Sunday, October 18, 2009

Decade in Review: Top 100 Albums - #50 - 41

#50. Danava (2006)- From the first howlingly spacey chord on the opening track "By the Mark" to the last notes of "Maudie Shook", Portland's own Danava brings you aboard their space prog spaceship and around the universe on a trippy, hard rocking adventure. Dusty Sparkles voice wails over a wall of sound and fury. "By the Mark" is a transcendent stoner rock anthem. It quickly dissolves into "Eyes in Disguise" which is a slow build 12 minute epic. It churns and builds up energy and explodes at the end. The second half of the album has three shorter tracks, but all still over 6 minutes in length. It's a prog album for the new millennium that rocks as hard as it mystifies. A trippy live show filled with all sorts of guitar trickery, Danava is a treat and definitely one of the best prog bands of the past ten years. Yet another gem in the Kemado Records library.

#49. Goldfrapp - Supernature (2005) Goldfrapp is an artist who I luckily discovered through a mutual friend. Her recommendation is greatly appreciated. Supernature is the kind of glam rock/synth pop record that just begs to be played at every party. It's signature tracks "Oh La La" and "Ride a White Horse" drip with dance floor vibes and sugary sweet hooks. Somewhere between sytnh pop, disco and glam rock, Goldfrapp weaves these themes with very little help from anything besides her beautiful work on the synthesizer. The real gem comes in the form of a reincarnation of a T.Rex song. "Satin Chic" is so reminiscent of the style Marc Bolan made possible with his sexy and swaggering glam rock tracks. The track is a wondrous event. Supernature is less gloomy and noirish like Black Cherry and Felt Mountain but a transition to dance music, Alison Goldfrapp did it right.

#48. Built to Spill - You In Reverse (2006) It's hard to follow up a masterpiece, but luckily Built to Spill is good enough that even their albums weaker then their the obvious two masterpiece's in Perfect From Now On and Keep It Like a Secret are still awesome. You In Reverse is a sprawling that touches on many of Built to Spill's finest moments. Sprawling opener "Goin' Against Your Mind" is a rock epic that instantly captivates. It segways into the spacey and rocking "Traces" that has an element of darkness to it. "Conventional Wisdom" starts off as a normal BTS guitar pop song but has a bridge that breaks down into a guitar jam that only Doug Martsch and Co. could be responsible for. It's a great little album that doesn't really change much in the way of what Built to Spill has done in the past, but sometimes even just playing it straight ends up to be so good.

#47. The Earlies - The Enemy Chorus (2007) - The Earlies are a bit of an anomoly. I have yet to see if they ever toured the Unites States, yet half of their band hail from Texas. They have released to records, the first one falling short of making this list, and their follow-up, the beyond stellar Enemy Chorus. What might be a leading factor into the low brow nature of this band's whereabouts is in the sense of their own musical nonclassification. The album goes in many different directions but to me that is what makes it so great. Standouts like the mellow track "The Ground We Walk On" are juxtaposed with the fanfare of "Foundation and Earth." Tracks like "No Love In Your Heart" or "Breaking Point" hearken back to the overstuffed and brilliantly produced tunes of Electric Light Orchestra bringing in tones of sounds to keep things lofty. It's a psychedlic rock opera of sorts, not in the sense that the album has a theme throughout, but that the music reaches for the heavens.

#46. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust (2008) - Some old LP's used to have the words "Must Be Played Loud" on the jacket. At this point in their career, it came as common knowledge that The Raveonettes demand to be played loud. No other record of theirs asks more from the listeners ear drums than Lust Lust Lust. The beauty of this album lies in the shreiking of guitar feedback. A song like "Dead Sound" is only beautiful when you can actually hear the nuiasnces of Sune Rose Wagner's guitar. "Hallucinations" will give you just what it says it will when blasted and the track "Aly, Walk With Me" will take over your entire well being in guitar haze. It's interesting because where some noise rock can just sound like noise, Lust Lust Lust really does something special with the drone of a guitar. It might be those sugary sweet two part harmonies?

