Wow, here’s another Contrarian contributor of yore, James P. Caldwell, with his “best music of the decade” picks. I can’t believe my good fortune!
James was one of the first to come aboard the site, and we truly enjoyed his witty repartee, even if he made some questionable hiring decisions on the intern/assistant front. Well, that’s all water under the bridge (an utterly firebombed bridge), and we’re delighted to have him return to the fold — if only to give us his fave discs of the decade.
James’ picks (and ace commentary) after the jump…
Neil Young, Live At Massey Hall 1971 (2007 Reprise Records)
In Neil Young’s openly flawed, endearingly human career, this spare, acoustic performance from 1971 is flawless. Recorded in Toronto, it captures a solo Young between After The Goldrush and Harvest, which was a pretty shittin’ good time to catch Neil Young live. I’m sure a lot has been written about this record, none of which I’ve read. But I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a live recording that’s stopped me in my tracks like this one. It is beautiful.
Mogwai, Happy Songs For Happy People (2003 Matador Records)
If someone tried to steal this record from me, I’d stab them like a bag of haggis.
Vincent Gallo, When (2001 Warp Records)
I put this album on and it just takes me away, like Calgon. Gallo recorded it in his home studio on very nice, old equipment and it shows. Gallo is a great musician. [Editor’s note: this record is not available to listen to, but you CAN still fulfill your Gallo desires via the “personal services” section of his website. LADIES ONLY.]
The Mercury Program, From The Vapor of Gasoline (2000 Tiger Style Records)
I have many times gone an entire week listening to nothing but records from this Gainesville, FL band. Their instrumentals are like little movies. If you happen to be a drummer, I offer that Dave Lebleu is one of the best around. I would like to shake his hand. [Ed's note: I love this record too, but it's not available to stream. So here's another one of their records.]
Tom Waits, Real Gone (2004 Anti Records)
Marc Ribot lets fly on this feral howler of a Waits album, which ends with the best anti-war song of the decade.
My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves (2003 ATO Records)
Just as this album is telling you its intimate, earnest tale in hushed tones around the fire, it smashes a beer over your head, pulls a knife and calls your mother a whore. And that is awesome. I hope this band’s best work is not behind it.
Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000 Kranky Records)
This may very well be the most pompous band of all time. For my money, they can shove their commie, Quebecois squatter politics up their collective ass. This is a great record.
Steely Dan, Everything Must Go (2003 Reprise Records)
Shut up, I don’t care. When I get to be 112 yrs old, I want to be just like Donald Fagen. [Ed’s note: not available to stream, which is a royal scam. So here’s Royal Scam.]
**Had Hopes For, But Was Let Down By: Alberta Cross.
James Caldwell grew up in western New York and lives, like a dick, in New York City.