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  1. #1
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    My top 10 of 2003

    Many have already done this (Slosh may have done his 2004 list by now), others aren't quite ready but I figured I was about as ready as I'd ever be. The Golden Path of 2003 was a bit tarnished at times but not without the joy of wonderful music along the way. I never would have guessed that patiently awaited releases from faves like Seal, Wolfsheim, and De/Vision would fall so short of my expectations. Not that they were uniformly bad, just that they werenít great and that can just suck. In the case of Wolfsheim Iíd be less than honest to say that it was anything more than bad, but cíest la vie. While I didnít get a chance to listen to everything I might have wanted, I gave it a decent run with more purchases this year then ever before. Of course thatís a mixed blessing at best since some things that may have grown on me more didnít really get a fair shake but the stuff I did latch on to was more than worthy of my or anyoneís top 10 of 2003. Still regret not getting the Strummer and KMFDM discs but what can you do? Thereís always next year, or this year, as the case may be. Without further ado, the list:



    10.Cat Power-You Are Free: Hey, this doesnít suck at all and was a surprising and very last minute entry into the fray. Iíd liked the compíd songs that I heard but I also recalled the sporadic comments about it being a snoozer. Having seen her live in a less than stellar performance heightened my anxiety a bit too. In the end Iíll give her the nod for the 10íth spot simply because it was among the better surprises of the year. Simple melodies and the general hint of what lies just the beneath the surface gives the album a bit of tension that helps hold my attention.



    9. The Dandy Warhols-Welcome To The Monkey House: A Finch rec and a great one at that. Some rock, some pop, some electro clash and some very good music all the way around. Incredible bass, humourous songs, it's all there in a nice, neat little package.



    8. Iris-Awakenings-This time Iris steers further away from the ultra-catchy melodies and settles into a more traditional pop/rock writing style. The result is a more mature sounding synthpop this time around. Oh, itís still melodic but it takes a bit longer for everything to seep through cranium than the previous release. Still one of the strongest synthpop bands around and while it satisfies I canít help wonder whatís just around the corner for this band.



    7. Mosquitos-S/T: Really figured more independent music thinkers would latch on to this one. If I were a new band looking for a unique and interesting sound Iíd have to reconsider after seeing this release get ignored. Indie pop with huge Brazilian influence, the Mosquitos cross all boundaries with a relative ease. No itís not something youíll ever hear on the radio-isnít that a good thing? In a year where everyone clamors about how stale music has become itís nice to hear something that at least attempts something different and this is way different than anything else out there. Light -refreshing pop music can be a marvelous thing.



    6. The Gathering-Souvenirs: Had the release dates of this album been reversed with that of Evanesenceí Fallen CD the world may very well be a better place, at least musically. OK, so Amy Lee is hotter. Iíll even go so far as to say that Amy Lee may have a little better voice than Anneka Van Giersbergen but the music of The Gathering is so much more compelling that it really shouldnít merit much debate. If you enjoy powerful, yet angelic female vocals this disc should cross over nicely to fans of many genres. These guys can flat out play making comments like ďthereís no talent in music todayĒ seem even sillier. That Evanescence got the attention is almost tragic but doesnít come as a surprise.


    5. The Stills-Logic Will Break Your Heart: Post Punk junkies of the world rejoice. This year there were two stellar releases to enjoy and enjoy them I have. On this occasion we have some ďGet ReadyĒ era New Order sound, combined with some less dramatic Cure flavoring and combined that with their already dark art school sound to create this very solid album. This band is one of those that I would expect to get a much larger following in the near future.


    4. Lamb-What Sound Deluxe: Wide ranging electronica presented seamlessly without a hitch or glitch throughout. My first exposure to Lamb came via the soundtrack for HBOís Six Feet Under and my interest grows with each passing listen to this incredibly lush album. Interesting note-this is the third release from Lamb and each has received 4 and half stars from AMG. Rare to see a band reviewed so consistently on any site and this album is simply awesome. The best secret in electronica.

    3. British Sea Power-The Decline of BSP: Sweet rec from Davey that so far has shown it holds up well after repeated listens. It wouldnít surprise me if this album in the end doesnít have a longer shelf life than my # 1 pick. Not original in the strictest sense but they gleam influence and inspiration from so many of my faves of years gone by that it works out gloriously. So who else has taken a bit of Joy Division, a touch of the Furs, and tossed it all with a hearty helping of Bowie and served up such a tasty musical dish? If you borrow from the right folks it all works out in the end. Fantastic disc.

    2. Massive Attack-100íth Window: Did someone fart? The room cleared of Massive Attack fans pretty quickly on this one. Incredibly dark and powerful, maybe thatís one reason I didnít hear more about it. A little too Massive and a little too heavy on the Attack perhaps? Iím sure thatís the deal with some but I think they got some dings for taking what they have done best and doing it better. Maybe some folks are more interested in the fact that they tend to go off into different directions and were disappointed in the fact that there wasnít any new ground broken with this one. Well I adore the record and even though Sinead wasnít in the best of voice for her contributions I felt the album was perhaps more even than any other Iíve heard in a long time and the power sustains me through repeated listens. I think Massive Attack is simply a victim of their own success on this one.

