It’s a rare individual who works at fighting poverty and injustice AND blogs about music. Even more rare is when the day job fixing the world also involves music. Bob Ferguson is that individual. You see, Bob is the Artist Relations Coordinator for Oxfam America, and in his “spare time” he operates Extrawack — a long running site devoted to all manner of sounds.
We’re thrilled that Bob took the time to give us his top ten music picks of the decade. Go ahead then, check ’em out (after the jump).
Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll
The sound of a band playing for the sheer joy of playing. “Formed A Band” demanded the listener go out and form his/her own band, and I know of three groups that came about because of this album, including Chicago’s excellent Team Band.
Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Super-derivitive of the who’s who of post-punk, but sounding remarkably new and clever at the same time.
The Hives, Veni Vidi Vicious
The best frontman in rock & roll leads his crack squad of Swedish garagemeisters through a set of tunes that should put every half-baked rapper claiming to have “swagger” to shame. Pelle‘s got MAD swagger. [Editor’s note: shockingly, this record is not available to stream, so here’s The Black and White Album instead.]
PJ Harvey, Songs From The City, Songs From The Sea
Polly is the best storyteller in modern music, and this album contains some of her best tales.
LCD Soundsystem, Sound Of Silver
Could have also been called “Sound Of NYC,” because this record captured the city in a wonderfully weird moment in time. I wish James Murphy would run for Mayor.
Kaiser Chiefs, Employment
A set of incredibly infectious and sing-along-able songs. This album sounds like it was written with a pen in one hand and a pint of lager in the other, in a good way. Beer-pop. Did I just coin a new phrase?
Marvelous 3, ReadySexGo!
Butch Walker‘s criminally underrated and now defunct trio’s last album. Thirteen solid pop-rockers with nary a second of boredom. In a perfect world, these guys would be still together and selling out arenas. [Ed’s note: this one isn’t available, so we’re gonna cheat a little and give your Marvelous 3’s 1999 release, Hey! Album.]
Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker
The world’s most prolific singer-songwriter just happens to be one of the world’s best. Adams deserves a Nobel Songwriting Prize for “Come Pick Me Up,” which is found on this set and in any dive bar jukebox that calls itself decent.
Sigur Rós, ( )
Best title of the year, too. These guys’ albums make me weep, and this one is extra weepy. In a great way.
Travis, The Man Who
Oasis without the coke and the guitar pedals and the attitude. Fran Healy‘s got one of the sweetest voices in music, and his songs are incredibly romantic without a hint of sap.
As Oxfam America’s Artist Relations Coordinator, Bob Ferguson works with musical artists to bring Oxfam’s work to music fans at concerts, in print, and online. His heroes include Stephen Biko, Pee-Wee Herman, and Joe Strummer.