PETER ALLISON

Various/Soundtrack to 'Resident Evil' (2002)

This soundtrack contains one of best collections of contemporary industrial metal, including Marilyn Manson's 'Fight Song' and Rammsteins's 'Hallelujah', as well as a selection of scores from the film that were composed by Marilyn Manson in association with Marco Beltrami

Despite being released in 2002 I still regularly listen to this album.

Whilst it may not have an underlying theme or sub-text (apart from “beware of zombies”), for timeless enjoyment value and unadulterated pleasure you cannot go far wrong.


CARL BOOKSTEIN

Wilco/Yankee Hotel Foxtrot(2002)

'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot', Wilco's masterpiece, is an innovative sound collage with layers of poetic lyrics and sonic revelations. Wilco evolved from the alt. country origins of their debut album 'A.M.' to this complex work of pure creative genius. 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' at once captures the spirits of rich Americana and modern psychedelia. The hypnotic effect of the album grows incrementally with each listen. 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' is a work that never wears out its welcome.

The opening notes of the album’s first track 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart' draw the listener right in. The lyric is a knockout: "I am an American aquarium drinker.” From the glistening pop craft of 'Heavy Metal Drummer' to the deeply emotional ballad 'Reservations', the album remains mesmerizing throughout. With 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' Wilco has created the timeless album of the decade.


MALCOLM CARTER

Jefferson Pepper/Christmas in Fallujah (2006)

There have been so many good albums released in the last ten years but I really didn’t have to think at all about which one I enjoyed the most. But I have to say that Perry Keye’s ‘The Last Ghost Train Home’ would have been my favourite album had I not heard ‘Christmas In Fallujah’ by American singer/songwriter Jefferson Pepper.

It’s not as many thought a Christmas album but a dozen songs that cover many musical bases where Pepper, who is the most articulate chronicler of these times, sang, with warm vocals that betrayed his anger, just how unhappy he was with the way his country was being run. It’s potent, thought-provoking music that is as relevant today as it was when Pepper released the album in 2006.

If by chance you see this Jefferson, there’s a gap on many shelves waiting for ‘American Evolution 3’.


ANDREW CARVER

Outkast/Stankonia(2000)

It’s an album where the duo of Andre and Big Boi finally released their creative juices to full effect, and as a result is one of the few records of the decade able to claim both the quality and influence to deserve the title “album of the decade.” Not the first rap album to cross over to the rock masses but the one that kicked the door open for good.

It did it by being one of the most stellar releases in the field, combining freaky sex, dangerous streets, confessional and braggadocio in a hot swirl of funk and toasting.


JOHN CLARKSON

Willard Grant Conspiracy/Regard the End (2003)

When we spoke to Robert Fisher at the time of the release of ‘Regard the End’ in the early summer of 2003, it was our third interview with him. We have done another four interviews with the front man with the Willard Grant Conspiracy since then. He remains an especially articulate interviewee, thoughtful, frank and upping the stakes and bringing something different with each new interview.

A semi-orchestral collection of re-workings of traditional ballads and Fisher’s own compositions, and a surprisingly life-affirming reflection on death, ‘Regard the End’, their fifth long player, was the album that propelled the WGC and Fisher into public attention, picking up various Album of the Month slots in other magazines and appearing high on end-of-the-year polls

Fisher and the Willard Grant Conspiracy have released several other great albums before and since then, and it could be argued that last year’s under-acknowledged ‘Pilgrim Road’ is an equal masterpiece. 'Regard the End', however, remains extraordinary, and is a moving account of human spirit.


DAN CRESSEY

Bomb 20/Reality Surpasses Fiction (2003)

This isn't the most exciting album of the last decade, nor is it the most uplifting, the most thunderous, the most tuneful or the prettiest.

It is a collection of breakbeats, static, hip hop and movie samples thrown together sometimes seemingly at random along with a dash of politics and self-obsession. More conservative listeners would deny it was music. But in its mash up of furious noise, cut-and-paste culture and post-9/11 rage and confusion it is more of this decade than anything else I've heard.


