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The best CDs of 2001 

by The Inlander Staff


We like music around here. A lot. We assume -- since you are in fact reading this section -- you feel the same way. In case you haven't noticed, it's sort of a tradition around The Inlander to take a moment at year's end to reflect briefly on all the yummy music of the previous 12 months. The following Top 10 lists represent the music that got us through 2001 -- music that took the edge off, that transported and inspired, that roused and soothed our savage hearts. We would be most honored if you would take a moment yourself to kindly consider these completely subjective lists from members of our staff and contributors. If you find something here to cherish as your own, that's gravy on our hash browns.


You've probably already heard us go on about some of these entries. Others we've kept as tightly guarded secrets (until now, that is). In any case, here, with as little fanfare as possible and without any apologies whatsoever, is a year-end roundup of our 2001 favorites. Oh, and yes, our album of the year.





Album of the Year:


Time (The Revelator), Gillian Welch (Acony Records)


Gillian Welch's people are a melancholy, reclusive and resilient lot. As revealed on Revival, Hell Among the Yearlings and now, Time (The Revelator), they are porch-sitters recounting the day Lincoln was shot, moonshine makers tired of eking a living out of sour mash and wistful girls saving up their tips to get the hell out of Dodge. Her reedy twang and revival-tent lyrics evoke a bygone Appalachia, and the simple accompaniment by Welch's partner, collaborator and producer, David Rawlings, make this her most introspective album yet.


A deep and ruminative intelligence pervades Time (The Revelator), which was recorded at the historic RCA Studio B in Nashville, a presence that hovers especially on "I Want to Sing that Rock and Roll" and "Elvis Presley Blues." "Red Clay Halo" and "Everything is Free" capture different shades of longing. Other songs seem to seep up from that twilight moment when the shadows lengthen on the porch and the cemetery is full of the sound of crickets. The album's closer, "I Dream a Highway," is one such quietly gorgeous melancholy number, which at nearly 15 minutes feels like a long, lonely, but utterly necessary drive down a deserted highway.


-- Sheri Boggs





Time (The Revelator), Gillian Welch (Acony Records)


Gillian Welch and her guitar-playing sidekick David Rawlings have created an album that puts some distance between her and the other neo-traditionalists. Just two guitars and two voices, mostly recorded as live first takes in the studio. The spare, organic arrangements and the cryptic hymn-like lyrics make these songs refreshingly immediate. The album ends with a 15-minute trance-inducing track called "I Dream A Highway." It's a slow, twisting musical tale that is simultaneously haunting and seductive. An essential album.


-- Dan Egan





The Lists


Mike Corrigan


Staff Writer, The Inlander


1. Oh, Inverted World, The Shins (Sub Pop)


As far as albums go, you know you've got a winner on your hands when you keep going back to it weeks and months after you first picked it up -- and you keep discovering new things to love about it. Oh, Inverted World is beautifully written, neatly arranged and sparkling with unassuming charm and clear blue romantic imagery. Over predominantly clean electric guitar, firm, inventive rhythm lines and atmospheric keyboard fills, vocalist/guitarist James Mercer lays down rich melodies that compliment his highly literate songcraft. In a rock world dominated by bombast and overstatement, bands like the Shins, in their gentleness and understatement, represent a fresh challenge to what has become tedious and status quo.


2. The World Won't End, Pernice Brothers


(Ashmont Records)


3. The Photo Album, Death Cab for Cutie (Barsuk)


4. You Should Know By Now, Barbara Manning and The Go-Luckys! (Innerstate)


5. White Blood Cells, White Stripes (Sympathy For the Record Industry)


6. Stephen Malkmus, Stephen Malkmus (Matador)


7. Gold, Ryan Adams


(Lost Highway/Universal)


8. 100 Broken Windows, Idlewild (Capitol)


9. Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday, Creeper Lagoon (Dreamworks)


10. Isolation Drills, Guided By Voices (TVT)





Amy Sinisterra


Staff Photographer/Art Coordinator, The Inlander


1. Sky Like a Broken Clock, Kelly Joe Phelps (Rykodisc)


I have been known to refer to Kelly Joe Phelps as my hero. He has a voice like rich creamery butter and plays the slide guitar like he was born with one secured to his thighs. Sky Like A Broken Clock is a departure in that it is his first album not to contain any traditional material at all, only his own songs full of heartbreaking stories reminiscent of the old blues. Also, he enlists a full band, which includes Larry Taylor (bassist for Tom Waits) on string bass and Billy Conway (from Morphine) on drums and percussion. The talents of this band and the fact that they recorded this "modern folk album" live in a matter of days gives it a spontaneous beauty and immediacy that only adds layers to the richness that is Kelly Joe Phelps.


