Eric Olsen is good people. And I’m not saying that just because his label put out a 3″ CD of mine a few years back. Eric definitely knows music — a jazzer would say he’s got “big ears.” I used to love it back in the day when he’d come into my old record store right about closing time, looking for weird shit to play while bartending at the joint a couple doors down. Chances were good that I’d be hearing that same selection after work, and his picks were always aces. Oh, and he’s quite a soulful musician, too.
Anyway, here’s what Eric has decided are the most worthy records of the 2000s. (After the jump.)
I’m whittling down this best-of list while watching the monstertruck debris-porn that is Michael Bay‘s Transformers (edited for Canadian television), so it’s kind of hard for me to straight-face a critical list of the decade’s most important releases. Instead, I’m just going to say that these are probably the 11 albums I’ve most enjoyed since Y2K. I say “probably” because my memory’s for shit, and I say “11” because I’m a dink who’s unwilling to commit, so…. there you have it.
[Oh, and I used a little random integer script to generate the codification of this list, so don’t try to glean any importance or preference from its order.]
1. Battles, EP C / B EP
The perfect distillation of the physicality of Don Cabellero and the braininess of Storm and Stress. Ian Williams does good.
2. Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
No one can rock the fragile mellow quite like these three. Makes you willing to overlook the fact that they’re from New Jersey.
3. Jay-Z, The Blueprint
Hands down, best 3 opening tracks of the decade. (I’m surprised Nas and Prodigy ever showed their faces in public again.) Also worth noting: the fact that it was released on 9/11 did absolutely nothing to quell this one.
4. Sigur Ros, ()
The best untitled collection of untitled songs ever. Don’t think — just listen.
5. Lightning Bolt, Wonderful Rainbow
If you have not heard “Assassins” (track 2) nor plan to, you should stop reading right now and burn your socks.
6. The Books, The Lemon of Pink
I wish I would thought of this. Melodic collage so exact and precise that it sounds carefree and casual.
7. Radiohead, Kid A
You knew this was going to be on the list, didn’t you?
8. M.I.A., Kala
No one has more swagga than this lady:
(And FYI- my crush on M.I.A. is documented and condoned by my wife.)
9. Deerhoof, Reveille
Let us thank the god that created Deerhoof by dropping J-pop, D.N.A., Keith Moon, and Cocksucker Blues into some big-ass celestial blender. Tonight I pick Reveille, but tomorrow it could be Apple O’, Friend Opportunity, or anything else they’ve released since 2002. Love ’em. [Editor’s note: this one isn’t available, so here’s Milk Man.]
10. Bonnie “Prince” Billy/Matt Sweeney, Superwolf
God damn, Will should collaborate with Matt more often. Man… [Ed’s note: also not available, to stream.]
11. Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
RE-ISSUE OF THE DECADE
Betty Davis, They Say I’m Different
There may be nothing quite as bad-ass as this anywhere. Simultaneously mind-blowing and frightening. I’m not kidding — I often get scared listening to this album.
Eric Olsen spends his days pushing pixels and his evenings desperately trying to make his wife and/or daughter laugh. Occasionally, he manages to squeeze in some rocking, some cod cocking, some superstar jocking, and some word clocking.