Getintothis reflects on the best records from 2000-2009.
1. LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (2007)
Compiling an end of year list is rarely an easy task, so sifting through ten of the buggers and plumping for a number one you’d imagine would be close to impossible. Not this decade.
DFA label boss, James Murphy‘s second long-player is simply leagues ahead of any record from the last ten years.
Quintessentially pop yet multifaceted enough to warrant endless return visits; it’s a record to immerse yourself in, party to, get melancholy with, f*ck along to or simply sit and enjoy.
DFA isn’t just a label which has spawned endless copyists, it’s a signpost for music which has infinite groove with a human heartbeat – and Sound of Silver is it’s very soul at work.
If Murphy comes even close to matching this in the next ten years it’d be nothing short of miraculous.
2. Mars Volta: De-Loused In The Comatorium (2003)
It wasn’t just the music of De-Loused which seemed a preposterous joke, the cover alone pointed to a heightened level of silliness.
But look past (if you can) Boy George‘s golden egghead on a china plate, mouth-farting a beam of light, and you’ll discover the most daring, exhilarating rock music committed to tape since the mid 70s.
Sure, prog will always have it’s critics, but in the main the Volta’s debut is precision fusion with seismic results – and when guitarist Omar Rodriguez does invite you to undertake a journey to his double-figure time zone only a fool with a questionable concentration span would decline.
3. Oceansize: Effloresce (2003)
Perhaps the band which I hold dearest to my heart from the last decade.
Perennial underdogs, the forgetten men of alternative avant-rock, Manchester’s finest have carved an oceansized hole of creative bombast yet still they remain virtual unknowns.
I saw guitarist Gamber at the recent 10 Years of All Tomorrow’s Parties, and couldn’t help but wonder if/when they’ll be given a shot on the Centre Stage to rip the roof off that sweaty ballroom.
Effloresce remains British rock’s buried treasure – and as alluded to recently, can only be rivalled by xx, as the greatest debut by a British band since The Stone Roses.
4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! (2000)
Having completed this list, it became apparent that All Tomorrow’s Parties 10 Year Birthday line-up, be it the bands that played or who had directly influenced those on the bill, reflected much of my listening.
Call it post-rock, call it what you will, but the band that took elements of this emerging wave of instrumentally-led, neo-classical sonic landscapes (spot the cliches) and shaped it into something altogether remarkable was Montreal’s GY!BE.
On a bleak midweek night in March 2002, me a couple of mates drove up to, of all places, Bradford’s King George’s Hall to watch the umpteen-numbered collective – it proved a one off event, and mere months later they’d never play again.
I bet ATP’s avid followers would give more than a F*ck Button for a reunion.
5. Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004)
The strangest thing about Funeral is that I’m not really arsed about Arcade Fire anymore.
Yet, Funeral seems to exist in a moment in time when music seemed indistinct, arid and unimaginative and then suddenly a Canadian collective dressed as Puritanical oddballs sprung from nowhere singing vaguely in tune, applying the most bizarre combination of instruments to wildly chaotic, MASSIVE rock songs and quite all at once the world of music seemed alive again.
6. Sigur RÃÂ³s: ( ) (2002)
Similarly to Arcade Fire and Explosions in the Sky (see below), Sigur RÃÂ³s‘s untitled third record rarely gets an outing these days, but there’s no doubting its classic status.
Grander than ÃÂgÃÅ tis byrjun, more experimental than anything they’ve touched since, coupled with the breezeblock PopplagiÃÂ° finish, it’s as punishing as it is beautiful.
7. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
I first saw this lot in the Masque Theatre six months prior to their seminal debut release. The night appeared a write-off having endured the abortion that was a drunken Test Icicles while Zane Lowe introduced proceedings posturing like a post-modernist twat in a Captain Birdseye hat.
What followed was something I’ve never witnessed. A 40 minute breakneck set with kids hurtling themselves like lemmings while singing every lyric (lyrics which were soon replaced from the leaked demos for the album proper) in unison.
It was an unforgettable occasion signalling the arrival of the decade’s sole record by a British band that stuck to the classic template of voice, guitar, bass and drums inspiring genuine hope of a new gang on the block which could break altogether new barriers.
8. Explosions In The Sky: The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (2003)
Quite possibly the most played record in this list.
For two years I was completely absorbed in this record. Like Pink Floyd at their most pure and an ocean lap, lap, lapping around your stomach before crashing and enveloping with devastating effect, Explosions’ record is a force of beautiful nature.
9. Primal Scream: XTRMNTR (2000)
The Scream Team are at their best when they’ve Claudio Ranieri (aka the Tinker Man) as their head coach – rotating these speed-addled misfits is key to all their best work and on XTRMNTR you’ve dirty Bobby on the wing, dancing and slurring like Oliver Reed come closing time, Mani in the engine room giving it the full works, the staples of Andrew Innes and Duffy keeping the rhythm ticking over like clockwork and then the maverick playmaker Kevin Shields out on loan from My Bloody Valentine FC injecting some terminator-sized evil grooves.
MASSIVE GOAL. And they toured this record with barbed wire on the lip of the stage. Lovely.
10. Jay-Z: The Blueprint (2001)
The only record on the list I didn’t purchase during the year it was released. Having been transfixed to the Hova’s headline Glastonbury set in 2008 I did my long overdue homework swiftly upon returning home.
Barely a week’s passed since, without at least one rotation. Context is everything, and it’s so easy to see how this record has sculpted the next ten years of not just hip hop, but mainstream pop.