1. The Strokes-Is This It?(RCA)
Easily one of the greatest debut albums of all time. Taking bits of Television and Lou Reed and interjecting it with a modern garage rock backbeat they filled this debut album with 11 pretty perfect rock songs. It's just a shame the U.S. version didn't have "New York City Cops" on it.
Genre: Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival, Post-Punk Revival
2. Polysics-Hey Bob! My Friend!(Asian Man)
A total blast through and through. This band had a serious Devo infatuation for the better. This album is extremely loud and extremely poppy. Like Yellow Magic Orchestra on steroids. Super quirky and spastic. This album is not for the faint of heart.
Genre: Noise Pop, Surf Rock, Synth Punk, New Wave
3. Liars-They Threw Us All In A Trench and Threw A Monument On Top(Mute)
Great debut from a band that would soon do a 180 on their original fans. This album is very dancy and has its feet firmly planted in post-punk. They would soon drop the rhythm section of this band in favor of a drummer who couldn't drum and some electronics. They would soon get very weird but this album gives us a nice snapshot of them at their most poppy and energetic. Oh, just turn off the last track at about the 3 minute mark because after that it turns into a 30 minute continuous loop.
Genre: Dance Punk, Noise Rock, Experimental Rock, Post-Punk
4. 20 Minute Loop-Decline Of Day(Fortune)
A great blend of Pixies, X and The New Pornographers. The dual vocals are killer. The playing is incredible. This is a great lost album that deserves way more attention than it gets.
Genre: Indie Pop, Indie Rock
5. Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire-The Swimming Hour(Rykodisc)
Ex-violin player of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. This was his 3rd and last album as the "bowl of fire" The style he had going for this album was sort of a hybrid between old timey new orleans jazz influenced music and indie rock. After this album he would abandon the old timey sound and embrace a full on indie rock sound and really wouldn't look back. I think this is him at the pinnacle of his musical abilities.
Genre: Chamber Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Alt-Country
6. Mum-Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK(TMT Entertainment)
Weird little glitch twee pop album from an Icelandic group one of which would end up marrying Avey Tare of Animal Collective. This album is kind of like riding on a fantastical train full of weird little mechanical creatures and weird little mythical creatures alike. This album is very alien yet also extremely comforting.
Genre: Glitch, Electronic, Folktronica, IDM, Glitch Pop
7. Unwound-Leaves Turn Inside You(Kill Rock Stars)
I mentioned the dense quality of this album in my response to Pitchfork's indie rock list. This thing is a beast. A double album of monstrous intensity. It's post rock extended to its breaking point. It seems like the obvious conclusion to the evolution of that genre.
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Art Rock
8. Andrew W.K.-I Get Wet(Island)
Extremely intense party rock album made by a veteran of the Detroit noise scene. He created a myth about himself and has ridden the wave to this very day. This album starts and doesn't let up until the very end of its around 30 minute run time. This was party butt rock written by a classically trained pianist. Excellent stuff.
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Power Pop, Punk Rock
9. Mouse On Mars-Idiology(Thrill Jockey)
Probably their weirdest album. It was their first album with vocalist Dodo Nkishi and his inclusion was a great step forward in their evolution. They would cut his vocals up and tape them back together in great fashion. This album has all of that in spades married to crazy electronic songs that draw from all kinds of genres including reggae, hard techno etc.....This one is great and started a new chapter of this band for the better.
Genre: IDM, Indietronica, Glitch
10. Whitehouse-Cruise(Susan Lawly)
Pure Hell. This is basically an angry British man screaming at you over harsh electronic noise...and it's awesome!
Genre: Power Electronics, Spoken Word, Field Recordings
11. Need New Body-Self Titled(File 13)
Totally goofy, almost jazz ensemble that basically play by no one's rules whatsoever. Members of Man Man are in this as are major players in the short lived Psychedelphia scene that lasted roughly from 2002-2005. This is an extremely creative album that would only be topped by their next album "U.F.O." that would come out a year later. I once saw these guys open for Hella at the Echo and they played bicycle wheels, vacuum cleaners and the drummer drummed with his hands and head at certain points in the show. The singer also resembled a bearded homeless man wearing super short cut off shorts. Totally ridiculous!
Genre: Experimental Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Cabaret, Folk Rock
12. The Fire Show-Above The Volcano Of Flowers(Perishiable)
This is what would happen if At the Drive In were a noise band influenced by funk and punk in equal measure.
Genre: Experimental Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Punk
13. Of Montreal-Coquelicot Asleep In the Poppies: A Variety Of Whimsical Verse(Kindercore)
A totally bonkers concept album with way too many characters to name or count. Very whimsical, in the vein of a psychotic Sgt. Peppers or Village Green. Totally absurd and a complete high point for me with this band who would go on to make it huge in the coming years.
Genre: Psychedelic Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Pop, Baroque Pop, Cabaret, Spoken Word, Twee Pop, Art Pop
14. J-Zone-Pimps Don't Pay Taxes(Old Maid Entertainment)
Great self aware rapper who calls it like it is and shits all over the music industry. His beats are fantastic and pull from all over the musical map, from traditional hip hop beats to Looney Tunes music. Totally filthy, totally off the wall and completely on point.
