In no particular order:
Animal Collective – Feels or Strawberry Jam
I remember getting very scared, when I was a kid, that, mathematically, there was only a limited number of songs possible - limited number of notes and limited number of combinations. When would they run out? ARRGGH!!!! Then I heard Animal Collective and I realised it was all going to be alright. Feels probably gets the nod from me. Saw them live – bit disappointed. But YOU won’t be if you pipe them in through your headphones.
The Strokes – Is This It
Neither before nor since have I experienced such excitement about a new band and a new album. Debut single “Last Nite” blew my socks off. Seeing them live twice – in Barcelona (buying tickets from an old woman the afternoon of the gig – unimaginable in the UK) and Brixton confirmed their greatness. Shame they’ve got bloated and tired since.
My Morning Jacket – Z
Shit. Seriously. Don’t mess about. This album is fuqing brilliant. From the “burrm burrm” opening through to the long rock out bit of Lay Low and right through to the end, this album is a vortex of mind blowing ness. (Ok - apart from “Into The Woods”, but I read the lyrics for that the other day, realised it was about crackin on off in the shower and changed my mind). I saw these dudes on the Okonokos tour at the Astoria – One of the best gigs I’ve been to.
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
I’d heard of them before I heard them, and this was a most unexpected treat of an album. This surprising sub pop fare is up there as my most played album ever ever and is still on rotation now. Beautiful. And good live too (saw them at the roundhouse)
Lamchop – Nixon
Having never heard of them before, I have no idea what compelled me to by this album (ok it was £3 in the Virgin Megastore sales). Very pleased I did mind. Ok, so I skip a few of the later songs, but this is a special album. It still holds a special place in my heart. I saw them at the Barbican (mwah) when they performed a soundtrack to a silent Russian film... or something. Yawn.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – CYHSY
Apart from the first weird track (sign of things to come with their 2nd album), every song on this record is super. Easy to play on the guitar, but hard to sound as good. I drunkenly saw them at ULU with Chimpovich and his sensei bro. They were alright, but the support act - Hockey Night - were better.
M.Ward – Post-War
Ok – I’m not sure which is my favourite M. Ward album of the last 10 years, so this one’ll do. Cripes - this chap can write and sing a song. Not seen him live yet.
Yo La Tengo – Prisoners of Love (Compilation)
Not an album album, but rather a low price gem of a comp. This 25 odd track bad boy introduced me to Yo La Tengo and I’ve never looked back. These elder statesmen can seemingly do the lot – short pop numbers to 16 minute thought pieces and everything in between. Magic. Seen them about 4 times since (USA / Spain / UK) and they never disappoint.
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
KA-BOOOOOM! – this album is nothing short of mega. It came along just as I was getting into Jim O’Rourkes solo stuff and his production really elevates this album above all others ever. Some beautiful and funny lyrics blended with amazing riffs and loops – the soundtrack to many a long walk. I saw them at the Hammersmith Apollo, but I was too far away up in the gods to really dig it.
Flaming Lips – Soft Bulletin
Yeah Yeah. I know. It was released in 1999, but tough tits. It’s on my list. Seen these chaps live lots of times (highlight was seeing your man Wayne in a big zorb in Royal Albert hall). So influential, I even model my hair / beard combo on him.
Track worth a notable mention:
The Truth – Handsome Boy Modelling School
Oh my me. This song is so sweet. Staple song on nearly every mixrtape I made in the (early part of the) noughties. Before Minidiscs came along and ruined everything!
Awesome film. Brilliant Font. Cracking soundtrack. Wes Anderson is preternaturally gifted. I bet he stands up in meetings.
If you care to, you can listen to a selected track from each album (where available) on this Spotify playlist: - Locochimpo: 2000-2009