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Cymbals Eat Guitars Best of the Decade Artist Survey

Joseph D’Agostino

Dec 11, 2009 Artist Surveys 2009 Bookmark and Share

Under the Radar’s Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue features our Best of the Decade Artist Survey. For Under the Radar’s 7th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last decade and asked them for a list of their best albums of the decade. Some of the surveys didn’t make it in the issue and some answers from surveys that did make it in the issue had to be trimmed for space. Those surveys and answers are posted on our website. Pick up our Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue to read surveys from Camera Obscura, The Dodos, El Perro Del Mar, Final Fantasy, The Hidden Cameras, The Horrors, The Invisible, Ladytron, Sondre Lerche, Jamie Lidell, Loney Dear, Los Campesinos!, Mew, Midlake, Okkervil River, Stars, Telekinesis, The Twilight Sad, and Vivian Girls.

Joseph D’Agostino

Cymbals Eat Guitars

Top Ten Albums of the Decade

1. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—I’ve always said this is my favorite record ever, so naturally it gets the top spot of the decade. Perfect songs perfectly sequenced, perfectly mixed-a staggering classic that never, ever gets old for me.

2. The Wrens: The Meadowlands—Immeasurably important record in my life. These songs are impossibly profound expressions of resignation and disappointment and disillusionment and just a dash of hope growing ever dimmer around the margins of life, man. This record is true life. The lyrics, especially on songs like “Ex-Girl Collection” and “13 Months in Six Minutes” and “Everyone Chooses Sides” are so knotty and complex and wordy and clever. So many gut punches to be had-“I’ve walked away from more than you imagine/and sleep just fine.”

3. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags and Codes—I’m listening to “Another Morning Stoner” as I write this, and it’s chilling the shit out of me. You know how many times I’ve heard this song in my life? And how recently I’ve listened to it? Floors me every time, especially the end, so fucking brilliant.

4. Arcade Fire: Funeral—“Sometimes/we remember bedrooms/and our parents’ bedrooms/and the bedrooms of our friends/then we think of our parents/whatever happened to them?” “The power’s out/in the heart of man/take it from your heart/put it in your hand.” God fucking damn it does this record kill me. Pick a song, any song; I cannot listen without weeping in awe. I can feel their grief, their sorrow, and this defiant, orchestral, yet spontaneous joy that bubbles up from their songs in the face of all this crushing tragedy. And bear in mind, I wouldn’t have to know shit about their back story to feel everything.

5. Radiohead: Kid A—This record has helped me through some dark times, and was the CEG tour record of Fall ‘09, after almost a decade of solid listening. It’s like… infinite?

6. Broken Social Scene: You Forgot It In People—I hope to some day express in song the emotion and warmth and humanity that they capture without a single fucking word in “Shampoo Suicide.”

7. The Clientele: Strange Geometry—Surreal, melancholic, totally haunting pop record that has informed everything I’ve written since I heard it in high school.

8. Frog Eyes: The Golden River—Spencer who? Sunset what?

9. Ghostface Killah: Fishscale—It was really important that I discovered hip-hop when I did. It was a time in my life when I found it impossible to listen to contemporary indie rock or pop records, because I was scared shitless of failure and mediocrity, and no one giving a good god damn about the record I was making. What it really was, I guess, was pettiness and a very childish envy of others’ successes. I found peace in hip-hop because of its complete otherness. This record was a pure pleasure center assault for eight months of my life, and it opened the door for all the other Wu and solo records and Illmatic and Black On Both Sides and, well, a lot I would have missed out on. I can recite this record end to end, and it sounds pretty lame coming out of a white dude’s mouth, so I rarely spit it without a whole lot of cajoling in the presence of true friends. I didn’t know hip-hop could give me chills like rock until the second verse of “The Champ.” It’s not even what he’s saying, it’s the voice, man. I think that’s the truest lesson that anyone unfamiliar with or skeptical or dismissive of hip-hop can learn.

10. The Microphones: The Glow Pt. 2—Everything about this record fascinates me, but what I took away from it most was Phil [Elvrum]‘s strange, queasy, off-kilter acoustic guitar work, those two acoustics panned, splitting the parts down the middle-for a long time it hurt my brain. That was, of course, after I was able to get through the second song and analyze musicianship and recording techniques (the studio is an instrument, I learned) without having a complete emotional breakdown. “Headless Horseman” is possibly the saddest song I’ve heard in my days. This record, along with a couple of others he’s released, is sophisticated yet so childlike



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You know how many times I’ve heard this song in my life? And how recently I’ve listened to it? Floors me every time, especially the end, so fucking brilliant.

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