100. Daniel Bjarnason – Processions
Brooding, dissonant, intense, and beautiful, this album covers a lot of ground for the classical genre. The first track of the album really has everything I like about this whole work. The cello’s immediately start at a furious pace, and are the driving force during much of the album. While the cello’s are doing there thing there is some great violin work on top of it all, crooning at times, and downright depressing at others. In form and structure Bjarnason composed a true classical album, and I find that very refreshing in this day and age where classical music seems to be six feet under.
99. The Dodos – Beware of the Maniacs
This is a very sincere debut from a band that is quickly gaining stock in my book. The creative drumming from Logan Kroebler does all the right things for me, and Longs guitar work is the perfect compliment. They were the first band to show me that folk didn’t have to be slow and somber. The lyrics make me think of high school days and the simpler times even though I didn’t listen to The Dodos until well after high school.
98. Tindersticks – Tindersticks
Tindersticks are an interesting band to say the least. Stuart Staples leads us along with his sultry baritone voice. During this seventy-five minute debut we are exposed to so much that it’s hard to describe it all. Tindersticks employ many different instruments from your standard electric guitar to organs, and trumpets to glockenspiels, and violins to bassoons. It’s not just the instrumentation that keeps us guessing. We’ve got “Marbles” were Staples delivers a monologue about his girlfriends haircut and her attempts to be more attractive. On “Tie-Dye” violins start us out and as time goes on the song gets bigger and bigger adding organs and guitars, maybe a cello, until the piano takes the lead amongst the chaos. You’ll constantly discover new things each listen to this album.
97. Dustin Kensrue – Please Come Home
Please Come Home is Dustin Kensrue’s first solo album and seemed quite different from the sound of Thrice, his main band, until we heard their earth album. This is a blues record, complete with harmonicas and acoustic guitars. I really enjoy Dustin’s lyrics a lot. Some of the songs on this album could be classified as gospel tunes. The title track explores the themes of a father waiting and hoping on a wayward son. “Pistol” would be his twist of a love song. “Consider the Ravens” he discovers how God provides his needs and developing his trust to rely on that instead of himself. With only eight songs it’s a pretty short listen but great from front to back.
96. Wilco – Yankee Foxtrot Hotel
Yankee Foxtrot Hotel didn’t really captivate me when I first heard it like I thought it would, but it’s turned into a bit of a grower. I seem to like it a bit more every time I listen to it. I don’t know if it will keep getting better, and if it does I can’t say how high it will climb. Songs like “Jesus, Etc.” surely help it’s case. It’s a flawless song that is a real highlight of this album. Wilco has given us a great set of tunes, it’s an easy listen, very mellow and very soothing.
95. RX Bandits – …And the Battle Begun
I got into RX Bandits on a whim. They were playing a show with Dredg and happened to be one of my roommates favorites. Well they ended up stealing that show. They started out as a Ska band and have turned into a pro rock band. This album is during their transformation. Complex drumming, horns, cool bass lines, proggy song structures all come together to make this a special album.
94. Soap&Skin – Lovetune For Vacuum
On Lovetune for Vaccuum Anja Plaschg becomes a ghost, a banshee if you will. Her wailing on this album is haunting yet at the same time it draws you in with a strange beauty. This Austrian singer creates some chilling tunes with her piano, and isn’t afraid to throw in a few electronic sounds here and there. Everything about her music fits perfectly in this dark creepy persona she’s trying to create. Her voice is the real clincher, all the minor melodies on her piano and strange bleeps and bloops wouldn’t mean anything without Anja’s perfectly complimenting voice. She’s like the evil twin of regina spektor.
93. Beck – Odelay
Right from the get go Odelay makes you want to get up and get moving. “Devil’s Haricut” starts with a grungy guitar riff that sucks you in. Before too long you start to realize that Odelay is going to be different than most of the things you’ve listened to. The Dust Brothers were the producers on this album who had also worked with The Beastie Boys and that influence really stands out here. After hearing “Loser” and a few other of Beck’s songs and thinking he fit in with just an alt rock tag this album really surprised me with how much other things are in here. Beck breaks down a lot of walls that had been put up between genre’s and we’re all the better for it.
92. Nick Drake- Five Leaves Left
Nick Drake was an incredible songwriter, he was a true talent that tragically couldn’t see it. He suffered from depression later in his life, maybe his whole life I’m not too sure, but it lead to his death at 26. His music didn’t receive any recognition until well after his passing, but that could be due to the fact he didn’t like touring or being interviewed. His music is fantastic, very sombre and full of introspective lyrics. Nick Drake has become one of the most influential songwriters in the last fifty years.
91. Von-Sigur Rós
For any fans of Sigur Rós that started listening to them after Agætis Byrjun, and basically anyone who listens to them but hasn’t heard this album take care venturing this far back in their discography. The song “Sigur Rós” is terrifying, can you believe that? Well, it is. You find yourself in some barren wasteland full of twisted and dying trees, where the sky is blood red and ghastly horrors fly through the night unleashing piercing screams. Very few songs can transport you and envelope you in its mood like this one can. The rest of the album doesn’t contain the same intensity as the opening track, but there are many other great moments on this very experimental album.