Perfect Sound Forever

Favorite Music of 2003

chosen by the PSF staff
(also see the ridiculously extensive Editor's List)

Dave Andrae

The Clean - Anthology (Merge, Flying Nun)
Venetian Snares - Einstein-Rosen Bridge (Planet-Mu)
Broadcast -  "Before We Begin" (Warp)
Victor Gama - Pangeia Instumentos (Rephlex)
Pop Ambient 2003 (Kompakt)
Iron and Wine - Sea and The Rhythm (Sub-Pop)
Disjecta - True Love By Normal Polyfusia)
Venetian Snares - Badminton (Addict)
Chris Clark - Empty the Bones of You (Warp)
Urban Myth and Steve Beresford - Live At The Friends Meeting House (Planet-Mu)
The Books - The Lemon of Pink (Tomlab)
Neon Hunk - Smarmy Mob (Load)
Soundmurder - Wired for Sound (Rewind!)
Beauty Pill - You Are Right To Be Afraid (Dischord)
The Neapolitans featuring The Lonesome Organist (Neapolitan Records)

Notes: There’s some rare, indefinable quality that makes The Clean’s back catalog (as compiled on this
year’s Anthology) such an enduring listen, and it’s not merely their hailing from New Zealand. Venetian
Snares may be inconsistent or prolific to a fault, but look no further than the Einstein-Rosen Bridge 12"
(not to mention The Chocolate Wheelchair Album or Badminton 7") for an example of some of the most
refreshing manic electronic music in recent memory. As always, there are loads of new releases on my "records
to get" list that I still have to pick up (not to mention plenty of recordings from 2003 I haven’t even
heard of yet!), so this list is a tad premature.

Carson Arnold

Neil Young - Greendale (Reprise)
Fern Knight - Seven Years Of Severed Limbs (Normal)
Brett Smiley - Breathlessly Brett (RPM)
Glenn Branca - The Ascension (Acute; reissued)
The Mitchells - Hear Where You Are (Pigeon Records)
Alex Walsh - Light Another Candle (Backdoor Jams)
Josh Crane - Barebones (Microearth Records)
Cul De Sac - The Strangler's Wife (Strange Attractors Audio House)
Roscoe Holcomb - An Untamed Sense Of Control (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
Johnette Napolitano - Sketchbook (self-released; a late bloomer of 2002)
Television - Marquee Moon (Elektra/Asylum; reissued)
Robot Wars - (self-released; Al Martin, Charles Cicirella, and special guests!)
The Carter Family - Volume 2 1935-1941 (JSP)
Zwan - Mary Star Of The Sea (Martha's Music/Reprise)
Daniel Lanois - Shine (Anti)

I listed a few reissues and one late blossom of 2002; everything divided between material that's been mailed to me and popular hey-ho.

Kyle Barnett

Yo La Tengo – Summer Sun (Matador)
This year, even Yo La Tengo wasn’t critic-proof; some found the band’s hip-hop/avant-jazz flirtations to be trying.  But like NRBQ, Yo La Tengo again manages to extend their range while remaining a great rock ‘n’ roll band.

Vulgar Boatmen – Wide Awake (No Nostalgia)
The Vulgar Boatmen return with this career retrospective (and unreleased tracks), which offers a great introduction to the uninitiated for a band that continues to impress.

The Postal Service – Give Up (Sub Pop)
This pop-by-mail project of Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) and Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) comes as a great surprise.  In favor of a tuneful synth pop, The Postal Service end up creating something memorable.

Cat Power – You are Free (Matador)
Chan Marshall and company effortlessly brings together past and present here, while nicely beefing up the engine room.

Missy Elliott – This is Not a Test! (Elektra)
A late-in-the-year release, but Elliott (and the rest of the Virginia hip hop trust), keeps reinventing the art form amidst reports of its splintering and sputtering.

Fountains of Wayne – Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin)
Summoning summer radio heroes past (Cheap Trick, The Cars) with some great country songs thrown in, Fountains of Wayne offer up goodhearted, understated, bittersweet suburban songs that stay with you.

Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine & Ours (Ashmont)
Eschewing earlier reliances on orchestral pop, Joe Pernice and band favor a more stripped down approach that at times serves as a better showcase for his always strong songs.

Various Artists – Lost in Translation (Emperor Norton)
The music that accompanied one of the year’s great films also delivered.  Some new music from Kevin Shields, including golden oldies from My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain, and a hidden track of Bill Murray karaoke rendition of Roxy Music’ s “More than This.”

Prefuse 73 – One Word Extinguisher (Warp)
Nice glitch-hop from Atlanta, GA, with tons of successful turntablist and laptop experiments.  Audio quackery never sounded so good.

