Fuck The Millennium (2000)

By dean

     Quiet. Compartmentalizing Of Music According To The Christian Calendar System going on here. And you, at the back -- yes, you -- check out the Top 10 Records of 2000:


10. Fatboy Slim - Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

9. Tahiti 80 - Puzzle

8. Apples In Stereo - Discovery Of A World Inside The Moone

7. Alice Deejay - Who Needs Guitars Anyway?

6. Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant

5. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP

4. Coldplay - Parachutes

3. Radiohead - Kid A

2. Papa Roach - Infest

1. Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour Of Bewilderbeast

     Nuts. Instead of transcribing my own list, I must've gotten it mixed up with Utter Stupid Fuckhead's. Here's mine...


Kid 606 - P.S. I Love You

     Caustic and infuriating, Kid 606's polemic surely shoved a plank between music fans faster than you could say, "Luke Vibert Can Kiss My Indiepunk Whiteboy Ass." But this was different: an emotive, gentle trip down the driveways of ambient click textures with the all-pervading threat of a total sonic breakdown.


Roni Size & Reprazent - In The Mode

     Drum 'n' bass has become about as fashionable as Alf toys, but Reprazent realize that this is when a genre really has a chance to go snatch a shotgun to blow your back molars out. So it goes with this militant, anarchic blast of hardcore jungle throw-downs. It might overstay its welcome teetering on the brink of 74 minutes -- and the promo version is decibels above what actually came out -- but the sheer volatility of the record soundtracks that smoke trailing out of your woofers alarmingly well.


Clinic - Internal Wrangler

     Odd. That sounds like Vlad the Impaler mixing it up with backward beats, organ chimes, and locomotive horns. Wait -- gone already.



Black Box Recorder - The Facts Of Life

     Moving their voyeuristic, cynical stare away from suicide and the end of the world so they could focus it on small-town dating and mechanical sex lives, Black Box Recorder flick a new challenge under our collective nose: "Figure out which is worse." As in the band's debut, the same barren instrumentation and distanced vocals are still here, but this time there seems to be a pop sensibility that evokes far more seditious strengths than ever before. A delightfully sinister contradiction, as you can guess; in "Straight Life," for instance, Sarah Nixey chimes, "It's a beautiful morning," and only Black Box Recorder could make such a statement sound truly satirical. And that title track? Found nestled inside the album's core, "The Facts Of Life" is simple, gorgeous, chart-friendly, and just plain evil. Few Top 10 hits glare at you like a Stanley Kubrick-directed All Saints production. Which makes The Facts Of Life a precise, meticulous, deeply disturbing experience. Subversion has rarely sounded this startling.


Yo La Tengo - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

     For those of us who thought 1997's "Green Arrow" was the band at their peak, this was manna from Hoboken, New Jersey. Brushed drums and twangy, minimalist guitars squirmed with emotion while we gradually learned that the more the album collapsed, the more intricate it all became. And let's be honest: it was easy to spot the sounds of insomniac loss ("Tears Are In Your Eyes") and disarming disco covers ("You Can Have It All"), but few were prepared for the naked reminiscence in songs like "Our Way To Fall." At turns narcoleptic and just plain narcissistic, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley have scribbled down a valentine to each other of overwhelming American indie-rock accomplishment. And all this coming from Velvet Underground wannabes hailing from the land of Joey Buttafuco.


Black Eyed Peas - Bridging The Gap

     Holy crap are they a good live band. Big ol' stonking beats with the hi-top, flip-top jazz might of breakdancing champions, everywoman backing vocals from the lovely Kim Hill, and a disposition somewhere between Funkadelic and Dexter's Laboratory, there's little beating the Black Eyed Peas when it comes to reminding us just what a burst of redemptive force hip-hop can be to the musical landscape. This record is almost as good. Either the sunstroke-induced elation of "Weekends" or the how'd-they-manage-that pure hip-pop glee of the Macy Gray-assisted "Request + Line" alone are worth chiseling out bandanna bedecked statues in the group's image. And the record just launches higher with each track. Hoo-nellie. A fiercely competitive 12 months for hip-hop, what with the fat-laced hullabaloo of Ugly Duckling, the organic futurism of Stankonia, and the triumphant return of De La Soul, but Bridging The Gap is -- by far -- the most thrilling trump card all year.





