1. Band of Horses, Everything All the Time. This was probably #51 on my list. A great, great album, separately recommended to me on separate occasions by my friends Brian and Dean. Didn't much care for the follow-up, though. Could it be because they left Seattle?
2. The Bevis Frond, Triptych. One of my favorite alt albums from college, an amazing one-man psychedelic tour de force including a cover of "Hey Joe" sung by the artist's mum. BF, aka Nick Saloman, just kills on the guitar. Extremely unheralded.
3. Jason Loewenstein, At Sixes and Sevens. I've got a soft spot for albums thrown together by one guy down in his basement, and this one may be the king of the genre. It rocks almost as good as the best stuff from Sebadoh, Loewenstein's former band (he's now playing with the Fiery Furnaces).
4. Sebadoh, The Sebadoh. I despised Everett True when he worked as a music critic for The Stranger, but I'll always be a little grateful to him for his glowing review of this album. I now have about 5 Sebadoh CD's, but this one's the best for sure. Hardly a bad song on here; a couple are truly awesome.
5. The Folk Implosion, Dare to be Surprised. While on the subject of Sebadoh, let's not overlook Lou Barlow! This is a great CD with some brilliant vocal interplay between him and collaborator John Davis.
6. The Innocence Mission, Glow. Probably the last band you'd want to back you up in a bar fight. The name is true to their gentle sound, distinguished by Don Peris' understated guitar and Karen Peris' incredible voice. (Women's voices shouldn't be this beautiful - it just breaks your heart ...) The thinking man's 10,000 Maniacs.
7. The Deftones, Adrenaline. This band is the anti-Innocence Mission. I'm normally not big on growly alt-metal, but the Deftones completely separated themselves from the rest of the pack with actual musical ability, and a lot of it.
8. The Fixx, Reach the Beach. Who the hell were The Fixx? Where'd they come from? Where'd they go? I'd almost forgotten about them until that creepy "Saved by Zero" commercial.
9. Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary. So you think the Arcade Fire is the best new band to come out of Montreal recently? Au contraire, mon frere! Seriously, Wolf Parade kicks their ass. Another album with hardly a weak song, maybe none whatsoever. Probably #52 on my overall list, capped by the dazzling "I'll Believe in Anything."
10. The Killers, Sam's Town. Do people really think Hot Fuzz is a better album than Sam's Town? That just seems unbelievable to me. But The Onion keeps saying it, over and over again. Will anyone else stand with me and proclaim Sam's Town to be the superior Killers album?
All right, I'm spent. More later ...