Various Artists – Down in the Basement: Joe Bussard’s Treasure Trove of Vintage 78’s (Old Hat); Various Artists – Gennett Records Greatest Hits Collection (Starr-Gennett Foundation)
Two from late 2002 you missed.  More incredible American pop music was released before World War II than you could ever possibly hear.  These two releases (both from late 2002) provide great overviews

OutKast – Speakerboxx/The Love Below (Arista)
The single of the year might well be Dre 3000’s “Hey Ya,” which sounds like a template for a new pop hybrid.  The rest of Dre’s The Love Below doesn’t quite live up, but Big Boi satisfies consistently with Speakerboxx.

Some Girls – Feel It (Koch)

Some Girls’ Feel It is an unassuming, less-is-more album, full of great vocal hooks, guitar jags, and an impossibly full drum presence.  Juliana Hatfield joins up with fellow Blake Babies alumnus Freda Love and bassist Heidi Gluck from Indianapolis’ the Pieces.

My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves (ATO/RCA)
Here’s a band I shouldn’t like on paper, but I consistently have.  These Louisville reverb farmers create a sound that somehow finds middle ground between the Allman Brothers and Spacemen 3, while coming up with solid if idiosyncratic tunes.

Oliver Mtukudzi – The Oliver Mtukudzi Collection: The Tuku Years (Putumayo)
Unlike Thomas Mapfumo, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi prefers an acoustic guitar sound, focused on rhythm as much as melody.  This collection highlights Mtukudzi’s half-decade long collaboration with South African musican/producer Steve Dyer.

Caveat: I never hear all I’d like in any given year and this one is no exception.  This was especially the case in 2003, when my habit of listening across decades past became especially acute.  Still, I managed to hear a bit of timely and worthwhile stuff amidst all this activity.  In no particular order:

Andy Beta

Double Leopards- Halve Maen
Tetuzi Akiyama- Don’t Forget to Boogie!
Ricardo Villalobos- Alcachofa
Viktor Vaughn- Vaudeville Villain
Tobias Thomas- Smallville
Coloma- Finery
Jay-Z- The Black Album
Hecker- Sun Pandamonium
The Rapture- Echoes
The Clientele- The Violet Hour
Fiery Furnaces- Gallowsbird’s Bark
Scorces- Ma Vie avec la Bete
Four Tet- Rounds
Animal Collective- Here Comes the Indian
Mu- Afro Finger and Gel

Ken Cox

The Donnas - Spend the Night (Altantic)
The Be Good Tanyas - Chinatown (Nettwerk)
Jolie Holland - Catalpa (self-produced)
The Statler Brothers - Farewell Concert (Compendia Music Group)
The Oak Ridge Boys - Colors (Spring Hill)
The Runaways - The Runaways (Cherry Red/reissue)
Sleater-Kinney - One Beat (Kill Rock Stars)
Avril Lavigne - Let Go
Po' Girl - Po' Girl (Hightone)
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me (Blue Note)
Jerry Lee Lewis - 16 Thrillers from The Killer (Varese Records/reissue)
Various Artists - When the Sun Goes Down: The Secret History of Rock and Roll (RCA)
Jason D. Williams - Don't Get None Onya (self-produced)
Nikki and the Corvettes - Nikki and the Corvettes (Bomp/reissue)
Lauren Talley - Surrender (Horizon Records)

Jon Dale

Keiji Haino - Mazu Wa Iro O Nakuso Ka (PSF)
Matt Valentine - Space Chanteys (Fringes)
Villalobos - Alcachofa (Playhouse)
Christina Carter - Bastard Wing (Eclipse)
Maher Shahal Hash Baz - Blues du Jour (Geographic)
Michael Mayer - Fabric 13 (Fabric)
Peter Kowald/Tatsuya Nakatani - 13 Definitions of Truth (Quakebasket)
Double Leopards - Halve Maen (Eclipse)
Matthew Dear - Leave Luck to Heaven (Spectral)
The Pastels - The Last Great Wilderness (Geographic)
The High Llamas - Beet, Maize and Corn (Duophonic/Drag City)
The Bug - Pressure (Rephlex)
Glenn Kotche - Next (Quakebasket)
Peter Brötzmann/Hamid Drake/William Parker - Never Too Late But Always Too Early (Eremite)
 Movietone - The Sand and the Stars (Domino/Drag City)

Lauren Dayap

The All-American Rejects - self-titled (Doghouse/Dreamworks)
Iron Maiden - Edward the Great: The Greatest Hits (Sanctuary/Metal-Is)
Daredevil - Soundtrack (Wind-Up)
Smallville - Soundtrack (Elektra)
The Damned - Smash it Up: The Anthology 1976-1987 (Sanctuary/Castle)
Rancid - Indestructible (Hellcat/Epitaph)
Dropkick Murphys - Blackout (Hellcat/Epitaph)
The Explosion - Sick of Modern Art (Tarantulas)
Rise Against - Revolutions Per Minute (Fat Wreck Chords)

