We can't imagine why, but here at the Culture Bunker, we're sometimes accused of being negative. "Since you a-holes don't like so-and-so," certain well-meaning correspondents wonder, "what do you like?" Well, here's your answer: our fave raves for the year 2000. The records on this list fulfilled two simple conditions: We loved them, and we couldn't stop listening to them over and over again. Can you say the same thing about Kid A?
1. THE BLUETONES, Science and Nature (Superior Quality Recordings) No, we didn't figure the third album by these formerly second-division Britpoppers would be better than Oasis, Travis, and Richard Ashcroft either, though, in retrospect, we shouldn't be so surprised. As it turns out, the five lads from Hounslow made the Culture Bunker's Unquestioned Record of the Year. As alive, unlikely, and expansive a genre exercise as Stankonia, only more so.
2. DOVES, Lost Souls (Astralwerks) We didn't figure three Madchester leftovers would make the second-best record of the year either. Gorgeously dynamic escapist shoe-gazing.
3. IT'S JO AND DANNY, Lank-Haired Girl to Bearded Boy (Double Snazzy) Delicious bedsit beat-box folk-pop from a couple of London thirtysomethings.Wonderful stuff.
4. CHRIS STARLING, Planet Painkiller (EX34) A magnificently bilious and bent lo-fi masterpiece from a criminally underrated artist.
5. BADLY DRAWN BOY, The Hour of Bewilderbeast (Twisted Nerve/XL Recordings) Expect the 3-CD bootleg from Damon's stunning and hilarious Crocodile Cafe set to top this list in 2001.
6. COLDPLAY, Parachutes (Nettwerk) Yes, we like a band who likes Radiohead and Jeff Buckley. Go figure!
7. JULIAN COPE, Floored Genius 3 (Head Heritage), An Audience with the Cope 2000 (Head Heritage) Old and new collections from the most Forward-Thinking Mofo on the Goddess' Great Green Earth. Get thee to www.headheritage.co.uk immediately!
8. STEELY DAN, Two Against Nature (Giant) Clever bastards, plus they finally got themselves into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
9. ALEX CHILTON, Set (Bar/None) Also known as Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy, which is definitely Album Title of the Year. We'll take a soulful Alex solo record over another BS—and we do mean BS—reunion any day.
10. KELLY HOGAN AND THE PINE VALLEY COSMONAUTS, Beneath the Country Underdog (Bloodshot) If only she'd sung all 69 songs on the Magnetic Fields record. . . .
The Short List: At the Drive-In, Mansun, Hefner, Candidate, Derrero, the High Fidelity, Ass Ponys, Orange Can, the Webb Brothers, the Squirrels, Delta, Brave Captain, Phoenix, Martin Newell, Cathal Coughlin, and David Johansen and the Harry Smiths.
VIC GODARD, Twenty Odd Years: The Story of . . . (Motion) To think we've gone all this time—twenty-odd years, in fact—without digging the barbed, swinging, witty, romantically poptastic brilliance of a guy we previously only knew as the Clash's opening act. Hey, even we miss one occasionally!
GREAT PLAINS, Length of Growth 1981-;1989 (Old 3C) Arch, nerdy, post-punk classics. Jason lost his virginity after one of their shows. He's not saying which tour, but suffice it to say Michael was having lots of sex by then. Probably 'cause he didn't listen to Great Plains.
Singles and EPs
Bellatrix, "Sweet Surrender" (Fierce Panda)
Beta Band, "To You Alone" (Regal Recordings)
Big Leaves, "Fine" (Metropolis Music)
Brain Donor, "She Saw Me Coming" (Brain'd Owner Music)
Clearlake, "Winterlight" b/w "Jumble Sailing" (Dusty Company)
Clearlake, "Don't Let the Cold In" (Dusty Company)
Clearlake, "Something to Look Forward To" (Dusty Company)
Cousteau, "The Last Good Day of the Year" (Palm Pictures)
Derrero, "Radar Intruder" (Big Noise)
Elbow, "Newborn" (Ugly Man)
Hefner, "Good Fruit" (Too Pure)
Gerling, "Death to the Apple Gerls" (Infectious)
Idlewild, "Roseability" (Food)
JJ72, "Snow" (Lakota)
JJ72, "Long Way South" (Lakota)
King Adora, "Bionic" b/w "The Law" (Superior Quality Recordings)
Mansun, "Electric Man" (Parlophone)
Mo Ho Bish O Pi, "Hear the Air" (V2)
Mull Historical Society, "Barcode Bypass" b/w "Mull Historical Society" (Tugboat)
My Life Story, "Walk/Don't Walk" (It)
'N Sync, "It's Gonna Be Me" (Jive)
Ooberman, "Dolphin Blue" (Rough Trade)
Shack, "Oscar" (Laurel)
Spiller w/Sophie Ellis Bextor, "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" (Positiva)
Terris, The Time Is Now EP (Rough Trade)
Terris, "Cannibal Kids" b/w "The Take Down" (blanco y negro)
Tompaulin, Carcrash EP (Action);
If you're having trouble finding any of the above in local stores or online, may we recommend calling Andy at NYC's Route 66 Records, 212-533-2345. Tell him Michael and Jason sent you—you won't get a discount or anything, but he'll be exceedingly friendly!
See you next year!