Monday, January 06, 2003

Lists, glorious lists

As promised / threatened, here are those Top 10s, and a whole load more besides...

Top 10 Albums Of 2002

Firstly, the pre-emptive plea for the defence. Compiling lists like this, especially of albums, is a process fraught with danger. How many times have you come across a record years later that would have been well up there amongst your favourites for that year if you'd only known about it then? And how often do tastes gradually mutate or even change altogether? This list is what I've come up with over the past few days, but it certainly ain't set in stone. There are a ridiculous number of albums released over the past year by which I have been intrigued but which I haven't managed to hear in their entirety (or even at all):
Low - Trust
Doves - The Last Broadcast
The Streets - Original Pirate Material
The Breeders - Title TK
Primal Scream - Evil Heat
Clinic - Walking With Thee
Liars - They Threw Us All In A Trench And Put A Monument On Top
J Mascis - Free So Free
The Black Heart Procession - Amore Del Tropico
Rival Schools - United By Fate
Sleater-Kinney - One Beat
Radio 4 - Gotham!
The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Horse Of The Dog
Beck - Sea Change
Q And Not U - Different Damage
Audioslave - Audioslave
The Libertines - Up The Bracket
Ikara Colt - Chat And Business
Pearl Jam - Riot Act
The Coral - The Coral
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Plastic Fang
Mudhoney - Since We've Been Translucent
Bright Eyes - Lifted...
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Good Health
Death In Vegas - Scorpio Rising
Of these, I'm sure at least a few may have impinged on the list below. Right, that's enough defensive preamble. Here's the necessarily contingent Top 10...

1. Sparta - Wiretap Scars
Quite simple, really - far and away the most revolutions on my CD player of any record released last year. Understatedly and consistently brilliant.
Key track: 'Glasshouse Tarot' if I really have to choose

2. Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights
The Smiths, The Strokes and Joy Division with their collars up, smoking cigarettes and shivering on a bench in Central Park at 2am in January.
Key track: 'NYC'

3. Sonic Youth - Murray Street
Even if listened to in a cultural vacuum where their twenty years of influence and innovation didn't exist, this would still be a categorically excellent record. Welcome aboard Jim O'Rourke.
Key track: 'The Empty Page'

4. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
The sweat, blood and chaos of the first two (perhaps even better) records scraped up and poured into the mould of the three-minute pop song. The author Angela Carter once said, "I am all for putting new wine in old bottles, especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the old bottles explode". What Carter did with fiction, ...Trail Of Dead have done with music.
Key track: 'Days Of Being Wild'

5. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Yanqui UXO
More sumptuously majestic soundscapes for the listener to gorge themselves on.
Key track: 'Motherfucker = Redeemer'

6. Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
Hard rock smacked around the face with invention, intelligence and weirdness.
Key track: 'A Song For The Dead' (although better live than on record)

7. Idlewild - The Remote Part
Maturity brings mammoth tunes and stellar choruses a-plenty, but there's still undoubtedly enough of a foot planted in the mid 80s US post-hardcore and indie which first inspired them.
Key track: 'Stay The Same'

8. Cave In - Tides Of Tomorrow
A startling mini-LP which makes a stew of metal, prog and hardcore somehow smell of roses.
Key track: 'Come Into Your Own'

9. The Hives - Your New Favourite Band
A Frankenstein's monster of an album it might be, but fucking hell it makes you want to jump up and down and hurl yourself about with the same abandon as a six-year-old on speed. Even if you're a sad old 25-year-old like me.
Key track: 'Die, All Right!'

10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - BRMC
A couple of fillers aside, this is sheer black-hearted class. The Jesus & Mary Chain's shadow they might be, but they're still good enough to squeeze into the Top 10.
Key track: 'Awake'

Other albums that rocked my world last year:

The Datsuns - The Datsuns
The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Foo Fighters - One By One
Sigur Ros - ( )
The Von Bondies - Lack Of Communication
Six By Seven - The Way I Feel Today
The Catheters - Static Delusions And Stone-Still Days
The Promise Ring - Wood / Water
Hundred Reasons - Ideas Above Our Station
Jetplane Landing - Zero For Conduct
The Pattern - Real Feelness

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