Jorge Fernandez

Brian Eno - January 07003: Bell Studies For The Clock Of The Long Now (Opal)
    'Meditative and challenging. Eno's most sublime work since Neroli'
Richard Youngs -Airs Of The Ear (JagJaguar)
Kevin Ayers -Shooting At The Moon (EMI / reedition)
    'A timeless masterpiece'
Youngsbower -Relayer (VHF)
The Birdtree -Orchards And Caravans (Last Visible Dog)
    'Glenn Donaldson reinvented psychedelic folk for the new millenium'
The Blithe Sons -We Walk The Young Earth (Family Vineyard)
Polwechsel & Fennesz -Wrapped Islands (Erstwhile; 2002)
Franciscan Hobbies -Masks & Meanings (Soft Abuse)
The Sunburned Hand Of The Man -The Trickle Down Theory Of Lord Knows What (Eclipse)
Bardo Pond -On The Eclipse (ATP)
Supersilent -Supersilent 6 (Rune Grammofon)
    'While not as masterful as Supersilent 5, they're still the best band of the world'
Sunroof! -Bliss (VHF)
Reynols -Pacalirte Sorban Cumanos (Beta-Lactam Ring Records)
Scott Tuma -The River 1 2 3 4 (Truckstop)
John Luther Adams -In The White Silence (New World)

Phil Freeman

The Art Ensemble of Chicago - The Meeting (Pi Recordings)
Autechre - Draft 7.30 (Warp)
Peter Brotzmann/William Parker/Hamid Drake - Never Too Late But Always Too Early (Eremite)
Children of Bodom - Hate Crew Deathroll (Century Media)
Cradle of Filth - Damnation And A Day (Sony)
Miles Davis - The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (Legacy)
Dimmu Borgir - Death Cult Armageddon (Nuclear Blast)
Ephel Duath - The Painter's Palette (Earache)
Gorgoroth - Twilight Of The Idols: In Conspiracy With Satan (Nuclear Blast)
Iron Maiden - Dance Of Death (Sony)
Killing Joke - s/t (Red Ink)
The Mars Volta - De-Loused In The Comatorium (Universal)
Radiohead - Hail To The Thief (Capitol)
Spring Heel Jack - Live (Thirsty Ear)
Vital Remains - Dechristianize (Century Media)

Gary Gomes

Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger-Streetnoise, (Polydor-Import)
Soft Machine-Backwards (Cuneiform)
Bonzo Dog Band-Cornology (Emi-Import)
John Cage-Cartridge Music (Mainstream/Time Lp-Out Of Print—outdoes Metal Machine Music)
Absolute Zero-Smashing Icons (Recommended Records)
Emerson, Lake And Palmer-Tarkus (Rhino Records)
Frank Zappa-200 Motels  (Rykodisc)
The Nice-Here Come The Nice: The Immediate Anthology 3 Cd Set [Box Set]  (Immediate)
Various Artists-Enhanced Gravity (Yucca Tree Records)
Quiet Sun-First Time On Record (Expression Records)
Quiet Sun-Mainstream (Expression Records)
Tony Williams-The Anthology (Verve)
Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band-Lick My Decals Off, Baby( Straight)
Ornette Coleman Dancing In Your Head (A&M)
Peter Brotzmann Fuck De Boere (Atavistic)

I am a bit late with some of these, as many were released a long time ago, but John Cage's Cartridge Music is still to my ears, the noisiest, rudest thing ever recorded. Ornette and the Captain SHOULD be out again; it's criminal that they are not. Absolute Zero have finally found a label (they were on my best of last year, but they are still good bets). And Soft Machine, Quiet Sun, Tony Williams The Nice and ELP are symbols of a time when experimentation (even if it failed) was a GOOD thing. Peter Brotzann and Frank Zappa deserve to be here. And there is always room for the Bonzos with their curious design of faces that, if you half-looked, became roses of great vulgarity.

Jesse Jarnow

Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun (Matador)
Willie Nelson - Crazy: The Demo Sessions (Sugar Hill)
Radiohead - Hail To The Thief (Capitol)
The Dixie Hummingbirds - Diamond Jubilation (Rounder)
The Decemberists - Her Majesty, The Decemberists (Kill Rock Stars)
Manitoba - Up In Flames (Domino)
Various artists - Flowers In The Wildwood, Women In Early Country Music, 1923-1939 (Trikont)
Yo La Tengo - Today Is The Day EP (Matador)
Young People - War Prayers (Dim Mak)
Robert Wyatt - Solar Flares Burn For You (Cuneiform)
Jonny Greenwood - Bodysong (Capitol)
Various artists - Masked and Anonymous soundtrack (Columbia)
David Byrne - Lead Us Not Into Temptation (Thrill Jockey)
Four Tet - Rounds (Domino)

And, my number one record for 2003 (and 2002, and possibly 2001), if only it hadn't been released in 2002:

The Mountain Goats - Tallahassee (4AD)

Kortney Jmaeffs

Mars Volta- De-loused at the Comatorium  (GOLD STANDARD)
Tomahawk- Mit Gas  (IPECAC)
Mastodon - Remission  (RELAPSE)
The Locust - Plague Soundscapes (ANTI)
Danko Jones - We Sweat Blood  (DANKO JONES)
Cursive - The Ugly Organ (SADDLE CREEK)
Nebula - Atomic Ritual   (LIQUOR & POKER)
Serart- Serart (SERJICAL)
Firewater - Songs we should have Written  (JETSET)
Andrew WK - The Wolf  (ISLAND)
Hawksley Workman -  Lover/Fighter    (UNIVERSAL)
Metric- Old world underground, Where are you now?   (EVERLOVING)
Blood Brothers - Burn Piano Island, Burn  (ARTIST DIRECT)
Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism   (SONIC BOOM)
Misfits - Project 1950 (DBK WORKS)

Dave Lang

Vibracathedral Orchestra - Queen of Guess CD (VHF)
Robert Wyatt - Cuckooland CD (Ryko)
SunnO))) - White 1 dbl LP (Southern Lord)
Acid Mothers Temple - a whole bunch of stuff... (various labels)
Steve Lacy - We See: Thelonious Monk Songbook CD (Hat Hut)
Residents - Kettles of Fish on the Outskirts of Town CD/DVD (EuroRalph)
John Fahey - Red Cross CD (Revenant)
Merzbow - Frog remixes dbl CD (Misanthropic)
Grateful Dead - Anthem of the Sun deluxe reissue CD (Rhino)
Supersilent - 6 CD (Rune Grammofon)
Neil Young/Love - live in Melbourne
Kelley Stoltz - Antique Glow CD (Corduroy/Raoul)

Jose Marmeleira

Lightning Bolt – Wonderful Rainbow (Load)
Vashti Bunyan – Just Another Diamond Day (Spinney)
Glenn Branca - Ascension (Acute)
Mars - The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978 (G3G)
Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista)
Smog – Supper (Drag City)
John Fahey – Red Cross (Revenant)
Sightings – Absolutes (Load)
Mainliner – Mellow Out (Riot Season)
Double Leopards - Halve Maen (Eclipse)
Wolf Eyes – Dead Hills (Troubleman Unlimited)
Sunburned Hand of the Man - Headress (Records / Self Released)
Stealing Orchestra - The Incredible Shrinking Band (Zounds)
Cul de Sac –Death of the Sun (Strange Attractors Audio House)
Animal Collective - Here Comes The Indian – (Paw Tracks)

Lee Mcfadden

Felt - Stains On A Decade (Cherry Red)
No apologies for putting a compilation at Number 1 - the word sublime was invented for this band. Your collection is not complete without at least one Felt album.

Kristin Hersh - The Grotto (4AD)
Her most accomplished solo album to date - truly captivating.

Alasdair Roberts - Farewell Sorrow (Rough Trade)
Out of the ashes of Appendix Out - an album of rare beauty.

British Sea Power - The Decline Of British Sea Power (Rough Trade)
The best debut album in years from the amalgamation of David Byrne, Joy Division, World War One and Gardeners' Question Time.

Subway Sect - Sansend (Motion)
The suave sophisticate of New Wave surprises us with his most diverse offering to date.

Alternative TV - Action Time Vision: The Anthology (Sanctuary)
Mark Perry is spoken of more as the Sniffin' Glue editor than as Alternative Tv frontman. This challenging and invigorating set should help to redress the balance.

Gertrude - Up The Wrong Tree (Urban Missfits)
A mindblowing debut - from a band who take elements from Fugazi, The Slits and Captain Beefheart - and then improve on them!!!

Sexton Ming - A Lifetime Of Nervous Gutaches #1 (Rim)
An eponymously-assembled compilation of 20 years of a true maverick.

Blurt - The Fish Needs A Bike: The Best Of Blurt Volume One (Salamander)
Jazz elopes with punk successfully shock! The 6ft plus middle-aged mohican that is Ted Milton performs dance music for those that can't dance (believe me when I say this is a compliment!)

