Andrew "Greaser" Snodgrass's Amazing Musical Decade:
(ed note, Boyd): I first met Andrew back when he was working at Lou's Records in Encinitas. Over my frequent visits there I found him to not only be EXTREMELY knowledgeable about music but he was also a hell of nice guy. Along with always being conversant on any subject and hilarious it turned out that he was an amazing musician. His old band (to be revived some day please??) Thee Corsairs was a rollicking Garage blast all wrapped up in pirate gear and wrestling masks. They put out an awesome picture disc, played some great shows (Rev.Horton Heat and Motorhead anyone?) and broke up WAY too soon. Andrew is has since then put his considerable computer skills to work putting the new and underground music online at think indie. As you'll be able to tell from his list he has a mighty and varied ear. Dig it!
Ok, So here's my list of the top albums of the decade. I went with a top 20 for the decade and then an honorable mention after. I'll write a bit about the top 20 but the rest is just for reference. Didn't want to write a novel here. Neither list is ranked by which is better, just the the fact i think the first 20 are better than the rest of my list.
Queens Of The Stone Age - Rated R
Ok, so I might have to put this album as one of my ALL TIME top picks. I don't think there is one thing wrong with this album. From start to finnish it's one of the most solid albums I've come across. With the simple yet addictive "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" that flows perfectly into one of my favorite QOTSA tracks "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret," the flow of the album is amazing. Josh Homme once said he can see his songs as a soundtrack to a movie. When you listen to this album you can see in your head visions of what would be playing out on the screen if this was the backing to a movie.
The Hives - Veni Vidi Vicious
One of the greatest bands of this generation. You take the swagger of the Rolling Stones and add the self absorbed attitude of Rocket From The Crypt and you get the Hives. With this album the Hives really came into their abilities and were no longer just some snotty nosed punks from Sweden. I saw them open for the (International) Noise Conspiracy and the Reigning Sound right after this album came out and they blew them off the stage.I wouldn't have wanted to fallow them after the performance they put on. I do love the fact that the track "Die, Alright" is about signing a big record contract and they did just that after this album came out. Got one of the largest signing bonuses any band has ever gotten. Some catchy songs on this album that you can't keep from shaking your ass to.
Aphex Twin - Analord 1-11
This was an eleven part release from Aphex Twin released only on vinyl. Only Richard D James knows how old these tracks truly are as they sound like they could be super old. All the tracks sound pretty simple, but listening to them on good headphones brings out all the complex layers. At any given time you have a simple drum beat going while you have 2 to 3 synth layers playing over top. At times it sounds super cheesy, but it's Aphex Twin and even when he does cheesy it's better than 90% of the best stuff put out by others. You have a little bit of the "Aphex Acid" that he's known for and this is a perfect collection of music to put on in the background while cleaning the house or doing homework. There was a CD release call "Chosen Lords" with a few tracks from each volume, but it's nowhere as good as the complete set.
Desert Sessions - Vol 1-10
The best collaborative series of ALL TIME. Each release is completely different than the previous and each only has one constant person involved with it, the "creator" Josh Homme from QOTSA. The idea is he gets his buddies together and they shack up for a month out in the Desert at Rancho De La Luna and write and record all day long. Nothing on these releases was "brought in" to the sessions and nothing was added to them after the month was up. They've had quests such as Ben Shepherd, PJ Harvey, Peaches, Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri, Blag Dahlia, Mark Lanegan, Jeordie White (Twiggie Ramirez) and many more.
Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight
This is the album in which John Reis and Rick Froberg from Drive Like Jehu and Pitchfork got back together to play music. Originally it was just Reis and Jason Kourkounis (drums), but Reis didn't want to sing in another band, he already had RFTC and The Sultans. The album starts fast and furious and doesn't let up till it's over. You have the heaviness without being too much math rock as Jehu was. There is no bass guitar on this album, but rather an organ was played to fill out the sound. Gar Wood was not added into the mix until the band went out on tour and they needed the low end they have on the album. This sets this album off from the other stuff Hot Snakes did. I feel this album upped the bar for a lot of the "indie rock" bands out there as many bands credit Hot Snakes as a major influence on them.
Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Believe
A little gipsy, a little back country, a little southern blues and a little bit of honky tonk all mixed together. It's the first album in a 3 part "Tentshow Trilogy" that concluded with "Pandelirium" in 2006 and "Swampblood" in 2008. Col. J.D. Wilkes is one of the most entertaining frontmen in the business and has played harmonica on albums by Merle Haggard, Hank Williams III, Tomahawk and John Carter Cash. This was the first album with a sound as bold as this I had ever heard. I love rockabilly and had hear about these guys, but never heard em so I picked this album up. Listened to it once or twice and wasn't sure what to think. I put the album away and didn't bring it back out until they hit the road with the Reverend Horton Heat and I saw em live. Truly an amazing show they anyone and everyone should see. I feel they are one of the most underrated bands of all time even though they have folks like Jello Biafra and Stephen King giving them props.
High On Fire - Death Is This Communion
Even though Blessed Black Wings is regarded as their best album, I'd have to say "Death Is This Communion" is my favorite. Another band that I had a few albums from but never really listened to. Maybe my ears weren't ready for the brutalness of High On Fire at the time I picked up the albums, but after seeing them live I couldn't stop listening. On this album they used a few instruments they hadn't ever used before so it kind of sets it off from the previous albums. I don't know if the addition of Jeff Matz (Zeke) on bass or the album being produced by Jack Endino had anything to do with the full sound of this album, but it's brutal. You got the constant double bass going at the same time Matt Pike makes his guitar his bitch and makes everyone else seem like they need to go back to school and learn how to play guitar again. The track "DII" is one of my favorite.
Rocket From The Crypt - Group Sounds
"Give It Up For The Band. Come on now. They're pretty good." No truer words have been spoken about a band, by the band itself. I have and always will love RFTC. The second to last studio album released by these San Diego natives, it was their first with new drummer Mario Rubalcaba. It had been 3 years since the super clean and polished sound of "RFTC" and "Group Sounds" brought the band back to the furious rock n roll they are known for. In my opinion this album comes in a close second to "Scream, Dracula Scream" which is saying a lot as that album is another of my ALL TIME greatest.
Sleep - Dopesmoker
yes, it's the same album as "Jerusalem" which was released in 1998, but this is what it was originally supposed to sound like and only got it's proper release until 2000. When the band first delivered the album to London Records in 1995 the label didn't know what to do with it. It's one track that's over an hour long and no radio station would be able to play it. Because of this the label told em to go back to the studio and give em something else. They re-wrote some of the lyrics and trimmed it down to a 52 minute album and the label turned that one down as well. Because of this, the band broke up, but left an amazing album unreleased. Thanks to Tee Pee records for releasing this album how it was supposed to be. One of the best stoner metal albums of all time.
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
When I think of doom/stoner metal I think Electric Wizard. I'm sure many out there would agree with me on this statement. I do have to admit I didn't really get into the whole genre of doom/stoner metal until late in the decade so I had to play some catchup. This was one of the first I listened to and after the first listen I was hooked on the slow, heavy, fuzzed out sound of this album. It's a little evil and one tends to wonder just how it's possible to play such heavy music so slow. The vocals are dropped back in the mix ever so slightly so that the guitars are right up front in your face.
Thee Michelle Gun Elephant - Collection
So I love the Hives and early Mooney Suzuki and all the "Garage Revival" that happened in the early part of the decade, but you got to hand it to the Japanese. They are always ahead of the US when it come to everything. Thee Michelle Gun Elephant are a prefect example of this. Their best album is "Gear Blues" but that came out in 1998, so a "Collection" is the best you're gonna get. I love all their albums, but to start off a decade with a collections of songs like this one, you can't go wrong. They got super fuzz bass, distorted yet still clean bluesy rock n roll guitar (the kind you get from overdriving a fender amp which could only mean these guys were super loud when playing live) and grainy almost punk rock vocals, there's nothing better than that set up. Guitar work is amazing mix of 50's rock n roll, old time blues and punk rock. If you're into rock n roll and you only had to pick one album to get from the decade, this would be close to the top. Only thing I have to warn you about is they sing in 98.5% Japanese so if you're about lyrics and not the rock, you'll probably not like it.
Hellacopters - High Visibility
From the "epic" intro to the abrupt end, This is the Hellacopters album to own, besides the best of album "Air Raid Serenades," but as an album release, this is it. Most of my favorite Hellacopters songs come from this album so that might be why I picked this album. If you have a long way to go, and a short time to get there, may I suggest you throw this album on to get your blood pumpin and your foot planted to the floor. Just watch out for the cops cause I'm not paying your speeding ticket. Think MC5 but a little more punk rock and you've got the Hellacopters. Orange amps, fender guitars, ampeg bass amp and steady drum beat topped off with a little bit of piano work from Boba Fett.
