Musical Family Tree

Spreading Indiana Music

Just what will we call this soon to be passing decade? The "Os"? Like O-9? That's what I usually call it- "back in O-6...."

So with the decade closing out I wanted to send out a request for Best Albums of the Decade. I realize just trying to think of that might give you a headache, but just start by listing any that come to mind, it doesn't have to be a top ten list or anything like that. Here's some of mine and I will add some later.

as you may note, this list is decidedly "Indie" rock.

TV On The Radio- "Return To Cookie Mountain"and "Dear Science"- a fascinating band that is really pushing boundaries without forgetting to rock, an American Radiohead if you will.
The National "Boxer"- an album with surprising depth despite sounding very one dimensional at first. They were channeling something with this one.
Deerhunter- "Microcastle"- what pop music should be in the "Os" if the radio stations played anything worth listening to. This band was my favorite discovery of the past 2 years. Check out the sister band Atlas Sound as well.
The Shins- "Wincing The Night Away"- this album didn't get as much love as "Chutes Too Narrow" but in my book it has much more depth and finds it way to my turntable twice as often.
Yo La Tengo- "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out"- this album just barely made the decade but it deserves to be on this list. It took me a while to get into it but I now see it as the band's high water mark and probably the best album made by a married couple around the theme of their relationship.
Amy Winehouse "Back To Black"- a classic despite the hype
Dirty Projectors- "Bitte Orca"- I usually don't go for "weird" stuff like this but this is such a great record I really had to add it to the list.
Spoon- "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"- really changed how I think about recording
Sufjan Stevens- "Illinois"- a masterpiece all around
Bright Eyes- "I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning"- emo grows up and writes great songs.
Radiohead- "Hail To The Thief" and "In Rainbows"- they were really the band of the decade in my eyes
Fleet Foxes- "Fleet Foxes"- I think this album will endure and grow in respect over time, timeless stuff.
The Strokes- "Is This It"- an undeniable classic, every song should have been a hit.
Of Montreal- "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?" - This is probably my favorite record from the decade at this point.

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Comment by Editor B on January 7, 2010 at 3:43pm
As promised here's the annotated version of my list. Thanks, Jeb, for inspiring me to waste more time than I could afford on this!

Who Needs Electricity? by Operation: Cliff Clavin [2000] — Acoustic anarcho-primitivist folkpunk from Bloomington, Indiana. O:CC was one of my favorite punk bands of all time, and this is sort of an "unplugged" version of their own previously released originals — but framed as the future of rock after the collapse of civilization and attendant loss of ubiquitous electrical power. And in fact the sound of this album was indicative of the future direction Chris and Hannah would take with Ghost Mice. I think you can still get this for five bucks from Plan-It-X. Remember, if it ain't cheap it ain't punk.

Blazing Arrow by Blackalicious [2002] — Just the coolest hip-hop album ever. I'm really not sure how I first heard this music, but as soon as I heard it, I had to buy the album. Pitchfork calls it "unstoppably joyous" and it truly is.

Black Earth by Bohren & der Club of Gore [2002] — Mellow, instrumental, dark, dark, dark, depressive, almost ambient jazz. There's a good review on PopMatters.

The Ghastly Grimey Orchestra of New Orleans by The Ghastly Grimey Orchestra of New Orleans [2002] — A freaky folky experimental project from New Orleans, inspired by Edward Gorey. I had to special order this from Dublin, strangely enough. I discovered this one through random googling and became fascinated by the story behind the album. It seems a bunch of freaks hanging out in (pre-Katrina) New Orleans decided to record one song for each letter in the Gashlycrumb Tinies. They recorded each track with a different roster of musicians in different locations around town. One track was recorded in a moving elevator at Nowe Miasto, passing by musicians on different floors. Bizarre, obscure, dark, and awesome. Learn more, see a video, and get this album from Stitchy Press.

1 by Popchor Berlin [2002] — Poppy cover songs done by a choir in Berlin. There are only five songs on this EP but they range from damn good to transcendentally brilliant. Thanks to Liza for turning me on to them.

IAO (Music in Sacred Light) by John Zorn [2002] — Avant-garde ritualistic experimentalism that pushes all the right buttons for me. A more thoughtful review can be found on All About Jazz.

e.p. by Liquid Crystal Display [2002] — Psychedelic pop/rock from Bloomington, Indiana. You can get all their albums free through archive.org.