Vic Chesnutt - Silver Lake (New West)
Vic's most accessible album to date - but his necessary edge still remains.

The Deptford Beach Babes - The Deptford Beach Babes (Rim)
London surf punk from two former Voodoo Queens.

Wire - Send (Pink Flag)
Wire return to their punk roots - louder and angrier than most musicians half their age.

Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses (4AD)
Written and recorded in three weeks - the reformed Muses at their grittiest.

Julian Cope - Rome Wasn't Built In A Day (Head Heritage)
From tributes to the god Tukh Manukh to the twenty minute jam of "Eccentrifugal Force" - you can never take old Copey for granted.

Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks (EMI)
A laid-back return to form for the most influential band of the 20th century.

Mike McHone

Johnny Cash - American IV: When the Man Comes Around (Universal)
The White Stripes - Elephant (V2./BMG)
Warren Zevon - The Wind (Artemis Records)
Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (La Face)
Iron and Wine - Sea and the Rhythm (E.P.) (Subpop)
My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves (RCA)
Iggy Pop - Skull Ring (Virgin America)
Stephen Malkmus - Pig Lib (Matador)
Nick Cave - Nocturama (Epitaph)
John Mellencamp - Trouble No More (Sony)
The New Pornographers - Electric Version (Matador)
Radiohead - Hail to the Thief (Parlophone)
Iron Maiden - Dance of Death (EMI)
Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won: Live (Atlantic)
Tomahawk - Mit Gas (Ipecac Records)

Phil Mershon

Danny Barnes, Dirt on the Angel (Terminus Records)
Carla Bley  Looking For America  (Watt)
Bill Jones, Two Year Winter (Compass Records)
Various Artists: Shout, Sister, Shout! A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe (MC Records)
The Lucky Tomblin Band  (Texas World Records)
Gillian Welch, Soul Journey (Acony Records)
Tommy Castro, Gratitude (Heart & Soul Records)
Randy McDonald, On the Wildside (Heart & Soul)
Flaco Jiminez, Squeeze Box King (Compadre)
Paul Bley, Plays Carla Bley (Steeplechase) [Reissue]
Toni Lynn Washington, Been So Long (Northern Blues)
Erik Friedlander, Quake (Cryptogramophone)
Various Artists, Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash (Northern Blues)
James Cohen, High Side of Lowdown  (Northern Blues)
Scot Ray Quintet, Active Vapor Recovery (Cryptogramophone)

Bill Meyer

Alastair Galbraith/Constantine Karlis - Radiant (Emperor Jones)
Axel Doerner / Fred Lonberg-Holm - Object 2 (Locust)
Califone - Quicksand / Cradlesnakes (Thrill Jockey)
Cat Power - You Are Free (Matador)
Chris Burn Ensemble - Ensemble at Musica Genera 2002 (Musica Genera)
Davis Redford Triad - Blue Cloud (Holy Mountain)
Franz Hautzinger / Manon Winter - Brospa (Grob)
John Butcher - Invisible Ear (Fringes)
John Fahey - Red Cross (Revenant)
Keith Rowe / John Tilbury - Duo For Doris (Erstwhile)
Ken Vandermark - Furniture Music (Okka Disk)
Six Organs of Admittance - For Octavio Paz (Time-Lag)
Tetuzi Akiyama, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Sir Richard Bishop, Jack Rose -
Wooden Guitar (Locust)
Wire - Send (Pink flag)
Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun (Matador)

Wilson Neate

Durutti Column - Someone Else's Party (Artful)
Mogwai - Happy Songs for Happy People (Matador)
Radiohead - Hail to the Thief (Capitol)
Soft Machine - BBC Radio 1967-1971 (Hux)
Erase Errata - At Crystal Palace (Troubleman)
Wire - Send (pinkflag)
Robert Wyatt - Cuckooland (Hannibal/Ryko)
Tindersticks - Waiting for the Moon (Beggars)
Aphex Twin - 26 Mixes for Cash (Warp)
Kraftwerk - Tour de France Soundtracks (Astralwerks)
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Sleep/Holiday (Sanctuary)
British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power (Sanctuary)
Black Box Recorder - Passionoia  (One Little Indian)
Spiritualized - Amazing Grace (Sanctuary)
Arab Strap - Monday at the Hug and Pint (Matador)