ANTHONY DHANENDRAN

M Ward/Transfiguration of Vincent (2003)

M Ward's voice is a remarkable thing - in its cracked and fragile beauty it's able to convey all the pain, disappointment and joy of a lifetime - often all three within a single song.

There are several classics here, from the plaintive airiness of 'Undertaker' to the melancholic but upbeat 'Vincent O’Brien'. It’s not all easy to get to grips with – the slow cover of David Bowie’s 'Let’s Dance' takes a while to get going – but Transfiguration of Vincent has so many good songs on it, and hangs together as a coherent country-tinged portrait of a friend, that it’s impossible not to choose it.


DIXIE ERNILL

Experimental Pop Band/Tarmac and Flames (2004)

The “Noughties” have been a rollercoaster ride for me, with maddening highs and desperate lows. I became a father, finally became first team captain at my local cricket club, lead the team to their first cup success in years, got divorced, fell hopelessly in love, got sacked, travelled to Australia and all over Europe,got a better job, got revenge and managed to arrange two gigs at my cricket club for my favourite band (The Experimental Pop Band).

So I kind of had to pick an Experimental Pop Band LP and, whilst I’m not sure this is any better than their more recent 'Tinsel Stars' offering, it kind of captured the moment and came hot on the heels of two amazing gigs the band performed in Bristol and Berlin.

Tracks like 'The Hippies Don’t Know', 'Tarmac and Flames' and 'Accident' still sound as fresh now as they did six years ago. Whilst the band are yet to receive the recognition they deserve, it doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of front man and cult indie legend Davey Woodward from constantly coughing up musical gems.

It is just that sort of attitude that has got me through the “Noughties”.


BEN HOWARTH

Lambchop/Nixon(2000)

In years to come, historians of popular music might look back on this decade as when it reached maturity; as its audience stopped waiting for the new punk and appreciated songwriting more for its own sake.

‘Nixon’ embodies that welcome development perfectly, sounding as lively today as it did on my first listen on Christmas Day, 2000. A blend of folk, soul and country, ‘Nixon’ showed that this well trodden ground could still provide inspiration.

Kurt Wagner’s whispered lyrics make the heartbroken and downtrodden sound romantic, while lush strings add rare grace. A beautiful, human album - and a masterpiece.


ADRIAN HUGGINS

Jimmy Eat World/Bleed American (2001)

I have changed a lot since the beginning of the decade, having gone from being an eager and naïve 17 year old idiot to a naïve and irresponsible 27 year old who should know a lot better.

Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 album, ‘Bleed American’, was famously renamed shortly after release as 'Jimmy Eat World' as a result of September 11th before reverting to its original title when it was re-released in 2008. I am one of the proud owners of the originally named album as I got it on import the day it came out. From the friendly kick up the arse of ‘A Praise Chorus’ to the poptastic likes of ‘The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’, 'Bleed American' has it all. Jimmy Eat World also show themselves capable of writing such beautifully melodic and stripped-down songs such as ‘Your House’ and ‘If You Don’t’. My favourite of all is ‘Authority Song’ which simply has to be one of the most uplifting and catchy songs ever written.

I just have no idea why it is not better known. 'Bleed American' is gorgeous-sounding, unpretentious and completely life affirming. I’m still as excited listening to this now as I was when I first heard in my car having recently passed my driving test all those years ago.


FIONA HUTCHINGS

Muse/Black Holes and Revelations (2006)

Criminally under appreciated and dismissed as some kind of Radiohead rip off, this was the album Muse really came into their own. A heady mix of influences from relentless euphoric dance to Latin inspired guitars, it picks you up, shakes you around and leaves you breathless.