Primal Scream - Xtrmntr

     Sck fcks. Equal parts searing prod up the backside of indie complacency and brutal blood-brother to Midnight Oil's Redneck Wonderland, Xtrmntr is a foul and potent protest record railing against just about everything we've been taught to hold dear. At least it sounds that way. "Kill All Hippies." Arkestra bombing runs. A lament over the world's lack of "civil disobedience." Primal Scream pointed sonic shells at anything in their way and we thanked them for it. And producers' toys? The vile, spit-drenched garroting of corporate villains and manufactured indie drivel inside even the first splay of "Accelerator"'s feedback squall indicates otherwise. This is music to read "No Logo" or watch Fight Club to. And even the journo hacks got it right: Xtrmntr really does sounds like a group getting in their last five minutes before a plane crash.


Mark Oliver - Timeless Trance

     Glowsticks. E-tards. New wave house music that sounds like it could be played in a church. That's trance for you. But Scottish born Mark Oliver manages to keep the DJ'ing smooth and easy while unleashing some of the most radiant singles the scene has ever produced. From the majestic siren call of Solar Stone's ageless "Seven Cities" to the ten-brick, ecclesiastical breakdown of DJ Energy & Tatana's "End of Time," there's a sense of patching together trance's best tunes to create a whole that will leave your throat burning for air, your face left with a delirious smile, and your only impulse insisting that you go grab the nearest member of the opposite sex to give them the warmest embrace this side of copulation. Euphoric -- even at its absolute worst.





Sigur Rós - Ágaetis Byrjun

[note to self: original 1999 release? nobody can be hypocritical but me...]

     Two quotes:


  •       "I can't listen to Sigur Rós. They make me feel elated and depressed at the same time. Which is too dangerous for a teenager like me."

  •       "Ágaetis Byrjun is so beautiful it could stop world wars."

    JJ72 - JJ72

    [note to self #2: don't do it -- don't you even think you -- whatever you do, do not just go ahead and lift from an earlier review of yours -- you...oh, you lazy bastard]

         If you want to make a mistake, at least make it a big one. Things heated up for Ireland's much-hyped "new hope," what with 2000's endless excitable press clippings, triumphant festival slots, and now a full-length chance to prove to the world if their three-minute slices of searing guitar distress were worth any of the attention in the first place. Indeed, fortune has been strong with this young trio. The fact that JJ72 sound completely unfazed even when they screw it all up is what makes this roaringly ambitious debut so captivating.

         It's an idea that has many a Suede and Joy Division name-check sound apt, as proved by the likes of "Snow" or "Algeria" -- sweltering, emotive crackles of indie-guitar thunder that succeed in being as innocent and powerful as any song influenced by the greats. Truly, the magnificence of JJ72 is that they're on top form even when they don't seem to know what they're doing. Mark Greaney's garrulous growls and falsettos soar over far too many syllables. The band's "soft/loud" Nirvana-isms are occasionally banal. Sometimes it's only the band's wide-eyed eagerness that saves everything. With a lyrical mash-up of abstract imagery ("Short sleeves and warm skin / losing coins calling next of kin") and glorious bursts of confessional euphoria -- somewhere in-between The Sex Pistols and the poems of John Keats -- album peaks like "Oxygen" are extraordinary.

         They show how choosing the right blunders can make all the difference in the world. Because for all its evident talent, this debut album is admittedly a student film -- with all of its naivete, vigor, and self-indulgence. These mistakes are big. These mistakes are personal. Yet these same mistakes transform JJ72 into a band nothing short of inspiring, and just a touch away from being impossibly beautiful.


         (So thank The Great Maker for 2000, my friends. Thank Her now.)