Daniel and Seth Nelson

Al Rapone And The Zydeco Express - Live At Dingwall's Dancehall (JSP)
Culture - World Peace (Heartbeat)
Dennis Bovell - Deicbel (Pressure Sounds)
Dennis Brown - The Promised Land 1977-79 (Blood & Fire)
Donald Byrd - Carictures (Blue Note)
Dr. Lonnie Smith - Boogaloo To Beck: A Tribute (Scufflin' Records)
Easy Star All-Stars - Dub Side Of The Moon (Easy Star)
Freddy Fresh Presents "BBoy Stance": Original Old School Party Rockers (Strut)
Johnny Cash - American IV: The Man Comes Around (Universal)
Lee "Scratch" Perry - Cutting Razor: Rare Cuts From The Black Ark (Heartbeat)
Lehbanchuleh - Claim The Joy (Stone Tiger Entertainment)
Los Straitjackets - Supersonic Guitars In 3-D (Yep Roc)
Madlib - Shades Of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note (Blue Note)
Mikey General - Exalt Jah (Stone Tiger Entertainment)
Prezident Brown - Showcase Volume Three (Jahmani Productions)

Bart Plantenga

Cor Fuhler - DJ Cor Blimey & His Pigeon (Conundrum)
Serge Gainsbourg - Mauvaises Nouvelles des Étoiles (Mercury)
Adrian Sherwood - Never Trust a Hippy (Realworld)
Grand Mal - Perfect Fit (Unsound)
Blurt - The Fish Needs a Bike (Salamander)
Manasseh meets the Equalizer - Step Like Pepper (Select Cuts)
Various - DIScontact! III (CEC)
Arnold Marinissen - Traces of Cultures (BVHaast)
R. Stevie Moore - Nevertheless Optimistic (Innova)
The Magic Carpathians Project - Water Dreams (Fly Music)
The Black Dog vs Black Sifichi - Genetically Modified (Hydrogen Dukebox)
L'Ouef Raide - 13' a la Douzaine (Jarring Effects)
Philosophy Major - Hypnerotomachia (WordSound)
Various - The Ultimate Yodelling Collection (Castle Pulse)
The DeZurik Sisters - The DeZurik Sisters (Dr. Benway)

Others include: Headphone Science - We Remain Faded (No Type), Sounds from the Ground - Natural Selection (Nutone), Junkie XL - Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin (Roadrunner), Laurent Pernice - Infrajazz (Land), Scott Marshall - Black / White (Paniculture), Gustavo Aguilar Get Libre Collective - Destinations (Circumvention), EZ3kiel - Barbary (Jarring Effects), Andrew Duke - Take Nothing For Granted (Cognition Audioworks), Houtkamp's Pow3 - The Thirteen Bar Blues (x-Or), Various - Praeface (Praemedia), Meat Beat Manifesto - Storm the Studio RMXs (Tino)

Amy Phillips

The White Stripes – Elephant (V2)
Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash (Astralwerks)
The Postal Service – Give Up (Sub Pop)
Madeline – Kissing and Dancing (
Dizzee Rascal – Boy in Da Corner (XL)
The Hidden Cameras – The Smell of Our Own (Rough Trade)
Brother Ali – Shadows on the Sun (Rhymesayers)
The Rapture – Echoes (Strummer/Universal)
Bubba Sparxxx – Deliverance (Beat Club / Interscope)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (Interscope)
Paris – Sonic Jihad (Guerrila Funk)
The Libertines – Up the Bracket (Rough Trade)
Electric Six – Fire (XL)
Ted Leo / Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak (Lookout!)
SSION – Opportunity Bless My Soul (Version City)

Madeline is Madeline Adams, an 18-year-old girl from Athens, Georgia. She hasn’t released anything officially on any record labels yet, but mark my words: this girl is the new Joni Mitchell.

Marc Phillips

The Notwist - Neon Golden (Domino)
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop)
Radiohead - Hail To The Thief (EMI)
Warren Zevon - The Wind (Artemis)
John Cale - HoboSapiens (EMI)
The Wrens - Meadowlands (Absolutely Kosher)
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People (Arts & Crafts)
The White Stripes - Elephant (V2)
Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun (Matador)
Lucinda Williams - World Without Tears (Lost Highway)
Califone - Quicksand/Cradlesnakes (Thrill)
Pernice Brothers - Yours, Mine & Ours (Ashmont)
OutKast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (La Face)
Yo La Tengo - Today Is The Day (Matador)
The Constantines - Shine A Light (Sub Pop)

AC Riedel

Faith and the Muse - BURNING SEASON (Metropolis)
Goldfrapp - BLACK CHERRY (Mute U.S.)
Philip Glass - THE HOURS [score] (Nonesuch)
Rufus Wainwright -WANT ONE [Enhanced] (Dreamworks)
Mars Volta - DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM (Universal)
The Divorce - THERE WILL BE BLOOD TONIGHT (Fugitive)
Seal - SEAL IV (Warner Brothers)
James Newton Howard - DREAMCATCHER [score] (Varese)
Lisa Gerrard - WHALE RIDER [score] (4ad Records)
Collide - SOME KIND OF STRANGE (Noise Plus Music)
My Morning Jacket - IT STILL MOVES (RCA)
Decemberists - CASTAWAYS & CUTOUTS (Kill Rock Stars)
Missy Elliott - UNDER CONSTRUCTION (Elektra/Asylum)
Juana Molina - SEGUNDO (Domingo)
Prefuse 73 - ONE WORD EXTINGUISHER (Warp Records)


