I know what you're thinking: "Are you really still counting down your best of the decade?" Yes, yes I am. I've been busy. Previously #30 - #21 and #40-31 and #50-#41.
20) Kelley Stoltz: Below the Branches (2006 on Sub Pop) – My girl and I went mad for this one when it came out. It makes me happy every time I hear one of his songs in a commercial because I know he’s getting paid.
MP3: Memory Collector
19) Radar Bros.: And the Surrounding Mountains (2002 on Merge) – I’d like to hear a band like Mastodon or Baroness do a tribute to this album. This has been my favorite LA band since I moved here in 1996 (although they were unseated for brief periods of time by Beck, Wiskey Biscuit and Elliott Smith).
18) Outkast: Stankonia (2000 on La Face) – Obviously I’m not a huge hip-hop fan. I love a lot of singles, but there just aren’t that many albums that hold my attention. This album, while still overstaying its welcome, is one of the exceptions. “B.O.B.” might even be the song of the decade. “We Luv Deez Hoez” is pretty hilarious too.
17) Iron & Wine: The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002 on Sub Pop) – I like these spare, acoustic records. This filled the void left while Elliott Smith was on his unfortunate decline. I enjoy all of his stuff, but this one made the strongest impression.
MP3: Lion's Mane
16) Okkervil River: The Stage Names (2007 on Jagjaguwar) – These guys are still my pick to be the next big indie crossover act. All it’s going to take is one high profile song placement (if that’s what they want).
MP3: Our Life Is Not a Movie Or Maybe
15) Dr. Dog: We All Belong (2007 on Park the Van) – Dr. Dog could be exhibit A for an imaginary essay entitled “Pitchfork – Culturally Relevant? Or Download Guide for 12-Year-Olds?”
MP3: My Old Ways
14) Jay-Z: The Blueprint (2001 on Roc-A-Fella) – One of the only hip hop albums of the last 15 years that I can just put on and let it play all the way through.
13) Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump (2000 on V2 Records) – Indie rock done right. This is a classic. They got tagged the American Radiohead after this one.
12) Elliott Smith: Figure 8 (2000 on Dreamworks) – Not as strong as Either/Or or XO, but still very inspired. I still can’t go into the Roost without thinking about this record.
11) The Strokes: Is This It? (2001 on RCA) - Pretty, pretty, pretty good. I still think I’m going to hear Tom Petty’s “American Girl” every time I hear the intro to “Last Nite.” Tom Petty’s cool with it, so I guess we should be too.