Points of Reference: Rob Delaney

While Twitter superstar Rob Delaney isn’t a musical comedian, when I chatted with him about the pop culture that influenced his new book, Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage., we ended up talking about Queens of the Stone Age, High on Fire, and The The. So I figured it fit here. Check it out.


Top 50 Albums of 00s (40-31)

The ongoing look back at the top albums of the 00s. In case you need a recap on the tenants used to make these rankings or missed the previous effort: #50-41.

40. The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me – Brand New

Brand New’s third album finds the group in a place where fighting off their inner demons took president over any problems they previously wrote about. This turmoil results in the pinnacle of Brand New’s usage of the soft-to-loud dynamic (which many have come to define as the band’s “signature” sound). Whether he’s pouring out his emotions on death (“Sowing Season”) or the end of the world (“Degausser”), Jesse Lacey’s lyrical precision remains in tact. No mention of The Devil And God would be complete without bringing up “Luca,” which features the most startling moment in music I’ve ever experienced. Anytime an album features a track that can literally catch you off guard to the point of a physical reaction (multiple times, none the less) you know you’re onto something great.

39. Highly Evolved – The Vines

During early part of the decade hype swirled like crazy around the “The” bands; The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives, and The Vines. Of the set, The Vines were they group that didn’t “deliver” according to most observers. Uhh…bullshit. Just because the radio listeners didn’t dig what The Vines were selling doesn’t mean that Highly Evolved wasn’t fantastic with it’s blend of modern alternative and much more classic (60s/70s-ish) rock. The real brilliance of The Vines is how singer/guitarist Craig Nicholls created pure havoc while his killer rhythm section stabilized everything with super tight playing. Tracks like “Outtathaway!” and “Get Free” spiral completely out of control while others like “Mary Jane” and “Autumn Shade” stay in control only because you can hear how much the reek of reefer. Nicholls is almost assuredly crazy, but that doesn’t preclude him from also being insanely gifted.

38. Songs For The Deaf – Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme was born to rock and on Songs For The Deaf he’s out to prove he deserves a place among the coolest cats in rock ‘n roll. Armed with a brutalizing rhythm section (Dave Ghrol and Nick Oliveri) and an array of riffs, Homme creates a soundtrack for scorching desert drives. The opener “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire” might be the heaviest hyper-melodic song ever laid down and that’s only the tip of the quickly melting iceberg. The off-kilter riff of “No One Knows” is polar opposite of the unrelenting downstroke barrage of “Go With The Flow,” but both feel at home on this journey. It’s a long trip and it’s hot out there, luckily Songs For The Deaf can help quench the musical thirst.

37. Good News For People Who Love Bad News – Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse never was and is never going to be a happy band, but on Good News For People Who Love Bad News you could almost catch a glimpse of the corners of their mouths inching to crack a smile. The album seemed to have more a more airy quality than what Isaac Brock and company are used to; the increase in space was somewhat freeing. “The View” and “Ocean Breathes Salty” have actual pep in their step. That’s not to say that Modest Mouse lost any edge, tracks like “Bukowski” and “Black Cadillacs” still pack a vile punch. Yet even on “The Good Times Are Killing Me” there’s an admittance that though the ends might not be desirable, some of these days are actually “good.” It’s a pessimistic brand of hope that somehow got a lot of people through the 00s.

36. The Antlers – Hospice

No album this decade captured a single aspect of humanity as well as Hospice captured death. It’s crushingly sad and real depiction of dealing with the inevitability of mortality. Acoustic guitars and electronic buzzes set the scene for singer Peter Silberman’s soft croon, which tires to keep the listener calm and composed even when he’s uttering the most heartbreaking words imaginable. The sincerity makes the album, anyone who has to deal with a loved one’s passing can identify with the emotions in play here. Statements like, “We’re fucked and not getting unfucked soon,” hit points of our psyche we try desperately to forgot. Hospice is a viscerally brutal piece of artwork that’s beauty and pain will forever linger in your head.

(Full review here.)

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