Murder City Devils - In Name And Blood
Fucking hell, what a great album by a great band. MCD have rock n roll running through their veins. Members have gone on to be in bands such as Big Business, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Modest Mouse, Smoke & Smoke and Dead Low Tide. The opening track, "Press Gang," has to be one of the best songs of the decade. I've talked with folks about MCD and tried to figure out what was so damn perfect about this band. We've always come down to the face these guys never set out to be big rock stars, they were perfectly happy playing rock n roll that meant something to them and their fans. They worked at record stores and antique shops while not on the road. They we're a party band and loved wine, whiskey, rum and going to punk rock shows with their friends. They sang about cowboys, truckers, sailors and people who really got down and in the dirt every day for work. They sing about one thing everyone on this earth can relate to, heart break. They didn't sob about it either, they looked it right in the face and told it to fuck off or they would kick it's ass. Springsteen might have been the working mans rock star back in the 80's, the Murder City Devils we the working man's band of the late 90's and early 00's.
Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild
Soundtracks don't normally count as the best album of the decade, but since this is both a soundtrack and a solo album it counts. All the songs are pretty short and that's the only downer of this release. I've been a long time fan of Eddie's work so I kinda knew what to expect from this album, but it wasn't what I expected. Lots of banjo, mandolin and mainly acoustic guitar so it has more of a folk feel to it. Eddie worked with Sean Penn on creating the music for the movie by giving him an early cut of the film to lay music over so if you've seen the film, which I hope you have, You'll remember the visuals from the movie while you listen to the album. Great album for going out on a hike in the mountains or a walk along the beach or outdoors in general.
Fu Manchu - King Of The Road
This was the first album in the whole stoner rock genre I had ever listened to. Fu Manchu kind of defines that genre as they have the heavy fuzzed bass and guitars and play things a little slower than normal. Notice I didn't call them stoner metal cause there is a difference between stoner rock and stoner metal. Not that big of a difference, but enough. Their songs are all about SoCal and I think this album is their strongest. I can see stoner surfers rocking out to this album while riding their skateboards down to the beach with a surfboard under their arm. This album also has a theme wrapped around 70's muscle cars and vans that are considered "stalker vans" now a days. The album ends with one of the best covers of a Devo song, "Freedom Of Choice."
Eagles Of Death Metal - Peace Love and Death Metal
Boogie people around the world rejoice. Josh Homme coming in for the 3rd time on this decade list, he was a busy guy. Booty shaking desert rock. They don't sound like the Eagles nor are they Death Metal. Guitar, drums and vocals. Simple rock n roll music based on the guitar tunings of "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones. Jesse "The Devil/Boots Electric" Hughes says he does everything for the ladies. He's a true genius cause when you go see this band live there are more ladies than dudes. There is a little bit of blues in the song "Midnight Creeper" as it's just guitar and vocals. I listened to this album for a month or two non-stop and still don't get tired of listening to it now. This is my favorite cause they added bass into the mix on the next album.
Probot - Probot
You had to have listened to this album at some point. It's Dave Grohl playing everything then having the singers from his favorite bands from his youth do the lead vocals. He's got Cronos from venom, Lemmy from Motorhead, Wino from Saint Vitus, King Diamond and many more. Each track sounds like the band the singer is from and it was all done by Grohl. He said it took him forever to get it completed as everyone was in different locations around the world. It's an 80's metal fan's wet dream. So much awesomeness on one album. I waited and waited for this album to come out and was there the day it came in to buy it.
Hank III - Straight To Hell
The album starts out with a sample of the Louvin Brothers' "Satan Is Real," but not really. The Louvin Brothers wouldn't give permission to use the sample so Hank III re-recorded it. Or at least that's the story. It's honkey tonk, Country, and everything in between. It's the first country album to have a parental advisory sticker as well as a "clean" version for Wal-Mart. Yeah, Hank III likes to push some buttons, but ends up getting his way in the end. Songs about drinkin, druggin and rasin hell are what you get here. This is a two disc set with the first disc being a "normal" album with thirteen songs with each song being it's own track just like all other albums. The second disc is a bunch of songs but only two tracks with one of them being 42 minutes long. I'm surprised the track "Dick In Dixie" didn't get him thrown off his label or at least kicked out of Nashville forever. He doesn't hold back with that track.
