Archive for November, 2009

Songs Of The Decade: 200-EL-P-Deep Space 9mm

We begin the countdown of our 200 favorite tracks of the decade with El Producto. The former Company Flow member after launching his own label, Definitive Jux – a symbol of the most advanced and uncompromised hip-hop such as Cannibal Ox; Aesop Rock; etc.-, went to shock the world once more with his solo debut “Fantastic Damage”. El-P’s harsh rhymes and futuristic production, heavily influenced by his passion for science-fiction, served as ranting metaphors of a dark and violent world and turned out to be a true antidote against the progressive disintegration of the genre. “Deep Space 9mm” was one of his most popular highlights.

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Influential Artists


10-OKKERVIL RIVER-Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe

We tried to make our list as comprehensive as possible, but 150 albums and 200 tracks are not enough to fit all the good music of ten years and we were forced to make some painful discards. Some of them (Japanese experimental punks Boredoms; minimal house and dubstep pioneer Shackleton; sublime ambient project Gas or dronemeisters Sunn o))), due to the experimental nature of their music making it difficult to conform to the rules of ordinary formats; some others having made the difficult transition from indie darlings to major label stars with dignity and aplomb (..And You Would Know Us By The Trail Of Death; Death Cab For Cutie; Modest Mouse), failed to export their achievements across the pond. Groundbreaking songwriters such as Okkervil River’s Will Sheff or Phil Elverum, the brain behind The Microphones and Mount Eeerie, missed their place too; so did Girl Talk’s illegal sound collages. Here are the 10 most influential artists who -sadly- didn’t make it: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Producers


MERCURY REV- The Dark Is Rising

The role of the producer went far beyond its normal reaches to, in some cases, rival in popularity and star power with the artists they supervised. Timbaland; The Neptunes and Dr. Dre were the real builders of the current state of pop; R&B and hip-hop music. But every other genre had its studio wizards defining the sounds of our time. Ten of the most significant ones, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Veterans

THE DIVINE COMEDY-The Perfect Love Song

The noughties have failed to produce rock stars capable of pulling big audiences. By making music more available, the internet and P2P software have also turned upside down the way songs are mass-marketed. Now everyone has virtually the all-time catalogue of videos and recordings at the reach of his fingers, which made radio formulas, video playlists and other promotional ways felt somehow anachronical and the industry’s chosen ones to have fewer chances at conquering the public. This failing to replace the old icons, next to a healthy live scene, has made most veteran artist to happily remain in their privileged place; even many of the long time retired ones came back to recreate old classics live, thanks to an enormous demand, without the need to record new work. The surprise comebacks of Kate Bush or Vashti Bunyan were among those who successfully brought new songs. Some Rober Awards favorites gave worrying signs of progressive creative decay (R.E.M; Morrissey; Madonna); some others remained as vital and unshakeable as always (Tom Waits; Nick Cave). But the historic highlight was the final release of “Smile”, the greatest lost pop album of all time, which also recovered a fantastic Brian Wilson for the live arenas. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Electronica

Electronica was one of the dominating trends during the nineties, but as soon as we entered the new millennium, due to the lack of new technology to make music that hadn’t been already explored; it was reduced to a niche in the market. Its massive crossover appeal continued, but most of the times repeating tried and tested formulas, rather than exploring new ways. The most interesting findings came from a few experimental musicians in the areas of minimal house, dubstep or post-ambient. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Little Pop Gems

THE CHALETS-No Style

27 tracks we couldn’t fit in any other group but were too good to ignore. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Rarities & Covers

10-THE PIXIES-Bam Thwock

A selection of our favorite covers and lesser known tracks of the decade: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions- Latin

