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2002 Year End Best Of

Minion Name:
          Top 10 New Releases for 2001
  1. & Yet & Yet by Do Make Say Think: Even after months and months, this album continues to impress me. The music is so complex and interesting. I hope they tour next year.
  2. Source: Remix by Yellow6: Take some droning distorted guitar music and remix it into strange twisted collages of drones and beats. Very cool.
  3. Updates by American Analog Set with Her Space Holiday and Styrofoam: Although the most recent AmAnSet full length failed to wow me, this delightful EP of remixes is amazingly good. Slowcore pop with rich melodies, and then funky beats added in. Choosing Styrofoam and Her Space Holiday to help out was a good choice.
  4. For The Birds by The Frames: This is a simply gorgeous album of lilting pop. Why isn't this band more popular than they are?
  5. Alone I Admire by Auburn Lull: Technically this is a re-release, but seeing as no one outside their immediate hometown really had a chance to hear this album the first time, i think it counts. An amazing creation of drones and layered sound.
  6. Read and Burn 02 by Wire: I still get chills everytime this EP starts and i hear Colin Newman scream "Is this/Paranoid/Religious/Extreeeemism?" Yeah Colin, you tell 'em! Wire kick ass.
  7. The Revolt Against Tired Noises by The Stratford 4. Pixies-esque rock with an unstoppable groove. Damn this is fine stuff.
  8. Turn On The Bright Lights by Interpol. Very nice collection of moody pop tunes with an 80's influence.
  9. St. The Fire Show by The Fire Show. This is the final release from this very talented Chicago post-punk band, and apparently they wanted to go out on top of their game. This is not easy listening music, and yet there is real beauty in the chaos. Stunning.
  10. ( ) by Sigur Ros. These Icelanders may be pretentious, but they make some of the finest post-rock music i have ever heard. This album is very lovely.

          Some albums from 2002 that i like, but haven't listened to enough to really be sure about

(In no particular order):

Shenzhou by Biosphere: My favorite Norwegian artist plays with Debussey samples. Very ambient, very lovely, and very innovative.

Whole Numbers Play The Basics by Casino Vs. Japan: In a year in which Boards of Canada released an album that, although good, failed to knock my socks off, this Milwaukee artist out BoC-ed BoC! Quite a feat.

Fog by Fog: A strange hybrid of lo-fi bedroom pop and hip-hop beats. Definitely interesting.

Aires de Bocacalle by Nona Delichas: Beautiful dreampop from Mexico.

Single by Pub: Droning electronic ambience.

No Music by Themselves: This is technically hip-hop, but it is so out there that it really defies genre classification.

          Albums from 2002 that i want to hear, but can't find anywhere



I keep a running list of albums i want to hear. Every so often i go and wander through record stores looking for the stuff on my list. These are albums that i am interested in hearing, yet i have not been able to track down. They are listed in no particular order:

L'Amour Invisible by Amp
      I adore Amp --they are one of the best post-rock bands out there. Lots of fellow internet music geeks have raved about this, but i have yet to see a copy in any store in ATL.

Burn and Shiver by Azure Ray
     Again -- i have never seen this in stores, but here Malimus had a copy all along. That un-sharing rat!

From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots by Dšlek (Ipecac Records)
Deadringer by RJD2 (Def Jux)
      Alright: so there is supposedly all this great avante-garde hip-hop coming out these days, and i have really liked what little i have heard. But i must ask: where the heck does one buy these albums? I never see them anywhere!

Sunkissed by Guitar (Morr)
     I have a few songs by them on a sampler, and the songs are lovely. The band make My Bloody Valentine style "wall of guitar fuzz" noise with electro beats, simple but nice melodies, and disaffected female german singing. Sounds great to me.

Still Life Fast Moving by Mean Red Spiders
     This apparently only came out in October but it was supposed to come out earlier. I dunno what the delay was all about, but maybe next year some US label or distributor will pick this band up. I think they are the best shoegazer band in Canada, and given my overall fondness for the scene, that says a lot.

