I can’t remember the first time I met Jason Cooley but I think it was back when the seas were cooling. We came into the Northeast rock scene at approximately the same time, were in some cool bands (never the same one), and generally walked wide circles around one another. I was a huge fan of his short-lived 1990s comic, and I’ve bugged him about doing another series ever since. I also really dig his solo work released under the School Bus moniker. I’ve long suspected that Jason has a lot more fun than me, which I’ve basically come to terms with. Because he actually deserves it.
Anyway, I’m honored to have him contribute his list to our “best music of the ’00s” exercise, which at this rate, will finish up sometime before the close of the next decade. List after the jump.
Radiohead, Kid A (2000)
Remember spending hours upon hours on Napster trying to piece together leaked versions of songs from this album months before it came out and you were just so damn hungry to hear it you’d settle for some dude’s hand-held cassette recording from an advance listening party? I do. It also adheres to the great “Side One, Side Two” structure of tracklisting.
Primal Scream, XTRMNTR (2000)
A big “Yeah we take drugs. So what? Fuck you” album. It’s loud, pissed off, noisy, nihilistic, beautiful (Kevin Shields is all over it), over-the-top, has killer distorted bass riffs (I’m pretty sure Radiohead heard it just before recording “The National Anthem”) and yes, you can dance to it.
Boredoms, Vision Creation NewSun (1999 – it didn’t get to the States until 2000)
I knew it was great 5 seconds in and it just kept getting greater. A rollercoaster record. Eye‘s remix of it, Vol. 0 Vision Recreation is just as good.
Mogwai, My Father My King (2001)
A one-song EP, I know. But man. I played this on the radio a year ago and some kid called in and complained that it was just noise. I told him I was glad he didn’t like it and hung up. [Editor’s Note: Not available for streaming, so we’ll do Happy Songs for Happy People instead.]
Tortoise, Standards (2001)
Did people like this when it came out? I don’t remember. I still love it. [Ed's Note: Wow, Thrill Jockey Records must hate the internet because NONE of Tortoise's records are available for streaming.]
Trans Am, Red Line (2000)
It’s Trans Am’s Zen Arcade. I don’t know where the sudden urge to make a balls-out, rocking double album came from, but I will say that urge never returned. I saw it in the $3 box at Pure Pop once and almost cried. [Ed's Note: Another Thrill Jockey band, go figure. Someone should tell them that we no longer live in the age of scarcity — license your shit.]
Keith Fullerton Whitman, Playthroughs (2002)
I was pretty obsessed with him when this came out. That someone making music like this can appreciate the virtues of Van Halen was inspiring at the time. “Feedback Zwei” is fantastic. Is Dartmouth Street Underpass still available?
LCD Soundsystem, Sound Of Silver (2007)
For me, the best record of the 00s. It has everything I love about rock and roll and more. Also the best live show I saw in the 00s (and that’s saying a lot).
The Avalanches, Since I Left You (2001)
It’s almost too full of goodness to enjoy. I spent a lot of time putting the needle back a few grooves to try and figure out what had just happened.
Lightning Bolt, Hypermagic Mountain (2005)
The first time I heard “Dead Cowboy” was on my iPod during a lunch break at my job in NYC, in the break room. Surrounded by numerous oblivious textile designers I raised my fist in the air at a crucial moment in the song. I was not embarrassed.
The Chemical Brothers, Come With Us (2002)
A lot of people consider Surrender to be their last great one, but I think this one surpasses it. There are some fantastic funk breaks and “Star Guitar” is heavenly.
Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000)
Zack Martin already named Unwound‘s Leave Turn Inside You, so I’ll pick this one. This was pretty mind-blowing at the time.
Amazing shows I saw: LCD Soundsystem, Boredoms, Mouse On Mars, Manitoba, The Sword, Stereolab, Sonic Youth, Lightning Bolt, Radiohead, Beck (with The Flaming Lips), Wilco, Jandek, Four Tet, Broken Social Scene, Melvins, Jim O’Rourke, Cat Power, GYBE, etc. I saw a lot of them.
Jason Cooley is a bartender who collects records and plays in bands.