1. Mcluksy-Do Dallas(Too Pure)
Easily one of the hardest hitting, cynical, sarcastic and snarky albums ever made. A wonderful hybrid sound of early Pixies meets Jesus Lizard. No one was safe from their critical gaze.
Genre: Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Indie Rock
2. The Books-Thought For Food(Tomlab)
Awesome use of samples mixed with acoustic instrumentation. This absolutely blew my mind when it came out and it still wows me to this day.
Genre: Folktronica, Experimental, Field Recordings, Sound Collage, Plunderphonics, Contemporary Folk
3. Max Tundra-Mastered By Guy At the Exchange(Domino)
At first listen to the first track one would be forgiven for thinking this is some of the most annoying horribly written music ever put to tape. If you continue on, the album reveals itself to be a work of pure creativity, melding odd time signature electronic music with pure pop melodies and the catchiest song about cold sores you will ever hear to create one of the best albums of the 2000s.
Genre: Indietronica, Glitch Pop, Progressive Pop, Chiptune, Zolo
4. Neko Case-Blacklisted(Bloodshot)
Fantastic country album. This is where her voice really took off. She showed a lot of promise with her earlier solo albums and with her work in The New Pornographers but this one really raised the bar. This has a lot of Patsy Cline going on and that's a great thing. The mood is mostly dark with a few bright spots here and there.
Genre: Alt-Country, Americana, Gothic Country
5. Rilo Kiley-The Execution Of All Things(Saddle Creek)
In my opinion, their best album. I feel this is where the whimsical nature of the first two albums merged with a maturity in their playing to form the perfect Venn-diagram of their early and later periods. This still had the roughness of the earlier stuff mixed with the lyrical maturity and some of the production flourishes of the latter period work.
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Folk Rock
6. Out Hud-S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.(Kranky)
Absolutely hated this when it came out. I thought it was dancey garbage not worth my time. Then my band-mate asked me what the hell was wrong with me for not liking it. I revisited it with a more open mind and everything just clicked. This was not just another crappy dance album. This was an experimental electronic album made by a bunch of the members of !!!. The production on the volume levels alone on this album are worth noting, not too mention the amazing song writing and guitar playing/sampling. Extremely immersive and totally in your face. Too bad the next one was one of the most disappointing second albums of all time in my opinion.
Genre: Indietronica, Dance-Punk, Alternative Dance
7. (((Microwaves)))-System 2(Cenotaph/Version City)
This is a lost gem. Weirdo art punk played by lunatics. The vocalist screams nonsense for about 30 minutes. The bass is extremely weird and synthesized. The electronics are all over the place and totally ridiculous. This is punk done right for 2002. Oh turn off the last track about 3 minutes in unless you want to subject yourself to a sample of people laughing maniacally in a loop for 30 minutes.
Genre: Noise Rock
8. The Bruces-The War Of the Bruces(Misra)
To me this is the best Wilco album. This is not Wilco, but the style is extremely similar just more understated and mature sounding. This is one of my favorite alt-country albums of all time.
9. Clipse-Lord Willin'(Star Trak)
Fantastic production from The Neptunes. Every drum beat smacks you in the face and every chorus gets stuck in your head instantly. All the while Pusha T and No Malice spit crazy rhymes about everything under the sun.
Genre: Southern Hip Hop, Gangsta Rap
The start of my love of Deerhoof. This was garage rock taken to it's experimental extreme. This album fascinated me with it's combination of pure weirdness wrapped up in pure catchy punk songs. This was one of the first instances where I realized bands could and did stretch themselves to new extremes. It made me realize what I thought was "crazy" wasn't and this was the new crazy.
Genre: Noise Pop, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Noise Rock, Twee Pop
11. Quix*O*Tic-Mortal Mirror(Kill Rock Stars)
Great goth-ish moody rock music. The dual vocals of the Billote sisters was beautiful, the understated instrumentation was perfect for their voices and it holds the distinction of having the most low-key Mick Barr(Orthrelm...Extreme experimental metal) performance ever. He plays very mellow bass the entire time which is extremely uncharacteristic for him.
