bschaller at ltoa dot com
Monday, December 08, 2003

It's that time of year...
That's right everyone with the holidays rapidly approaching it is time for top ten lists of 2003. In the spirit of this I have compiled a list of albums that I think are some of the best that 2003 had to offer. I know most of you will be pissed off right away, but please bear with me and just remember that you are wrong. Here is the list:
10. Dave Matthews: Some Devil Most of you will disagree with me on this one, but I think it is a quite an accomplishment for Dave. On his first studio solo album he collaborates with Trey Anastasio and Tim Reynolds among others. It is the laundry list of guests who really give this disc a nice sound. Dave has gone darker than any of the DMB albums except for the unreleased Lillywhite Sessions. I like it. Good song writing and strong themes help make this album sneak it's way into the top 10. Even though it is cool to hate Dave on principle this is really worth a listen. His best work in years.
9. Ryan Adams: Rock N Roll He was good in Whiskeytown and he is just as good solo. Adams continues the great tradition of No Depression with another stellar work. Having something for everyone, it is called "Rock N Roll" but there are still deep roots in country as well as even a little bluesy fell at some points. Fellow bloggers will also be interested to know that Adams is known as quite the blogger himself. His other album released this year, "Love is Hell", did not make the list because I could not get over the fact he decided to cover a shitty Oasis song. Proof that being prolific does not equal it all being quality.
8. Outkast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below How could the most anticipated hip hop album of the year not make it onto my list? This two disc set really is a treat. On Speakerboxxx you have Big Boi kickin down serious old school 808 based rap, while on The Love Below you have Andre "Ice Cold" 3000 making the long lost Prince album. This a lot like packaging the Mono Lisa with Swans Reflecting Elephants into a two disc set. Although both brilliant, they could be stylisticly farther apart. This album also gets the side award for spawning the best video for "Hey Ya". If you have not seen it, check it out. Real quality film making combined with a song that just makes you want to shake your ass. You should already own this album.
7. The Postal Service: Give Up This album marks the first in a disturbing trend that can be seen later on the list as well. This is an album that Brie really loves and after hearing it over and over again it had really grown on me. Although Ben Gibbard does sound like a prepubescent twelve year old singing about ex-girlfriends he does not sound old enough to have had yet, it is suprisingly good. Although most of the critics raved hard about his other work this year, Death Cab for Cutie's "Transatlantasism", this is by far the better of the two. After seeing him live with DCFC and wishing he would play songs by the Postal Service this became brutally apparent.
6. Grandaddy: Sumday This is yet another album inspired by Brie. This one has really grown on me. I must admit that you have to love a band that it trying single handedly to make trucker hats and footlong beards cool. And they are actually succeeding. Not to mention that the complex blend of synths and guitars is really fun to listen to. They seemed like they might have some mainstream success for about 2 weeks but it looks like they have fallen back under the radar. Although not as good as their earlier effort, "The Sophtware Slump", one of the best albums of 2003.
5. Hey Mercedes: Loses Control Some of you old school indie kids will remember a little indie outfit out of Chicago named Braid. And some of you might be wondering what ever happened to them. Well Hey Mercedes is what happened to them. Although the sound is different it is kinda the same band. This is yet another Brie inspired choice and as of late has been in heavy rotation. It is very emo, but the singer has a more adult sound to him, it even vaguely resembles Alkaline Trio. For those of you who like to rock out hard, give this a listen.
4. Black Eyed Peas: Elephunk definitely my choice for Hip Hop album of the year. If any of you have seen an iPod commercial with copious amounts of ass shaking you have heard some of the new Peas. These songs have great lyrics and are groovy as hell. When I think of something I would shake my ass to on the dance floor, this album is it. Not to mention it holds the honor of having the best song to rock a party of the year, "Let's Get Retarded". Raise you glasses, shake your asses and get down like the clown.
3. Widespread Panic: Ball After losing a founding member and lead guitarist Michael Houser to pancreatic cancer everyone was wonder what would happen to the pioneering group of southern country-rock jam bands. They decided to press on and returned to the studio and put together this amazing album. These songs are just a suited to sitting on you porch drinking a beer and watching the sun set as they are to dancing like a mad fool at a three day festival in rural Tennesee. This band has always been a favorite and they come through again in a big way.
2. The Long Winters: When I Pretend to Fall Definitely the biggest and best surprise of 2003. I saw these guys live at a Death Cab for Cutie show as the openers. They were fantastic. After having the balls to cover Madonna and doing it well, they went on to completely rock out. It is kinda confusing though that a self proclaimed emo band (read as likes to cry in the dark) could have such a fun and upbeat album. "Cinnamon" is definitely the stand out track. You have never heard of them and that's ok, go buy the album today.
1. Tori Amos: Scarlet's Walk Now I have to admit that I am a little biased being as Tori is one of my favorite artists of all time, but she has really done it this time. Her best work since "Under the Pink". Not only is it a brilliant concept album but the lyrics and song writing style are absolutely unparalleled. "Taxi Ride" is the number one song of the year. It is amazing. Not to mention the best show I have seen all year. Tori is the best female song writer since Joni Mitchell. A must have.

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Bloggin with Words...

1.21 Gigawatts
Pressure Drop
Pretty Girl in the Corner
BenWa's World
Blogcritics Dot Org
Business Casual
Tequila Mockingbird
Being Homeless
Blog for America
Boing Boing
Emo Kid
Fashionably Late
Indiana Blogs
Information Pollution
Oliver Willis
Rebecca Blood
Wil Wheaton
Little. Yellow. Different.

Bloggin with Pictures...

Photoblogs Dot Org
Human Clock
Chicago Uncommon
Gaping Void
Blue Jake
[daily dose of imagery]
Chromogenic Dot Net
A Visual Notebook

Congo National Gallery

Leroy Neiman
Ralph Steadman
Salvador Dali
Edward Hopper
Dale Chihuly

In Heavy Rotation

Pernice Brothers: Yours, Mine & Ours
Air: Talkie Walkie
The Bens
Johnny Cash: Cash Unearthed
Squarepusher: Big Loada
Gomez: In Our Gun

The Screening Room

Mystic River
Swimming Pool
The Cooler
Big Fish

Summer Reading List

Don DeLillo: White Noise
Tony Morrison: Beloved
Jack Kerouac: On The Road
Sarah Vowell: Partly Cloudy Patriot

Radio! Radio!

NPR (try it, it's good)
Pacifica (God Damn Hippies)
Fresh Air
This American Life
WOXY FM Cincinatti

Fun Places to Go

Google News
Senses of Cinema
Home Star Runner
Film Threat
Okay Player
Group Hug
Exquisite Corpse
Poetry Slam Inc.
The Criterion Collection
The Digital Bits
DVD File
The Onion
80's Cartoons
Fifty Word Fiction

The Way-back Machine
10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 / 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / 12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003 / 12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003 / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / 03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004 /

Staff Art Selection...

Edward Hopper: "Rooms By The Sea"

Things To Do...

Open a Record Store
Take up Digital Photography
Take up Kayaking
Buy a Sail Boat
Start a music site better than these guys
Start a Band again...
Start a Leroy Neiman collection
Take up Yoga

My Most Recent BlogCritics Posts

Thirteen: Teen Vice in Inde Film
The Bens: 4 Track EP
Johnny Cash: Cash Unearthed
Don DeLillo's White Noise
Mystic River: A Real Contender
On The Road With Dean and Sal
Learning Modern Classics from Penguins

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