonight?  Go to an auto dealership to buy a car for myself.  Still looking though. Want to lower my payment and get something more fuel efficient.

The week will pick up tomorrow – Spoon is playing at the Electric Factory (sold out and I have tickets) and Saturday night it’s Kathleen Edwards.

Check out the following video from Canadian singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards.  She’s truly an amazing songwriter – draws an awful lot of comparisons to Lucinda Williams.  

Don’t say you’ll change after the next time
You wouldn’t even be yourself if you weren’t telling a lie
Maybe 20 years in state will change your mind

Kathleen Edwards - Back to Me - In State

Concert unfinished business

I’m pretty good about seeing my favorite bands in concert.   As reference take a look at this list (story to follow).

Here’s my top 10 artists from Last.FM:

  1. Michael Penn
  2. Elliott Smith
  3. Aimee Mann
  4. Radiohead
  5. Wilco
  6. Spoon
  7. Foo Fighters
  8. Fiona Apple
  9. Sleater-Kinney
  10. U2

Of this list the only one I haven’t seen is Spoon.   (Good thing I’ve seen Elliott Smith [dead] and Sleater-Kinney [broken up]).   Matter of fact, on this list Sleater-Kinney is the one I’ve seen less than twice.

Spoon is kind of a surprise, because I’ve never been fanatical about them – but every album they’ve released just kicks ass.   Their last three albums (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Gimme Fiction, and Kill the Moonlight) are among the best things released this past decade, but no one knows who they are.   Actually you probably do because their music is a staple of music, television, and commercials, and movies – but you still don’t know who they are.   (Funny – I started writing this and Kristen turned on the movie Stranger than Fiction where Britt Daniel, Spoon’s lead singer does the soundtrack – by the way – a friggin’ great movie).

Anyway (I start too many sentences that way when I write),   on April 10th, 2008 I will scratch Spoon from my not seen list; I can’t wait.   I’ve heard they are great in concert, and with that – my top 10 is complete.

By the way my top 20 is missing just Kanye West – which is not going to happen until he learns how to breath when he raps.