December 23, 2009, 1:25 pm

Hello there.  What follows is my predictable list of mostly white people playing guitars that I’ve enjoyed this decade cut and pasted directly from Pitchfork.  I know it’s a cop-out, but it felt wrong leaving out so many significant albums, so I left it as a Top 30.  It’s still bothering me how many other good records could go in the list too.  But I did spend ages on it, I promise.  Taking a photo on Photobooth took nearly as long as well.  Who knew it was so easy to make yourself look like a paedophile?  I tried out a variety of poses, but settled for the burglar-doing-a-poo look, which I think I pull off rather well, thank you very much.  Oh, and I tried to compile a Spotify playlist to go alongside my list, but half the albums weren’t on there, so you’ll just have to fill in the blanks yourself or take my word for it and go and buy them… Enjoy.

Best of Decade

Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Life Without Buildings:  Any Other City
Mogwai: Rock action
Califone: Quicksand/ Cradlesnakes
Sun Kil Moon: Tiny Cities
Jim O’Rourke: Insignificance
Low: Things We Lost in the Fire
The Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs
Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump
Deerhoof: Milkman
Modest Mouse: The Moon and Antarctica
LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
Why?: Elephant Eyelash
The Mountain Goats: Tallahassee
Super Furry Animals: Songbook (Yes, I know…)
Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
Radiohead: Kid A
Bloc Party: Silent Alarm
Microphones: The Glow Pt.2
Joanna Newsom: Ys
Smog: A River Ain’t Too Much to Love
Cat Power: You Are Free
Animal Collective: Feels
The National: Boxer
Arcade fire: Funeral
Fiery Furnaces: Gallowsbird’s Bark
Jens Lekman: Oh You’re So Silent Jens
Wolf parade: Apologies to the Queen Mary
Broken Social Scene: You Forgot It In People


21 Comments so far
Leave a comment

So glad you got Jens Lekman in there, he’s awesome. Very good list Tom. I notice that Arcade Fire – Funeral is ever so popular with Team Campesinos!

Comment by Anna

69 love songs was ’99. other than that pretty fucking great

Comment by Chris

it was released in the UK (where we live) in 2000.

Comment by Gareth

Glad to see both Wilco and Arcade Fire making regular appearances in everyones lists. Delighted to see Broken Social Scene, Deerhoof and Wolf Parade too. Great Choices.

Comment by Dayle

was it? it is my favouritist record ever (sorry lc!, you come close, def top 25). i just assumed it was a ’99 record everywhere and didn’t list it as my favourite album of the decade. oh well, its all meaningless (like when two fireflies caress).

Comment by Samuel

Boxer and not Alligator? Heathen!

(This is a really good list full of very good records that I like a lot. I bet if the guy who made this list had a band, they’d be really good.)

Comment by Miles

My favorite list so far. Awesome to see Jens (Oh You’re So Silent Jens is fucking amazing), Yo La Tengo, Smog and the Magnetic Fields. And of course, the National, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Wilco and Sufjan Stevens are all must-have’s. Props, Tom.

Comment by Tiago F

Man, how great is it to see that Life Without Buildings on multiple lists? If you love that album, Tom, you ought to read this:

It was the first time I’d ever heard of the band/record, and it got me to go out and buy an import sound unheard (this was in that weird post-Napster lull where downloading stuff was hard).

Also, so glad to see Low making someone’s list.

Comment by Ian Mathers

Tiny Cities instead of Ghosts of the great highway or April? Interesting haha. Finally some love for The Glow, pt.2. This may be my favourite List Campesinos! so far.

Comment by Cheky

Damn good list, nice to see some Radiohead on here, Kid A is still my favorite album. Also nice and somewhat surprised to see Silent Alarm on here, I wasn’t crazy about everything Bloc Party did afterwards but I still love that album. LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver was also a terrific album, I think maybe my favorite of the last couple years. The whole list is really quite good, shared alot of the same comments on Ollie’s list.

Comment by Nick

I’m wondering what it is for you that separates Quicksand/Cradlesnakes from the rest of Califone’s prolific and consistently excellent output. Because that’s the one album of their last 5 that I don’t have.

Also, please post more. You make good jokes.

Comment by Eric

I love Tiny Cities as well, moreso than any other Sun Kil Moon album. It’s probably mainly because I love Modest Mouse though.

Comment by Tim


Comment by Blackbeard

Ooh, thanks for the comments. What great taste we all have… Some replies:

– Yeah, as Gareth said, we had a formal chat about 69 Love Songs, considered the verdict for a while, and because of the UK release date we decided it was ok to feature… I’ve also included a best of and a covers record, which i’m sure is anathema to High Fidelity-ites… but i’m ok with it…

– I really like Alligator and it’s the album that got me into the National, but i think Boxer’s a better record as a whole, more fully realised and the production’s way better.

-Thanks for the link Ian, will have a good read of that…

-Ha, Tiny Cities was the only choice I thought I’d have to defend… But i thought long and hard about it, and i genuinely think it’s a really special record for a bunch of reasons. Mainly, it made me listen to Modest Mouse in a totally different way, and i now hone in on their lyrics in a way i never would have. It’s also almost like a Modest Mouse best-of, and a useful collection of songs to have on one CD. But i just think the whole concept of reworking those songs and coming out with something totally different AND brilliant, is really bold and a pretty admirable achievement, although I probably would enjoy anything Mark Kozelek puts his voice to. The number of times i listen to this record after Modest Mouse or vice versa as well has made it a pretty important record for me this decade. Thanks to John Widdop for getting me onto it. I do really really love ‘Ghosts…’ though as well…

– Quicksand/Cradlesnakes is just the album of theirs with my favourite songs on, simple… I guess, actually, it is quite song-oriented for them. But Vampiring Again, Michigan Girls, Stepdaughter, Horoscope…, jesus, the whole lot, really are some of their best songs i think… it’s leaving a pretty big hole in your collection, i’ll be honest… fill it! And who said they were jokes?

Comment by tomcamp

This list is the closest to my own that I’ve seen. :] Not too many I’ve come across have Sun Kil Moon, Why?, Super Furry Animals, AND Jens Lekman.

Pitchfork rating: 9.8, which is what Pitchfork gave to The Moon and Antarctica.

Comment by Hannah

Sorry sir, no jokes. I understand now that revealing the burglar-poo look conveys both criminal danger and an embarrassed vulnerability, a paradoxical side of you that you are trying to express to the loyal and understanding members of your fanbase. You openness is surely appreciated this holiday season.

And for what it’s worth, I’m with you on Tiny Cities. I don’t know if anyone else reveals so much about so much doing covers.

Comment by Eric

dude nice pic. it fits perfectly w/ your blog post. this and when you were coach for Los C! football team shows well you are with your expressions.

Comment by tps

Mark Kozelek is right up there with the very best song intrepreters anywhere ever. The Modest Mouse album, sure, but even back in the Red House Painters days his versions of “Silly Love Songs,” “All Mixed Up,” etc. are just incredible.

Comment by Ian Mathers

Wow, Tom! Nice choices. Modest Mouse is a must.

Comment by Chris F

“Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Mogwai: Rock action
Low: Things We Lost in the Fire
Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump
Modest Mouse: The Moon and Antarctica
Super Furry Animals: Songbook (Yes, I know…)
Radiohead: Kid A”

Will you marry me, Tom?
(except, picking a compilation by my favorite band, when you COULD have picked either RATW OR DD/LY, i can’t understand…)

Comment by Casey

I think you must have the best introduction

Comment by Jessica

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