    1. Postal Service-Give Up: This selection typifies what most of us have suspected for a while and was confirmed this year. The music scene is reaching back to embrace thoughts and ideas of years long since gone. This works out great if you happen to enjoy the eras being mined but probably gives you ammunition if you donít. Sythnpop (largely) accepted by the masses in 2003? Whatís next? Floods, disaster, plague and pestilence? So far, so good. College radio probably played the biggest part in getting this release on the radar but we would be remiss not to give credit to the DCFC connection as well. No the attention this album received doesnít mean Iím cool but I take a little comfort in knowing that maybe, just maybe, Iím not a complete dweeb.

    Honorable mentions:
    Electric Six-Fire +High Voltage EP-Freaking awesome but one or two weaker tracks kept them off my 10 best list. More fun than most albums this year.

    Calexico's Feast of Wire was battling until the end for either the 9 or 10'th spot. It was close and could make it on another day.

    Annie Lennox-Bare: About time she released something worthy of her talent.

    The Sounds-Living In America-Pure fun and a little deeper songwriting than it would seem at first listen.

    The Prids-Love Zero-tough to leave this sucker out but the lyrics are just short of being average. I love the sound though.

    The Strokes-Room On Fire-High on fun factor and immediately catchy but ultimately seems just a bit weak on substance.


    If you're still here-a comp will follow shortly if you want to hear any of it for yourself. Thanks to everyone for helping me discover and hear so much great music in 2003.

    Happy New Year-
    jc
    Last edited by Jim Clark; 01-02-2004 at 12:29 PM.
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  2. #2
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Talking Wow Jim, I don't have any of those...

    although I've heard about most of them. I guess I need to get my hands on a few of them. I already ordered British Sea Power which was very tough to find, and the Cat Power is on its way to me as you read this. My best bud Bob has most of the others, so a good swap is in order.

    Anyway, you listed a bunch of things that nobody else did the last time, with the exception of You Are Free. I guess you're just a freak, eh?

    Regards,
    Swish Baby
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  3. #3
    Stone Stone's Avatar
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    Yeah, what Swishster said. I have three of those on your top ten list, but many of the others sound interesting. Obviously, my top ten list (if I ever get around to doing one) will look quite different.

    You doing a year-end comp? (If you did already, I apologize. I've been kinda outta touch lately - even moreso that usual.)

    How was Omaha? I didn't make it back to Iowa/Neb. over Christmas. It's all work, work, work right now.
    And the world will turn to flowing pink vapor stew.

  4. #4
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone
    You doing a year-end comp? (If you did already, I apologize. I've been kinda outta touch lately - even moreso that usual.)

    How was Omaha? I didn't make it back to Iowa/Neb. over Christmas. It's all work, work, work right now.
    Yep, have one pretty much done but I've been dealing some logistical issues since putting a DVD burner on my PC. Due to Nero's OEM software restrictions I've had to redo a many things and basically it's been one big inconvenience. I should be ready to go with some sort of rigged up system very shortly.

    Omaha was a tough trip this last time. Big problems with my sister in law kind of cast a shadow over what should have been a pleasant enough trip. It happens I guess.

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  5. #5
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Nice summation! :thumbs:
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  6. #6
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    Nice summation! :thumbs:
    Well, I'm no Davey, that's for sure!

    I'm going to send you a copy of my year end comp. Odds are good that you have some, maybe even most of it but I rigged it this year so that there's no way that you have it all.

    Was kind of hoping to see some more lists (hint to everyone!) but I guess I'll just have to wait a bit longer and hope they appear.

    did you ever hear the Low Technicians December 2002 release? Lot's of folks at EGN listed it as one of their top 3 for 2003. I figured I'd let it slide since it was close to 2003. I got it last month and like it quite a bit but not enough to put it as a top 10. How about that Richard X album? Did you ever hear that? Made some lists too and I really liked it but cut it from my top 10 due to the "dance" songs. Not bad but not really my thing.

    Speaking of EGN I assume you got the email that they are closing the forums effective Jan 9 because of financial problems. What a shame.

    Have a great new year,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  7. #7
    Toon Robber tentoze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Many have already done this (Slosh may have done his 2004 list by now), others aren't quite ready but I figured I was about as ready as I'd ever be...

    ---cutcut---

    jc
    Jeez, your list reinforces how culturally iggorant I is: Cat Power and British Sea Power are the only ones I've heard. Just goes to show ya, there ain't enough time, money, and storage space to hear it all...........

