Robert Kelley's tenure as music editor is over. Gone will be his lovingly crafted missives about obscure bands that may or may not ever hit mass consciousness. Gone, too, will be his impeccable music taste (though he's got an able replacement). But before Robert rides off into the sunset, here are his 10 favorite music events of the Recess year.
- Sigur Rós - Agaetis Byrjun
These Icelandic descendants of Thor throw down a lightning bolt of musical ecstacy in the form of Agaetis Byrjun, which is still only available on import. Above the soaring instrumentation sings an androgynous ice-god whose words mean nothing but still manage to communicate better than any other album this year.
- Outkast - Stankonia
Besides giving us the single of the year, Stankonia also injected mainstream hip-hop with some much-needed creativity. It might not be the easiest listen, but its importance will grow with time.
- Smog - Dongs of Sevotion
You've never heard of Smog, but you really should. It's one guy with a messed up brain, a deep baritone and tunes that make the neon sign of Americana flash with the same
- Butchies - 3 (and all their local concerts)
For the final time this year, I am going to trumpet the talents of Durham's Butchies. Their new album, 3, already has critics calling it their best ever, and their live act rocks like a rock act should. Rock as charged as this and a voice as sweet as Kaia's should be enough to transcend any boundaries.
- Radiohead - Kid A
The latest offering from the 'Head dwarfs most other records, but Kid A falls short of The Bends and OK Computer. Hopefully, this summer's Amnesiac will find them recognizing their limitations and ridding themselves of the bloated sound that killed bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
- Super Furry Animals - MWNG
The only record to receive an A-plus in this volume of Recess, MWNG stripped the Super Furry Animals of their electronic sound to leave only the lush elements of Welsh folk. Sung completely in Welsh, it proves that the trend against lyricism has taken hold in art rock.
- Daft Punk - Discovery
If you want to throw a party, play Discovery. They may be intelligent and savvy and ironic, but Daft Punk sure know how to make a crowd move. Oh, and they died and became two robots. Don't ask.
- Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun
Ms. Badu didn't try to stray too far from the formula that worked for her stellar debut, but Mama's Gun is a collection of songs that sound good when you're waking up, when you're working hard or when you're unwinding.
- Flaming Lips - Cat's Cradle, October 2000
They had fake blood, confetti and adults running around the crowd in bunny suits. And they're from Oklahoma City. Rumor has it they're working on a movie, but this outrageous concert had everyone in attendance wondering how they could possibly top last year's The Soft Bulletin.
- (tie) Stephen Malkmus - Stephen Malkmus
Los Amigos Invisibles - 3000: A Venezuelan Journey into Space
These two albums resemble each other in no way at all, but work so well in tandem. Malkmus' solo debut exhibits his prodigious vocabulary, and Los Amigos' sophomore effort displays the group's love of any kind of beat. A great rock album and a groovy dance album. A perfect tag team.
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