January 7, 2010

My Decade of Music: 2000-2009

Here is a breakdown of my favorite and/or most influential music from the past decade. I think there are close to 80 albums listed but only ranked the first 25. After that, I ordered them within their individual sections.

When I look at this list I am amazed at how each album really did have an effect on me over the years. I can look at one title and start playing it in my head and remember specific places and people and feelings and events.

For example, I remember how comforted I felt listening to Ryan Adam's "New York" from "Gold" just weeks after 9/11.

I remember listening to Radiohead's "Kid A" in headphones for the first time and having my mind blown that a band could change so drastically and still have me in the palm of their hands.

How I just kept smiling and smiling as I put The Shins' "Chutes Too Narrow" on repeat and tried to sing at the top of my lungs with James Mercer.

My jaw dropping the first time I listened to "Funeral" by Arcade fire all the way through then sharing it with everyone I knew for the next three years.

How I was getting tired of Death Cab until I heard the title track from "Transatlanticism" and then how I wanted to cry with sadness and joy at the same time. Epic.

Then there is Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot." Say what you want (overrated, don't get it, etc.) But it shaped me as a music fan, consumer, student, poet, writer and artist like no other album I can recollect. It was a huge deal for me. I am still amazed by it.

I could go on and on. If you want me too I will. But let's just say that music has been a huge part of my decade, my life. It's there through depression, heartbreak, trials and love, success and adventure. I hope I have another great music decade ahead of me.

The Game Changers:
1. "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" Wilco
2. "Kid A" Radiohead
3. "Chutes Too Narrow" The Shins
4. "Funeral" Arcade Fire
5. "Illinois" Sufjan Stevens
6. "Transatlanticism" Death Cab for Cutie
7. "Oh, Inverted World" The Shins
8. "Trials of Van Occupanther" Midlake
9. "Feels" Animal Collective
10. "Give Up" Postal Service
11. "Apologies to the Queen Mary" Wolf Parade
12. "Sunlandic Twins" Of Montreal
13. "In Rainbows" Radiohead
14. "Everything All the Time" Band of Horses
15. "Emblems" Matt Pond PA
16. "Lifted ... " Bright Eyes
17. "Several Arrows Later" Matt Pond PA
18. "Rainy Day Music" The Jayhawks
19. "Spelled in Bones" Fruit Bats
20. "It Still Moves" My Morning Jacket
21. "Writer's Block" Peter, Bjorn and John
22. "Misery is a Butterfly" Blonde Redhead
23. "Gold" Ryan Adams
24. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" Flaming Lips
25. "No More Stories ..." Mew

Repetition Addiction
"Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" Phoenix
"Vampire Weekend" Vampire Weekend
"Violence in the Snowy Fields" Dolorean
"Is This It" The Strokes
"The Mysterious Production of Eggs" Andrew Bird
"Destroyer's Rubies" Destroyer
"Want One" Rufus Wainwright
"Logic Will Break your Heart" The Stills
"Ghosts of the Great Highway" Sun Kil Moon
"Loneliness Knows My Name" Patrick Park
"Begin to Hope" Regina Spektor
"You Could Have It So Much Better" Franz Ferdinand
"Let It Die" Feist
"All Day" Mates of State
"Not Going Anywhere" Keren Ann
"The Con" Tegan and Sara

Entertain Me
"Gimme Fiction" Spoon
"The Green Album" Weezer
"Twin Cinema" The New Pornographers
"Silent Alarm" Bloc Party
"Clap Your Hands Say Yeah" Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
"LCD Soundsystem" LCD Soundsystem
"Late Registration" Kanye West
"The Weight is a Gift" Nada Surf
"Life on Other Planets" Supergrass
"Anniemal" Annie
"Daisies of the Galaxy" Eels
"American Idiot" Green Day
"Summer in Abaddon" Pinback

Odd but Oh So Good
"You Forgot It in People" Broken Social Scene
"Hail to the Thief" Radiohead
"The Flying Club Cup" Beirut
"The Secret Migration" Mercury Rev
"Strawberry Jam" Animal Collective
"Amnesiac" Radiohead
"Dear Science" TV On The Radio
"The Stage Names" Okkervil River
"The Runners Four" Deerhoof
"Advisory Committee" Mirah

"Rockin' the Suburbs" Ben Folds
"The Last Broadcast" Doves
"Ancient Melodies of the Future" Built to Spill
"Sebastopol" Jay Farrar
"Figure 8" Elliot Smith
"Sea Change" Beck
"Set Yourself on Fire" Stars
"Life in Slow Motion" David Gray
"A Rush of Blood to the Head" Coldplay
"The Rising" Bruce Springsteen
"More Adventurous" Rilo Kiley
"Riot on an Empty Street" Kings of Convenience
"Turn On the Bright Lights" Interpol
"Us" Mull Historical Society

The list groups should be self-explanatory but if you need further clarification, please comment. Also please leave a comment if you think the list is awesome or if you think I forgot something or if you think my taste is crazy or stupid.