El Naval by Mus
     I adored Mus's Bliss Out release from last year, and i just learned that they released an album this year. I have never even seen it.

Writers Without Homes by Piano Magic
      I didn't even know that Piano Magic had released an album this year until the "end of the year lists" started coming out, and i saw this listed, often. Now i need to track down a copy.

One Beat by Sleater-Kinney (Kill Rock Stars)
     In all fairness i haven't really remembered to look for this, although with all the good press that i have read, i really want to hear it.

Tomorrow Never Comes by Xinlisupreme
      Japanese shoegazing.

Knife Play by Xiu Xiu (5 Rue Christine)
     This is supposedly really good post-punk from California.

Lake:Desert by Yellow6 (Ochre)
     In general, Yellow6 releases are painfully hard to track down.

          Top 10 Concerts i attended in 2002
  1. WIRE
    Wire are more real than any band should be. Damn, this was an amazing show.
  2. SPIRITUALIZED w/ Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    BRMC were okay, but Spiritualized were freaking incredible. J. Spaceman might be a whacked out drug-fiend, but he composes some truly gorgeous melodies. Plus, he put together a band of talented musicians to play his complex music. Definitely fun.
  3. AMERICAN ANALOG SET w/ Her Space Holiday
    This might be the last time i see HSH, which would be a shame. However, this was a very nice show, and i had a blast.
  4. Potomac Accord
    This band is amazing live. No, really. Go see them.
    Two crappy bands, one mediocre band, then The Frames came along and made eveything better. This was an amazing performance.
  6. BILLY BRAGG (on 24.Oct at The Roxy)
    Part politcal rally, part folk show, part comedy event. Billy Bragg is a genius.
    I let Malimus drag me to this in order to see what he was going on about. The Weakerthans put on a very good show of literate punk pop. Those silly Canadians.
  8. CINERAMA (on 13.Oct at The Echo Lounge)
    The band seemed road weary, yet they still kicked it out and played a great set. Seeing David Gedge do Corduroy live is a truly glorious thing.
  9. + / - w/ The Clairvoyants
    The Clarivoyants are amazing live: you have to see him sing in order to believe it. And +/- were very fun. As an added bonus, a guy from Versus told me they read this site! Hi Versus! (I am such a geek.)
  10. Her Space Holiday and The Ides Of Space
    Her Space Holiday make 2 appearances on this list, and they deserve it. What a wonderful band. The Ides of Space were great as well.

          5 Instances of Mayhem

If you go to quite a few shows, like i do, occasionally chaos occurs and you ge to see human spectacle in addition to the planned spectacle of "band on stage". Always fun. In order, the Top 5 Most Chaotic Shows of 2002 are:

  1. Sat.20.April: The lights go out at The Earl.
    American Dream were playing, and local bewery Sweetwater was selling their 420 Ale cheaply in honor of the date. So drunkeness was on hand. Then the power went out, and it got really wierd.
  2. Wed.21.May: A fight at the slowcore show.
    So there i am, thoroughly enjoying the delicate and beautiful melodies of The Clairvoyants, and some loud drunk almost gets into a fight. This is not belligerent music people!
  3. Sat.14.Sept: Frames plus Ash plus Coldplay.
    More musicians than you could count, many unannounced and unbilled. Truly spontaneous, and definitely strange.
  4. Sat.24.Aug: Freakshow.
    One of the singers said something about his Mom being in the audience, then he proceeded to scream profanity and thrash around like Iggy Pop. I am sure she is proud.... And they were so entertaining to watch.
  5. Mon.18.March: Chicks On Speed.
    God, i hated Chicks On Speed. At one point, i went to use the restroom, and the bouncer looked at me and said, "I hate this." At least he was getting paid to sit through it!
          And now for something completely different ...
          Top 10 Films i saw this year on the big screen:

Let me just state that i think that The Cinema is, in general, overrated. I get bored real quick when i have to both watch and listen to something. That said, i think that 2002 was a good year for movies in that i saw two that i actually liked, and one that was a good 2 hour TV show. And then there was some crap. Anyway, here is a complete listing of the movies i saw on a big screen this year, listed in decreasing order of "how much i liked them".