'Super Massive Black Hole'(last year featured on the movie 'Twilight' soundtrack) is a powerful emo classic but the real star of the album is 'Map' of the Problematique. Its pounding drums are relentless, the vocal pleading and broken and its climax into a crash of cymbols and broken electric static always a disappointment.

It is accomplished and unapologetic.


SARAH JOHNSON

Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Fever To Tell (2003)

'Fever to Tell' is the Yeah Yeah Yeah's first and best album. They have developed their sound over subsequent albums and all have been great, but their debut has a raw energy that bands are rarely able to capture on record.

'Black Tongue', 'Date with The Night' and 'Pin' are dark, heavy tracks that gave the Yeah Yeah Yeahs an edge when this album was first released. 'Maps' then introduced a softer side to their sound which they ran with in later albums.

This album not only introduced one of the best bands of the decade, it has remained as fresh and vivacious as it was in 2003.


ANTHONY MIDDLETON

Bob Dylan/Modern Times (2006)

A gargantuan piece of work from one of the most honest, enquiring, hard working and open minded artists, never mind musicians, to have graced us with their efforts. Funny, mesmeric and occasionally heartbreaking.

'Workingman’s Blues 2' is haunting and anyone who can make lines such as “The buying power of the proletariat’s gone down, money’s getting shallow and weak,” work has to be a genius.


JAMIE ROWLAND

Low/The Great Destroyer(2005)

It’s full of catchy songs and hummable tunes, making it a genuine pleasure to listen to. Tracks like ‘Just Stand Back’ and ‘California’ can get trapped in your head for days at a time and without trying, I’ve somehow managed to memorise every word of ‘Death of a Salesman’.

No matter how many times I hear these songs, I never get tired of them. I think an album of the decade has to stand up to repeated listens, and 'The Great Destroyer' is one that’s never left my listening pile since I bought it way back in 2005.

While other records may have had a more immediate impact, this is the one that really had staying power. A truly faultless album.


MARK ROWLAND

Strokes/Is This It (2001)

There are a lot of people who will disagree with me on this one, but after a lot of umming and ahh-ing, I’ve decided to be honest with myself, rather than choosing something cool. There are a lot of others that came close, but I think that unfortunately it has to be the Strokes’ debut.

Yes, it pretty much sounds like Television; yes, it was hyped to extremes; yes, they’re a bunch of rich kids and yes, they spawned countless rubbish imitators, but I can’t help liking it – the tunes are good. When it came out, it’s success seemed significant to me – the emergence of a popular rock band that didn’t sound like nu-metal or paper-thin pop punk was a bit of a revelation. And, on occasions, I will go back to it, and I enjoy it.

So if I’m honest, it’s probably this album, though I may change my mind in a few days.


MAARTEN SCHIETHART

Vladislav Delay/Anima (2001)

Out of Clicks_+_Cuts, which was also used as a description of the genre, came the world of elektronica music. Computers served as both instruments as well as a mixing desk or even as studios.

Vladislav Delay was one of the pioneers of this and his 'Anima' album wich was recorded in his native Finland struck me as being remarkably warm. It was also narrative and adventurous and I played it to scratch on my then radio show. The label sent several copies in order to keep me playing it. Mille Plateaux was one of the offshoots of the Force Inc Music label from Frankfurt and is now sadly missed. It went down as a result of the bankruptcy of the EFA distributor as downloads killed off physical distribution of music.

The music developed into subgenres such as folktronica and electro-acoustics which even gets used to sell cars on TV. Vladislav Delay still performs, now from Berlin, and hasn't lost any of his touch yet 'Anima' is his masterpiece which for me typifies the first years of the 21st Century.



DOMINIC SIMPSON

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)

Released nearly at the beginning of the decade – October 2000, to be exact – the sprawling sophomore effort by Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor (or Godspeed You Black Emperor! as they were then known) may be interpreted as a strange nomination in this list, given that it’s not an album that musically predicted much of the decade’s trends. There is, for example, no skinny jeans, deliberately raw ‘garage’-sounding production and choppy three-chord riffs; no electro, indie-funk or angular guitar; much less Americana or freak folk (although some in the band did sport beards).

