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2000 Year End Best Of

Minion Name:
  So, when Brendan demands a list what's a minion to do? Honestly, it hasn't been that great a year for album releases (really!). And there hasn't been much released this year that's made me go "Wow! You have got to hear this band!" So with that in mind, here's my contribution to the "Best of" sequence...and I'm only picking Seven, 'cause we only have 7 Sponges (it makes sense, Brendan....really).  
Top 7 New Releases for 2000:
  1. KneeDeep by Cafeteria: This is one of the two best albums I've heard this year. It's got great singalong potential, and most of the songs are under 3 minutes, so you can get sick of 'em. Plus it was recorded on a shoe string budget and released on a tiny label, which makes the great sound captured on this album even more impressive.
  2. Furnace Room Lullaby by Neko Case: Long before this album was released, I heard Kelly Hogan cover Set Out Running (the 1st track on this album). I thought it was about the most amazing song I'd ever heard. The rest of this album almost lives up to that anticipation.
  3. Sweet Bird of Youth by The Rock*a*Teens. O.K., so there's an organ on this one. And the recording of the songs makes my ability to 4 track look good. And if they'd cut 5 of the 17 songs, this would likely be a masterpiece. As it is, this has some fairly inventive melodies and great sarcastic lyrics (as one would expect from The Rock*a*Teens) and the band executes it all with a momentum which carries you through the weaker portions. Besides, the drumming kicks ass, and you can't beat that.
  4. We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes by Death Cab for Cutie: I bought this album blind on the recommendation of a friend from Ann Arbor. "This is great!" he told me. He was right. And this album only seems to improve with time -- it seems better now than it did at the time I bought it.
  5. The For Carnation by The For Carnation: You can't sing along with this one. Oh well. Great music to sit around and meditate to. Or to listen to while you're trying to come up with a list of Top 10 (or 7) albums of the year.
  6. Big Lazy by Big Lazy: This is the perfect soundtrack to the movie David Lynch never made. It's all about driving through the desert at night in a convertible with the top down. It's angular reverbed jazz that just seems a little creepy. I really like it.
  7. Bringing Home the Last Great Strike by Pinetop Seven: It's not as good as their 1998 release, Rigging the Toplights, but it's a moody little album about clowns and being sad. This album makes the Top Seven on the basis of an untitled track -- a off key circus melody that swells up and makes me thing of broken carousels. Beautiful.
Top 7 New Concerts for 2000:
  1. The Dismemberment Plan on 30.Nov: The perfect show: the headliners are on, the openers were good, and the sound was amazing. The Plan did all my favorites and then some....and I managed to get to bed by 1 AM!
  2. The Rock*a*Teens in 7.Oct: Their album release. In my mind, this was one of 3 perfect shows I saw this past year (concert 1 and 3 in this list are the other two). They played the standard album release, pumped up show. Then they did a drunk, sloppy encore set. And then they did another one. I was so hopped up by the end of it that I don't think I slept until nearly dawn. If that's not a testament to their energy, what is? Malimus may have only given it 4 sponges, but he's on crack.
  3. The For Carnation on 22.July: I wasn't really familiar with The For Carnation prior to this show. In fact, I think I went because Empire State were opening. But the way their extreme silence translated to the venue indicated a precision that was impressive, while at the same time demonstrating that they didn't just regurgitate their recorded material.
  4. Cafeteria on 27.Jan at the Caledonia in Athens: This was the first time I saw Cafeteria after the lineup seemed to solidify. I went, "Egads! This is brilliant!" and I've been a big fan ever since. This show was highlighted by the opener -- this guy who covered metal and new wave songs with his guitar, while a prerecorded drum and bass track played in the background. Egads! This is Brilliant!
  5. Drive By Truckers on 23.Mar at the Star Bar in Atlanta: You see, the Truckers' next big project is this Rock Opera about growing up in the South. They played it end to end at this show. 'Nuff said.
  6. Big Lazy on 22.Mar at the Caledonia in Athens: I'd never heard of this band before the show, but a friend told me it was the thing to see, so I skipped a performance of Neko Case to attend. I realized I made the correct decision when I found myself standing down front, mouth agape, trying to figure out which of these 3 brilliant musicians I should watch next.
  7. Songs:Ohia on 7.Dec at the Eyedrum in Atlanta: I'm not sure what I was expecting live, but I'm not sure this was it. The best way to describe it: Sam Prekop as done by Billy Bragg. And as I like them both, this is very very high praise. A Great show in a sometimes questionable venue.

Misc Awards for the Year 2000

Best band that I've burned-out on:
  Godspeed You Black Emperor!  
Best band that I didn't see:
Worst Live Band:
  The Independents (o.k. so they were openers)  
Most Disappointing Show:
  Kelly Hogan on 25.Mar: If you look at my list from above, you can tell that week in March was a great one for shows. Kelly Hogan just couldn't compare  
Worst Album I Bought:
  Hot Rail by Calexico: It was a mistake, but man that puppy stinks!  
Related Links:
  Return to the End Of Year Lists menu.

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