Genre: Goth Rock, Indie Rock, Chamber Rock
12. Blackalicious-Blazing Arrow(MCA)
Wonderfully cohesive, extremely intelligent and all around a really fun time. This record bounces with it's innovation. They never sacrificed a good melody for the sake of experimentation and they never sacrificed experimentation to write some sort of huge single. They struck the perfect balance between the two.
Genre: West Coast Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Neo-Soul, Political Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop
13. Black Dice-Beaches and Canyons(DFA)
Extremely trippy, extremely influential to most of the music I make. This is a total trip of a record. Very hard to categorize. They would never be this dense and big ever again, for better and worse.
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Experimental Rock, Electronic
14. Comets On Fire-Field Recordings From the Sun(Ba Da Bing)
Just pure rock goodness. Squealing solos played as if these were the first people on Earth playing a concert to what they believed was their gods.
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Noise Rock, Space Rock, Stoner Rock
15. Wolf Eyes-Dead Hills(Troubleman Unlimited)
Definitely in the top 5 creepiest releases I own. The first song on this EP literally sounds like you are being chased by some kind of ghost or demon in the forest and there is no hope in sight for you.
Genre: Noise, Dark Ambient, Industrial
16. Single Frame Ashtray-Wetheads Come Running(Already Gone)
Mostly forgotten slice of perfect weirdo spazz indie punk. They really showed their influences on this and then added huge heapings of their own style on top of it. Fugazi with synths? Check. Modest Mouse with electronics? Yep. Stuff like that, this whole album was filled with all of it and some samples and the kitchen sink.
Genre: Indie Rock
17. The Breeders-Title TK(4AD)
Easily their weirdest album. Very mellow and slow in parts. Very weird in a lot of other parts. Some reworkings of songs(to great effect). The lyrics are exceptionally obtuse and weird. Their backing band for this album is Fear and I'm glad they went along for the ride.
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
18. The Fire Show-Saint The Fire Show(Perishable)
A darker, more mature record than their first one from the previous year. This album has a real creepy vibe to it. The music is like some weird mix of post punk, art rock and noisy samples.
Genre: Experimental Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore
19. Queens Of the Stone Age-Songs For the Deaf(Interscope)
Great rock record. Great concept album. Great cameos from Dean Ween.
Genre: Stoner Rock, Alternative Rock, Hard Rock
20. Broken Social Scene-You Forgot It In People(Paper Bag/Arts and Crafts)
A great indie rock album that has held up pretty well in the years to follow. Very solid songwriting. I feel they would never get close to what they had on this album. This album would end up shining a light on two singers who would go on to even greater fame, Emily Haines who is the singer of Metric and Leslie Feist of "Feist" fame.
Genre: Indie Rock, Chamber Pop, Post-Rock, Art Pop
21. Rye Coalition-On Top(Tiger Style)
Awesome album of just pure dumb rock, the lyrics are stupid, the song titles are even dumber, the music is some of the best written hard rock I've ever heard.
Genre: Punk Rock, Post-Hardcore
22. System Of A Down-Steal This Album(Colombia/American)
I will probably get a lot of shit from a lot of people for putting this album on here but I don't care. The songs are solid and the whole thing breezes by. This is by far the most intense, funny and political they ever got. It is excellent.
Genre: Alternative Metal
23. Kevin Drumm-Sheer Hellish Miasma(Mego)
Noise in it's purest blackest form. Very intense. Probably the most intense thing released that year.
Genre: Noise, Drone, Harsh Noise
24. Enon-High Society(Touch and Go)
This album introduces their new co-singer Toko Yasuda. This brought them much closer to the sound Deerhoof would eventually turn into a few years from now. In that regard they had pioneered a sound that would get popular with the likes of Melt-Banana and Blonde Redhead. This album was much more slick than the previous album but the songwriting was really up to par and carried this album pretty far. If the songwriting were worse this could have been a total "sell out" disaster, instead it turned out pretty great!
Genre: Indie Rock, Indietronica
25. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti-House Arrest(Paw Tracks)
The first real glimpse of his true songwriting power. This is classic murky lo-fi weirdness. Kind of like Ween, very similar to early Beck as well. Very weird, very strange and one of the first times we see Pink in a public eye.