Jesse Rifkin

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief (Capitol)
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop)
Spiritualized - Amazing Grace (Sanctuary)
Decemberists - Castaways and Cutouts (Kill Rock Stars)
Cat Power - You Are Free (Matador)
The White Stripes - Elephant (V2)
Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress (Rough Trade)
Robyn Hitchcock - Luxor (Editions P.A.F.)
Supergrass - Life on Other Planets (Island)
The Constantines - Shine a Light (Sub Pop)
Loose Fur - Loose Fur (Drag City)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Nocturama (Anti)
The Strokes - Room on Fire (RCA)
Handsome Family - Singing Bones (Carrot Top)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Take Them On, On Your Own (Virgin)

About Decemberists: "Neutral Milk Hotel, Shmeutral Shmilk Shmotel. As much as I worship Jeff Mangum, the Decemberists delivered so much this year in the way of unrestrained originality that the comparisons really aren't doing them much justice at this point."

About the Strokes: "I really went out of my way to try and hate this album. I really wanted to believe that the Strokes would be exposed as one-trick ponies and sell-out hacks. Unfortunately for me, however, "Room on Fire" proves that no matter how many blowjobs they get from Rolling Stone and MTV, the Strokes can still play some mean rock and roll music."

Toni Ruiz

Cul De Sac - Death Of The Sun (Strange Attractors)
Erik Truffaz - The Walk Of The Giant Turtles (Blue Note)
John Fahey - Red Cross (Revenant)
The Angels Of Light - Everything Is Good Here/ Please Come Home (Young God)
(Smog) - Supper (Domino)
Super Numeri - Great Aviaries (Ninja Tune)
The Bad Plus - These Are The Vistas (Columbia)
Steffen Basho-Junghans - Rivers And Bridges (Strange Attractors)
The Dirty Three - She Has No Strings Apollo (Touch & Go)
Patrick Shaw-Iversen & Raymond C. Pellicer - On/Off (Jazzland)
Campfire Songs - Campfire Songs (Catsup Plate)
Charalambides - Unknown Spin (Kranky)
Town And Country - 5 (Thrill Jockey)
Richard Youngs - The Airs Of The Ear (Jagjaguwar)
Boxhead Ensemble - Quartets (Atavistic)

Thomas Schute

Steffen Basho-Junghaus - Rivers and Bridges (Strange Attractors Audio House)
The Cramps - Fiends of Dope Island (Vengeance)
Cul de Sac - Death of the Sun (Strange Attractors Audio House)
Frith, Derome, Tanguay, Boisen - All is Bright, but it is not Day (DAME)
Satoko Fujii - Minerva (Libra Records)
Kevin Kling - Wonderlure (East Side Digital)
Alan Lomax - Blues Songbook (Rounder Records)
Joni Mitchell - Travelogue (Nonesuch)
Muggs - Dust (Anti)
Shuggie Otis - In Session Information (RPM Productions)
Pigface - Easy Listening... (Underground, Inc.)
The Prime-Time Sublime Community Orchestra - (  ) (Corporate Blob Records)
The Ruiners - How's That Grab Ya? (Disaster Records)
Spring Heel Jack - Live (Thirsty Ear)
Otis Taylor - Truth is not Fiction (Telarc)

Richie Unterberger

Various Artists: The Harder They Come [Deluxe Edition] (Island/Universal)
James Brown: The 50th Anniversary Collection (UTV/Universal)
Thee Midniters: Greatest (Thump)
The Beatles: Let It Be...Naked (Apple)
Fairport Convention: What We Did on Our Holidays (Expanded Edition) (Island/Universal)
The Belfast Gypsies: Them Belfast Gypsies (Rev-Ola)
John Mayall: A Hard Road [Expanded Edition) (Deram/Universal)
Cream: BBC Sessions (Polydor/Universal)
The Gosdin Brothers: Sounds of Goodbye (Big Beat)
The Temptations: Psychedelic Soul (Motown/Universal)
Alex Harvey: Teenage a Go Go (Pilot)
Various Artists: Unearthed Merseybeat: From the Birth of Merseybeat to Psychedelia 1957-1968 (Viper)
Various Artists: The Rare Bacharach 1: 53 Elusive Songs & Versions 1956-1978 (Raven)
The Animals, Absolute Animals 1964-1968 (Raven)
Various Artists: Go Girl: Dream Babes Vol. 4 (RPM)

