Out Hud - S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. (Kranky) LISTEN
Out Hud are a Brooklyn-based 5 piece who dabble in House,
dub, and hip hop in very inventive ways. Imagine Couch playing
dub-inflected dance music and you will get the idea. They
have been playing gigs in New York to much acclaim for close
to two years now and will not disappoint their fans with
this much-anticipated debut. Using guitar, bass, cello,
drums, and a touch of electronics, OUT Hud have created
an upbeat record that is completely unexpected (especially
for the generally melancholy Kranky label). Stylishly original.
Mastodon - Remission (Relapse) LISTEN
Looking for a band that rocks without trying to be ironic?
Mastodon was it in 2002. Forget about pussies like Queens
of the Stone Age, Mastodon is simply more metal than anyone
else out there. Actually with song titles like "March
of the Fire Ants" and "Where Strides the Behemoth"
maybe they are being ironic. Who cares, they still rock.
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the
Pink Robots (Warner Bros) LISTEN
Not as good as The Soft Bulletin and the lyrics are
downright hokey, but hey, this is still a great record.
Lovely tracks like "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Part 1" and "It's Summertime" are mixed alongside
loads of filler, making it one of the most inconsistent
records of the year as well, but the beauty of the strong
tracks more than make up for any of its misses. A nice addition
to their eclectic, and ever increasing catalog.
7. The Streets - Original Pirate Material (Vice)
The first record put out by Vice magazine's new label was
the must own record of the year (that is if you wanted to
be cool). If you don't care about being cool and just enjoy
inventive hip hop without the bling bling The Streets is
just the ticket. We look forward to more British hip hop
Spoon - Kill The Moonlight (Merge) LISTEN
Spoon has long been the underdog of indie rock, consistently
putting out good music with little notice or acclaim. Maybe
they should change their name to something less dorky. Kill
the Moonlight showcases a breed of pop that is reminiscent
of Elvis Costello, but the styles found on Kill the Moonlight
are completely their own. With a beat that feels like a
racing pulse beneath almost every track, Kill the Moonlight
is overflowing with vitality. Piano rock hasn't sounded
this good in years.
Iron and Wine - Creek Drank the Cradle (Sub Pop) LISTEN
This record is sleepy enough to turn a shoegazer into a
bedroom slipper gazer. Beautiful slide guitar, catchy melodies,
and dreamy vocals reminiscent of Nick Drake, and a charmingly
low-fi production made this one of our favorites from 2002.
Best of all, the man behind Iron and Wine, Samuel
Beam, is neurotically prolific so look for a follow-up soon.
An impressive, debut for fans of indie folk like Palace
Akufen - My Way (Force Inc.) LISTEN
A great, dub-inflected minimal techno record that single-handedly
revives the genre. A cut-and-paste collage of blink-of-the-eye
samples, Akufen sounds like a more club-friendly Prefuse
73. My Way is as enjoyable as it is sophisticated.
The Boggs - We Are the Boggs We Are (Arena Rock)
OK, so we are sick of all the urban cowboys and old
time traditionalists who have overrun New York in the past
few years too. There are so many mandolin and banjo pickers
on the street corners and in the subways these days, we'd
swear a migration from the Appalachia was underway, if we
didn't know 95% of them just graduated from exclusive art
schools. The best thing to arise from this urban hillbilly
movement is Brooklyn's The Boggs. Heavily influenced by
the great Dock Boggs, The Boggs blend old time Americana
with a Pogues inspired drunkenness and revelry. Their debut
is consistently fun and truly original. We look forward
to hearing more from The Boggs, even if we still don't know
what they meant by "Cartesian
Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador) LISTEN
Interpol is one of those New York disheveled haircut bands
that came out in 2002 accompanied by a Mack truck of hype.
Thankfully, they more than lived up to it. Anyone who has
ever written anything about them has mentioned that they
sound like Joy Division. Truth be told, they kinda do, only
a little more slick and rounded off with a taste of The
Smiths. There is not a bad cut on their debut Turn on
the Bright Lights and we look forward to watching Interpol's
promising future unfold.
Liars - They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument
On Top (Mute) LISTEN
With chanted vocals reminiscent of Gang of Four and moments
as heavy and careless as a head-on collision, Brooklyn's
Liars rule. The only complaint we have with this record
is it's too short. The songs are as funky and playful as
they are aggressive and the closing 20 minute drone is the
perfect cool down. Brooklyn was a great place to be in 2002
(see 1,2,3, and 10).
- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch)
Someone needs to say it: Wilco's latest record isn't
very good. Granted there are a few moments of genius
here and there ("Jesus, Etc." comes to mind),
but THE Wilco album to own is the masterpiece Summer
Teeth. All the intricate production that everyone praised
on Foxtrot can be found on Summer Teeth, without
all the self-indulgent excesses.
The Rapture - "House of Jealous Lovers"
LCD Soundsystem - "Losing My Edge" (DFA)
2002's Biggest Piece of Shit:
- Sea Change (Geffen/Interscope)
Sea Change was ridiculously dull. If Beck wasn't
Beck, would anybody really have listened to this overly
earnest and dreary record? It's his failed attempt at being
a "serious artist."
Good Records By Music Icons Released
Black - Black Letter Days (spinArt)
A great collection of songs that many overlooked because
it doesn't sound like The Pixies. Black Letter Days
is light, loose, and fun. We enjoyed the simultaneously
released Devil's Workshop as well, but it is the
less essential of the two.
Waits - Blood Money (Anti)
Even Tom's weaker works are better than almost anything
else out there. Blood Money isn't as strong as Rain
Dogs or Frank's Wild Years but is nonetheless
essential to any fan of Mr. Waits. The simultaneously released
Alice (what's up with this trend?) was pretty darn
Record Released By A Music Icon
That Sucked in 2002:
Bowie - Heathen (Columbia)
Give it up Bowie, while your legendary status remains intact.
Hopefully, the fact that he looks dead on the cover is an
omen that he will formally retire now.
mail order any of these records here
Artists - Digital Disco (Force Inc)
To commemorate their 50th release, Force Tracks put out
this lovely compilation featuring favorites Luomo, Akufen,
Metro Area, and many more. A continuity is created from
track to track by the artists' dedication to paring down
dance music to its most minimal form. Did we mention a new
Luomo track is included? If you hang out with people
who only listen to metal, they may call you a fag for owning
this one, but it's well worth it.
Mr. Lif - I Phantom (Def Jux)
Miighty Flashlight - Miighty Flashlight (Jade Tree)
Farben - Textstar (Klang)
Low - Trust (Kranky)
Bandulu - Redemption (Music Man)
Bola - Fyuti (Skam)
D'arcangelo - Broken Toys' Corner (Rephlex)
Incantation - Blasphemy (Necropolis)
Metamatics - From Death to Passwords (H. Dukebox)
Neko Case - Blacklisted (Bloodshot)
Destroyer - This Night (Merge)
Paul Westerberg - Stereo/Mono (Vagrant)
Populous - Quipo (Morr Music)
El-P - Fantastic Damage (Def Jux)
Notwist - Neon Golden (City Slang)