Wölfl Piano Sonatas by Jon Nakamatsu [2003] — What's an album of classical piano pieces doing here? Thanks to Brian Denzer for turning me on to this. He played some of this on WTUL one morning many years ago. For what it's worth, Fanfare gives this "absolutely the highest recommendation."

Lords of the Green Grass by Xenis Emputae Travelling Band [2003] — Mellow ambient experimental droning psychedelic British freefolk with a psychogeographical twist. This album has been re-released under a Creative Commons license, so you can download the entire album (in MP3 format) from Larkfall.

Here Comes the Troublemakers by The Troublemakers [2004] — Superb, ska-inflected pop-rock that combines anarchy, romance and fun. Includes such fabulous anthems as "International Flag-Burning Day" and "Emma Goldman," zany fun songs like "Opposite Machine," and sweet ballads such as "Never Be Alone." Buy this one from Louisiana Music Factory before they run out. Trust me on this one.

Super Heavy Organ by Robert Walter [2005] — Funky jazzy instrumental organ recorded live in New Orleans. Walter was playing in Bloomington, Indiana, just days after Katrina. I'd evacuated there, so I talked my way into the concert, which is where I picked up this album.

Satanische Vrede by Silvester Anfang [2006] — Dark droning experimental psychedelic Belgian free-folk. I find their sound absolutely mind-blowing in a subtle, insidious way. They self-describe as "post-satanic krautfolk," and that seems pretty accurate. This album is out of print, but you can get a sample MP3 from Kraak.

Seraphim by Irfan [2008] — Dark mystical Bulgarian neofolk. Ethereal female vocals over a male choir with that distinctive Balkan sound. I believe I stumbled onto this album via last.fm. Too beautiful. There's a review on Heathen Harvest.
Comment by Editor B on January 6, 2010 at 5:51pm
Oh yes. Jazzy funky B3 organ. And there's a Bloomington connection — I will try to post an annotated list soon. I do realize this list isn't worth much without notes on the more obscure entries.

If you can tune in to http://radio.rox.com/ there's about four more hours left, you can hear some of this stuff for yourself.
Comment by Kurt/Yukki on January 6, 2010 at 5:46pm
Aside from Blackalicious and John Zorn, holy crap that's a list of people I've never heard of.

I'll have to check some of that out. I am particularly intrigued by the title Super Heavy Organ. Is it really organ?
Comment by Jeb Banner on January 6, 2010 at 2:37pm
that Black Keys album was really good. Love the Danger Mouse production
Comment by Editor B on January 6, 2010 at 1:02pm
I tried narrowing down to ten, I really did, but thirteen is the best I could do.

Blackalicious: Blazing Arrow [2002]
Bohren & der Club of Gore: Black Earth [2002]
The Ghastly Grimey Orchestra of New Orleans [self-titled] [2002]
Irfan: Seraphim [2008]
John Zorn: IAO Music in Sacred Light [2002]
Jon Nakamatsu: Wölfl Piano Sonatas [2003]
Liquid Crystal Display: e.p.   [2002]
Operation: Cliff Clavin: Who Needs Electricity? [2000]
Popchor Berlin 1 [2002] (Thanks to Liza for turning me on to this.)
Robert Walter: Super Heavy Organ [2005]
Silvester Anfang: Satanische Vedre [2006]
The Troublemakers: Here Comes the Troublemakers [2004]
Xenis Emputae Travelling Band: Lords of the Green Grass [2003]
Comment by Kurt/Yukki on January 6, 2010 at 12:35pm
Editor B, give me some idea what would be in your list.

Thanks!
Comment by Editor B on January 6, 2010 at 11:39am
Closing out the decade: At approximately 10 AM CST I'll be playing through the thirteen best albums released in the Aughts. Listen at http://radio.rox.com/ Should take until 8 PM. Enjoy! Let me know what you think & by all means feel free to dispute my choices.
Comment by Michael Eugene Henry on January 5, 2010 at 8:09pm
Black Keys- "Strange Times" off of Attack and Release. One of the best F*ing songs ever. Sums up the Bush years for me.
Comment by Editor B on January 4, 2010 at 12:29pm
Here's a mix of my favorite tracks from 2009:

Best of 2009 (about an hour and half long)

There’s some music by A Tiny Window, Prince Rama of Ayodhya, and Интеркосмос (aka Interkosmos). Enjoy!
Comment by Jeb Banner on December 30, 2009 at 11:16am
very cool!

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