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2001 Year End Best Of

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  Quite frankly, 2001 was not a strong year for recorded music to me. But, I have bought my fair share of CDs, so with the above caveat, here it is: My Top Ten Releases for 2001.  
Top 10 New Releases for 2001:
  1. Distance And Clime by Centro-matic: This was an unexpected find; I wandered into a concert and happened upon this Denton, TX band. In concert, I really found their blend of twangy, lyric-driven indie rock appealing. The album is better, reminding me of a huskier and happier (and less country) Son Volt. This hasn't left the CD player since I bought it.

  2. All Summer Long by Ashley Stove: This album isn't challenging or earth-shattering. But you can sing along to catchy little tunes, and I'm not above dancing around the house while listening. Cheery and solid, this is best thing Ashley Stove has ever released.

  3. The White Lights by The White Lights: The White Lights sound like the house band for a haunted 1960s dive; this echoe-y dark recording captures their live sound.

  4. Azure Ray by Azure Ray: Not normally the type of music I listen to, this album is one of the two most relaxing albums of the year. To this day, my cats still fall asleep whenever I play it.

  5. Fuse Time for the Working Force by Plug Spark Sanjay: Another unexpected pleasure, this New Jersey band's brand of dark moody angular rock isn't going to be the next big thing. But then again perhaps it should be.

  6. Amerigo Vesta by Casionova: Squeaking in with a last minute EP release, This Atlanta based band features 3 members of American Dream. It has more rock (and less cello), and easily slides between genres; at time it almost sounds like it could be a symphony in the way the music ebbs and flows. Very solid and highly recommended.

  7. The Sleepy Strange by Japancakes: The second most relaxing album of 2001; this is the perfect music for lounging around the house, reading in the sunlight. The recording doesn't convey the instrumental tensions of their live shows, but this version of "slow n' ez" is strong enough to single-handedly boost this CD in my rankings.

  8. Monkey Paw by Jack Logan: Another release which slides through vocal genres, from gospel to 60s blues. Logan's voice croons over catchy melodies and strong musicians to deliver a strong batch of songs. A little long at times, but it's still pretty darn good overall.

  9. Canadian Amp By Neko Case: 8 covers performed by the alt-country pinup girl. Most critics seem to miss the fact that Neko's actually an incredible singer with a knack for reinterpreting other people's music.

  10. Here's to Shutting Up by Superchunk: If you'd asked me in November, I'd have placed this higher; I think I was just happy that this album wasn't as wretched as their previous effort. I still think it's good, although the weaker parts of the album are gradually becoming more pronounced as time goes on.
5 Albums You Were Likely to Find on My Stereo in 2001: :
  1. Icky Mettle by Archers of Loaf: A good friend is just now getting into AoL, so I've been playing all the old albums. I'm often shocked at how good this one really is.

  2. Tiny Days by Scruffy The Cat: I've rediscovered this album by one of the favorite bands of my youth. Unlike some of the music I listened to in 1987, this one holds up well.

  3. Baby A Little Rain Must Fall by The Rock*A*Teens: Yeah, you knew these guys would be on here; the sometimes spotty recording occasionally obscures the echo-y beauty of the songs.

  4. Misery and Women by The Karl Hendricks Trio: I miss Karl, who is easily one of the best songwriters of the 90s when it comes to sardonic self-depreciating wit.

  5. More Fun in the New World by X: Bad things going down. Bad relationships. 'Nuff said.
The Five Most Enjoyable Concerts I Saw in 2001:
  Since I do most of the concert reviews, it's really only appropriate that I have to do this list:
  1. Five-Eight at The Star Bar on Friday.2.March.2001: Great show by an always solid band. Lots of covers and generic mayhem in a good venue. Exactly what a local rock concert should be.

  2. American Dream/Rock*a*Teens in East Atlanta on Friday.16.Feb.2001: O.k., these two bands didn't play together, but when one show ended, I walked in to the very beginning of the next band's set. It was like a long set changeover. Excellent showcase for two of my favorite bands; just the appropriate levels of intoxication to make it fun.

  3. The White Lights and Tijuana Hercules at The Earl on Saturday.4.Aug.2001: Tijuana Hercules was unexpectedly wonderful with their noisy rockabilly. With that as a lead in, the White Lights reverb heavy set seemed louder and more raucous than usual.

  4. Jack Logan and The Possibilities at The 40 Watt on Saturday.11.Aug.2001: The concert format was strange, and the same musicians played almost everything. But no-one missed a beat and showed exactly what a professional band should be.

  5. The Drive-By Truckers at The Earl on Friday.27.July.2001: The hard playing rockers played it close to the edge tonight; the crowd was shoving, the band seemed angry, an the music was blistering. Excellent.
Five Best Bands I've seen Live, But don't own a Recording Of:
  1. The Possibilities
  2. Sharks and Minnows
  3. Ceiling Fan
  4. Crybaby
  5. Tijuana Hercules
Related Links:
  Return to the End Of Year Lists menu.
Tracers' 2000 Year End Bests List.

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