Posts Tagged ‘Best of the 2000s’

Music 00-09, by David Clemmer

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to check out “Near/Far,” our free, legal, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, by clicking here.)

mestuff

As part of Frequency’s ongoing coverage of music in the first 10 years of the 21st century, I’ve asked a few folks close to the local scene to reflect on the past decade in whatever way they see fit. Today, we have something from the mighty mind and pen of David Clemmer, lead singer and songwriter of local indie-rock band The Dirty Words and a former employee of the now defunct Boomtown Records in downtown Bend.

I know that David is an avid music fan, and he makes some interesting points here, so make sure to click below to read the whole thing. Whether you agree or disagree with him, I hope you’ll leave your own thoughts in the comments.

A Game of Stars

To describe this past decade in music, one would have to appropriate the first run-on sentence in “A Tale of Two Cities.” Best, worst, wisdom, foolishness, belief, incredulity, Light, Darkness, hope, despair, et cetera, ad infinitum. Then you have to factor in mathematics: When you take two equal extremes on either side of the positive-negative spectrum and add them together, you get zero.

In this case: ennui.

There are many possible reasons for this, I think.

What we saw in this quote-unquote “dawn” of a digital age could be seen as an amazing innovation, or could be seen as an incomparable rate of music being distributed for cheap or free directly to our homes without having us leave our chairs. The havoc wreaked on our attention spans is insurmountable. Quantity overpowering quality in the field of subjective and diverse creativity is a dangerous numbing agent.

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Superb songs of the decade: Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

If you’re one of the “any kind of music but country” types, you may have never heard this song, which for my money is one of the best and saddest of the decade. Not only is it well-written and devastatingly sad, it’s also performed by two folks I’d call the two most accomplished country artists of the past 10 years, if you consider both commercial success and artistic achievement.

Best of the decade, by Jamie Houghton

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

Jamie Houghton, left, and Stacie Johnson of Broken Down Guitars perform at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom earlier this year.

Jamie Houghton, left, and Stacie Johnson of Broken Down Guitars perform at Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom earlier this year.

Jamie Houghton plays bass, sings and writes songs for the relatively new local band Broken Down Guitars. She’s also a mega-music-fan who jumped at the opportunity to list her choices for the best stuff of the past 10 years. Jamie’s list is a nice mix of both live and recorded music, so check it out:

1. The release of “Kid A,” by Radiohead (2000)
Music that didn’t assume we were dumb.

2. PJ Harvey, “Uh Huh Her” (2004)
She locked herself in a cabin and recorded all the instrumentals herself.

3. Mars Volta, “Frances the Mute” (2005)
Recorded using the improv techniques of Miles Davis.

4. In 2006, Kaki King became the first female to be named to the “Guitar Gods” list by Rolling Stone magazine.

5. Movies free indie rock from obscurity. Think The Shins in “Garden State” or The Moldy Peaches in “Juno.”

6. Atmosphere, “God Loves Ugly” (2002)

7. OutKast, “Speakerboxxx / The Love Below” (2003)

8. Tool and Alex Grey collaborating to bring heavy metal and heavy art together in concert.

9. Bright Eyes, “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn” (2005)

10. Les Claypool and Karl Denson keep the jam scene from snoring with funk and dirty, dirty bass.

The best albums of 2008

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

Sorry, folks. This list is far too long. I don’t know if that’s because, after reviewing the best music of 2000 through 2007, I’m too tired and/or brain-scrambled to edit it, or because I’m exposed to more music now than ever before and, thus, more good music. Probably both.

But whatever, this is the list. Sorry it’s long. And sorry … no links. Google it up, baby. Or ask me questions in the comments. Let’s talk!

Oh, you can read my thoughts on 25 of these albums by clicking here.

My picks for the best albums of the decade are coming soon, as are my choices for the best albums of 2009 and “Near / Far,” our annual compilation of free, downloadable MP3s covering some of the best songs of the year. Look for the free music on Friday!

Peter Adams, “I Woke With Planets In My Face”
Amadou & Mariam, “Welcome To Mali”
Erykah Badu, “New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)”
The Black Angels, “Directions To See A Ghost”
Blitzen Trapper, “Furr”
Hayes Carll, “Trouble In Mind”
Cheap Time, “Cheap Time”
The Cool Kids, “The Bake Sale”
Darker My Love, “2”
Dungen, “4”
Earth, “The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull”
Fleet Foxes, “Fleet Foxes”
Kathleen Edwards, “Asking For Flowers”
Frightened Rabbit, “The Midnight Organ Fight”
The Helio Sequence, “Keep Your Eyes Ahead”
Jamie Lidell, “Jim”
The Muslims, “The Muslims”
My Morning Jacket, “Evil Urges”
Conor Oberst, “Conor Oberst”
Will Quinlan & The Diviners, “Navasota”
Raphael Saadiq, “The Way I See It”
Santogold, “Santogold”
School Of Seven Bells, “Alpinisms”
Sigur Ros, “Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust”
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, “Pershing”
George Strait, “Troubadour”
The Swimmers, “Fighting Trees”
Throw Me The Statue, “Moonbeams”
T.I., “Paper Trail”
Tobacco, “F–ked Up Friends”
Vampire Weekend, “Vampire Weekend”
The Very Best, “Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are The Very Best”
Wale, “Mixtape About Nothing”
TK Webb & The Visions, “Ancestor”
Kanye West, “808s and Heartbreak”

