1. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
2. Rilo Kiley – Execution…
3. Bright Eyes – Lifted
4. Spoon – Kill the Moonlight
5. Sigur Ros – ( )
6. Snowglobe – Our Land Brains
7. The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi…
8. Grandpaboy – Mono
9. The Decemberists – Castaways
10. Interpol – Turn on…
11. Beck – Sea Change
12. Sonic Youth – Murray Street
13. DJ Shadow – Private Press
14. Buck 65 – Square
15. The Notwist – Neon Golden
16. Marmoset – Mishawaka EP
Epic. Fucking. Year. Feels like yesterday. Everything mattered so much. I remember getting the original Interpol EP and thinking: “yes, this will be my band; no one will know this band but me.” I remember playing MURRAY STREET realy loudly at the record store and having customers complain about the “noise.” I remember 2002 as the final days of Chicago’s run at being the indie hip-hop center of the world. Man, we went to lots and lots of shows back then – mostly at the Metro. I met Buck65 on the streets after a show while hanging out with my friend Scott Matelic.
I bought a new car a few days before Bright Eyes’ LIFTED was released. The day it came out I took the day off from work, put a new car stereo in my car and drove to basically every store in town looking for a copy of LIFTED. Just to put this into perspective: Bright Eyes was incredibly unknown back in these days. He’d sell less than 1,000 copies of his albums, so, finding one of them was incredibly hard. I found what had to be the only copy in Fort Wayne, popped it in my player and didn’t take it out for weeks. Within six months you could find that album at four or five stores around town and you could read about Bright Eyes in almost any music rag.
Most importantly, this was the year that Carly and I started dating. We’d been friends for over four years and, after lots of talk, had finally gotten close over the summer. She lived three hours away, so I remember lots of time spent driving to see her – hours each week. This made for lots and lots of good listening time … not to mention some top shelf mixtape making. Carly and I listened to that Snowglobe record all the time. She was working at Secretly Canadian back then, so we’d sometimes get to hear things in advance. She’d find out what the owners were listening to and, guess what, they were also listening to Snowglobe!
One of the most memorable nights of my 20s was the night Carly and I met up in downtown Indianapolis to see the Beck / Flaming Lips show at the Murat. Amazing freaking show. The Lips were already one of my favorite bands back then, but, dang, this just put the whole thing over the top. I find myself today, seven-plus years later, still trying to describe that show to people. Impossible. You had to be there.
Also, that night I locked my keys in the car in downtown Indy at 3 a.m. Had to be at work at 8:30 a.m. I panicked (mostly because I was broke and dumb and dramatic), and, right before I broke my window, Carly figured out a solution. She’s still doing that kind of thing for me to this day. And, no joke, we’re still listening to most of these albums to this day – especially those top two. Dang … two of our all-time favorites.
As for YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT: Well, damn. I could probably build an entire website about my love for that album. Lots of history for me with that record. I remember everything. This was it for me. This was the record that made me feel everything. I knew the first time I heard it that I was actually experiencing the release of a classic record. I read everything bit of press, watched the movie over and over again, followed the online journal about the movie, read Greg Kot’s book about the band during this era. It was my favorite record that year and has since become one of my Top 5 all-time records. Very likely my album of the decade.