Nicolo DePierro is more than a man — he’s a killing machine. Here are his picks for the most fantastic records of the aughts. This is an outlier list, for sure, and for that reason I love it.
Picks after the jump…
No Particular Order
Immortal Technique, The Revolutionary Vol. II – 2003
The anger of vintage Ice Cube (circa The Predator) with a political edge that speaks to the hypocrisy of this century the way Public Enemy cut into the last. Helped me get through the dark days of the second chimp administration. The production is top notch, though not as innovative as the rhymes.
65 Days of Static, One Time for All Time – 2005
IDM and post rock guitars? Is there an answer to this question that no one was asking? Though few have tried, and fewer have succeeded the answer is: Yes! 65DoS manages to animate and emote something through the cold machines. A cyborg that retains it soul.
Danger Mouse, The Grey Album – 2004
This album is a novelty to some, or worse, an abomination that infected sovereign territory. I personally believe it to be a brilliant three-part collaboration even if two of the three were unwilling partners. In this instance, the of technique of the mash-up was elevated from craft to art. [Editor’s Note: packed with exciting copyright violations — download here.]
A Place to Bury Strangers, A Place to Bury Strangers – 2007
I recently discovered this band — pretty sure they’re one of the few that I’d pick when forced to leave shoegaze island and mingle on the rock and roll mainland. [Ed's Note: can't find the original album to stream, so here's the remixes.]
At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command – 2000
In 1998 The Refused put out the arrogantly titled The Shape of Punk to Come. News Flash! Punk still isn’t that shape and probably will never be. Ever since then, I’d searched for something to prove to “the kids” that punk could still be angry and innovative. Nobody has any idea what At the Drive-In are screaming about, though we suspect it is “pop-tarts” related. Honorary mention to These Arms are Snakes (if their name wasn’t so stupid, things may have been different).
New Order, Get Ready – 2001
Headline! New wave band puts out really good album 20 years past their prime, which is difficult for any band to do that far into their career. Mad props.
Shellac, 1000 Hurts – 2000
I fucking love this album. [Ed’s Note: Looking for Shellac to legally stream online? Not gonna happen. Blame that analog libertarian Albini.]
Michael Harrison, Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation – 2006
When someone says they’ve become bored with the 12 tone scale and they’re going to create their own tonal ontology, you should usually run very, very far away. This would be the exception that makes the rule.
Battles, Mirrored – 2007
I hooked up a microphone to a pitch-shifter and a vocoder in the nineties, once. I guess if I had a drummer from Helmet and was partial to tricky arpeggios I’d be doing as well as these guys. [Ed's Note: ridiculously, this is not available to stream. So here's one of Battles' excellent early EPs.]
Working for a Nuclear Free City, Working for a Nuclear Free City – 2006
Return to shoegaze island — this time with a funky drum machine. So much reverb a dub producer would blush.
ETC… I can also name the following bands that have made solid records — actually good and popular, so no real need to get into it… White Stripes, TV on the Radio, Radiohead, The Faint, Mogwai, Outkast, Gogol Bordello, Dead Prez. I should also mention Sigur Ros, Pinback and Mono as personal faves that I didn’t get around to writing about. And as long as we’re on that track, how about Carrigan, The Cancer Conspiracy and The Contrarian — all of whom made some fine music during the last 10 orbits. (But what is it with ex-Burlington boys and C words?)
Nicolo DePierro — charlatan, scoundrel and all around bad man — is a fiendish enemy to everything The Contrarian stands for. He has accomplished nothing in his long life and feeds on cats and bunnies. Plus he doesn’t even like music.