Top 5 of the decade by 6 Ranchers

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

Renee Heister helps a customer at Ranch Records in Bend. Photo by Dean Guernsey

Renee Heister helps a customer at Ranch Records in Bend. Photo by Dean Guernsey

It’s guest post time again! Today we have a fun one. As we all know, record store clerks have better taste and know more about music than anyone else on Earth. So I stopped in Bend’s independent record store, Ranch Records, and asked the friendly staffers there if they’d be willing to reveal their favorite albums of the past decade on Frequency. Not surprisingly, they agreed. They’re music nerds. They cannot resist.

So here are each Rancher’s picks for the top 5 albums of the 21st century so far, in no particular order. And that line up there about record store clerks having great taste and knowing more about music than anyone else? It sounded like sarcasm, but it wasn’t. Most record store clerks rule. So next time you need some knowledgeable guidance in your music-purchasing endeavors from someone whose job revolves solely around music, and not around cell phones and TVs and other stuff, drop into Ranch Records.

MITCH FAGEN
Destroyer, “Destroyer’s Rubies” (2006) — Canadian Dan Bejar’s songs are crowded with beautiful poetic gestures and references to everything from modern painters to Albert Camus and everything in between.

The Clientele, “Suburban Light” (2000) — The Clientele create shadowy, reverb-drenched music that is perfect for rainy afternoons and late-night walks. These
songs have painted more of my nights this decade than any other.

Animal Collective, “Strawberry Jam” (2007) — “Strawberry Jam” is one of the most colorful and joyous expressions of music that has ever been recorded.

Portishead, “Third” (2008) — After a 10-year hiatus, Portishead return with a modern masterpiece full of texture, mood and overwhelming authority.

Califone, “Heron King Blues” (2004) — If there ever was an album that needed to be heard through headphones, it is “Heron King Blues.” Every inch of Califone’s swampy folk record is drenched with so much sound that it results in one of the most rewarding listens of the decade.

JOHN SCHROEDER
Kings of Leon, “Youth & Young Manhood” (2003)
The Strokes, “Is this It” (2001)
Once, “Soundtrack” (2007)
The Shins, “Wincing the Night Away” (2007)
Spoon, “Gimme Fiction” (2005)

STEVEN BORREGO
Grizzly Bear, “Veckatimest” (2009)
Wilco, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” (2001)
Radiohead, “Kid A” (2000)
Dirty Projectors, “Bitte Orca” (2009)
The Strokes, “Is this It” (2001)

JIM STOUT
Bright Eyes, “Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground” (2002) — Hope amidst uncertainty, guilt and struggle between altruism and egoism.

Weakerthans, “Left and Leaving” (2000) — Highly literate wimp-punk-pop-rock observations.

Bjork, “Vespertine” (2001) — Sexy pagan poetry with Matmos on beats.

Low, “Things we lost in the Fire” (2001)
— Beautiful music with an existential darkness.

Bonnie Prince Billy, “Ease Down the Road” (2001) — Makes one feel less hideously about chivalrous carnality.

RENEE HEISTER
Elliot Smith, “Figure 8” (2000) — A poet’s last attempt at happiness. He drops the acoustic, low-fi sound to weave beautiful melody and heavy instrumentation through each song.

Kings of Leon, “Ah Ha Shake Heartbreak” (2005) — I’m a sucker for childish pop music. A coming of age album really. I’ve listened to it on repeat while walking the University of Oregon campus.

Arcade Fire, “Funeral” (2004) — Powerful album of love, lust and… Truly captivating, especially live.

The Walkmen, “100 Miles Off” (2006) — The singer has a Dylan croon to his voice, almost undecipherable at times. The band complements this with piano, surf sounds one minute, then heavy, messy punk-noise the next. A soundtrack to any summer.

Dungen, “Tio Bitar” (2007) — Pronounced DOON-YEN. This Swedish psych-style, prog-rock band are obviously jazz influenced as well. You don’t have to understand what they say to appreciate their sound. All you need is a bike and a good pair of headphones.

