Art is how we decorate space, Music is how we decorate time

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Best Albums of 2001

  1. Nicola Conte – Bossa Per Due

    You’ll hear this at a great party.  Instrumental/vocal, sexy and high-styled, like a jazzy Italian bossa-nova soundrack.  

    … pick one … : “Dossier Omega”

  2. Jim White – No Such Place

    A strange blend of hick and hipster, described by the artist as ‘Redneck Brigadoon’.  This strange album somehow helped me deal with the madness of 9/11.

    … pick one … : “10 Miles to Go on a 9 Mile Road”

  3. Nightmares on Wax – DJ Kicks

    Another unbelievable classic from the DJ-Kicks series.  Nightmares on Wax (aka DJ E.A.S.E.) is the future of downbeat hip-hop, this set featuring D.I.T.C, TCQ, Kenny Dope, John Cameron, Deckwrecka, Syrup and more.The DJ work is totally f’ing unbelievable.

    … pick one … : “It’s a Latin Thing” – Freddy Fresh

  4. Q-Burns Abstract Message – Invisible Airlines

    I’d like to think this sounds like a compilation CD I would put together.  Tons of odd influences and guests, it’s quite a move away from the house flavor of his previous albums, hard to believe this is all one record.  

    … pick one … : “Shame”

  5. The Strokes – Is This It?

    Proving that I do like some things that other people like too.  This could have been released anytime in the last 25 years and would still be considered a great record.  The Stones/Beatles/VU/Stooges/etc.  should be proud

    … pick one … : “Hard to Explain”

  6. Stephen Malkmus – Stephen Malkmus

    [former Pavement] This is what I think of when I hear something called ‘indie rock’.  Grimy and meandering, with a great pop sense.

    … pick one … : “Jenny & the Ess-Dog”

  7. Shantel – Great Delay

    Another mind-blowing !K7 release.  
    Jazzy and warm, a great blend of acoustic sounds, electronic blends and carribiean beats, with a great pop inclination keeping it oh so listenable.  

    … pick one … (changes with every listen): “Delay”

  8. Beta Band – Hot Shots II

    A great 3rd record, after an off (bad even?) 2nd.   Beastie-esque density, I could (will) listen to this thousands of times.  (is that a cowbell?)

    … pick one … : “Human Being”

  9. fila brazillia – Another Late Night

    Volume 1 in the Another Late Night series of post-clubbing tunes.  The idea here is a nice ‘come-down’ disc to get you to bed, alone or otherwise.  This is a brilliant collection of tracks, which are then smoothed out fila brazillia style.  Includes tracks by John Berry, Marvin Gaye, The Beta Band, Brian Eno, David Holmes and more.

    … pick one … : “Les Nuits” (Nightmare on Wax)

  10. Young Fresh Fellows – Because We Hate You
         -vs-  The Minus 5 – Let the War Against Music Begin

    Two pop treasure chests from Scott McCaughey in one package, this is music geek heaven.  Let the War… is something of a tribute to the pop/rock genre, incorporating familiar styles from all over the map.  Because… is a bit more quirky and over the top, in the classic raucous pass-me-another-beer YFF style.  The whole endeavor must be taken with tongue-firmly-in-cheek.

    … pick one … : “My Drum Set” -vs- “Your Day Will Come (Parts 1&2)”

  • Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information

    Not really a ‘new’ release, rather a re-issue of the 1974 original.  If this type of re-issue becomes a trend, I’m on board.  An A+ album, if this was NEW, it’d be at or near the top of this list.
    … pick one … : “Aht Uh Mi Hed”

  • Green Day – International Superhits

    Not really a ‘new release’, with just 2 new songs.  Green Day are one of the only bands to make it through the grunge era.  I think every song here was on the radio when it came out.
    … pick one … : “Poprocks & Coke”

  • The Hives – Your New Favorite Band

    A greatest-hits/b-sides record from a Swedish garage-punk band.  It aint braggin if you can back it up.
    … pick one … : “Main Offender”