#45. Franz Ferdinand (2005) - Easily the best band to write infectious singles of the past ten years, Franz Ferdinand's titular is chock full of riffs and catchy hooks. From start to finish, this album will take you on an 11 song catchy fest. "Take Me Out" (featured on this blogs "Rock of Ages" songs) is easily the best song from this album being a smash hit and being worthy of it's epic rotation. It's hard pressed to find a pop song this delightful, but then Franz Ferdinand drops tracks like "Darts of Pleasure" or "The Dark of the Matinee" into your lap. A mroe brooding synth pop disco ballad comes in the form of "Auf Asche." It's easily one of the best pop rock recordings and Franz Ferdinand has yet to come up as big in one shot. They've matched with singles "Do You Wanna?" and "Ulysses" but the whole of Franz Ferdinand wows on every track.

#44. Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003) Death Cab for Cutie are quintessential indie rock. The label "indie rock" is obviously a misnomer, but what genre is actually 100% accurate. What I think of when I think indie rock is dreamy, woozy pop songs that wouldn't usually land most alt. rock radio rotations, btu are still centered in the wolrd of pop. When Death Cab finally reached out and touched the hearts of the mainstream, it came in the form of this album. Tracks like "Title and Registration" mix the whistful elegance of a champer pop song with an intriguing building beat based around a synth drum and a very intricate yet simple guitar line. Ben Gibbard's gentle voice adds a level of melancholy on tracks like "A Lack of Color" and "Tiny Vessels." It's the most polished album before they took the major label leap one album later, but Death Cab For Cutie doesn't get much better than in Transatlanticism.

#43. Hercules and Love Affair (2008) - Who said disco is dead? It's not dead as much as has different names, but there is no doubt that Hercules and Love Affair's self titled release is in fact a disco revival. The true revelation here is the usage of Antony Hagerty. His voice lends a trembling beauty to the hippest and most addictive dance songs I've heard in ages. "Blind" and "Time Will" are great songs in their own right, but it isn't until Hagerty's haunting voice kicks in that these songs really stand out on their own. "Hercules Theme" is a standout as it's more of a funk vibe with lot's of horns and minimal vocals that sound like they should be gang vocals instead of the singular female, but the gang will kick in on the dancefloor to the woozy beat. If anything, Hercules and Love Affair is nothing else but a party record that will get feet moving and hearts pounding.

#42. The Strokes - Is This It? (2001) - It's hard to believe that The Strokes Is This It? is now 8 years old. When it came out, it ushered in an era of garage and New York based rock that changed the landscape of the 00's. Is This It? isn't really that transcendent when you look at it, but in a sense and given the contextual landscape of pop music in the early 2000's, it kind of was. Rather than the overproduced hip hop and bubblegum boy band stuff being released, The Strokes released an uncompromisingly simple rock album that had catchy track after catchy track with enough swagger to make the guys want to be in the band and the girls to be with them. "Last Nite" and "Someday" are easy pop rock greats. Tracks like "Hard to Explain" and "Trying Your Luck" go a little more in depth with some interesting structures, but more or less every track is rifftastic and ladled with Julian Casablancas' swagger. Excellent rock music and equally fun live concerts made The Strokes one of the best bands that seemed to stall a tad after one extrordinary debut.

#41. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell (2003) Speaking of bands that had extraordinary debuts and weaker follow-up's (a constant in 2000's bands), the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Fever to Tell is a phenomenal rock record that spits fire and thrashes riffs with acid. Karen O's sexual howl is the most notable thing here as well as the insane amount of rhythm coming from guitar and drums. "Maps" will remain one of the decades most importnat ballads, but it was on searing rockers like "Black Tongue" or "Date With The Night" that really make my gears move. It's a great album, especially when you look at the fact that they get such a rich sound from a three piece, something I always find intriguing and noteworthy. It's a record that defined the early 00's and it still holds up well. Fever to Tell is proof positive that New York was the place for great rock in the early 00's.

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