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The Best Albums of the 2000s

Dec 24, 2009

Boards of Canada – Geogaddi (2002)

My friend Rob introduced this album to me about 6 years ago and it has since been in constant rotation. In many ways, it’s this album that foreshadows the entire Hauntology movement. Every track is a shining star.

Untrue – Burial (2007)

As Warren Ellis put it, “Dubstep’s on the verge of its Elton John phase”. This might be true, but Untrue is a shining example of everything that is right with Dubstep. Awesome album from start to finish.

Gas – Pop (2000)

There is nothing better for getting into a programming headspace than Wolfgang Voight’s Gas project Nah Und Fern. The final installment, released in 2000 is not necessarily my favorite of the lot, but it’s a nice stand-in for the entire set.

Björk – Vespertine (2001)

I love everything that Björk has ever produced, but Vespertine stands at the top of her output for me.

Tool – Lateralus (2001)

Likewise with Björk, I’ve never met a Tool album that I didn’t love. Lateralus is a nice transitional album from their harder edge earlier work to the headier, more recent output.

Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun (2000)

I first heard Ágætis Byrjun based on a recommendation from the old Warren Ellis Forum (WEF) and was instantly blown away. I had never heard anything like it before, or since. Sigur Rós has become a fairly well-known band since, but at the time it was pretty edgy stuff.

Radiohead – Amnesiac (2001)

Most lists have either OK Computer or Kid A as the best Radiohead album of the 2000s, but for me Amnesiac is much better for writing code to — putting it over the top. Radiohead, like Tool, produces an staggering number of perfect albums.

Belbury Poly – The Owl’s Map (2008)

I have only recently found Ghost Box Records and likewise The Owl’s Map. Ghost Box is changing the face of music, and this album is indicative of the future, and past, of what we will be hearing for some time.

Susumu Yokota – Symbol (2005)

I really like Susumu Yokota, but the guy’s unbelievably prolific and hard to keep up with. However, at the top of his mountain of releases is Symbol.

Burial – Burial (2006)

The only musician to make the list twice is Burial with his debut album which was my first exposure to dubstep.

Sunn O))) – Monoliths & Dimensions (2009)

Sunn O))) (pronounced Sun) is transforming heavy metal (maybe they already have) music. Most of their work is pretty intense, but their latest, Monoliths and Dimensions is approachable even if you’re not into heavy metal per se. Forget what you think you know about metal — Sunn O))) turns that all inside out. As an added bonus, the song Aghartha makes a nice companion to Rich Hickey’s talk on Concurrency. I discovered this by accident.

The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)

I love Elephant, but for some strange reason I’ve never been compelled to track down anything else by the White Stripes. Still, this is a great album.

Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple (2008)

I originally thought that Gnarls Barkley was a joke band along the lines of Flight of the Conchords and Tenacious D, so I avoided them like the plague. However, I came across one of their songs from The Odd Couple on and loved it. The entire album turned out to be great and it’s been on regular rotation since.

Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)

Person Pitch Sounds like late 1950s Italian-American Doo-wop, with an electronic background, played on a broken phonograph in a giant empty Army barracks heard through a cup pressed against the outside wall — yet still works for me.

Saves the Day – Stay What You Are (2001)

In a time when pop-punk all but died an agonizing death, Stay What You Are manages to capture the spirit of this tired genre and make it fresh again.

Isis – Panopticon (2004)

Isis is the other heavy metal band changing the genre. Although all of their albums from the 2000s are excellent, Panopticon stands out as the richest musical experience.

Magma – Kohntarkosz Anteria (2004)

I would be remiss if I didn’t include one of the latest releases from my favorite band Magma. Magma is one of those bands that you either love or hate way down in your viscera the first time you hear them, although their music seems to be making a resurgence. As far as I’m aware, Kohntarkosz Anteria is new material, but highly representative of that unique Magma style.

The Caretaker – Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia (2005)

It’s tough to categorize Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia as music (like Nah Und Fern mentioned earlier). The Caretaker builds complete sonic environments with his music and at 72 tracks, this album is a day’s worth of sound barrage. At the link above you can download the entire work, but if you like it please consider buying the CD release.

Ruins – Tzomborgha (2002)

Ruins was (is?) an interesting band. They took the Zeuhl model created by Magma and turned it up to 11 with Tzomborgha. This is widely considered their best album, and I agree.

Kanye West – The College Drop Out (2004)

It’s difficult for me to know the difference between Rap and R&B as my tastes in both are hopelessly stunted. However, whatever genre this album is, it’s the best of “it” that I’ve ever heard. Kanye West is such a characture these days that’s it’s tough to remember that he burst onto the scene in a big way with an outstanding album in The College Drop Out.

Montauk – The Moment Lasts A Second, But The Memory Lives On Forever (2009)

A great album from a little known artist (who has just recently started his own label, deafraven). TMLaS,btMLOF is the kind of music that you can listen to with the lights off, headphones in, laying on your back — haunting and beautiful.

Linkin Park – Meteora (2002)

I was very skeptical about Meteora when I first heard about it, but was pleasantly surprised. For a time the fact that its tracks were played non-stop made the radio almost worth listening to again… almost.

Kōenji Hyakkei – Angherr Shisspa (2005)

The latest project from the Ruins guys Kōenji Hyakkei, takes the enhanced Zeuhl model created by Ruins and turns it up to 11. Angherr Shispa is a very strange album and probably not for everyone, but if you’re one of those folks then you’re in for a treat.

That’s it! See you again in 10 years.


3 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Erik

    Holy crap. It’s going to take me forever to track down all of the CDs you list here (that I don’t already own). Wicked awesome.

  2. F_D

    There really is something quite special about “Amnesiac”. Were I to make this list, mine probably would have included “OK Computer” (just like you said) but I can’t disagree with it here.

  3. Oli

    But OK Computer was released in 1997??? In Rainbows however…

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