    ----Never Off Topic, Never Rude-----

  8. #8
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tentoze
    Jeez, your list reinforces how culturally iggorant I is: Cat Power and British Sea Power are the only ones I've heard. Just goes to show ya, there ain't enough time, money, and storage space to hear it all...........

    Nah, no sweat and I doubt you're missing anything you'd really like although you are on the comp list by virtue of sending me yours. I knew we weren't on the same wave length when you told the story of your X and the Devo concert!

    Have a great weekend,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  9. #9
    Forum Regular audiobill's Avatar
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    Talking Hey, Jimbo...

    Nice detail on your year-end list!!

    It was a real pleasure reading your commentary for each disc and being able to view the album cover. (don't ask me to do it, since I'm a klutz with things like that).

    I was very pleased to see the high regard you placed on the new Lamb disc. I didn't realize they were used for the "Six Feet Under" series.
    I blindly bought their third CD release and have enjoyed it -- but haven't heard too much said on the RR board. Perhaps, I'll have to give it a spin in 2004.

    All in all a very good year in music.

    Cheers,
    Bill

  10. #10
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I totally missed that new Lamb. Glad to see it stacks up well. Something to look for. A couple other things on there I missed out on this year. Ya know it seems like every year, no matter how much good music comes out that I do hear, I miss just as much. Thanks for the list. And, in case you don't know, I'd be interested in your year-ender whenever you get around to it.

  11. #11
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Well, I'm no Davey, that's for sure!
    Actually, in some ways, you're better. Sorry, that's not meant as a slam against Davey., it's just that your tastes are more similar to mine (at least, in regards to synth-pop, etc.).
    Quote Originally Posted by JC
    I'm going to send you a copy of my year end comp. Odds are good that you have some, maybe even most of it but I rigged it this year so that there's no way that you have it all.
    Thanks! Actually, (looks) I only have half of your top 10.
    Quote Originally Posted by JC
    did you ever hear the Low Technicians December 2002 release?
    No.
    Quote Originally Posted by JC
    I figured I'd let it slide since it was close to 2003.
    Well, in that case, in all fairness, you should probably have left off the Lamb, since it was released as an import in 2002. Be careful about that one, chrisnz hated it.
    Quote Originally Posted by JC
    How about that Richard X album? Did you ever hear that?
    Nope.
    Speaking of EGN I assume you got the email that they are closing the forums effective Jan 9 because of financial problems. What a shame.
    That sucks.
    Have a great new year,
    jc
    And you.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  12. #12
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    Nice list and nice descriptions!

    That's all for now; I sure would like to take the time and effort and put my list together like that. Maybe I'll actually get around to it.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    Great Reviews

    I'm so out of it now-a-days. I have one Cat Power CD and a few by The Gathering. Ooooh, Jim, that's almost prog, isn't it?

    Anyway, if you do up a year end comp with these winners, I would appreciate one very much.

    BTW, did you ever hear the Hem album Audiogirl was pushing months back? I don' know if it came out in '03 or '02 but it's a dandy. Great song writing in a folky tradition with an outstanding soft-ish female vocalist.

  14. #14
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    Very interesting list of toons.

    I don't have any of that stuff since it aint prog.


    Dave

  15. #15
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarryL
    I'm so out of it now-a-days. I have one Cat Power CD and a few by The Gathering. Ooooh, Jim, that's almost prog, isn't it?

    Anyway, if you do up a year end comp with these winners, I would appreciate one very much.

    BTW, did you ever hear the Hem album Audiogirl was pushing months back? I don' know if it came out in '03 or '02 but it's a dandy. Great song writing in a folky tradition with an outstanding soft-ish female vocalist.
    Nope, missed the AG rec. Wonder how she's doing.

    Yep, Demetrio turned me onto the Gathering and it is very prog like which is why I think the disc can cross over and appeal to many fans. Rock, metal, goth and prog, it's a very good disc.

    And yes, I'm doing a comp which is buried somewhere on this page, I'll be sure to include you on the list.

    ---------------------
    And Dave G-True there isn't much pure prog on the list although as Barry mentioned The Gathering comes close, but there is a lot of new wave type stuff. You like that sort of thing, don't you?

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  16. #16
    Forum Regular BarryL's Avatar
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    The Gathering

    I picked up that The Gathering CD last night on your recommendation, plus some jazz (Brubeck and John McLaughlin). I'll review The Gathering after I've spun it a few times. Probably next week.

    Thanks Jim.

  17. #17
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    Best of 2003 from 'No Depression'

    'No Depression' magazine had a feature where about 20 of their critics listed their top 20 of the year. I used it as a source to look for stuff to purchase with a Borders gift certificate. I ended up purchasing Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez's 'The Trouble With Humans' plus Paul Burch's 'Fool For Love.' Hope to receive them this week.

    The lists are at: http://www.nodepression.net/bonus/bestofballots.html.

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