Ranting 'n' raving
Just as 2003 is about to get in full swing with the release of highly anticipated new albums from the likes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Go-Betweens, Bonnie Prince Billy, Rainer Maria, Zwan, Cat Power to name but a few, let's take a look at some of the albums that caught our attention at the tail end of 2002 and the beginning of the new year.
At the top of the list we have one of the best hip hop album of 2002 and perhaps the best work of The Roots so far. In "Phrenology' they add soul, pop, funk and even punk ingredients in the mix resulting in a varied but constantly exciting listen, supported by a great cast of guest stars including Cody Chesnutt, Nelly Furtado and Talib Kweli, former member of Black Star, who is also present in our Top 10 with his recent qualitative solo effort.
The domination of rap in this month's list is aided by a couple of indie types who prove that Eminem is not the only white guy who can rap: Gonzales, a Canadian Jew who moved to Germany for inspiration and released his third record a few months back, and Har Mar Superstar, from Minneapolis, who continues on the path that Beck abandoned after 'Midnite Vultures'. He made his debut in 2000 on the Kill Rock Stars label and now releases his second work on a major. World domination is imminent!
On the synthesizer-electronic front, we salute the second coming of the excellent Ladytron, who revamp the 80s electropop sound for the 21st century, and the return of the resurrected legendary electropunk duo Suicide, who prove that they are still a vital force a quarter of a century since their inception. Respect!
On the guitar-rock front, we strongly recommend you lend an ear to two up and coming bands, Burning Brides from Philadelphia and The Pattern from California. They both released their debuts in 2002 and were included in our Top 30 Best New Bands of the Year list. We expect great things in the near future from both of them. You've been warned!
And finally, after all this excitement, may we suggest you chill out to the sounds of Low and Burnley Vest. Low, the slowcore kings from Duluth, MN, return with yet another gently rocking, quietly screaming masterwork, while Burnley Vest offers an atmospheric, truly personal record that's obviously a labour of love - it's recorded over a period of 3 years and Burnley writes, sings and plays all the instruments - the definition of a solo album! For more info visit the tiny e records site.
Next month we'll have the first cool new releases of 2003 along with a few more elusive 2002 albums. In the meantime, you can always check out the lists with our favorite albums and singles of 2002 (compiled at the end of December 2002 and therefore not including some of the albums we present in this edition) by clicking here: