Different Points of Jolly (Ethan Covey)
OK, Top Ten lists. The stuff of fledgling rock-writer dreams. In reality, though, who really cares? Best case scenario is that lists actually sell some discs, push product and get the kids turned on to a new sound. Worst case, they are just little ego trips for insecure scribes to bicker about.
So, foregoing the traditional “best of” list (how do you really judge that anyway?), I’ve stuck to a list of a few records that -- for one reason or another -- stole themselves away in my black little heart or seared their way into my skull at different points of jolly-old ‘02. Here goes...
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Nonesuch) -- A certain staple of many year-end lists, this record is still the past year’s greatest moment. Hype aside, an epically beautiful journey into the numb minds and broken hearts of Tweedy and co.
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner) -- Another critic’s wet-dream, and worth every adjective. This record was the sound of my summer. A gorgeous exposition of mortality, love and, um, Japanese girls and robots. Yeah!
Flaming Lips - Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid and The Day They Shot a Hole In The Jesus Egg - Brilliant reissues from when Oklahoma’s finest were young, drug-addled noise popsters. Damn fine, and a great counterpoint to their recent output.
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO - Pink Lady Lemonade (You’re So Sweet), disc 1 from the Acid Mothers Temple Family Compilation Do What You Want, Don’t Do What You Don’t Want -- A full 60 minutes of AMT blasting and droning through their greatest tune. Epic sonic madness of the finest sort.
Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me (Motel) - Reissue of “lost” 1977 album from this glue-sniffing, NYC new-wave wack-job. Worth it all for the timeless classics “6.4 = Make Out” and “Chromium Bitch.”
Neil Cleary - Numbers Add Up -- Hands down the most beautifully understated alt.country disc all year. Mr. Cleary is one of the most engagingly inventive songwriters I’ve heard in a darn long time.
Sigur Ros - ( ) (MCA) - Alright, they’re pompous and don’t title their songs (oh, no!), but in the end, it’s all about the music, man. Here Sigur Ros prove, yet again, that they are one of the oddest, most beautiful bands around. Makes me want to hop the next Boeing to the Reykjavik
Mum - Finally We Are No One (Fatcat) - Woo! Another Icelandic hit! Glacial electro-pop + cooing fem vocals = the best downtempo disc of the year.
Neko Case - Blacklisted (Bloodshot) - Believe the hype. Alt.country finally has its crown-princess.
Super Furry Animals - Rings Around The World (Beggars) - Old already in the UK, but still spankin’ new on this side of the pond, these Welsh psych-freaks have made an album equal parts Beach Boys and beats. Brit-pop made cool again.
Others that have been perking the old ears of late -- Black Dice - Beaches and Canyons, Graham Coxon - The Kiss of Morning, Court & Spark - Bless You, Loose Fur - s/t, oh so many more...
There you go, another collection of tidbits to fight about. Gotta go start sucking down the bubbly.
By Ethan Covey