10-LOS SUPER SEVEN-La Sirena

Reggaeton kept on being the biggest popular revolution across Latin-America. The Latin equivalent to hip-hop was still generating unanimous hatred among prudes and middle classes due to the vulgarity of its lyrics and rhythmical simplicity. However, there were a few artists who realized the potential of its folk and Caribbean roots, elevating the genre to higher levels, with Tego Calderón as maximum exponent. The Buena Vista Social Club hangover brought further interest for Cuba. Puerto-Rican duo Calle 13 revalidated latin rap and Manu Chao’s populism knew no frontiers. In the last few years, a new cumbia linked to electro and other top club trends awoke the interest of such groundbreaking artists as DJ/Rupture. The genre’s updating process has just begun. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Spain

10-LAS KETCHUP-Kusha Las Payas

From a distance, the state of popular music in Spain was no less than frightening; with its mainstream pop constantly recalling the glory days of the 80’s movida and the advances of the small independence scene almost neutralized by the numbing herds of pop idol type reality shows – so popular that on several years every single contestant released a record, piling on the show’s own several compilations. Altogether they managed to wipe off the charts any other, more decent propositions. However, not everything was lost, for the first time a few national artists gained international recognition. First Las Ketchup following “Macarena” one hit wonder path. Later, from his small Discoteca Oceano, El Guincho seduced the US intelligentsia; became a fixture of the blogosphere and helped turned many trend-setters’ eyes towards other Spanish artists. Recently Delorean ran a similar fate. In other order of things, Los Planetas confirmed themselves unbeatable as best band, whereas Nacho Vega transformed himself from his alternative Manta Ray days into the most accomplished singer songwriter of the decade. Here are 10 of the best Spanish offers of the last ten years Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Singer/Songwriters

10-KING CREOSOTE-Klutz

The arrival of the anti-folk movement with Devendra Banhart as its poster boy ended up in an outburst of new singer-songwriters of all kinds and backgrounds. Some were digging in the teachings of the history, some others evolving them into freak-folk’s many shapes; some were polished for the female and adult markets and some others defying classification. Here’s some of the most brilliant ones. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-World

World music kept on breaking more and more often into the mainstream, but it seemed that only a certain type of adult oriented artist would gain access to worldwide distribution. Having said that, globalization has made it easier than ever to find out about the music on any remote point of the planet. Traveling around the five continents with an open ear has been an experience no short of surprises to the discerning listener, from Tuareg blues rockers to Japanese experimentalists; Congolese electronica to Malian pop masters. Some of the biggest, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Hard Sounds

With noble exceptions such as Les Savy Fav and Queens Of The Stone Age, the heirs of grunge rock had become shamelessly corporative and lacked of new ideas, so true rockers had to venture all around the guitar spectrum to push the boundaries of noise and drone. From the return of garage rock to the farther reaches of DIY fuzz and distortion, the hardest sounds enjoyed a much-welcomed comeback and provided us with some of the most sonically challenging moments of this era. Bands like Mastodon and Isis shook the cobwebs off metal and even punk, which for years had been nearly destroyed by teen posers, gave some shy evidence of a return to health. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Americana

Another booming genre at the turn of the millennium; like electronic music, alt-country’s dominance faded considerably during the noughties. Instead, the traditional Americana sounds became a major influence for new rock and pop artists who flirted with tradition without sacrificing their contemporary vein. The Hold Steady brought Bruce Springsteen’s heritage back to the books of cool. Jack White rescued Loretta Lynn and Sufjan Stevens became a critical darling with the banjo-tinged “Seven Swans”, before he ventured into his multi-state of the union celebrated, if recently aborted, project. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Noughties: Honorary Mentions-Continental Europe

Sweden, and by extension the whole of Scandinavia, was the true engine behind continental Europe’s best crafted music; either cutting-edge pop; finest indie; hardcore metal or the revival of Balearic dance. France carried on living out of the electronica stars of the nineties, whereas a new generation of singer-songwriters successfully updating “la chanson française” remained within the country’s boundaries. And they became probably the first civilized nation to have a pop star as first lady. Elsewhere, the internet and an expanding festival circuit made possible for the most popular local bands to reach beyond their frontiers. Read the rest of this entry »

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