I couldn't come up with a more creative name.
So somebody asked about a best LPs of the 00s thread and naturally, my eyes lit up. The music obsessive in me doesn't need much excuse to take a deep dive, it's an opportunity to re-listen to some old favourites and, most of all, discover new things. I love the 70s, it might be where the long player peaked. But the 00s is the generation I grew up in, kid to youth to adult (ha!). So there's a certain attachment but it's also cool to see how these records have aged, how they compare to those hallowed classics from the past. This is my list, of course, and I'm not aiming to be objective and I certainly haven't got the credentials to make some grand narrative statement about the 21st music scene. These are simply the albums that sound fucking rad to me in 2018. And lucky for you I have awesome taste. Now, while my ears stretch wide I am only one man, so feel to recommend stuff i might have missed as the thread progresses. The obvious 'canon' releases I will have listened to, but I'm happy to give literally anything a shot. Again, unearthing overlooked gems and curios is more important to me and what makes lists like these so fun.
The list will be roughly in chronological order, and as there's so much to cover my comments will be brief. I don't have a set number of albums for each year, why round it up or cut things down? Feels cruel. That being said, my god 2000 was a ruddy great year! . . .
2000 (Part 1)
Sound of the Pirates: The Garage Sound of UK Pirate Radio (Locked on) [DJ Mix]
I’ll start with perhaps the biggest cheat on this list, a DJ set, because I can’t ignore the most important music coming from the UK at the turn of the century. Garage was already disappearing up its own arse by this point, the club scene descending into violence and hollow champagne decadence. What is striking, though, is how lovely, bubbly and how feminine this music is. For a while it felt like garage was all there was and ever will be, every wannabe kid DJ round are way got their decks, had their parties and felt like kings, for a while. It's how I imagine hip hop or house felt like to the generations previous. A new noise to call your own. But garage was already splintering of into grime and dubstep, the decks traded in for pub money and the DIY aspect forgotten. Now I love grime (dubstep bores me to tears, sorry guys ), but I miss garage, I miss that brief promise of sweet hedonism, fuelled by teenage hormones no doubt - and this comp brings it all back.
Sexy, spooky, modern soul classic. And yes, it's labelled 'neo soul' but forget that. Because this is Prince, basically. It's Prince if his imperial run didn't end with Sign Of the Times or Prince if he really got his head around hip-hop. It's that good.
Yo La Tengo
And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (Matador)
The LPs cover is perfect, this music blows like the evening's fog through nowhere suburbia. Yo La Tengo make soundscapes to get lost in, head phone music for the Autumn, for the radiator's warm glow as the nights grow colder. It's dream indiepop I guess, but unlike practically every other 'dream pop' record this century it doesn't sound retrograde, there's ideas here that are left unexplored.
Little Black Numbers (Warner UK)
A welcome return of a very English, pastoral folk that seemed to disappear with the deaths of Drake and Denny. William's voice is warm and completely still while the music (double bass, cello, throbbing organs) gently blossoms around her. It sounds so pure and out of time, yet William's lyrics have a surprising sting to them. It's the one album from 2000 that regularly puts a lump in my throat and that's gotta count for something.
Chicago Underground Duo
Synesthesia (Thrill Jockey)
Writing about pop is hard enough, where the fuck you start with free jazz? Basically, this Chicago duo (duh!) meld cornet, vibraphones and electronic squelch and create alien sound, Bitches Brew might be the best reference point. The music is sparse, giving Rob Mazurek (cornet, electronics) and Chad Taylor (drums, vibes) plenty of room to spin their magic - free jazz, fusion, traditional bop - all masterfully played. It's Thrill Jockey, Mazurek had previously played on a Tortoise LP and there is definitely a post-rock influence here too.
Hot Rail (Quarterstick)
Multi instrumentalists John Convertino and Joey Burns were two of the finest musicians on the planet at this point. Their Mariachi -cum- Americana was a different kind of juju, Lambchop were the only other group around doing something similar. The Mexican brass, Latin percussion and touches of jazz create something grand, cinematic and quite mysterious. Gorgeous music.
Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Music (Che')
"LIPSTICK! MAKE UP! SATURDAY NIGHT DISCOTHEQUE!
DISCOTHEQUE! DISCOTHEQUE! DISCOTHEQUE!!!"
Helen love are a Welsh group that make the unlikely connection between the Ramones and Happy hardcore. They make trashy dance and punk pop with the attention span of a teenager on glue. It's proto-PC music. It's unmistakably British ("She wears big plastic boots and silver shades, looks like Marc Bolan on a bad hair day, everybody's heard about her on our estate, we all love you shifty disco girl") and has just enough heart to not sound too boorish or ironic. The group's idol Joey Ramone even turns up on one track. If you have a soft spot for cheesy euro dance, twee, J pop, bubblegum or catchy punk rock than this is for you. And actually, the bratty three chord racket of the Ramones has more in common with happy hardcore that you'd think.
More Fire (VP)
Gruff as fuck ragga. Capleton bridges the gap between conscious roots reggae and ragga aggression. This LP is exhausting in the best possible way.
Man, I sorta hope album quality does drop over the years. Not even half way through 2000! . . .