As always, thanks for reading.

January 4, 2010

Music! 2009

Here is a pretty complete list of all the music I bought (or downloaded) in 2009. It was an off year for me musically as I usually buy (or dowload) a lot more stuff. But "with the economy the way it is" and what with me trying not to steal music, I have been more conservative. So, take a look then sample the song I feature from each album and tell me what you think.

Fall Be Kind EP and Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective
Rating: EP ***** / MerriPostPav ****
I love song "Graze" so much. It's worth the price of the EP all by itself. I was expecting more from MerriPostPav. Some say it's AC's best and most accessible. I don't agree. It's good but nowhere as good as Feels or even Strawberry Jam for me. Try "Lion in a Coma."

Hospice by The Antlers
Rating: ****
Probably the "find" I am most pleased in, well, finding. I nominate "Kettering" as my favorite song of the year. Give it a try.

Logos by Atlas Sound
Rating: ***
Has a few gems on it but I get bored with it after a bit. "Walkabout" is the song to sample.

Ambivalence Avenue by Bibio
Rating: ***
I just blindly decided to try this out. I forget where I heard of it. For a stab in the dark, it was pretty good. Try "Lovers Carvings" or "S'Vive."

Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
Rating: ****
He just keeps getting better and better, doesn't he? "Oh No" is the best song here, in my opinion.

Union by Boxer Rebellion
Rating: ****
Reminds me of James and Coldplay in parts (in a good way). Try "These Walls Are Thin."

There is No Enemy by Built to Spill
Rating: ***
In traditional BTS fashion, the songs feel like (and sometimes are) nine minutes long. That is either a good thing or not depending on how you feel about "jam" bands. Still "Hindsight" is one of my favorite songs of the year.

Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors
Rating: ****
"Two Doves" is wow. This is one of those albums I can have on play all day and not want for anything.

Fever Ray by Fever Ray
Rating: *
I am trying to pretend I never heard any of this.

Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear
Rating: ****
A little inaccessible for most, I would think. But I enjoy their complexities. Be brave and check out "Two Weeks." Chances are it'll get to you.

Spark Large by Marching Band (released Dec. 2008)
Rating: *****
It was technically released in very late 2008 but it still dominated my iTunes in 2009. This and the Phoenix album easily win the Most Repeat Listening Potential award. Try "68."

No More Stories ... by Mew
Rating: *****
Epic and amazing. Try any song from the album or EP and prepare to have your mind blown. Or if you are scared give "Beach" a listen.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
Rating: *****
Probably my top album of the year because of its funness, high-quality and re-listenability. I may have just made up most of those descriptive words. Go for "Lasso."

Real Estate by Real Estate
Rating: ***
I wanted this to be better. It's dreamy beach pop-ish but it runs out of fun for me. "Green River" is my favorite song from it.

Actor by St. Vincent
Rating: **
"I know! I'll make my sophomore effort really odd, confusing and boring!" Success.

Dark Was the Night by Various Artists
Rating: ***
Songs from Grizzly Bear, New Pornographers, Decemberists, Bon Iver and Arcade Fire make this a decent collection if you are into those bands. Wikipedia says proceeds benefit "the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS."

Warm Heart of Africa by The Very Best
Rating: ****
To be honest, I have only heard the title track. But I plan on buying the rest when I can. It is a perfect song to cheer a person up during these months of winter blah bleh mehs.

Wilco (the album) by Wilco
Rating: ***
Wanted more from them. Have since "Ghost is Born." Never even bought "Sky Blue Sky." Am I missing something? Or are they? Again, from a mediocre album comes one of my favorite songs by Wilco and of the year: "You and I"

Thanks for reading. Let me know what your faves were and if you agree or disagree with me. Happy music listening in 2010.