Posted on June 30th, 2010 in Music

100 best albums of the aughts, part 7 (#40-31)

On to part 7 of my 100 best albums of the aughts list.

You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, and part 6 here.

Kings of Leon – Because of The Times (2007)
Kings of Leon’s gateway to full-fledged radio-ready arena rock; Because of the Times still has that southern grit (‘Charmer‘), but the brothers-and-cousin are clearly making the shift toward Cheap Tricky sheen here. ‘Knocked Up‘ and ‘Ragoo‘ are both excellent mashups of the band’s old and new tendencies.
Minus The Bear – Planet Of Ice (2007)
Suicide Squeeze Records
Planet Of Ice gets a little more proggy than previous Minus The Bear records…and its production sheen is nearly blinding (it works here, but was perhaps an early warning sign for the dreadful followup, OMNI). The blithely sexual lyrics remain; and amidst a sea of neo-prog guitar solos is an after-afterparty for those who don’t dig on LMFAO or 3OH!3.
The Organ – Grab That Gun (2004)
Mint Records
Grab That Gun—The Organ’s lone LP—is a voyeuristic joyride through every little sister’s teenage diary. The band’s namesake (yes, an organ) provides a warm breath of CPR for the album’s ultra-simplistic, razor-sharp guitar melodies and not-quite-drama-queen lyrics. Several blistering, hopeless jams from the outstanding Sinking Hearts EP appear—in updated, more fully realized forms—as well.
Brand New – Deja Entendu (2003)
Triple Crown
Deja Entendu contains all the trademarks of a post-hardcore record—narratives posing as song titles (e.g., ‘Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die‘); confessionalist songwriting and choked-up vocals; a focus on atmospheric aesthetics. But Brand New is also poppy, and that emo/pop-punk vibe means we can sing along and fake our tears at the top of our lungs. This record is pretty high on my nostalgia scale.
Spoon – Girls Can Tell (2001)
The first of Spoon’s albums to fire on all cylinders. (No single Spoon ingredient seems that great in and of itself, but together…together Britt Daniel’s dry delivery melts into churning rhythms, cymbal crashes dissolve into perpetual jams, choruses form what seem like endless grooves.) On Girls Can Tell, these parts are meticulously calculated, meaning this “whole” adds up to a whole lot—from classics (‘Everything Hits at Once‘, ‘Take the Fifth‘) to Spoon’s version of a ballad (‘1020 AM‘).
Auxes – Sunshine (2008)
Lovitt Records
Auxes bear heavy Les Savy Fav influence; but Sunshine isn’t just an LSV knockoff—it’s got punk charm (Dave Laney was an original Milemarker member). And Laney’s raspy vocals are a perfect fit for these lurching bits of hardcore-cum-punk. These tracks—13 in 34 minutes—stagger and jerk with just enough swagger to dance to. ‘Greeting Card Perfume‘ pays homage to Tom Waits, while anthems like ‘Brother‘ and ‘Radio! Radio!‘ recall Milemarker.
Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand (2009)
Vice Records
Notorious for puking and pissing and making out onstage, Black Lips’ music actually transitions surprisingly well to a non-live setting. 200 Million Thousand contains all the drug references you’d expect (e.g., ‘Drugs‘) and the vocals are AM-ready (check out the doo-wop of ‘Trapped in a Basement‘); Black Lips are well-versed in music history (knowledgable on African protopunk, attempting to tour the entire world—Iraq and China included) and it shows.
Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
It would be impossible to overstate the influence or the acclaim that followed the release of Funeral. A conceptual chamber-pop record about death—featuring a collective of Canada’s best musicians—comprised of high emotions and brilliantly composed songs. Yes, Win Butler and Co. became the critical darlings of the decade with this release, but this record (somehow both somber and uplifting) deserved every bit of praise.
Kings of Leon – Only By the Night (2008)
Only By the Night solidified Kings of Leon’s shift to full-fledged arena rock (you’ve heard Sex on Fire every time you’ve walked into an Urban Outfitters or American Apparel). I am probably in the minority on this, but I prefer the radio luster of these songs over the Taper Jeans Girls of earlier albums. The stadium-ready, starry-eyed opener ‘Closer‘ might be the best track in Kings of Leon’s arsenal.
Blonde Redhead – Misery is a Butterfly (2004)
Kazu Makino’s voice is otherworldly—something between a dream and a birdsong—giving Blonde Redhead’s hypnotic music an enchanting dreamscape straight out of a Murakami novel. Misery is a Butterfly was the first Blonde Redhead album to seize on the band’s strong pop capabilities, and the result is startling and gorgeous; a murderous fairy tale.

2 Responses to '100 best albums of the aughts, part 7 (#40-31)'

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    on July 2nd, 2010 at 6:54 am

  1. Sebastian said,

    I still hold a candle for Minus the Bear’s Highly Refined Pirates (and the They Make Beer Commercials EP, although I know how you feel about EPs) over their more recent stuff, but Planet of Ice has some great stuff. Omni is just terrible though.

    I need to spend more time with that Blonde Redhead album.

    Thought The Organ would be higher.

  2. on November 6th, 2010 at 12:52 am

  3. […] You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here and part 7 here. […]

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