The Sword - Age Of Winters
I had seen the album cover for a while and never listened to it cause I thought it was gonna be some fantasy metal or something. Wasn't until a friend of mine said they were like a heavier Queens Of The Stone Age that I broke down and listened to it. It's anything but fantasy metal though they do have songs about mythical creatures, wolves and such. I guess you could call these guys doom metal but they got a little more thrash in em. I saw them at the Casbah in San Diego just before they went out on tour with Metallica and it's one of the best shows I had seen there and I've seen many shows at the Casbah. Extremely tight band that unfortunitally might be only known by the masses as a "Guitar Hero" band as the track "Freya" was used in one of the editions of the game.
Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
Had 3 project of Josh Homme might as well end with one. Might get some crap for putting this one in there since it was their "commercial" album. It helps when you have Dave Grohl playing drums for the first time since the first Foo Fighters album. Don't get me wrong, the album would still be amazing without Grohl, but you do have to admit if it wasn't for him this album wouldn't have been as big as it was. This album is a close, like a .002 difference if this were a race, to "Rated R" and depending on the day I might say this one wins. It's a different album than "Rated R" in the fact that it's a little heavier and a bit more brutal.
The rest of the picks:
The Aggrolites - S/T
Tom Waits - Alice
Greg Dulli - Amber Headlights
Various Artist - Aquarius Rock: The Hip Reggae World Of Herman Chin-Loy
B.R.M.C. - B.R.M.C.
Pearl Jam - Backspacer
Goblin Cock - Bagged & Boarded
Motorhead - Better Motörhead Than Dead: Live At Hammersmith
Black Keys - The Big Come Up
Danko Jones - Born A Lion
Luis & The Wildfires - Brainjail
The Bronx - The Bronx (1)
Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum
Hellacopters - By The Grace Of God
The Creepy Creeps - S/T
Throw Rag - Desert Shores
Dethklok - The Dethalbum
Drips - The Drips
Aphex Twin - Druqks
Mondo Generator - A Drug Problem That Never Existed
The Dwarves - The Dwarves Must Die
Mariachi El Bronx - S/T
The Mooney Suzuki - Electric Sweat
John Frusciante - The Empyrean
Radio Birdman - The Essential Radio Birdman: 1974-1978
Sons Of Otis - Exiled
Burning Brides - Fall Of The Plastic Empire
3 Inches Of Blood - Fire Up The Blades
Goatsnake - Flower Of Disease
Squarepushers - Go Plastic
Weedeater - God Luck and Good Speed
Heavy Trash - Heavy Trash
Priestess - Hello Master
Big Business - Here Come The Waterworks
Nashville Pussy - High As Hell
The Horrors - The Horrors
The Dwarves - How To Win Friends And Influence People
Obits - I Blame You
Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet
Acid King - III
Love Me Nots - In Black & White
Thee Midniters - In Thee Midnite Hour
Saviours - In Abaddon
Los Peyotes - Introducing...
Soulsavers - It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land
Sahara Hotnights - Jennie Bomb
Kalas - S/T
William Elliott Whitmore - Latitudes
Death Breath - Let It Stink
Mastodon - Leviathan
Pearl Jam - Live At Benaroya Hall
Earthless - Live At Roadburn
Hank III - Lovesick Broke and Driftin
Battles - Mirrored
MR Doom - MM... Food
Danger Doom - The Mouse & The Mask
Naam - Naam
Morphine - The Night
Melvins - Nude With Boots
Delta Spirit - Ode To Sunshine
Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
Wild Billy Childish - Punk Rock at the British Legion Hall
Jurassic 5 - Quality Control
Tom Waits - Real Gone
Tweak Bird - Reservations
Turbonegro - Retox
Reverend Horton Heat - Revival
Kaada/Patton - Romances
Amazing Crowns - Royal
Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
Melvins - A Senile Animal
Sultans - Shipwrecked
Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder
The Spits - The Spits (1-4)
V/A - Stomp! Northwest Killers (Vol. 1) 1960-64
The Sadies - Tales of the Rat Fink (Original Soundtrack)
Tenacious D - S/T
Lords Of Altamont - To Hell with the Lords of Altamont
The Ghastly Ones - Unearthed
Danko Jones - We Sweat Blood