30) Secret Machines: Now Here Is Nowhere (2004 on Reprise) – It was seeing these guys live a bunch that made me a believer. There aren’t enough bombastic drummers in the world.
29) Dungen: Ta Det Lugnt (2004 on Subliminal Sounds) – Such strange Swedish psych music. Still sounds so unique.
28) Pernice Brothers: Yours, Mine & Ours (2003 on Ashmont) – No surprise that Joe Pernice is a huge Morrissey fan. His ability to write downer and/or biting lyrics over upbeat ditties makes him a favorite of mine.
27) Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (2008 on Sub Pop) – I’m still surprised how well this record did commercially. I mean, I love it, but this type of thing is right up my alley. The kid’s so young, I’m curious to see where his songwriting goes.
26) My Morning Jacket: Z (2005 on ATO Records) – This is their most consistent set of songs. It broadens their sound, but doesn’t stray too far from their earlier records.
25) Blonde Redhead: 23 (2007 on 4AD) – I honestly like all their albums from the decade, but this one stands out as my favorite. Pitchfork seemed to think it was a sellout record, but who gives a shit?
24) Loretta Lynn: Van Lear Rose (2004 on Interscope) – This one proved that Loretta’s still got her voice (both literally and as a songwriter). Nashville’s so dysfunctional that all the legends have to step away from it to make a good record.
23) Sigur Ros: Agaetis Byrjun (2001 on Fat Cat) – They create a musical world that you can get completely lost in. Pretty remarkable stuff.
22) Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker (2000 on Bloodshot) – How can a guy make such a phenomenal record and then annoy me for the rest of his life? He’s put out some good songs here and there, but nothing that connected with me like “Come Pick Me Up.”
21) The Shins: Chutes Too Narrow (2003 on Sub Pop) – There’s not a dud on it. James Mercer is underrated as a lyricist.