Year-end lists are second only to “Desert Island Discs” in the rockcrit book of clichés. So it goes. What can you do?
Here is the stuff that moved us in 2003. Our rules for inclusion aren’t as strict as some; actually, we don’t have any rules for inclusion. So if you see something that wasn’t actually released in 2003, or that isn’t actually a record, or isn’t actually very good, it’s okay…don’t be such a tight-ass.
Add your own faves in the comments.
- Elliott Smith – Pretty (Ugly Before)/A Distorted Reality 7″ (Suicide Squeeze)
- Neil Young & co. performing Greendale live at the United Center, Chicago.
- The Libertines – Up the Bracket (article)
- Evan Dando – Baby I’m Bored (article)
- White Stripes – Elephant (review)
- The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music
- Pernice Brothers – Yours Mine & Ours
- The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (review)
- Tivo-ing Subterranean on MTV2.
- Pretty Girls Make Graves – New Romance
- Azure Ray – Hold on Love
- Romantics – 61/49 (review)
- Riverboat Gamblers – Somethin’ to Crow About
- Cat Power – You Are Free (review, article)
- Stephen Malkmus – Pig Lib (article)
- Hatebreed – Rise of Brutality
- Delorean – Not Exotic
- Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (review)
- Exploding Hearts – Guitar Romantic
- Johnny Marr & the Healers – January 28, 2003 found me, Jake and Johnny catching the former Smith’s guitarist and current Healer’s front man at the Double Door in Chicago. (article)
- Great White Rhode Island Tragedy – 100 people die in a smoke-filled, burning rock club. Our hearts go out to their families. (article)
- Califone – Quicksand/Candlesnakes. My favorite Chicago band releases their best effort yet.
- White Stripes – Elephant. Flash in a pan? Maybe, but it’s a big fucking pan and it’s burning white hot. Jack and Meg kick out an exciting, if uneven, album just when everyone thought it was over. (review)
- The Dirty Stick – Jake’s online feud with Ryan Adams and his minions is classic Old Man Brown rabble rousing. We love Ryan and hope he makes another good record some day. (article)
- Two Cow Garage – Sab and I were first on their tip and have since converted a couple more GLONO team members. This is a great band who genuinely appreciate your support. Give it to them and you’ll get ten-fold back. (article)
- Evan Dando – Baby I’m Bored. Crackheads never get better. Or do they? Consumate problem-child Evan Dando finally gets it together and releases the album we all knew he had in him. We sure wish he’d talk to Ryan Adams. (article)
- Liz Phair – Liz Phair. You don’t think fame and money (or the love of it) corrupts? What the fuck happened to Liz Phair? Jesus… (review)
- Wilco Live at the Auditorium Theater – Sure, the talking “fans” got on my nerves and the view from my second upper balcony seats actually made me laugh, but Wilco is the finest band out there and their return home was note perfect. What made it better was how the band treated their hardcore fans to an after-show party and indulged their weirdness. (article)
- Johnny Cash – The Man in Black was the conscience of music. He was the definition of integrity and is sorely, sorely missed. (article)
- Warren Zevon – Talk about balls. Zevon faced down death and met it on his terms. I’ve never been a fan of his music, but Warren Zevon gets a tall salute from me at his final bow. (article)
- Elliott Smith – There are few songwriters whose music affects me like Elliott Smith’s. His vulnerability was sometimes embarrassing in its frankness, and that’s what made him a hero to his fans. His sense of melody was truly and literally heartbreaking. Of all those who passed this year, I will miss Elliott Smith the most. (article)
- Ozzy Osbourne’s School of Off-Road Estate Driving.
- Elvis Costello/Diana Krall nuptials.
- Britney’s spheres.
- Ass-embroidered Gap jeans.
- Rod Stewart on every lame-ass daytime TV talk show.
- The Great American Songbook III (forthcoming).
- “If you play music with passion and love and honesty, then it will nourish your soul, heal your wounds and make your life worth living.”—Sting, recipient of the Billboard Century Award.