    Better Than Ezra – Artifakt

    Great pop-jangly by BTE.  Damn this music makes me feel like a a care-free teenager.  Released by the band and not available in stores, maybe their best ever record.  GREAT cover of “Use Me”
    … pick one … : “Oh, Corrina”

    Brian Setzer 68 Comeback Special – Ignition

    “Hot-rod songs and make-out tunes”.  No orchestra, just rockabilly like the old days.  Go man go.
    … pick one … : “’59”

    James Brown – Live at the Apollo II

    Anothe volume in the JB ‘live at the apollo’ records.  This 2 disc set compliments the original Live at the Apollo, featuring the 1968 James Brown Show.  Still a few years away from forming the JB’s, the ‘Godfather of Soul’ is in full form.
    … pick one … : “Cold Sweat”

    Bill Frisell – Blues Dream

    Bill Frisell CD’s are about the only new jazz albums I religiously buy as released.  This disc is not earth-shattering, but the perfectly structured orchestration is perfect for a dinner party.
    … pick one … : “What Do We Do?”

    R.E.M. – Reveal

    Since Green/Out of Time, it’s been on-again off-again for REM releases.  This one picks up after the so-so Up and sounds great.  Just experimental enough to sound ‘new’, REM keep their classic sound chugging right along.  It’s very hard to believe that Chronic Town was 19 years ago.
    … pick one … : “All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star)”

    Bebel Gilberto – Tante Tempo Remixes

    The original versions are great, and the remixes just throw some spice on top.  In the winter, be sure to crank up the heater, as this the perfect compliment to a warm summer night.
    … pick one … : “Sem ContenÁ„o”

    O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack

    A fun movie that has a great soundtrack.  While I wasn’t as moved by the ‘roots’ movement as some, I have had fun learning more about artists like Alison Krauss, the Whites, the Cox Family, and the Peasall Sisters
    … pick one … : “I’m A Man of Constant Sorrow” (band version)

    Ides of Space – There Are No New Clouds

    Layers-on-layers-on-layers of guitar within great pop structures (think My Bloody Valentine).  VERY quickly made it into heavy rotation.
    … pick one … : “No Trace of Fading”

    Shawn Colvin – A Whole New You

    More than 4 years after A Few Small Repairs, finally a new ‘real’ album.  Wonderfully textured, the vocals are perfectly blended with the instrumentation.  Another fine Sunday-drive album from Shawn Colvin.
    … pick one … : “Bound To You”

    The Silver Jews – Bright Flight

    From a similar gene pool as Pavement, with a bit more country.  Got this really late in the year, I think it’s gonna move up in the final poll.
    … pick one … : “Tennessee”

            the rest

    They Might Be Giants – Mink Car

    Light, quirky, funny and catchy (if standard) TMBG fare.  They dig up a great cover in “Yeh, Yeh”.  www.tmbg.com
    … pick one … : “Yeh, Yeh”

    Charlie Hunter – Songs from the Analog Playground

    A bit of a departure with the lyrical involvement, this album really stretches out CH’s eclectic interests, to sometimes lackluster results.  When it’s on though, it damn near righteous.  Vocalist Norah Jones is one to watch. (methinks she should hook up with the ESL folks…)
    … pick one … : “More Than This”


    Nice blended percussive-heavy compilation from the great Quango label.  Veering mostly to the ‘new jazz’ type club music, this definitely keeps my toes-a-tappin’.
    … pick one … : “Fedime’s Flight” – Jazzanova

    Luna – Live

    Luna is one of my favorite bands (live and on CD).  Unfortunately this album just doesn’t quite do them justice (neither live nor on disc).  The incredibly cloying liner notes don’t help (‘The first time I kissed the woman I am currently dating, a Luna album was playing…’).  Great guitar sound, and I could listen to this version “23 Minutes in Brussels” over-and-over-and-over-and…
    … pick one … : “Moon Palace”/”Lost in Space”/”23 Minutes in Brussels”

    Zero 7 – Simple Things

    Superb instrumental/vocal downtempo mix.  Extremely easy to listen to, with a lot of pop sense to keep you coming back for more.  A host of ambient effects give this disc a very warm. organic feel.
    … pick one … : “Red Dust”