Yet in a strange way, given that there are no conventional ‘lyrics’ on the album, on a political level it somehow feels like a distilling and encapsulation of many of the subsequent events that would characterise the decade: the events of September 11 just under a year away; the anti-globalisation, anti-IMF riots; the omnipresence of surveillence society; and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The samples of distorted frantic police voices through a transmitter, underpinned by a piano and waves of freeform drone, evokes anti-capitalist demonstrators in balaclavas facing the police on the streets of Seattle or Genoa during the G8 summits. Likewise the sample of a preacher lost in his own rapture-filled speeches against a backdrop of radio static, ghostly factory noises and urban industrial decay foresaw the resurgence of religion in decaying parts of cities.

For a band with such firepower at their disposal – two drummers, two bassists, three guitarists, one cellist and one violinist – the album is extraordinarily diverse, mixing organic instruments with sampled sound effortlessly, and rising from near silence to the most crushing of crescendos, and back again. Ten years on, it still sounds imperious, a bleak but brilliant indictment of the turbulent decade to come.


KELLY SMITH

Fall Out Boy/Take This to Your Grave (2004)

At some point, there will be an album you listen to at a point in your life where each song describes your mind so completely you wonder how you managed without it.

The absolute petulance and emotional desperation of this record is beyond pertinent to me. The dawn of emo, the pop punk revolution of 2006; Fall Out Boy’s debut was also their finest moment. Patrick Stump remains one of my favourite singers, and Pete Wentz is an extraordinarily talented lyricist. Anyone with any angst will love it completely, just as I do.

(I nearly chose 'Chemistry' by Girls Aloud. I’d just like it on record that it is the greatest pop album ever, and I love it to death and back again.)


HELEN TIPPING AND NEIL BAILEY

Arcade Fire/Arcade Fire (2005)

Arcade Fire drifted in our consciousness sometime in late 2004, early 2005. We managed to get a bootleg of them live and their sound was totally different to the indie bands that were around at that time.

Everyone else seemed to be trying to sound like established indie bands such as Franz Ferdinand, and it was getting stale. With Arcade Fire there was freshness and originality, and the music incorporated other elements. Tey weren't afraid to experiment and move away from guitar based rock music.

Not being able to get hold of 'Funeral', we ended up with the mini-album instead which has become our favourite of the decade and evokes memories of us driving to gigs listening to this CD.


LISA TOREM

Soundtrack of Our Lives/Communion (2008)

'Communion' is the fifth studio album of the Swedish group, the Soundtrack of Our Lives which formed in '95.

The vision of this twenty-four track 2 CD album was to celebrate the circadian rhythms of the day by evoking corresponding moods. One cut 'Fly' was written by Nick Drake but the other originals, as you may glean from random titles 'Babel On', 'Saturation Wanderers' 'Lost Prophets in Vain' embrace philosophical depth.

But besides brilliantly abstract lyrical observations, outstanding musicanship flourishes throughout - thrashing rhythmic guitar, passionate vocals,and ambulatory hooks traverse time-signature zones with tony insousiance. 'Communion' is both epic and rich in thought and arrangement.


DENZIL WATSON

Gogol Bordello/Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (2005

Fronted by the irrepressible Borat look-a-like Eugene Hutz, nothing quite took the Noughties by the scruff of the neck and gave it as good a shaking as New York City's Gogol Bordello.

Their third studio LP seamlessly blended influences such as punk, folk, Latin, Ska and gypsy music while the raw energy of legendary live shows was captured perfectly by the production of the equally legendary Steve Albini.
'Gypsy Punks' is packed full of high-energy, thigh slapping insanity, including instant Gogol classics such 'Start Wearing Purple' and 'Not a Crime'. Nothing quite came close to topping this. Nothing probably ever will.















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