Genre: Hypnagogic Pop, Psychedelic Pop, LO-FI
26. Interpol-Turn On the Bright Lights(Matador)
Yes this is pretty much a Joy Division rip off. Yes we HAVE heard this all before. But damn it if the songs weren't awesome. This was a needed update to a sound that hadn't yet been mined 1000 times. This is also one of the strongest debut albums ever released. When regression sounds this good who cares who's getting ripped off. Plus it's not like the members of New Order have made anything anywhere near as good.
Genre: Post-Punk, Indie Rock
27. Spoon-Kill the Moonlight(Merge)
By cutting the fat and getting rid of the excess and paring back to skeletal guitar and simple drumming these guys ended making their masterpiece. This is a master course in editing and distillation. The songs were boiled down to just their melodies and vocals and not much else. It let you focus on the lyrics which also happened to be their best yet, making for a fantastic minimal indie rock album.
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop
28. Tom Waits-Blood Money(Anti-)
He released this at the same time with Alice. Alice was a companion piece to a play his wife had written. While not horrible, it doesn't reach the same heights as this. This was the proper album of the two. This was an extremely dark return to his rain dogs sound. He sounded like a true creep on this album and you could feel the darkness seeping into every nook and cranny. The albums cover pretty much conveys what this sounds like perfectly. It feels like it was born of the devil's blood.
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Experimental Rock, Dark Cabaret, Vocal Jazz
29. Racebannon-In The Grips Of the Light(Secretly Canadian)
This album is nuts. The singer is completely unhinged. They cover Beefheart but this is the sound of a metal band going to it's utmost extreme and weird. This is what I think would have happened if someone like Captain Beefheart formed a hardcore/metal band. Truly weird and sometimes even downright scary.
Genre: Mathcore, Screamo, Noise Rock, Sludge Metal
30. Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot(Nonesuch)
This album is good. Not amazing to me. Just good. To me it's their best album and really nothing came close for me until they released Star Wars in 2015. They really improved on their alt pop country sound by exploring darker lyrical themes and messing around with samples and electronics. They brought aboard Jim O'Rourke who acted as a 6th member to the band. He produced the entire thing with the band as well. He brings a lot of the experimentation to the forefront. This album was met with a lot of controversy especially considering 9/11. To me the most controversial part of this album is what it sounds like and what it represents for them as a band. Before this they made decent Alt-Country. At this point they decided to depart from that and expand on it creating something entirely different.
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Americana, Art Rock
31. Xiu Xiu-Knife Play(5RC)
Very dark, very intense. Tons of metallic clanging percussion. A singer inspired by Morrissey by way of insane asylum screaming his lungs out or quietly intensely singing directly into your ear for the entirety of the proceedings. This is not comfortable music. It wasn't the day it was released and it still isn't to this day.
Genre: Experimental Rock, Synth Punk, Post-Punk, Electronic, Minimal Synth
32. Mirah-Advisory Committee(K)
This was Mirah's big jump from lo-fi into full blown studio production. She took full advantage. Strings appear, electronics are used, full bands are on display. This was Mirah at her fully realized.
Genre: Indie Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Pop
33. Antipop Consortium-Arrhythmia(Warp)
A hip hop album on Warp? Yep. The beats definately warranted signing these guys. This was incredibly abstract hip hop. This is what would have happened if someone like Kid606 or Max Tundra made beats for a Blackalicious album.
Genre: Abstract Hip Hop, Experimental Hip Hop, Glitch Hop
34. The Walkmen-Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone(StarTime)
To me this is the best Walkmen album. It's the most intense lyrically. The most sedated musically. It was a quiet yet violent sedation. There was tension. You can feel it just beneath the surface getting ready to boil over at any moment. This is the kind of sound I expected to hear the first time someone passionately described U2 to me. Instead U2 never sounded like this, the Walkmen ended up fulfilling the role of music delivered with intense passion.
Genre: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival
Just a solid, well written slice of garage inspired punk made by a bunch of San Diego scene veterans, long after their original scene had died. This band had alumni from Drive Like Jehu and Rocket From the Crypt.
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Garage Punk, Indie Rock