Styrofoam Boots' Decade List 2000-2009, Part 5

(100-91) (90-81) (80-71) (70-61) 60-51 (50-41) (40-31) (30-21) (20-11)

60. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths and Dimensions

The notion of weight defines most drone metal, the music aims for the heft of the earth's sold core crushing down on you, feeling the pull of far heightened gravity strain on every gram of your skin. Sunn 0))) with these four long songs do much more than that. In fact they do something so incredibly different from anything I've previously experienced that metaphors fail me all together. I can't explain how this album makes a person feel. But its amazing. Or, well, it's also painful. And sometimes extremely frustrating. In fact, it's painful as fuck. And it's uplifting. And in the weight you feel rising. And it's expertly crafted, finely tuned, not a usual tenant of the genre. And it's painful. And its SO damn brilliant. -Stuart

59. Mastodon – Crack the Skye

The thing about this record is that it's a lot of fun. In fact, it's much more fun than a metal album in 2009 had any right to be, and it's fun for all the right reasons. This album can't be listened to sitting down, it's choruses beg to be shouted along to, it's guitar solos are impossible to hear without ripping out your own invisible axe in response. This is a metal album for everyone, without losing it's seriousness or becoming that obnoxiously popular eye-winking self conscious. This is no small feat. -Stuart

58. Clutch- Blast Tyrant

You’d think a band making Southern-fried boogie in this day and age would sound like a tired anachronism, but Clutch has been hard at work perfecting their singular brand of whip-smart, funky modern blues for close to two decades now, and with all fifteen tracks of Blast Tyrant they completely solidified their claim as Tightest Rock Band in The Known Universe. A tongue-in-cheek concept album about demons, the evils of war and Bush or some goddamn thing sounds hokey on paper but all doubts are removed when Neil Fallon (he of the Denomination of Most Righteous Beards) awakens his mighty Howlin’ Wolf pipes over some of the most sublime grooves, churchy organ and ass-busting guitar riffs ever put on record. All meat, no filler. -Stephen

57. White Rabbits – Fort Nightly

Occupying a space between post-punk revival, Latin swing/jazz and hints of classical, Fort Nightly would've wound up a cumbersome, muddled work under many other artists. Fortunately, White Rabbits instill a dark atmosphere that, combined with the brass and eerie guitar riffs, make the album the perfect soundtrack to a pulp murder mystery. Jangling with indie-rock accessibility on certain tracks and brooding with murderous paranoia on others, the album is at its best when these two moods crash into each other on tracks like "Kid on my Shoulders" and "While We Go Dancing". Nothing quite like Fort Nightly was released in the '00s-nothing quite so classy, nothing quite so catchy, nothing quite so dangerous, and certainly nothing that fit into all those categories quite so remarkably. -CJ

56. Madvillian- Madvillainy

MF Doom is the best stoned rapper since Redman, and Madlib is easily the mightiest crate digger since the late J Dilla. This collaboration had to happen, and the result is straight banger from beginning to end. Most of these tracks wisely consist of one or two smoked butter Doom flows coasting effortlessly over slack, crackly loops, eccentric comic-book sampling and rubber-band bass cutting from track to track before it has any chance of getting old. Doom brings lyrics too, punctuating his usual food and weed rhymes with an unexpected (and strangely not unwelcome) dose of politics (“Strange Ways”) and a schizophrenic dis track featuring his alter ego Viktor Vaughn (“Fancy Clown”). Add some cameos from Lib’s own alter ego Lord Quas and Yesterday’s New Quintet and you have some of the finest sounds hip-hop had to offer in the ‘00s. -Stephen

55. The Shins – Oh, Inverted World

What separates this album from the mass of mid-decade indie-pop? The songs. For me, the songs have a sense of immediacy that just strikes a really fat chord deep down. James Mercer is a songwriting extraordinaire with seemingly simple compositions, but uses such a distinct lyrical and melodic style backed by the signature Shins sound that it becomes impossible to through in with all the rest of the twee drudge. Reverberant and distant and sweet and sad on top, but truly heart-felt and intricate if you choose to plunge the depth, this album truly can, as they say, "Change your life". -Adrian

54. Boris- Pink

Listening to this album its hard to see the rifts between the genres of hard rock music, difficult to understand how the punks could hate the metal heads, how grunge is separate from shoegaze, how hair bands can't get along with the experimental noise set. Because on this coming-out record from the notoriously difficult Japanese trio, they stuck the whole lot in a blender. These songs are glowing and riffy and smooth and hard and catchy and harsh. They are easy and difficult. They are seventy's punk and eighty's indie, and ninety's dream pop, and millennial metal. They are cerebral and instinctual. They hit like a big rig on rocket fuel. -Stuart

53. The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?

The Unicorns is one of the quintessential indie bands that sprouted from that prominent Canadian indie scene in its heyday. This enormously important band helped spawn the legions of terrible synth-quirky melodic indie bands with awkward vocals. How could so many bands take something so accessible and make it so wretched? In order to successfully utilize synths, quirkiness, awkward vocals, and accessible melodies, you probably have to be The Unicorns. First of all, they don’t use conventional songwriting in general. They are weird. They are indie pop that isn’t experimental but still manages to be really weird. The vocals are weird, in the sense that they’re loosely delivered and almost sound half improvised, although they maintain the solidity of the melodies enough to remain memorable. This album is well constructed and did I mention the melodies? The melodies. THE MELODIES. It only helps that the lyrics manage to understandably morbid. -Adrian

52. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

I find myself constantly out of breath reaching to explain to people why the Shin's last album is their best. It's not as distinct in sound and tone as Oh, Inverted World they say, not as catchy and upfront as Chutes Too Narrow. No! I say desperate. This is the album. This is the album the Shins were always trying to make. Inaccessible, no matter how catchy it may seem, these songs are coded, they will not let you in. But once you fight through you will find the perfect album for staying up all night. The perfect album for things you can't explain. These songs are uplifting without offering easy redemption. These songs are all questions. And to me that's the most beautiful. -Stuart

51. Justice –

I had trou
ble writing this. When I listen to Justice, I think of all sorts of hipsters and fashion kids attending some sort of debauched social event and doing dumb ass shit (i.e taking pictures of themselves with 40's or making out with one another in front of everyone else). Why would I love Justice for evoking this seemingly terrible imagery in my head again? When it comes down to it, Justice really knows how to make people dance, and forget their moral qualms with staying decent or well-mannered. The distinction between Justice and every other dance band is the fact that they utilize the 80's slap bass, disco synths, chain-compressed kick sounds that really KICK, and signature sense of melody that can't be mistaken (and I shouldn't forget to mention that Gaspard and Xavier themselves are commendably badass douchebags). They've definitely achieved their reputation in the dance world. This shit is so compressed, so dense, and so distorted. And It feels like rock and roll. -Adrian

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