The White Stripes - De Stijl, 2000
The first time I heard this album was in a store in Seattle while staying with Shawn after the completion of yet another baseball trip. From the moment, I heard the first few seconds of You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl), I knew I had to have this album. The rest of the summer, I must have listened to this album twice a day. I really couldn't get enough of it. The following winter, I saw them in a small club in Baltimore with Jeremy and the love affair reached a fever pitch. By the summer of 2001, they were huge. But for that one summer of 2000, they were still kind of a well kept secret.
Beulah - The Coast is Never Clear, 2001
Oh Beulah. Why did you have to leave us? I love this album so. Three straight amazingly great albums with this one being the final great one. This album was ignored and by the time the band got the attention they deserved, they were on the verge of breaking up and putting out a boring album (2003's Yoko). But we'll always have the first three albums, won't we? I never get sick of listening to this album. It came out on 9/11 and I bought it shortly thereafter. I was convinced I was going to die before the new year. Yes I was paranoid but I was out of my mind. This album helped relax me. Hell, if I was going to die in a suicide bombing on the subway, at least I'd be listening to a great album.
The Reigning Sound - Time Bomb High School, 2002
The garage rock album of the decade. Great originals, great covers. I like all of the Reigning Sound albums to one degree or another but this is the only one that I think fully captures their brilliance from beginning to end.
Neko Case - Blacklisted, 2002
In 2002, I wrote about this album, "For late nights, countryside diners, lonely days, snowy roads, and David Lynch movies. This album is timeless and will age into a classic. Her show at the Bowery Ballroom in September was one of the best shows I've seen in years."
Not sure I have much more to add to that. Not sure where I would rank this if I were forcing myself to actually make this into a real list but it would definitely be somewhere in the top three.New Pornographers - Electric Version, 2003 The first three albums all blend into one big stew of greatness for me. For some reason, I resisted Mass Romantic when it first came out, but SHR got me into this even before it came out by putting The New Face of Zero and One on a mix CD for me when we first started dating. That's all it took. This album for me is taking many weekend trips with SHR during the summer of '03 including the one in which I proposed to her. Every song is a barnburner. Every song makes me want to stand up and pump my fist and sing along. Every song sounds even better when SHR sings along to it on the open road with the windows down and the upstate New York summer air in my lungs. I know that most people don't even consider this their favorite New Pornographers album but this is perhaps my favorite album of the decade.
Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic, 2003
In 2003, I wrote, "Just mere months after the release of their debut album, three of the four band members died when their van crashed while on tour. Arguments with Shawn about why a band like this needs to exist since there isn't much original about them drove me crazy over the summer. Without any context of either band, Josh ripped the Nerves (70's) for sounding derivative while in the next breath praised the Exploding Hearts. This proves my point that it doesn't matter who was first. What matters is if the songs hold up. And they do.
Stone Groove couldn't handle them (too loud) but the kids know this band is where it was at in 2003. Ten brilliant songs, over and out, goodnight. It is almost like they were here on earth just to record this amazing record, they did it, and then they were gone. Sounds crazy, but the rock gods must have had a plan to take this young rock band from us so soon. If only we had an Eddie Cochran of our generation to write a eulogy for them."
I have only vague memories of those arguments with Shawn and Josh but they sound amazing! I miss arguing about music. I never argue about music anymore.
Crooked Fingers - Dignity and Shame, 2005
I couldn't decide between this and 2003's Red Devil Dawn for my fave Eric Bachmann release of the decade. Am I crazy for putting this one as my favorite? Probably. But there's just something so great about this batch of songs to me. It's like Bachmann was putting himself out there with some pretty songs and some nakedly personal lyrics only to be rejected once again by the indie rock elite of the aughts. Sad. Is there any doubt that his next album of completely sparse and depressing songs was a reaction to the failure of this one?
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country, 2006
Or perhaps this is my favorite album of the decade? Wow. Where did this come from? I mean, their first couple of albums are good but nothing like this. Like a female Stuart Murdoch penning timeless girl group songs? I don't know. When I think about this album I think about my amazing Asian trip of 2006 where I pretty much only listened to this album on repeat.
I guess nothing great came out from 2007-2009?
What are your favorites?