Daniel Varela

Various Artists : The Complete 10 inch Series from Cold Blue (Cold Blue)
Brian Eno : January 07003. Bell Studies for the Clock of the Long Now (Opal/ Long Now Foundation)
Various Artists : China: The Sonic Avant- Garde (Post Concrete)
Michael J. Schumacher : Room Pieces (Experiemntal Intermedia)
Tom Johnson : Organ and Silence (Ants)
Various Artists : Music from the ONCE Festival 1961 - 1966 (New World Records)
Rhys Chatham : An Angel Moves Too Fast To See (Table of the Elements)
Joan LaBarbara : Voice is the Original Instrument (Lovely Music)
Palinckx and ASKO Ensemble : Henry, 15 Scenes about a Threesome Man (Vonk)
Nucleus : Live in Bremen (Cuneiform)
Howard Riley, Keith Tippett, John Tilbury : Another Part of the Story (Emanem)
Paul Dunmall : Shawbaccandsied. Solo Bagpipes III (DUNS Limited Edition)
Evan Parker and September Winds : Alder Brook (Leo Records)
Logos Duo : < 2 Gather > (Logos Public Domain)
Walter Marchetti : De Musicorum Infelicitate (Alga Marghen)

Kurt Wildermuth

Amy Allison - No Frills Friend (Diesel Only): Heart-full-of-soulful country-pop by Mose Allison's daughter, whose extremely nasal voice is an acquired taste worth acquiring.

Calexico - Feast of Wire (Quarterstick): Southerwestern-styled, highly atmospheric instrumentals and fragmented narratives by Giant Sand's rhythm section.

Firewater - The Man on the Burning Tightrope (Jetset): Bleak, circus-themed tangos, klezmer tunes, and other hybrid sounds on, I admit, this indie rock band's weakest CD. (Sure to be on next year's list is Songs We Should Have Written [Jetset], an all-covers collection coming out in January.)

Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham - L'Avventura (Jetset): A collaboration between the bassist and singer-songwriter-guitarist from Luna; a continuation of the pure but off-kilter pop on Romantica and Close Cover Before Striking, but even more playful and emotionally direct.

Professor and Maryann - Runaway Favorite (Happy Thighs): Finely crafted, understatedly dramatic noir-folk-pop by a male-female duo and, this time, their band.

Stratford 4 - Love & Distortion (Jetset): Guitar-based, intermittently psychedelic rock that sounds like a combination of the Only Ones, the early Dream Syndicate, the Fall, Ride, et al.

Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses (4AD): A furious return, their most straightforward "punk" record, and Kristin Hersh's most inspired work in years.

Townes Van Zandt - In the Beginning... (Campadre): His earliest recordings, up till now unreleased, masterfully haunting.

Various artists - Wig in a Box: Songs from and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Off): Like a big cast party, with Rufus Wainwright, Sleater-Kinney (and Fred Schneider!), Spoon, and so on, having fun with and doing justice to great songs.

Rufus Wainwright - Want One (Dreamworks): Simultaneously his John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and his All Things Must Pass?; as infectious and moving as it is ambitious. (Sure to be on next year's list is Want Two, due early next year.)

Walkabouts - Slow Days with Nina (Shingle Street): Released only in the UK, an EP of quiet, meditative, out-of-left-field Nina Simone covers.

Doug Wieselman - Dimly Lit (Tzadik): Brief, low-key, and often very beautiful soundtrack instrumentals for assorted films, by a composer better known as a downtown-NYC clarinetist.

Lucinda Williams - World Without Tears (Lost Highway): Guaranteed to weed out the casual listeners, Williams's most dour, uncompromising, warts-and-all collection yet.

Mark Williams

Relaxed Muscle - A Heavy Nite With ... (Sanctuary)
Miles Davis - Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia legacy)
Television - Marquee Moon (Rhino)
Sonic Youth - Murray Street (Geffen)
The Necks - Drive By (Fish of Milk)
Pulp - Hits (Island)
Dirty Three - She Has No Strings Apollo (Anchor and Hope)
Various Artists - Cottage Industrial#1 (Humbug)
Cat Power - You Are Free (Smells Like Records)
The Notwist - Neon Golden (City Slang)
Mick Harvey - Australian Rules (Mute)
Nina Nastasia -Run To Ruin (Touch and Go)
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Nocturama (Mute)
The Verlaines - You’re Just Too Obscure For Me (Flying Nun)
Various Artists - International Domestic (Corpus Hermeticum)

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