2. Your Favorite Music, Clem Snide (Spin Art)


3. End of Amnesia, M. Ward (Future Farmer Recordings)


4. Amelie Original Music Soundtrack, Yann Tierson (Virgin)


5. Time (The Revelator), Gillian Welch (Acony Records)


6. Ghost World Soundtrack, Various Artists (Shanachie)


7. Amnesiac, Radiohead (Capitol)


8. It's a Wonderful Life, Sparklehorse (Capitol)


9. Love and Theft, Bob Dylan (Sony/Columbia)


10. Gold, Ryan Adams (Lost Highway)





Tiina Teal


Freelance Writer, The Inlander


1. Lateralus, Tool (Volcano/Zomba Entertainment)


Sure, it's a clich & eacute;, but sometimes music becomes all you can really relate to in this world. Lateralus has been a close companion of mine this year, on many different levels. Tool has gone far beyond mere intellect, precise musicianship and heavy metal rocking to dig into the waters of the subconscious and bring into light what needs to be healed and released. There is an essence to Lateralus that touches both the physical and spiritual elements comprising our existence, examining the complexities, possibilities and joys of being human. This intense, almost tribalistic album is a religious (and rocking) experience in itself.


2. Distorted Lullabies, Ours (Dreamworks)


3. Vespertine, Bjork (Elektra)


4. Blowback, Tricky (Hollywood Records)


5. Fijate Bien, Juanes (Universal/Surco)


6. Ten New Songs, Leonard Cohen (Columbia)


7. A New Morning, Changing Weather, International Noise Conspiracy (Burning Heart/Epitaph)


8. Tomcats Screaming Outside, Roland Orzabal


(Gold Circle)


9. Essence, Lucinda Williams (Lost Highway)


10. Exciter, Depeche Mode (Warner)





Miranda Hale


Freelance Writer, The Inlander


1. Stephen Malkmus, Stephen Malkmus (Matador)


This is the album Pavement fans (myself included) had been waiting for since the band's breakup in 2000. Sad, luminescent, fun, silly and intense all at once, Stephen Malkmus is a sparkling journey through infectious yet subversive pop terrain. "Church on White" and "Vague Space" enter territory rarely touched upon in Pavement's work; love and loss are seen without the sardonic filter Malkmus utilized in many of Pavement's songs. Authenticity has a new, less ironic home here. Malkmus has managed to grow up without losing his critical and intellectual eye, showing that it is possible to mature without selling out. The high expectations have been fulfilled: Stephen Malkmus is indeed a swoon-worthy effort.


2. The Photo Album, Death Cab for Cutie (Barsuk)


3. Better Weather, The Heavy Blinkers (Brobdingnagian Records)


4. Oh, Inverted World, The Shins (Sub Pop)


5. Gold, Ryan Adams (Lost Highway/ Universal)


6. Stay What You Are, Saves the Day (Vagrant)


7. Psychedelicate, Slumber Party (Kill Rock Stars)


8. The Sword of God, Quasi (Touch and Go)


9. White Blood Cells, White Stripes


(Sympathy for the Record Industry)


10. Reveal, R.E.M. (Warner)





John Myers


Production Artist, The Inlander


1 Surf's Up, David Thomas and Two Pale Boys (Thirsty Ear)


Whether he's backed up by his band Pere Ubu or a handful of side-project accomplices, for the past three decades this guy has lobbed one spooky soundscape after another at a dwindling number of listeners. David Thomas has been especially prolific this past decade even as he's hinted here and there at a Brian Wilson fixation. He's out of the closet with this Wilson-titled album. There are no musical similarities between Thomas and the Beach Boys, but their lyrical focus on Americana tally here, though this Surf's Up is a beautiful but haunted America.


2. Bringing Home the Last Great Strike, Pinetop Seven-Truck Stop


3. End of Amnesia, Matt Ward


(Future Farmer)


4. I Tried to Rock You, But You Only Roll, Leona Naess (MCA)


5. Dog in the Sand, Frank Black


(What Are Records?)