    Concert For NYC

    Two CD’s from the benefit concert.  You could make one REALLY great CD if you lose some of the junk.  The Who blow everyone away.
    … pick one … : “Who Are You/Baba O’Reilly/Won’t Get Fooled Again”

    Better Than Ezra – Closer

    Finally a new BTE disc after a 3 year wait.  A bit too radio-ballad-y to be really super-duper, but still great pop-jangly.  Don’t miss them live.
    … pick one … : “Extra Ordinary”

    Birdie – Triple Echo

    Pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.  Ethereal, lilting swooning vocals.  Beautifully crafted.
    … pick one … : “Blue Eyed Son”

    Stone Temple Pilots – Shangri-La-Di-Da

    STP is moving more and more toward making pop records, somewhat at the expense of their creative density.  Or maybe it’s the heroin.
    … pick one … : “Days of the Week”

    Dave Navarro – Trust No One

    [ex-Janes Addiction guitarist] Another interesting rock album by a heroin junky.  I like the way it doesn’t stay pinned down to one sound for too long.  Not earth shattering by any means, this helped fill my ‘hard rock’ desires for the year.
    … pick one … : “Not For Nothing”

    Basement Jaxx – Rooty

    Very fun high-energy ‘dance-party’ trax.  If you’re driving, you’re speeding.
    … pick one … : “Where’s Your Head At?”

    Macy Gray – The Id

    ‘Out there’ R&B, very hit-and-miss.  Her vocal rhythms can be very, very cool.
    … pick one … : “Relating to a Psychopath”

    Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones

    Rather unremarkable, considering the principles involved.  I got this late in the year, perhaps it’ll grow on me.
    … pick one … : “Moon River”

    Leonard Cohen – Ten New Songs

    First off, Leonard Cohen creeps me out.  His somber vocals and poetic lyrics really get into my head.  This newest album’s collaboration with Sharon Robinson really helps to smooth the tunes out, into a haunting set of songs and stories fit for repeated consumption.  And no nightmares.
    … pick one … : “Boogie Street”

    Lucinda Williams – Essence

    This LW album is longer on the emotional-outporing songs and shorter on the bluesy, country-western rock stories.  I like the blues/CW/rock stories.
    … pick one … : “Get Right With God”

    Rae & Christian – Another Late Night

    Volume 3 in the Another Late Night series.  Once R&C move past the obvious hip-hop sounds and start to get creative, this really picks up.  I sure wouldn’t listen to this to ‘come down’ as advertised, but start with track 8 and this delivers some fine tracks.
    … pick one … : “Got to Be Me (Timezone Dub)” – H2O

    Truby Trio – DJ Kicks

    Extremely percussive, this disc features some great multi-cultural influences, but the hyper-kinetic beats make me feel like I’m gonna have an anxiety attack.  Certainly worth having to help complete the DJ-Kicks series.
    … pick one … : “”

    Paul Weller – Days of Speed

    Nice live/acoustic album that features tunes from The Jam, The Style Council, and the solo years.
    … pick one … : “That’s Entertainment”

    American Hi-Fi – American Hi-Fi

    Enjoyable in short pieces, this record just doesn’t go anywhere.  Well constructed and tight, just completely forgettable.  Good filler for a long solo drive.
    … pick one … : “Flavor of the Week”

    Broadway Project – Compassion

    Strange electronic soundtrack/soundscape from the ESL folks.  This is starting to grow on me, but I’m not sure it’s got enough meat to hand on for long.
    … pick one … : “”

    Natalie Imbruglia – White Lilies Island

    I really enjoy the Left of the Middle album, but this poor girl’s 15 minutes are definitely up.
    … pick one … : “Butterflies”

    Gorillaz – Gorillaz

    Interesting in concept, and the videos and website are fun.  A lot of these tunes will remix VERY well.
    … pick one … : “19-2000” (thx2 FIFA’02)

    Train – Drops of Jupiter

    It’s better than the last one.
    … pick one … : <does not compute>