How the time flies! I can hardly believe it’s time to be compiling the poop again already. Well, as usual, there seemed to be a lot of music that I liked this year, and also a ton that I missed out on. Fortunately, no longer working at a record store, I didn’t have to hear a lot of low grade crap over and over. Here’s a cheer to small blessings. I seem to be getting set in my ways as I age, and I’m going to be a whopping 52 this year, so you’ll probably see a number of familiar names on my list this year. Sorry, but it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
Anyhow, let’s get to the rambling.
Bjork > Vespertine
I was disappointed with Sdmasongs, so I was a wee worrieed about where this was going, but she has jumped back on the right track with this amazing album. A trip through the strange little world of a northern girl. Wonderful.
Radiohead > Amnesiac
I don’t care what anyone says about pretentious arthouse rock, this band is making some of the most interesting, challenging music out there. People are supposed to actually mature as they grow older, folks, so cut them some slack. Nice little live disc just sweetened the deal as well.
Rufus Wainright > Poses
Didn’t really catch his debut disc, but thankfully my wife is a fan, so when she bought this album, I got to hear him for the first time. I’m glad I did because this album is chock full of gems. I really like the diversity of his songwriting, both lyrically and musically. A surprise hit.
Gillian Welch > Time (the Revelator)
Bust out the bottle, and get ready to drown in sorrow, Gillian Welch is back in town. Another great collection of appalachian, homespun sincerity. Surprisingly, she actually throws in a few upbeat numbers on this one. Thanks to Mark for the heads up on the live disc as well. Cheers.
Bob Dylan > Love and Theft
While the Bob never really goes away, sometimes he really shakes things up with a sucker punch like this. While there’s nothing groundbreaking here, it’s the old time quality of the album that is endearing. Bob sounds like he could have been writing these songs forever. Back in top form.
Joe Strummer > Global A Go-Go
I was so psyched when Art Rock came out that I didn’t actually expect to get another great album out of the old punk. But my faith has been restored, as, it seems, have Joe’s creative capacities. A global punk gumbo for the new century.
Varnaline > Songs in a Northern Key
A little bit of cooking the books on this one … check my list from 2000. I Justify this on the grounds of an actual release this year on an actual label. Still damn fine upon maturation.
Sparklehorse > It’s a Wonderful Life
Don’t really expect too many converts with this one. If you like this band, you’ll like this album, if you don’t know them, think perhaps a lo-fi, countrified Flaming Lips? All I know is that I feel hazy when I listen to this band.
Neal Finn > One
Again, maybe I’m showing my age with this one. Is this like, AOR? Maybe it’s just what AOR is supposed to be. I don’t know. Anyway, a bit poppier than previous solo outings, which to some is good, but I prefer the more obscure sounding bits.
Alpha > The Impossible Thrill
Not for everyday listening, but brilliant none the less. Crawl into the claustrophobia.
Trans mission Mish~Mash~
Here’s a bit of other musical mix-up from the past year or so that tickled my fancy. There’s a bit everything here, so feel free to ask questions.
diana krall > the look of love
temple of sound > people’s colony no.1
st.germain > tourist
various > traveler ’00
various > paris lounge
various > ultrachilled .01
various > traveler ’01 –
rachid taha > made in medina
lee perry > divine madness
garmarna > hildegard von bingen
beta band > hot shots II
jay farrar > sebastopol
gorillaz > gorillaz
joe henry > scar
alisdair roberts > the crook of my arm
minders > golden street
burning spear > productions
twilight circus dub > volcanic dub
african bros. > want some freedom
alpha & omega > dub philosophy
henry & louis > time will tell
jah warrior > jah golden throne dubwise
smith & mighty > big world, small world
more rockers > selected cuts
thievery corp. > mirror conspiracy
frikylwa > collection 1
Well, I suppose that will be an end to my rants and raves here, although I was considering talking about some films and dvds. I should really leave subjects like that to Lange and Lefsky, but I’ll throw my two cents in and claim The Royal Tenenbaum’s as the best, film of the year. Also, for folks who liked “powasquaatsi” and “koyanisqatsi”, there was a really good dvd released this year called “Baraka” ~~ very worth checking out. Well … I’ll just call it quits.
Matthew C. Nerney