Top 20 Releases of Decade

1. The Legends – Up Against The Legends (2004)
2. Celebration – The Modern Tribe (2007)
3. I Am The World Trade Center – The Tight Connection (2002)
4. Jay Z – The Blueprint (2001)
5. The Knife – Silent Shout (2006)
6. The Walkmen – Black and White 2×12″ (2002)
7. Ladytron – 604 (2001)
8. Unwound – Leaves Turn Inside You (2001)
9. The Postal Service – Give Up (2002)
10. Blonde Redhead – Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000)
11. Love Of Diagrams – Love Of Diagrams (Self Titled) (2007)
12. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007)
13. The Shins – Oh, Inverted World (2001)
14. The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale (2008)
15. The Natural History – The Natural History EP (2002)
16. Bjork – Vespertine (2001)
17. Voxtrot – Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives (2006)
18. Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped (2006)
19. I Am The World Trade Center – The Cover Up (2004)
20. Cinerama – Disco Volante (2002)

If you told me in 1999 that both Sonic Youth and Bjork would put out two of my favorite records of the decade, I would have said NO WAY. Looking back, I had to add both due to the sheer amount of times I listened to both records. Also, I had a hard time putting 2 I Am The World Trade Center records on there, but those two records deserve it. When thinking about the best release of the decade, there was no question in my mind, The Legends debut won that hands down. Also, it’s such a bummer that Voxtrot’s debut full length release was such crap since their EPs were stellar. You’ll see only a couple of the records overlap on the TSOI writers best of the decade list. I’m thrilled to see that neither Radiohead or Yeah Yeah Yeahs made it on any of our lists. I have a hard time believing that they deserve such high placement on EVERY list I’ve read.

Top 20 Concerts of Decade

1. Prince – Paisley Park, Minneapolis, MN (2000)
Seeing Prince play at his house is such a memorable experience. We lined up outside in winter around midnight, “doors” opened around 1:30 AM. We paid the $7 cover (yeah, $7) and Prince went on around 2:30 AM. He played for over two and a half hours for the crowd of what I would guess was 300 people. I’ve seen him a couple of times since then and he’s always great, but never as amazing as that show.

2. Cornelius – The El Rey, Los Angeles, CA (2007)
I had heard how great Cornelius was live, but finally had the opportunity to experience them myself in 2007. I was mesmerized from start to finish.

3. Coachella (Bjork, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Blonde Redhead, Belle & Sebastian, Charlatans U.K.) – Indio, CA (2002)
I’m kind of cheating here by adding all these bands in the number 3 slot, but the lineup was stellar. I always hated outdoor festivals but everything about 2002’s Coachella was perfect, from the line up, to the venue, to the weather. Siouxsie blew me away and it was the best Bjork performance I’ve ever seen. Plus seeing Blonde Redhead and Belle & Sebastian right after releasing some of their best records made it even better.

4. Duran Duran – Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas, NV (2003)
One of their first 5 original member reunion shows. Simon tore his pants and had to staple the crotch back together. I thought they would be a little old and boring, but I was sorely mistaken. At the time, no one knew if they would be playing any other dates after these first 5 shows, so the crowd was made up of fanatic, Duranie die-hards.

5. I Am The World Trade Center – Temple Bar, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
I had heard a couple of tracks off “The Tight Connection” and decided to check them out purely out of curiosity. The show was at a venue all the way across town and I ended up getting in an argument with my then girlfriend on the way to the show. We were both in a horrible mood, the club had ridiculously expensive drinks, the opening band was awful, there were probably only 20 people there but then IATWTC took the stage and took control. Dan started breakdancing and the small crowd had no idea what to do. It was awesome and I was hooked.

6. The Cool Kids – The Key Club, Los Angeles, CA (2008)
The venue was a lame “Sunset Strip” club, but The Cool Kids made it work. During the middle of their set, the crowd rushed the stage. There were people everywhere dancing and going nuts. Eventually the bouncers got things under control (Chuck and Mikey were even looking a little nervous) and the finished what ended up being the best performance I’ve ever seen them put on.

7. Jens Lekman – Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA (2007)
I had missed Jens performance at Spaceland a year earlier, so I made sure to buy advance tickets to what ended up being a sold out Troubadour show. He had his 7 piece girl band (plus the guy who plays samples) with him and they were adorable. When he came out to play the acoustic encore, the crowd was absolutely silent and captivated.