JAMES GOSSARD
Talib Kweli & Hi Tek, “Reflection Eternal” (2002)
Pinback, “Summer in Abaddon” (2004)
Califone, “Roomsound” (2006)
Yo La Tengo, “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass” (2006)
Ween, “Quebec” (2003)

The best albums of 2007

Monday, December 14th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

The first year I started doing year-end reviews in GO! Magazine was 2007. You can read my thoughts on 15 of that year’s albums (all of which are on the list below) by clicking here.

Looking back, 2007 was a monster year. This list is longer than any other individual year, and there are albums that aren’t listed here that are very good. Like Blue Scholars and Brother Reade. Manu Chao and Bruce Springsteen. Radiohead and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Against Me! and Panda Bear. Your 33 Black Angels and Limbeck. I mean, seriously … the list goes on.

It’s exhausting. And I’m exhausted. And you’re tired of reading this stuff, so here’s the list.

Ryan Adams, “Easy Tiger”
Aesop Rock, “None Shall Pass”
Arcade Fire, “Neon Bible”
Band of Horses, “Cease to Begin”
Black Moth Super Rainbow, “Dandelion Gum”
Blitzen Trapper, “Wild Mountain Nation”
Gui Boratto, “Chromophobia”
The Broken West, “I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On”
Burial, “Untrue”
Eluvium, “Copia”
Future Clouds and Radar, “Future Clouds and Radar”
Jose Gonzalez, “In Our Nature”
Albert Hammond Jr., “Yours To Keep”
Miranda Lambert, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Lewis & Clarke, “Blasts of Holy Birth”
Maserati, “Inventions For the New Season”
The National, “Boxer”
The New Pornographers, “Challengers”
Pelican, “City of Echoes”
Josh Ritter, “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter”
The Shaky Hands, “The Shaky Hands”
The Shins, “Wincing The Night Away”
Various Artists, “Cue the Bugle Turbulent: The 2007 Believer Music Issue CD”
Wooden Shjips, “Wooden Shjips”

P.S. If you made me pick the best song of the past decade, I would pick something that lurks somewhere within this list.

The best albums of 2006

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

2006 makes my head swim. It’s hard to gauge a year when some of the best music came out on EPs (Little Ones, Voxtrot, Get Him Eat Him) and pop music produced a mind-boggling number of singles that were not only mega-hits, but also … really good.

How do you balance an album — by, say, A.F.I. or Justin Timberlake or T.I. — that you know contains several great singles, but also its share of so-so stuff? I mean, it’s not like some of the best lesser-known albums of 2006 don’t have weak spots. I think The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife” is one of the best albums of the decade, but it has a song or two I usually skip. When I evaluate it in my mind, however, its grand vision and ambition more than make up for those skippable songs.

Does Justin Timberlake’s achievement of scoring a huge hit with an awesome song like “What Goes Around” or “My Love” deserve the same consideration? Does the quality and success of “What Goes Around” equal the epic scale of “The Crane Wife”?

I’m over-thinking this, I know. But I love this kind of stuff.

I told you way back in the 2001 post that I had moved that year to the mountains of Idaho, unable to receive any radio stations, MTV or VH1. In 2006, I took my current job and moved to Bend, and suddenly mainstream music was much more accessible to me. That’s evident on the list below, where arena-ready acts sit next to artists like Clogs and Pink Nasty, who couldn’t fill the The Annex.

I don’t know how the lists for 2007 and 2008 will play out yet, but I can tell you that my favorites of 2009 (coming Friday!) include more big-name artists than any other year of the decade. I can’t see how that’s anything but a positive development. Better acts are hitting it big.

A Fire Inside, “Decemberunderground”
Band of Horses, “Everything All The Time”
The Black Angels, “Passover”
Neko Case, “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood”
The Changes, “Today Is Tonight”
Clogs, “Lantern”
Darker My Love, “Darker My Love”
The Decemberists, “The Crane Wife”
Girl Talk, “Night Ripper”
The Long Winters, “Putting the Days to Bed”
Los Lobos, “The Town and the City”
Midlake, “The Trials of Van Occupanther”
Bebo Norman, “Between the Dreaming and the Coming True”
Pink Nasty, “Mold the Gold”
Josh Ritter, “The Animal Years”
The Scourge of the Sea, “Make Me Armored”
Justin Timberlake, “Futuresex / Lovesounds”
Various Artists, “The Sound The Hare Heard”

Superb songs of the decade: Massive Attack and Mos Def

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

This Massive Attack beat absolutely destroys anything in its path. Mighty Mos holds his own on the mic, too. What an effort. I believe this song first appeared on the soundtrack of “Blade II,” some vampire movie from 2002 starring Wesley Snipes. The Internet tells me that movie is nearly 120 minutes long.

I am pretty sure I’d rather listen to this song 23 times in a row than watch “Blade II.”

The best albums of 2005

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

My list of 2005′s best albums is soaked with sadness. Probably the two prettiest listens among the albums below are Minnesota songwriter Jeff Hanson‘s gorgeous self-titled album and Philly guitarist Jack Rose‘s “Kensington Blues,” a paragon of modern American Primitive guitar.

