After 2 solid weeks
of squabbling, hair pulling and bribery, the workers of diskant have
finally agreed upon what they believe to the Ten Best Albums of 2002
(By agreed, I obviously mean democratically decided
by majority decision. As youll see, not all of the albums
have been received favourably by everybody. Girls Against Boys, for
example. Nobody seemed to like that, but it made the No.7 slot. Its
a crazy world).
Anyway, behold the elite of 2002
Your hosts: Simon Minter,
Danny Cameron, Ollie Simpson, Hugues Mouton, John Coburn, Chris
Haikney, Chris Summerlin and Marceline Smith.
Pump - Let Me Breathe
Mar-C: Skewed mentalist shouty jerkpop for geeks with sleeve art
drawn on a MagnaDoodle. Thus best record of the year. YOU CAN TRUST
Chris S: Bilge Pump rule because they are a funky funky band. Their
rhythms roll and gallop and are unstoppable and they make you dance.
By adding an almost retro sounding swing to their step they rise
above the hard edged inhuman math of their supposed contemporaries
and Mark Simms' engineering on this kids you that you're missing
the best gig ever heard.
Smint: Quitegood, but I find it not crazy and disjointed enough
for my increasingly crazy and disjointed tastes. Winning song titles,
Youth - Murray Street
Chris S: A right return to form. By finally realising what everyone
knew - Sonic Youth write great songs - the Yoot change their sound
subtly and do the business after the disappointing NYC Ghosts and
Flowers. By putting Jim ORourke on bass, the pop sensibility
of the band is harnessed in a tight rhythm section for the first
time in their recorded history, allowing the new 3 guitar attack
to hit melodies and hit noise alternately and at the same time to
devastating but subtle effect. No other band could have made these
songs work like this. Even if Karen Revisited sounds
like Summer In The City...
Mar-C: It's like avant-garde never happened!
Smint: It's Sonic Youth so it's good, but I hate to say that I
think they're becoming slightly staid in their middle ages...
Danny: I didnt bother with this record ..... I want the sound
of young hearts!
Am Spartacus - Forward!
Hugues: I got really confused the first time I heard about them,
because I think another band at the time had released a record called
I am Spartacus. As that band-of which I can't remember the name-was
more along the lines of a Gravity style post hardcore act, I quickly
realised we weren't talking of the same Spartacus. This one quietly
juxtaposes guitar, bass, and violin to create some chilling, melancholic
movie music-sounding melodies. And does it very well indeed.
ChrisH: Er, yeah I liked it. Remember thinking it sounded really
good for something sold out a shoebox at a gig. Was expecting either
less ambition or less success at whatever it was they were doing.
I was wrong and very pleased to be.
Smint: Rrrrrrr forgot I had this, but I do! But I haven't listened
to it in months. As memory serves, it's good (there's a capsule
review for you.)
You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
Mar-C: Defying all rumours of imminent Fred Durst collaborations,
musical watering down and general corporate sellout, Trail of Dead's
major label debut was a triumph. Still TOD as we know and love them
but with cash to spend on string sections, timpani, paying your
best mate to paint pictures for elaborate sleeve art and going on
jaunts to ancient pyramids. World domination now scheduled for next
Danny: After their tour with Mogwai, their album is a thousand
times more impressive than seeing them live. Each gig, when they
weren't hell bent on destroying their stage, connected for five
songs, but more often was lost in competing mania. Fo
r those five
songs each night though, they were shatteringly grand, just got
to forget the staggering neglect...
- Music Is Stupid
Smint: A proper album, full and rounded, with a flow of songs from
quiet to loud and fuzzy to smooth. This reminded me a lot of Boyracer,
if you remember them, and that is a big compliment.
Mar-C: Indie rock with tunes and emotions and jangly guitars just
like the good old days before Emo was an amusing stick to hit bands
with. They don't half walk slowly though.
- Hold Your Horse Is
Ollie: Never standing still for a second, this album manages to
be super-technical and very compelling at the same time. The stupidly
complex rhythms will get into your head and rattle around for months.
Smint: Class. Some actual NEW music, like actual new music you
haven't heard before - totally original. There's only two of them
and that's amazing, considering the noises here.
Against Boys - You Can't Fight What You Can't See
Hugues: I don't know if this album is any good, but I found them
really quite boring live, once the surprise from the two bass heaviness
gone. Actually I think they should have stopped after the Sexy Sam
ep, which indeed is quite a while ago...
Mar-C: The Star Wars Episode Two of the music poll. Who voted for
this? I haven't heard it like but I bet it's not that good. I didn't
even go see them live 'cos it was EIGHT POUNDS. Still, I imagine
they could show [insert crap new band the NME are hyping] a thing
or two about dirty garage rock.
- Love Songs
Mar-C: Not actually released til January so this makes us look
really cliquey. Especially since one of them writes for diskant
and one of our staff is releasing it. But this album's so good you
should be thanking us for bringing it to your attention early so
you can get in straight away once it's released. You'd be stupid
Ollie: A great mix of the chunkier older-sounding stuff like 'stopper'
with some slower meandering songs reminiscent of Dirty Three. Bold,
brash and warmer than your average 'art/post/whatever-rock' record.
- One Beat
Mar-C: Sleater-Kinney go POP! There's tunes on here that you won't
ever be able to get out of your head and all so joyously played
and sung that it can't fail to cheer. I recommended it with great
enthusiasm to Jason Reece and he told me amusing stories about meeting
them in Olympia when they were hippie chicks. Nice. Carrie looks
amazing in the cd booklet as well. Ahem.
Group - A New Pacifica
Mar-C: It's actually impossible to describe this album without
sounding like you're being insulting. "Like the best bits of
Chapterhouse and Lush!", "It's like shoegazing never ended!".
So let's just go with "It's great.
Smint: I had this in my car, but it's gone missing......
the pAper cHase - Hide The Kitchen Knives
John C: Piano-tinged math-core that switches uneasily between disturbingly
chaotic and eerily sparse. And John Congletons bleak vocals
add to the schizophrenia that pervades this brilliant record. Mighty.
The soundtrack to unrequited lust, crippling panic attacks and embittered
Black Heart Procession - Amore del Tropico
Hugues: Lo-fi gloomy rock gone hi-fi gloomy rock. Which ever way,
they're great at being gloomy, especially when they add a bit of
chachacha to it.
Mar-C: Previous albums had them drunkenly singing lovelorn winter
ballads in Poland. This album sees them drunkenly singing lovelorn
winter ballads in, er, Hawaii.
Nina Nastasia The Blackened Air
Chris S: Why wasn't this everyones number one? Nina slayed
at ATP. When dropped into the cream of the singer/songwriter pile
from the USA she rose to the top, matching if not bettering the
likes of Will Oldham and Bill Callaghan. This album is a perfectly
realised whole, she handles traditionally cliched topics of love,
loss, regret and drug abuse (I think) with a spear-sharp approach
that pierces your bullshit detector and goes straight through your
heart. Her backing band are stars in their own right, viola player
Dylan is the perfect foil and when accompanied by Jim White her
live shows manage to teeter between an intimacy that is unique and
a grand sense of scale that will knock you on your ass.
Now read about our best movies of 2002
article by John Coburn