Friday, January 02, 2004

Simply the Best

I’ve spent a recent string of comfortable, yet maddening, slow days at work reading various leftist blogs and scrounging out year in review stuff. After sifting through dozens of Top 10 (or 20, 50, 100) Best Albums lists, I decided to cobble together one of my own. I reckon I’m adequately qualified to produce one in a venue the scale of Catfish Vegas presents… I'll freely admit to a bit of a Zonie slant and the fact that having seen a band put on a great show garners some bonus points. I’ll spare everybody, however, the clever critical blurbs that adorn most lists. I’m sick of reading pretentious rock/indie critics outdo one another for blurb supremacy. Besides, if you’re familiar with the album the description is unnecessary and if you’re not, have fun seeking them out.

And now, at your service, the Official Catfish Vegas presents… Top 20 Albums of 2003

1. Calexico – Feast of Wire
2. Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine & Ours
3. Format – Interventions and Lullabies
4. Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music
5. Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
6. Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site
7. Postal Service – Give up
8. Warren Zevon – The Wind
9. New Pornographers – Electric Version
10. Okkervil River – Down the River of Golden Dreams
11. White Stripes – Elephant
12. Steely Dan – Everything Must Go
13. Outkast – Speakerboxx/Love Below
14. Crooked Fingers – Red Devil Dawn
15. Clem Snide – Soft Spot
16. A Mighty Wind – Soundtrack
17. Beulah – Yoko
18. Longwave – The Strangest Things
19. Jet – Get Born
20. Kings of Leon – Youth & Young Manhood

Not being rich or a professional music critic, it’s hard to get to some albums in good time even when there’s tremendous reason to do so. Honorable mentions go to the following albums that I either haven’t heard or haven’t heard enough of. I have plenty reason to believe they’re list worthy, either from personal knowledge of previous albums reading lots of praise from reliable sources.
Honorable Mentions, in no particular order:

Fountains of Wayne – Welcome Interstate Managers; Ludacris – Chicken and Beer; Neil Young –Greendale;
Strokes – Room on Fire; Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism; Rapture – Echoes; Decembertists – Her Majesty the Decemberists; Ted Leo/Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak; Iron & Wine – Sea & the Rhythm; Lucinda Williams – World Without Tears; Joe Strummer – Streetcore; Yo La Tengo – Summer Sun; Drive By Truckers – Declaration Day; Rancid – Indestructible; Ryan Adams – Rock ‘n’ Roll/Love is Hell

(With research assistance from In Music We Trust, Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchforkmedia, the Onion, The New York Times,, BBC online, Zia Records and assorted blogs, and daily and weekly newspapers.)