- Hearing Chan Marshall let go in a soul music medley, outside Castle Clinton, summer NYC. With her smoky, bluesy voice and interpretive skill, she’s confident and at ease in the songs of the great soul masters. When she launched into Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine,” it was transcendant. (review, article)
- Hearing the Beatles’ Let It Be…Naked played on radio and store sound systems all over the city. The songs are fresh and irresistible—they haven’t aged at all, and the roughness that was filtered out by McCartney doesn’t matter when you’re getting the essence of the music in a Barnes and Noble. Who can study when “Because you’re sweet and lovely girl, I love you” is lilting away in the background? Who can sit still during “One After 909?” Not this shopper. (discussion)
- The White Stripes’ pairing with Loretta Lynn, touring in support of Elephant. Jack White’s veneration of the country legend seemed genuine, and his rapport with her was affectionate and funny. In a year when we lost Johnny Cash, the homage extended to traditionalist trouper Lynn was to the Stripes’ credit. (review)
- Pig Lib. This deceptively lighthearted album revealed exhilerating complexities after extended listens. I think it is Malkmus’s Abbey Road. The songs have a surface playfulness and boppy rhythms but are fleshed out by nuanced, emotional guitar lines. It gets better every time I hear it. Far better than Malkmus’s first solo effort. (article)
- A Grown-Ass Man by Dump (James McNew). Poignant, pretty, lo-fi songs done with impeccable musicality and no-fuss production.
- The King of France. Review forthcoming of this disarming, unusual pop record, with the warm vocals of Steve Salad alternately soaring and stuttering over Tom Siler’s faultless, funny piano lines and the rock-steady rhythms of drummer Michael Azzerad.
- Jen Urban. An unexpected find at Williamsburg open mic. Jen Urban sings in a throaty, warm voice over well-played electric guitar. Her songs are lyrical, emotional, raw and melodic. It’s hard enough to find original melodies these days, but to include good lyrics and musicianship is a standout at any open mic.
- Dawn Landes. Again, a strong, interesting voice and great, quirky songwriting. She plays an elderly little acoustic that sounds almost like an autoharp. Dawn Landes is funny, original and a wonderful singer.
- I Feel Tractor. He did a record release show a week ago, which showcased his dextrous acoustic guitar playing and inventive lyrics. His voice is touching in the Will Oldham imprint, of being a somewhat weak voice seeking to triumph above its weakness. The songs are in the folk vein but the lyrics turn our eyes to strange subject matter.
Glorious Noise Reviewers
- 10. New Pornographers – Electric Version
- 9. The Decemberists – Her Majesty, The Decemberists
- 8. Grandaddy – Sumday
- 7. Four Tet – Rounds
- 6. The Postal Service – Give Up
- 5. Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
- 4. Prefuse 73 – One Word Extinguisher
- 3. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (review)
- 2. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
- 1. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People
Honorable Mention: Elephant, The White Stripes; Room on Fire, The Strokes; Pig Lib, Stephen Malkmus; It Still Moves, My Morning Jacket; Hearts of Oak, Ted Leo; More Like the Moon, Wilco; Ego Tripping, The Flaming Lips; Holopaw, Holopaw; The Lemon of Pink, The Books; Mouthfuls, Fruit Bats
- The collective music awards show articles by Johnny Loftus
- Guided By Voices – Earthquake Glue
- The Romantics – 61/49 (review)
- Jack White kicks Von Bondies ass
- Riviera – Broken Hearted Dreams EP
- White Stripes – Elephant
- The temporary invasion of GloNo by the MOJO freaks-especially this thread.
- My re-discovery of Ziggy Stardust
- 1. Radiohead – Hail To The Thief
- 2. The Twilight Singers – Blackberry Belle
- 3. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People
- 4. Songs: Ohia – Magnolia Electric Co
- 5. The Decemberists – Her Majesty
- 6. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow (review)
- 7. The Books – Lemon Of Pink
- 8. M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts
- 9. Prefuse 73 – One Word Extinguisher
- 10. Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts Of The Great Highway
- Califone – Quicksand/Cradlesnakes
- Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come (Deluxe Edition)
- Loose Fur – Loose Fur
- Pat Metheny – One Quiet Night
- Minus 5 – Down With Wilco
- Neil Young – Greendale
- The Album Leaf – December; North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
- Blind Boys Of Alabama – May; Whitaker Center, Harrisburg, PA
- Richard Thompson Band – June; Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA
- Sonic Youth & Wilco – June; Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA
- Steely Dan – August; Star Pavillion, Hershey, PA
- The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium
- The Jealous Sound – Kill Them With Kindness
- Sicbay – Overreaction Time
- O.A.R. – In Between Now and Then
- From Monuments to Masses – Impossible Leap in One Hundred Simple Steps
- Coheed and Cambria – In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
- Longwave – The Strangest Things
- The Postal Service – Give Up
- IRS – Welcome to Planet IRS
- Zwan – Mary Star of the Sea
Judge for yourself how our opinions hold up. Check out the Glorious Noise 2002 roundup.