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10. 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.

9. 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.

8. 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) LISTEN
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 in 2003.

6. 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.

5. 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 and Low.

4. 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.

3. The Boggs - We Are the Boggs We Are (Arena Rock) LISTEN
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 delusions."

2. 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.

1. 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).

Most Overrated:

Wilco - 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.

Best Single:

The Rapture - "House of Jealous Lovers" (DFA)
LCD Soundsystem - "Losing My Edge" (DFA)

(DFA fucking rules)

2002's Biggest Piece of Shit:

Beck - 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 in 2002:

Frank 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.

Tom 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 good too.

Record Released By A Music Icon That Sucked in 2002:

David 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.

Best Compilation:

Various 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.

Honorable Mention:
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)

mail order any of these records here

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Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
[email protected] | January 2003 | Issue 34
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