Genre: East Coast Hip Hop, Boom Bap, Comedy Rap
15. Boredoms-Rebore Vol. 0(Warner Bros)
This is a remix album done by EYE of the Boredoms of their album "Vision Creation Newsun". The singer remixed his own bands already amazing album and created a remix album that still manages to put most other non-remix albums to shame!
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Psychedelic Rock, Electronic, Experimental Rock
16. Air-10,000 Hz Legend(Astralwerks)
I feel this is their best album. It wasn't as light as "Moon Safari" and it wasn't as dark as the stuff that would come later. They come off as goofy in parts and the music is very inventive. A lot of people felt this was a typical sophomore slump but I felt this was a move in a more interesting direction they never really pursued again.
Genre: Downtempo, Electronic, Ambient, Ambient Pop
17. Squarepusher-Go Plastic!(Warp)
The last of his material I would be into. This was the inevitable end to his Drum n Bass period. He pushed the boundaries of DnB and breakbeats to their breaking points. If you play this one real loud in the car you will weird the hell out of the people around you.
Genre: Drum N Bass, IDM, Breakcore, Drill and Bass
18. Microphones-The Glow Pt.2(K)
Great expansive trippy lo-fi folk album. Filled with all manner of weird tape experimentation and cut and paste production. Very inventive and very much in the vein of Neutral Milk Hotel.
Genre: Indie Folk, Lo-FI, Noise Rock, Psychedelic Folk, Avant Folk, Singer/Songwriter
Very abstract electronic music from a legendary pair. This album is very thick and kind of hard to grasp at first listen but overtime it reveals layer after layer of new and interesting sounds to really stimulate the mind.
Genre: IDM, Experimental, Glitch, Ambient
20. Bob Dylan-Love and Theft(Columbia)
His voice is blown out at this point. He sounds more like Tom Waits then he does himself. This is not a bad thing. Especially when the entirety of the album is completely rooted in music that was popular in America between 1900-1930. He does an excellent job of writing songs that are both new compositions yet ridiculously familiar at the same time.
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, Americana, Roots Rock
A lot of critics hated this album because they said the singer was too whiny. I personally think he was very honest. A lot of these songs cut to the core of human emotion and how it works related to how the brain actually processes things. It feels to me like people felt this approach was too cold or clinical or something. I felt it was nice and refreshing to have that lyrical stance within a Brit-pop setting. This shares some similarities with Morrissey but for some reason I actually like this.
Genre: Indie Rock
22. Fennesz-Endless Summer(Mego)
Total classic of glitch blissed out electronic music. Evokes many memories and creates many more.
Genre: Glitch, Ambient, Electroacoustic
23. White Stripes-White Blood Cells(V2)
This is where they hit the big time. A real solid album with a couple of mega hits on it. They really didn't change much up from their early sound, they just had a single(Fell In Love with a Girl) that blew up most likely due to that Lego video and it being a good song.
Genre: Garage Rock Revival, Alternative Rock, Blues Rock, Punk Blues
24. XBXRX-Gop Ist Minee(5RC)
Consisting of 5 young punks from Alabama making a spastic punk racket with synths. At one point they had Weasel Walter on drums but not on this album. This is a short(I think like 22 minutes) album that blasts you in the face and then abruptly leaves.
Genre: Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Garage Punk
Easily her calmest album. It glides by at a glacier's pace. To me this was her last great album and her last great collaborative album. She teamed up with Matmos for this one and they used their minimalist blips and bloops and cut up sample technique to great affect here. It's very understated but just as powerful as her 90s work.
Genre: Art Pop, Electronic, Glitch Pop, Ambient Pop
26. Moldy Peaches-Self Titled(Rough Trade)
Completely goofy and off the wall lo-fi folk. They had filthy and controversial lyrics(New York City's like a graveyard) when it was released on sept 11th 2001. I mean they couldnt have predicted it but it sure was coincidental. Much like "New York City Cops" from the Strokes, the cover to the Coup's "Party Music" and basically the entirety of the concept behind System of a Down's "Toxicity". This is light hearted goofy folk stuff in the vein of Ween. Great stuff.
Genre: Anti-Folk, LO-FI, Indie Pop
27. Circulatory System-Self Titled(Cloud)
Trippy psychedelic album from basically half of Olivia Tremor Control with a few members of Neutral Milk Hotel floating around in there too. This is classic British Psyche style music. Think Beatles, Kinks, the Who. Great stuff.
Genre: Psychedelic Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, LO-FI
28. Rilo Kiley-Takes Offs and Landings(Rilo Records)
Great second album. Their sound continues to solidify and the growth from the last album is solid. For a while this was my second favorite Rilo Kiley album but I'm not so sure anymore. I have heard more of the final two and they are starting to creep up!
Genre: Indie Pop, Alt-Country, Folk Rock, Midwest Emo
29. Herbert-Bodily Functions(K7!)
Great microhouse/glitch electronic album. Supposedly this album was made primarily with samples of the human body. There is a lot that is obviously not sampled from the body but nonetheless this album is a weird jazzy chilled out album made from very odd elements.
Genre: Nu Jazz, House, MicroHouse, Deep House
30. The Shins-Oh! Inverted World(Subpop)
To me this is their best album and they never came close to reaching it since. The less like the Kinks they sounded I felt they got worse but this is Kinks worship at it's finest and it's a great debut album.
Genre: Indie Pop, Jangle Pop, Indie Folk