Posted on June 12th, 2010 in Music

100 best albums of the aughts, part 6 (#50-41)

On to part 6 of my 100 best albums of the aughts list.

You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here and part 5 here.

The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema (2005)
I haven’t been as excited about their recent releases, but The New Pornos brought it on this album. A.C. and Neko sound more at ease here (a lot of their later material seems forced to me). The charity-drive-anthem ‘The Bleeding Heart Show‘ could have been—perhaps ironically—the background music to every post-Mission Project wrap-up slideshow you’ve ever seen.
The Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia (2000)
The Dandys are a perfect example of a postmodern band: tongue-in-cheek band name with witty song titles, self-indulgent music, clever in-song references, and a post-ironic attitude (seriously…two identical last names, Courtney?). That list may sound cynical, but its actually the reason I love this band. Taylor has a way of turning inside jokes into ridiculously catchy drugged-out singalongs that are both nonchalant and au courant.
The Sounds – Living In America (2002)
New Line
Another ultra-stylish neo-new wave band whose newer albums are lacking. In The Sounds’ case, the problem is the group’s attempt to move away from what made them so great—writing simple, modern takes on 80s synthpop anthems (and looking cool as hell). Sure, these aren’t the most technical songs—and the Blondie influence is everywhere—but you can’t deny that ‘Fire‘, ‘Riot‘ or ‘Living In America‘ will have you instantly shaking your ass on a sweat-drenched dancefloor.
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People (2002)
Arts & Crafts
Critical darlings Broken Social Scene bottled up 40 years of pop music, put it in a blender, and released it to form this album. BSS utilize complex song structures, layers and layers of instruments, and shimmering choruses that are unpredictable, often brilliant, and always interesting. I haven’t been as enamored with other BSS projects (critics are), but this album is mesmerizing.
Moros Eros – Jealous Me Was Killed By Curiosity (2007)
Victory Records
Jealous Me Was Killed By Curiosity was the second and final album by Les Savy Fav disciples Moros Eros. Nothing too original here—Les Savy Fav had already broken these barriers years before—but originality isn’t the only requirement for a great album. These songs are ridiculously catchy, and they contain—by far—enough personality to merit their own successes.
Hot Panda – Volcano…Bloody Volcano (2009)
Mint Records
One of the more criminally overlooked records of the decade; Hot Panda defies description: some sort of schizophrenic take on Talking Heads-ish post-punk…with Little Tikes™-sounding keyboard riffs? ‘Whale Headed Girl‘ is a straight-up boogie, the breakdown is hypnotizing; ‘Cold Hands\Chapped Lips‘ births the devil in its chorus; ‘Gold Star Swimmer‘ ends on a Blue Album-era Weezer solo. All that, and this record manages to stay poppy and coherent. I have no idea where all the praise is.
Tom Waits – Blood Money (2002)
Tom Waits has an admittedly difficult learning curve, but once you’re in…you’re in for good. Blood Money features my three favorite Waits songs (‘Misery Is the River of the World‘, ‘God’s Away On Business‘, ‘Starving In the Belly of a Whale‘). As usual, Waits’ songs range from carnivals-in-Hell to Big Easy balladry; always complemented with brilliant lyrics and a jazz-educated, whisky-sipping vibe.
Wild Beasts – Two Dancers (2009)
Good Lord, Wild Beasts; gay-friendly lyrics, stylized falsetto, overtly sexualized, androgynous vocals (“This is a booty call; my boot up your arse hole. This is a Freudian slip; my slipper in your bits“)—all backdropped with the most intricate, haunting electronic pop imaginable. The line keeping Wild Beasts from Drag Queen Night at the bar is thin, but ultimately, Two Dancers knows exactly when to hit you and when to hit on you. Amazing.
A Place To Bury Strangers – A Place To Bury Strangers (2007)
Killer Pimp
With an arsenal of homemade effects pedals, Oliver Ackermann bridges the gap—20 years later—between MBV and JMC. With the possible exception of Glifted, I have never heard a band so perfectly meld those two bands into a coherent whole. Lost in the post-shoegaze shuffle was just how deafeningly loud those pioneering bands actually were. A Place To Bury Strangers helps remind us.
Frank Black and the Catholics – Dog In the Sand (2001)
What Are Records?
Frank Black’s strongest release in nearly a decade (since 1994’s Teenager Of the Year), Dog In the Sand harkened back ( ‘Stupid Me‘, and ‘St. Francis Dam Disaster‘ in particular) to the effortlessness of his early post-Pixies output. Black’s missteps have tended to come when treading too close to pure Americana—a pitfall he deftly avoids here.

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    on June 13th, 2010 at 9:39 am

  1. Visker! said,

    Well done – excellent write ups here. Twin Cinema and You Forgot it in People are both stellar albums that the bands can’t quite ever live up to. Subsequent albums have high points, but they end up being too brief.

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