  1. 24 Hour Party People: This is, really, a movie for music geeks. It's got British humour, deadpan acting, and more band references than you can shake a stick at. A truly enjoyable cinematic experience.
  2. Spirited Away: I like cartoons, and this one was very well done. It had a strange story line (i suppose it makes more sense to the Japanese), but some truly lovely animation. And there was always something going on in the background....
  3. Star Trek: Nemesis: I grew up watching Star Trek, and i will go and see every movie they do. The last few have been very good. This one, despite being "The Data and Picard Show", was a really good movie. Although i would have liked more Worf, this film was still fun -- it was a long episode, not anything more. They kept the plot simple, and the effects were not intended to carry the show. Well done.
  4. Panic Room: I like Forrest Whitaker, and so i was willing to be dragged to this film. On the whole, it wasn't bad. Granted, most of the characters acted like total morons (the "bad guys" were too stupid to even plan out contingencies on the heist they had intended), and this was yet another of Hollywood's attempts to push relativist ethics down our throats. ("Forrest Whitaker's character is just stealing becuase he's poor, not because he's evil!" Bah!) And then there is the totally inacurate depiction of diabetes: "Yeah", said a diabetic friend about the movie, "If i haven't eaten in a while and my insulin is low, what you need to do is give me some candy, not a damned shot! That would probably kill me...." Still, despite it's flaws i didn't get bored during this one.
  5. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: For goodness sake would someone do George Lucas's writing for him? The dialog in this movie was atrocious, and the plot was pretty lame on the whole. And that love story thing? Neither of those two people were able to project ANY emotion.... But still -- this was beautifully done. And watching Yoda go at it with the light saber was awfully cool. I guess it was enjoyable eye candy.
  6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Despite the fact that this film was nigh infinitely long, i still felt like they cut too much from the book. However, it was well done and fun.
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: In all honesty, i got bored of Tolkein before i made it to this book. Therefore, i often had very little idea what the heck was going on in this movie. That annoyed me a bit, but the scenery was so gorgeous that i was willing to ignore that fact. What annoyed me more was the seemingly relative time frames of the characters. What -- did Merry and Pippin sleep on the Ent for 5 days while it carried them around? Oh well, i guess there is only so much you can do when you insist on cramming 500 pages of dense prose into a 3 hour movie. (Something which i honestly recommend against.)
  8. Black Hawk Down: This was a decent war movie, although it violated one of the core principles of war movies: any character who is off-screen for more than 15 minutes is presumed dead. And yet, in this film, people who i thought had died an hour ago suddenly reappeared towards the end. What the heck? Where were they -- hiding behind a wall the camera just never happened to go behind? Still, if you like action, this wasn't bad.
  9. Spiderman: Me and Spidey -- we go way back. I am an old-school comic book fan. And yet, i am amazed that so many people liked this film. The effects, although pretty, were atrocious. I kept watching the movie and trying to figure out what he was swinging from. Or are there metal bars stretching between the tops of NYC buildings that just never get shown in any other movie? And the acting, or rather, the lack of it, was appalling! The guy playing Parker did a fair job of acting like a total geek, but no one else in that movie seemed human to me at all. Or maybe i am rare in that i react to my environment and try to have a motivation for anything i do. Overall -- i cannot beleive so many people told me this was good! Obviously people wouldn't know good if it hit them on the head with flashy special effects and nubile chicks half-dressed, in danger, and drenched in rain. PLEASE PEOPLE -- think!
  10. The Time Machine: The best thing about this movie was ... Well, i can't think of anything right now. Maybe the popcorn? I dunno, but this was foul.

The Dark Side of The Wizard: This counts because i saw it in a private screening room at a friend's condo complex. The big screen was 9 feet long, but still better then a TV. Anyway -- Pink Floyd can only make The Wizard of Oz better, and yeah, this actually works. It's really cool, so some night when you are bored, give it a try.

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