Followers of Frequency on Facebook know that Rose died unexpectedly at age 38 last week. And Hanson was found dead in his apartment in June; an investigation later identified the cause as “mixed drug toxicity.” He was only 31.

Both men’s 2005 albums are must-hear efforts for anyone, really, but especially for fans of their particular styles. Rose generally played solo, acoustic guitar influenced by pre-war bluesmen and more recent six-string experimenters such as John Fahey. His playing was dexterous, his sound mesmerizing, and though he wasn’t a household name, his death will leave a large hole in the outsider music scene.

Hanson’s songs were more accessible, by traditional standards. He, too, used acoustic guitar to make his art, but Hanson’s music was more in line with the prettier side of modern indie-pop. Sweeping and somber, his albums sounded like Alison Krauss singing Elliott Smith’s songbook, and yes, you read that right; the guy’s most distinctive quality was an extremely high, feminine-sounding voice that fooled everyone I ever played it for. The voice was no schtick, though. Hanson’s songwriting chops were top-notch.

Much of the rest of the list below is so upbeat, poppy, and party-friendly — Aqueduct, Benson, Davis, Of Montreal and M.I.A., especially — let’s just end this there. Except to say one thing: The National’s “Alligator” marks a step out of the shadows for what may now be my favorite band on Earth.

Amadou & Mariam, “Dimanche a Bamako”
Aqueduct, “I Sold Gold”
Brendan Benson, “The Alternative To Love”
Boris, “Pink”
Brakes, “Give Blood”
Bright Eyes, “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning”
Crooked Fingers, “Dignity And Shame”
Devin Davis, “Lonely People Of The World, Unite!”
Edan, “Beauty and the Beat”
Robbie Fulks, “Georgia Hard”
Jeff Hanson, “Jeff Hanson”
M.I.A., “Arular”
The Mountain Goats, “The Sunset Tree”
My Morning Jacket, “Z”
The National, “Alligator”
Nickel Creek, “Why Should The Fire Die?”
Of Montreal, “The Sunlandic Twins”
Jack Rose, “Kensington Blues”
Josh Rouse, “Nashville”
Sufjan Stevens, “Illinois”
Wolf Parade, “Apologies To The Queen Mary”

The best of 2000-2009, by Dori Donoho

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

(This post is part of Frequency’s coverage of the best music of the past decade. You can see all of that coverage in one place by clicking here. And be sure to tune in Dec. 18, when I’ll post “Near/Far,” our annual, downloadable MP3 compilation of the best music of 2009, to go along with our year-in-review package in that day’s GO! Magazine.)

Dori

As part of Frequency’s ongoing coverage of music in the first 10 years of the 21st century, I’ve asked a few folks close to the local scene to reflect on the past decade in whatever way they see fit. Look for more of these coming over the next week. First up, Dori Donoho. If it’s music, and it was released over the past decade, chances are good that Dori has heard it. She’s the mid-day DJ at Clear 101.7 FM in Bend and, for 10 years now, the host of the radio station’s Homegrown Music Showcase on Thursday night, where she features local music by local musicians.

Dori Donoho’s picks for the best of 2000–2009
(Not in any particular order. They are all equal on my list)

The Decemberists, “The Hazards Of Love”
Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for concept albums from Oregon artists, especially when the musical vibe ranges from acid Celtic to intense story ballads. OH YEAH.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand”
Zeppelin meets traditional music — so wrong and yet so very right. Great album start to finish without one single clinker. It’s DELICIOUS!

Shawn Mullins, “9th Ward Picking Parlor”
Music raised from the ashes of the old-style blues in New Orleans. Inspired by and recorded in that city’s 9th Ward. Who am I kidding? If Shawn Mullins farted in a bucket and recorded it, I would buy it.

Michael Franti & Spearhead, “Yell Fire” and “All Rebel Rockers”
Both albums are activist theory-ridden messages that you can dance too. Over and over again these two albums are good for the mind, body, and soul. Put on your left wings and let it wash all over you.

Dixie Chicks, “Taking The Long Way”
An album of “I’M NOT SORRY!” comprised of the stellar musicianship of the Chicks, amped up by rock star collaborations with the likes of Mike Campbell (Heartbreakers), Keb’ Mo’, and Sheryl Crow. This one is in my CD player all the time.

M.I.A., “Kala”
This artist had me at first listen. She sampled parts of this album in the song “Paper Planes” for the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack. I am a believer.

John Butler Trio, “Grand National”
Begs the question, which came first? Love of the artist LIVE? Or on CD? For me, it was a live performance that rocked my world. The musicianship of John Butler and his ability to be one with the guitar does not come through as well on CD as it does live. However, the CD is still one of my top 10 records of all time.