Everybody’s doing it, so I may as well join in. Rather than try to concoct a meaningful list in order, I thought I’d just list ten albums from each year of the decade. These are alphabetical.
NEKO CASE & HER BOYFRIENDS – Furnance Room Lullaby (Bloodshot)
“Twist the Knife” was Peel’s Festive Fifty number one if I recall correctly. That voice sent shivers down my spine, full of emotion and passion, and with enough lung power to make Shirley Bassey seem like Vashti Bunyan in comparison.
DIRTY THREE – Whatever You Love You Are (Bella Union)
The first one of their’s I heard. “Lullaby for Christie” still makes my knees go weak.
GAS – Pop (Mille Plateaux)
The fourth of the Gas quartet. The formula wasn’t much altered, but then neither was the quality
GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR – Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (Constellation)
Probably their definitive statement, and endlessly copied since. Like a symphony in four movements with several soaring climaxes in each.
ICEBREAKER INTERNATIONAL – Trein Maersk (IT)
Obscure, but doesn’t deserve to be. A concept album of sorts, tracing a container ship’s journey from the far east to Nova Scotia, and at the same time a satirical hymn to global capitalism. Musically, it ranges from charming electropop to long atmospheric pieces full of field recordings and voice samples.
PAN AMERICAN – 360 Business 360 Bypass (Kranky)
Mark Nelson’s second solo record following the demise of Labradford. Similar to that band, but somehow moodier.
RADIOHEAD – Kid A (Parlophone)
Blimey – that’s a bit of a bold choice.
RICK RIZZO & TARA KEY – Dark Edson Tiger (Thrill Jockey)
Praised when it came out, but seemingly forgotten by most now, an experimental and yet accessible set of guitar based instrumentals
SILVER MT ZION – He Has Left Us Alone… (Constellation)
Still in the shadow of the Godspeed mothership to some extent, but Efrim’s fragile, nervous-Neil Young vocals were a welcome addition. “Move Never Made” is probably even more relevant now than it was ten years ago.
WALKABOUTS – Train Leaves at Eight (Glitterhouse)
Probably my favourite covers album ever. The material is all by European writers (bar Scott Walker who kinda counts) from Brel to Neu!, Theodorakis to dEUS. superbly chosen, and outstandingly interpreted.