Links to all Top 50 articles: (50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1)
Hey Rosetta! / Into Your Lungs (2008)
From "who is this band" to "#30 of the decade" in just over a year, this album is the recorded proof of why Hey Rosetta! has been winning both fans and awards. Amazingly strong start with New Goodbye and I've Been Asleep For A Long Long Time, and it continues on as an excellent full listen from there.
Info: Hey Rosetta! | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: New Goodbye (mp3), I've Been Asleep For A Long, Long Time (mp3)
Phoenix / It's Never Been Like That (2006)
Versailles-based (yes, in France) Phoenix has been in many lists this year for their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but I still think their 2006 album It's Never Been Like That is a stronger offering. Alt-pop with slightly quirky lead vocals means lots of happy easy-to-take fun.
Info: Phoenix | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Cage The Elephant / Cage The Elephant (2008)
This band hails from Kentucky, but they play British-inspired, vigorous indie-rock, laced with slide guitars and backed by beats and guitar riffs that incite dancing. Uncomplicated and catchy, with lot's of influences, but the real reason to listen to this album is just for good times. Favourite track: In One Ear. Other good listens: Ain't No Rest For the Wicked, Lotus, Back Against the Wall, and Tiny Little Robots.
Info: Cage The Elephant | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Tiny Little Robots (mp3), Ain't No Rest For The Wicked (video)
The Details / Draw a Distance. Draw a Border. (2007)
The Details are currently recording their second full-length album which is being co-produced by Stephen Carroll (of The Weakerthans) and Brandon Reid (of The National), but until then, we have this excellent album that opens with six individually brilliant songs all in a row. It peaks with the song A National Anthem, which also marks the end of the first half of the album. If this was on vinyl, it probably would've taken me months to flip it over and listen to Side B just because I would've got stuck listening to Side A again and again.
Info: The Details | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Underground (mp3)
Modest Mouse / The Moon And Antarctica (2000)
Released at the start of the decade, this 2000 release was a defining album for Modest Mouse. Although songs from later albums gained more popularity, tracks such as Dark Center Of The Universe and Perfect Disguise are the root of the following radio hits. Other tracks such as Paper Thin Walls, I Came As A Rat, and Gravity Rides Everything showcase the more quirky — and probably much less radio-friendly — side of Modest Mouse, but are the kinds of songs that kept me coming back for more listens.
Info: Modest Mouse | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Caribou / Andorra (2007)
Deserving of the 2008 Polaris Prize win it received, Andorra is a psychedelic-inspired piece of beautiful independent music. The strong 60's influence can be heard in songs starting right from the opening track, Melody Day, but despite strong influences, Dan Snaith has has manipulated those sounds into something new. Echoing, layered, and amazing.
Info: Caribou | Connect: MySpace
MGMT / Oracular Spectacular (2007)
Despite all the hype, I didn't go out of my way to track down and listen to Oracular Spectacular by MGMT due to my preconceived ideas about what the music would be like. But eventually the CD made it to my desk and into my iTunes, ultimately proving to me that whatever the generally perceived genre is, it's not nearly as important as the music itself. I hear psychedelic-rock influences and 70's rock melodies wrapped up in a base of electro-originality, all peaking in the 9th track The Handshake.
Info: MGMT | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
The Frames / The Cost (2007)
Although Glen Hansard has achieved far more fame through his role in the independent movie Once, it is all his work as part of his band The Frames that really built up the skill he needed to achieve that fame. When playing with his co-star Markéta Irglová, the two are known as The Swell Season, but many of the songs they performed together also appear on this album by The Frames with a fuller, more complex sound. Brilliant album.
Info: The Frames | Connect: MySpace
Elbow / Leaders Of The Free World (2005)
Elbow is the only band that I allowed to hold two spots in this Top 50 of The Decade list, which in itself should be an indication of how important this band's music has been to me this past decade. Leaders Of The Free World never hit the charts in the U.S. or Canada, but is probably their most consistent album, with a steady stream of really good tracks from start to finish. Station Approach and Picky Bastard are still staples of music listening in my household, although less frequently as they were in 2005 and 2006.
Info: Elbow | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
The Shins / Oh, Inverted World (2001)
Masters of creating an odd mood from their music, two songs from this debut album by The Shins were appropriately featured in the 2003 movie Garden State. This exposure brought many more listeners, but even before that, the album received much critical praise. Like many others, when I discovered The Shins, I found something about their low production fidelity that tweaked my brain the right way.
Info: The Shins | Connect: MySpace, Facebook