Albums of the Decade: Part One

by Katherine

Man, this was a hard list to do – and God knows this list won’t remain constant! However, as of 21:55, the 5th of December 2009, I pledge these as the top 10 albums which have consistently affected me time and time again over the last decade:

6. Set Yourself On Fire – Stars

Hailing (again) from the fertile Montreal indie-rock scene, ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ is the very definition of anthemic – a rich, swelling collection of songs which scale the most dizzying heights the indie-rock genre has ever experienced. ‘Set Yourself On Fire’s defining feature is the cathartic interplay between vocalists Amy Millan and Torq Campbell – together they delicately weave tales of romantic despair and emotional nadirs that manage to be both stunningly epic and gently intimate – managing to incorporate, in the breadth of an album, both cooing, bedroom whispers and screaming lover’s quarrels.

Download: ‘Your Ex-Lover is Dead’, ‘One More Night (Your Ex-Lover is Dead)’

7. Alopecia – WHY?

To WHY? virgins, a indie-rock/hip-hop group may seem like a hopelessly bastard combination, but WHY? – through sheer impudence – make it work. Throughout ‘Alopecia’ Yoni torpedos through a veritable catalogue of influences – from the pulpit-beat of ‘The Vowels Pt.1’, the candid  ‘Good Friday’, with Yoni drawling his way through reams of debauchery, to the swaggering, brashness of  ‘The Fall of Mr. Fifths’, ‘Alopecia’s hodgepodge of styles is connected by one, single defining factor – Yoni’s constant, lost desperation. Whether he’s ‘sucking dick for drink tickets at the free bar at my cousin’s bat mitzvah’ or ruminating on ‘blowing chunks in the lot behind Whole Foods’, he’s warped as hell and always compelling.

Download: ‘The Vowels Pt.1’, ‘The Fall of Mr. Fifths’.

8. Untrue – Burial

The second release from now-not-so-mysterious dubstep genius William Bevan, ‘Untrue’ catapulted both Will into tabloid stardom – with seedy english newspaper The Sun running an unbelievably callous campaign to ‘unmask’ Burial’s true identity – and his label Hyperdub into indie ubiquity. However, the ridiculous amount of hype ‘Untrue’ received still didn’t match ‘Untrue’s stark, gauzy beauty – perfectly encapsulating a dark night on the streets of North London, ‘Untrue’ was indefinitely the most exciting thing the british music scene has experienced in a very long time. Make no mistakes about it, this album is a masterpiece.

Download: ‘Archangel’, ‘Etched Headplate’.

9. The New Pornographers – Challengers

Sure, considering The New Pornographers are as super as a supergroup get – combing the talents of titian siren Neko Case and Wolf Parade’s/Swan Lake’s/Frog Eye’s/Destroyer/Every single freakin’ band in Canada member Dan Bejer, their releases were always bound to be gobsmackingly good. However, ‘Challengers’  was strikingly good – each song is a perfect, wit-laden, indie-rock opus, with some of the most glorious pop moments ever produced from Montreal (and considering Broken Social Scene hail from there, that’s not an accolade to be taken lightly.)
Download: ‘Myriad Harbour’, ‘The Spirit of Giving’.

10. The Milk-Eyed Mender – Joanna Newsom

Arriving on a cackle-voiced, harp-strung flurry of hype, Joanna Newsom has always been a complete original in a sea of indie duplicates – ‘The Milk-Eyed Mender’ is an odd album – Newsom spins homey, comforting folk melodies shot with a painful neurosis, constantly aware of it’s own half-formed, brave awkwardness.

Download: ‘Peach, Plum, Pear’, ‘The Sprout & The Bean’.

Part Two coming soon!