Top Ten Thursday: Best Artists of the Aughts (2000-2009)

best_of_the_aughts

This was a particularly tough list to put together.  On average, order one of our Top Ten lists takes about 45 minutes.  Over an hour and a half into our last meeting, we still only had the top six ironed out for this one.  We ended up just individually ranking the final eight candidates individually, and normalizing the results to select the final four on the list.  It worked out though, and I didn’t even have to swan dive off my balcony, as I threatened several times throughout the meeting.

So let me tell you a little bit about our decision making process in selecting the top ten artists of the first decade of the new millennium.  It was about as simple as weighing quantity and quality.  To some degree, we also factored in the amount of lackluster material an artist had working against them.  In the end, ever artist in the ten had at least three good to great albums during the decade.  Painfully, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, and a few others didn’t have the consistent presence throughout the entire decade like most others on here and missed out.  Also, great artists like Beck, Ryan Adams, Spoon, and Bright Eyes just missed out because while they had the quantity, their highs just weren’t quite as high as others on the list.

So there you have it.  Enjoy the read, and as always let us know who me missed, left off, or mistakenly included.

10.  The Strokes

the strokes, full band pic

The Strokes were one of those rare bands where the product lived up to all the hype preceding them.  They produced some refreshingly honest pop music that ushered a whole new group of fans into “indie” music.  Beneath the surface of The Strokes instantly accessible music were simple but perfect harmonies, taking them beyond what was expected of an early-20’s rock outfit in the early 2000’s.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Covers Albums

cover album art for william hung inspiration

After the painful experience of reviewing Neil Young’s new cover album, Americana, we decided to go back to some of our old favorites, and create a list of the top ten cover albums.  It was surprisingly difficult to find a comprehensive list of cover albums that have even been released, so I am certain we are missing a couple of classics, but also was very happy with strength of the list we came up with.  Another couple items of note is that the album needed to be 75% covers to be considered and a lot of 1950’s and 60’s albums were not considered.  A lot of early Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. albums were comprised mostly of covers because that’s just the way the music business was run back then.  Somebody would have a minor hit, then ten artists would cover it to bandwagon and try to copy its success. 

So what makes a great cover album?  There are a lot of opinions on that, but we firmly believe it is not enough to simply mimic already great songs.  What we like to see is an artist keep the feeling of the original but substantially change the arrangement.  Also great is when an artist manages to rescue a song from obscurity and make it completely their own.  There is not absolute formula to a great cover song or album, but as with most of our list the following selections hit us the hardest.  On to the list.

10. David Bowie – Pin Ups

album cover art for david bowie pin ups

Bowie’s lat album with The Spiders from Mars was a tribute album to some of his favorite tracks from the 60’s.  Pin Ups contains classic songs from The Who, a lesser known track from Pink Floyd’s most underrated era, a Kinks track for the ages, and some lesser-known bands that I probably would have never been turned onto otherwise such as The Pretty Things and The Easy Beats.  All of these things fused with the Bowie twist means it is a sure-fire instant eargasm.

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Top Ten Thursday: In Memory Of …

picture of memorial day activities such as fireworks and parties

So maybe Memorial Day is really to honor solely fallen servicemen and servicewomen in the United States.  But we wanted to make a list of the top ten songs memorializing just about anyone to give us a little more to choose from.  So whether it be a fallen loved one, fellow musician, fictional character or national figure, all songs about the deceased are fair game.  So in the words of everyone’s favorite dead collector, “Bring out yer dead”.
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LxListening: Coachella Aftermath

coachella, aftermath, after coachella, post coachella, 2012, music festival

It has now been a full week since I walked onto the Polo Fields of Indio, where Mitchell, Sean, and I arrived at our tent at 4 AM, demanding that the rest of the crew awaken to join us in celebrating our arrival and the weekend of fun, music, and debauchery ahead of us with some cold brews. Typically after substantially memorable weekends like last, I usually like to wallow the following week, doing and listening to things that remind me of the fun vacation recently passed, in an attempt to relive the moments over and over again. Last weekend was no exception, and I have found myself gravitating to the most memorable music from Coachella weekend, whether it was a part of the music festival or not. So here is a short list of things I’ve bee listening to since Coachella weekend, in attempts to remind me of Coachella weekend.
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Coachella 2012 Review

Coachella, 2012, lineup, line up, poster, picture, snoop dogg, dr dre, radiohead, bon iver,
^^Incredible Lineup, Meh Festival

How does one review a Coachella? It is hard because you are taking a weekend that is very much a personal experience that involves close friends, music, and the good times you create (or don’t). Some people go to try and catch as many concerts as possible in three days. Some merely use it as an opportunity to explore how many drugs they can fill their body with in three days. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Some people go for the art. Some people probably just go for their friends. Teenagers go to fit in or to look like a rebel. Old farts go to feel young and seem hip. I even heard Bear Grylls showed up to film an episode of Man vs Festivals in order to properly demonstrate exactly how to drink copious amounts of alcohol in 108 degree weather without dying (I think the trick had something to do with mixing every drink with pickle juice). Personally, I only go for the Ferris wheel.
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Lollapalooza Lineup Breakdown/Festival Precap

Well the last lineup of the years major festivals was announced this week, and boy is it a doozy. Years ago, Lollapalooza began as a traveling music festival and was a real grunge-fest hosting such headliners as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction (naturally because Perry Ferrell is in fact a founder of the festival) and Smashing Pumpkins. Lollapalooza in recent years has become somewhat of a stink-fest, hosting acts such headliners as Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, and Coldplay. Nonetheless, this year they pulled it together and spat out quite a spectacular lineup. Let’s break it down:
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Tennis Review: Young & Old

Tennis
Young & Old

Yesterday, Wes discussed the duo of indie rockers Sleigh Bells releasing their sophomore album, Reign of Terror. Well, last Tuesday (notable for being Valentine’s Day) another indie duo and a married couple, known as Tennis, also released their own sophomore effort, Young & Old. The lo-fi somewhat-surf-rockers did well last year, releasing their debut album Cape Dory on the notably awesome indie label Fat Possum Records. The album was subtle, but great, and received fairly positive reviews, but was still a bit underrated IMHO. Something tells me that this album on the whole will be received in a fairly similar fashion.
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