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10 Best Albums: Daniel Piotrowski

By Daniel Piotrowski | Posted 12/20/2000

Modest Mouse, The Moon and Antarctica (Epic) Although it is by no means a departure for the indie-rock trio, everything just came out so perfect. Issac Brock's teen-angst lyrics are new lessons in modern immaturity.

Matthew Shipp Quartet, Pastoral Composure (Thirsty Ear) Pianist Shipp has brought his avant-garde extrapolations more inside the jazz stratum, but in the outsider tradition; his sound is comparable in style and quality to Thelonious Monk or early Cecil Taylor.

The Black Heart Procession, Three (Touch and Go) The instrumentation is that of a rock band, the Black Heart Procession doesn't play rock music. The group's slow, subtle ominousness is amazingly compelling and wholly original.

Bright Eyes, Fevers and Mirrors (Saddle Creek) Bright Eyes main man Conor Oberst's brand of gut-wrenching, emotional folk is not just a bunch of sad songs; it paints a looming gloom full of despair, depression, and dysfunction.

Cave In, Jupiter (Hydrahead) While only hinting at its metal/hardcore roots, Cave In has developed into a Metallica/ Radiohead/Pink Floyd space-rock hybrid that is both elaborate and emphatic in volume and style.

William Parker & the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, Mayor of Punkville (AUM Fidelity) With the soul of Charles Mingus and the imagination of Sun Ra, Parker's big band has created a record that sways with both subtlety and clamor.

Outkast, Stankonia (Arista/LaFace) Praise to Outkast for remembering that hip-hop records are meant to be enjoyed, and not simply genre critiques. "B.O.B." is the best rap, rock, and techno track of the year.

Damon & Naomi, Damon & Naomi With Ghost (Sub Pop) This chillingly graceful collaboration between the former Galaxie 500 rhythm section and the Japanese psych-folk unit sounds like the sum of its parts, but equals much more.

Songs: Ohia, The Lioness (Secretly Canadian) The ever-prolific Jason Molina (who is S: O's only constant member) released two full-lengths this year, but it was this recording with members of Appendix Out and Arab Strap that showed off his songwriting (lyrically and musically) in paramount form.

Radiohead, Kid A (Capitol) Original tonality makes up for shoddy lyrics and lack of structure. It's dubious to dub this a classic just because it's Radiohead, but it's unjust to write it off because it's not equal to OK Computer.

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The Year In Tracks (12/15/2009)
. . . just in the case the album really is dead.

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More from Daniel Piotrowski

It's About That Time (3/13/2002)
Three New Releases Get the Jazz/Electronica Mix Right

Sound and Fury (5/16/2001)

Music Must Change (1/17/2001)
Rob Mazurek's Avant-Jazz Outfits Contract and Expand

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