6. Even My Sure Things Fall Through, Calexico (Quarterstick)


7. Sour Apples (Best of), Smashing Pumpkins (Virgin)


8. Everything Glows, Disneyland After Dark (EMI)


9. Big Lazy, Big Lazy (Tasankee)


10. Is This It?, The Strokes (BMG)





Kari Tucker


Freelance Writer, The Inlander


1.Ocean's 11 Motion Picture Soundtrack, Various artists (Warner)


Say hello to cocktail music for the new millennium. With a witty mixture of jazz, funk and dance (and throw in hip-hop and classical), this is the ultimate background music for people like me who understand that background music is intelligent, well planned and the absolute backbone of your movie/party/bar. This CD is mostly instrumental lounge music with the occasional guest hits by Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Quincy Jones and even Claude Debussy. These tunes are sexy, edgy and cheesy-cool. The dialogue between songs, although slightly distracting, is often a clever addition to the music.


2. The Gift Motion Picture Soundtrack, Various artists (Will Records)


3. Mobilize, Grant Lee Phillips


(Zoe/Rounder)


4. Rock Steady, No Doubt (Interscope)


5. GHV2, Madonna (Warner Brothers)


6. Ancient Melodies of the Future, Built To Spill (Warner)


7. Sing Along With, Los Straightjackets (Yep Roc)


8. Field Songs, Mark Lanegan (Sub Pop)


9. Amnesiac, Radiohead (Capitol)


10. Essence, Lucinda Williams


(Lost Highway)





Andrea Palpant


Freelance writer, The Inlander


1. No More Shall We Part, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Warner)


Nobody does the amiable-angry sound like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The songs on his latest album, No More Shall We Part, count as classic Cave: melodious musings fused with an allegiance to darkness and dissonance. Still, it seems the guy's settled into his skin. Don't get me wrong -- angst lives on. But the ragged claws are retracted, replaced by a sweeter sense of discontent. His themes are still familiar: love, loss and old gospel longing. His voice is still raw and melancholy. And while his frenetic textures are softened they're still frayed, the trademark of a man we love and hate for grating on the ears for the sake of the soul.


2. Look into the Eyeball, David Byrne (Virgin)


3. Life, Love and Laughter - Dance Arrangements, 1927-50, Kurt Weill (RCA)


4. Amnesiac, Radiohead (Capitol)


5. The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Astor Piazzolla (West Wind Records)


6. Strange Little Girls, Tori Amos (Atlantic)


7. Wicked Grin, John Hammond (Virgin)


8. Omaggio a Federico e Giulietta, Caetano Veloso (Atlantic/Nonesuch)


9. The Man Who Wasn't There, Carter Burwell, Beethoven (UNI/Decca)


10. One Nil, Neil Finn (EMI)





Dan Egan


Freelance Writer, The Inlander


1. Time (The Revelator), Gillian Welch (Acony Records)


2. Getaway, The Clean (Merge)


3. Once We Were Trees, Beachwood Sparks (Sub Pop)


4. You Should Know By Now, Barbara Manning and the Go-Luckys! (Innerstate)


5. No More Shall We Part, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Reprise)


6. 100 Broken Windows, Idlewild (Capitol)


7. Hammers and Anvils, Graeme Downs (Matador)


8. Inspiration Information, Shuggie Otis (Luaka Bop)


9. The Id, Macy Gray (Epic)


10. Love and Theft, Bob Dylan (Columbia)





Sheri Boggs


Arts & amp; Culture Editor, The Inlander


1. Time (The Revelator), Gillian Welch (Acony Records)


2. The World Won't End, The Pernice Brothers (Ashmont Records)


3. The Photo Album, Death Cab for Cutie (Barsuk)


4. Essence, Lucinda Williams (Lost Highway/ Universal)


5. You Should Know By Now, Barbara Manning and the Go-Luckys! (Innerstate)


6. O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack, Various artists (Mercury Nashville/ Universal)


7. Oh, Inverted World, The Shins (Sub Pop)


8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch Soundtrack, Various artists (WEA/ London/ Sire)


9. Songs in Red and Gray, Suzanne Vega (A & amp;M/ Universal)


10. Blue Gardenia, Etta James (BMG)

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