Thursday, December 10, 2009

Issue 10: End Of Decade Special

This week we take a trawl through a decade's worth of listening to dig up some oldies but goldies that seemed to have slipped through the net of most of the recent End Of Decade lists.

I'm not saying these are the best songs of the 2000s. Just sayin' they're good songs. I purposely left out a shedload of songs by bands and albums that have been well represented already.

Click here to listen now!

1. The New Year - 'The End's Not Near' (2004)

Helmed by brothers Matt and Bubba Kadane, The New Year have quietly released three flawless long players this decade.

More accessible and alive than their previous '90s incarnation Bedhead, The Kadane Brothers have nevertheless ramped up the misery and ennui to the point where their songs are left dangling somewhere between the deeply moving and the darkly comic.

The New Year MySpace

2. Ugly Casanova - 'Things I Don't Remember' (2002)

Lord knows - Isaac Brock has been more than adequately represented in the End of Decade praise. Modest Mouse's 'Moon and Antarctica' is a fabulous record, but for me it's this 2002 curio that really represents his decade's best work.

Working with Tim Rutili, John Orth and most importantly producer Brian Deck, Brock crafted a record that was entirely representative of its time. The genre was never given a name, but the sound of indie rock embracing sampling and ideas from the avant garde was certainly a new development and Deck was one of its pre-eminent exponents.

An incredible video accompanied the song too. Click above to watch it in all its childish glory now.

Ugly Casanova @ Subpop

3. Tunng - 'Bullets' (2007)

I could never make it through a whole album by Tunng, but in small doses they write some damn catchy melodies. The dark subject matter tastefully cuts the sweetness of the harmonies too.

Mottled with just the kind of audio experimentalism I alluded too in the Ugly Casanova description, 'Bullets' is for me their finest work to date.

Tunng MySpace

4. Tujiko Noriko - 'Narita Made' (2003)

This song features probably my favourite production of all time, minimal but huge and perfectly pitched to please my ear, this song in headphones is a real brain-tickler.

I remember seeing Tujiko Noriko in Vancouver the year this came out and being utterly amazed. Fennesz and Tim Hecker played at the same festival and in retrospect it was probably the last time laptop music would be so exciting as a movement.

Tujiko Noriko Website

5. Donnacha Costello - 'Orange A' (2004)

An incredibly warm and accessible example of minimal tech house or whatever you care to call it.

Dublin-based Costello released a series of colour-themed 12 inches throughout the decade and they're more than worthy of a little attention. You can purchase the collected Colorseries works right here.

Donnacha Costello MySpace

6. Einstürzende Neubauten - 'Youme & Meyou' (2004)

Stately song craft and pleasing aural arrangements are not what people instantly think of when Einstürzende Neubauten get mentioned. Then again, there's a fair amount of myth and confusion connected to this band.

As perfect a song as you could ever hope to hear, featuring an percussion instrument made of pipes that's captured my imagination ever since. Watch the video and tell me you aren't tempted to build one yourself.

Einstürzende Neubauten Website

7. Sieben - 'Rite For The Unfulfilled' (2007)

Photo credit: Pyhai

I used to work in a cinema and I can confirm that this song resonates with a certain ring of truth.

Sieben is the solo project of Matt Howden and features work he creates with just violin, loop pedal and voice. Completely ignored by anything approaching mainstream attention, he's nevertheless created some excellent work over the years and it more than deserves your ear. So go seek him out.

Sieben MySpace

8. Do Make Say Think - 'White Light Of' (2002)

Post Rock will remain forever the sound of the previous decade but one of its finest moment actually occurred in 2002 with the release of an album called '& Yet & Yet' by Do Make Say Think.

I know they call it Canadian Space Rock themselves, and I'm perfectly okay with that. Especially if they continue to be one of the finest live bands on the planet. A serious must see - and that's not just a clichéd turn of phrase.

Do Make Say Think MySpace

9. Songs: Ohia - 'Peoria Lunch Box Blues' (2003)

Photo credit: Steve Gullick

I've always known that Jason Molina has an army of diehard followers but I've never been one of them. I can't even remember how I found this song.

I think it may have been because of the guest vocalist Scout Niblett. I've always been fond of her ever-so-slightly off kilter vocals and I don't ever think they've ever been deployed as effectively as on this stand-out from Song Ohia's 2003 Magnolia Electric record.

Songs: Ohia MySpace

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