Wednesday, November 11

Top 5: Underrated Albums of the Decade

. Wednesday, November 11

Death From Above 1979- ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’

Quite possibly my favourite album of the decade. Brutal in its execution but imbued with a spirit of hedonism and romance this record took everything that was great about garage rock, hardcore and punk and threw them against a wall. From the moment ‘Turn It Out’ kicks in the relentless energy never ceases and the riffs never falter as two bearded Canadians pummel their sense of decency into their instruments and don’t stop until they’re flat on the floor exhausted. Why this album is not held up alongside the very best I do not know and the hipster appropriation of Andrew WK stinks even more when you consider Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger took everything he did badly and made it awesome. If you haven’t heard this album before then please go track it down, if you have it lurking at the back of your collection then do the right thing and blow the dust off it and turn it up LOUD.

Field Music- ‘Field Music’

Mid-way through the decade there was an odd focus on regions of the country and their collective bands. From ‘New Yorkshire’ (The Cribs, Black Wire et al) to Birmingham and The Twang/ Ripchord (Yuck) we had it all. Perhaps the best of these however was the North East who begat us The Futureheads, Maximo Park and Daddy’s of the scene Field Music. Consisting of the brothers Brewis (David and Peter) Field Music’s debut album is packed full of invention and eccentric beauty. Not a single second is wasted or taken for granted and with each repeated listen you’re sure to find more to uncover in the nooks and crannies of the art-pop tranquillity. Listen to ‘You’re So Pretty’ below and get super excited about the brand new Field Music album due in 2010.

The Strokes- ‘First Impressions of Earth’

The third Strokes album is widely regarded as the weakest Strokes album and the beginning of the end for the group once dubbed the coolest mother fuckers on the planet. But with songs as good as ‘Vision Of Division’ and ‘Razor Blade’ surely this album needs re-evaluating? Sure, it’s not as good as ‘Is This It?’ but what is exactly? I think pizza and oxygen are the only things better than Is This It. ‘First Impressions…’ though is the sound of The Strokes moving away from what they knew worked and taking risks. Some of them didn’t pay off entirely but the majority do including my favourite ever Strokes song ‘Heart In A Cage’.

The Postal Service- ‘Give Up’

Expect to hear a lot from The Postal Service next year but not in the form of new music. Owl City, recently number one in America, has shamefully ripped off the collaboration between Mr Zooey Deschanel/ Death Cab lead singer Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello to such a degree that it is sure to see fans scurrying for ‘Give Up’. Named after the method of recording (Unable to work in the same studio the pair would send their recordings to each other across America) this album takes all the introspection and broken boy romance of Death Cab and sets it to a sparkling array of beats, glitches and beeps in something that sits perfectly between emo and electronica. It’s amazing that nobody has thought of copying the style until now but perhaps that’s just because nothing will ever come close to being this good.

YourCodeNameIs: Milo- ‘All Roads Lead To Fault’

Like Field Music another product of the North-East YCNI:M are the proud owners of, in my opinion, the greatest British hardcore album of the decade. Ruefully ignored by the media and record buying the public the band have since split with singer Paul Mullen joining The Automatic but in their day nobody could come close to this band. ‘All Roads Lead To Fault’ is their masterpiece- serrated edges and torn corners surround the industrial guitars and heart racing screams. Clearly influenced by At The Drive-In (Who isn’t?) this young band channelled everything into this album and you can hear the passion and drive in every gargantuan drum beat and the pregnant pauses between the twinkling guitars being driven back by epic walls of feedback.



Timmo said...

really interesting suggestions. I'm always talking to DFA1979 fans - and I keep meaning to pick this album up.

Ditto Field Music too. When I was obsessed with Fields a couple of years ago I used to look out for the CD and it would not usually be there but right there instead would be this album cover. It's always one I've thought of purchasing on a whim.

Anonymous said...

Styrofoam have picked up ran with the Postal Service quite successfully for a few years now. Defo. worth a listen.

Menace2Music said...

I think you're spot on with The Strokes - it is an album that needs re-evaluating! I'm also a huge fan of any band that takes risks, and has a good go at experimenting.

An artist for me, who is underrated, is Joan As A Policewoman. I don't think To Survive (2008) got anywhere enough support!

Mistress Wanda said...

I don't bother reading reviews that much any more so I didn't realise First Impressions had been dissed. I'm surprised.

I would add to the list, The Dears (No Cities Left), Jim Noir (Towers of Love) and Misty's Big Adventure (The Black Hole). All three had quite a bit of singles airplay but the albums disappeared into nothingness. Particular shame about Misty's as they were one of John Peel's last prodigys. Maybe if he'd lived on to promote them they'd be bigger than they are now?

Milly said...

Forgot how much i love that Postal Service song. And first time i've seen the video so thanks!

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