8. The Walkmen – Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
I had been listening to The Walkmen for quite some time, so I was really looking forward to their first LA performance. As a HUGE Jonathan Fire*Eater fan, I had an idea what to expect from them so I was really excited. At the end of their set they were asking for requests. I was going to shout out “When Prince Was A Kid,” but I didn’t want to be THAT guy.

9. Jay Z – Jimmy Kimmel Live (Hollywood Blvd.), Los Angeles, CA (2006)
They shut down Hollywood Blvd. in front of Jimmy Kimmel’s studio for a free performance. If I remember correctly, 60,000 people showed up. We waited in line for what seemed like forever drinking our mini bottles of Sutter Home. The performance was being taped live, so he played a couple of songs for the show, then there was a long break, then it played a couple more and then ended up laying about another 10. All that for free.

10. The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group – 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis, MN (2007)
The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group is one of my all-time favorites, so when I found out Jim was playing his first show in 5 years I booked a plane ticket up to Minneapolis because I had to be there. A couple of weeks before the show I had e-mailed Jim and asked if they would play my favorite song of theirs “Stormtrooper.” I was thrilled when they dedicated it to “The guy from LA who said he was flying up for the show.”

11. Cinerama – 400 Bar, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
After the long Wedding Present hiatus, I was pleasantly surprised how great the debut Cinerama record carried on the Wedding Present tradition of amazing records. Their live show was no different and having the opportunity to see them in such a small venue was such a treat. I still remember David’s joke about how the bassist was from “Golden Showers, MN.”

12. Gil Mantera’s Party Dream – Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA (2006)
A friend of mine told me that I HAD to see Gil Mantera’s Party Dream. She pointed me to their video for “Elmos Dream” on YouTube, but I had no idea what was in store for me at their live show. Two guys dancing around in spandex outfits and eventually stripping down to their underwear makes a lasting impression.

13. I Am Spoonbender – Key Club, Los Angeles, CA (2003)
After attempting to see IAS 2 times before, I finally had the chance to see them. The put on such an inspired performance. It was a strange club to see them at (another Sunset Strip club show), but the large stage actually added to the performance.

14. Unwound (The Smell)/Blonde Redhead (The El Rey) (2001), Los Angeles, CA
These two bands played on the same night and should have been booked together, but instead, ended up playing almost across town from each other. It was killer to have to choose between the two, so I gambled and went to see BRH first. They put on a great “Melody”-era show. I raced downtown and eventually found The Smell (I hadn’t yet moved to LA, so finding it as a tourist was tricky) and caught the last part of Unwound’s set. They were amazing as always.

15. The Natural History – Three Clubs, Los Angeles, CA (2002)
I knew nothing about The Natural History except they were on the same label as The Walkmen (Startime Intl.), so I decided to check them out. They put on an outstanding show to the small but very appreciative crowd. You always know that if a band puts on a great live show without ever hearing them recordings before, their records end up being great too. That was certainly the case with The Natural History and their EP ended up being one of the best of the decade.

16. Red Sparowes/Year Future – The Echo, Los Angeles, CA (2003)
I was there to see Year Future, but decided to stick around and see Red Sparowes because I recognized the one guy from Neurosis. I later found out the storied histories of the rest of the members. The combination of both bands putting on great shows made this a slam dunk for the best of the decade.

17. David J – Goldfingers, Los Angeles, CA (2002) (Feb.)
David J did a month long stint at this small club that I had never heard of before and have never visited since. I ended up going to every single performance and was treated to some amazing performances, some amazing special guests (Stephen Perkins, Kevin Haskins, Wayne Kramer), and some really special treats like David bringing in and playing the original cassettes he used to write songs like “No New Tale To Tell” for the audience.

18. Flin Flon/Versus – 400 Bar, Minneapolis, MN (2000)
I don’t really remember Versus‘ performance since I’m not a fan, but Flin Flon opened the show and played their technical songs perfectly.

19. Freeheat – Brownies, New York City, NY (2000)
After the breakup of JAMC, Freeheat provided a good performance for those fans that were going through JAMC withdrawal. I happened to be in NYC when they were touring so I caught one night of their 2 night stint at the now defunct Brownies.

20. Pulsars – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles, CA (2007)
I had seen Pulsars in the late ’90s, so when I saw they were playing in LA I had to confirm with the venue that it was in fact THE Pulsars and not some newjack band using their name. It was, and they played nearly their entire record and it was awesome.

One Comment

  1. Kevin,

    I wanted to leave you a note about the live Earwig tracks. I LOVE this band, and I would LOVE to hear the full shows. Would you PLEASE help me out?

    Fingers crossed!

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