Styrofoam Boots' Decade List 2000-2009, Part 8

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

30. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

"We just want to emote 'til we're dead. I know we'd suffer for fashion. Or, whatever." starts the greatest masterpiece and personification of the Indie-psych scene. Kevin Barnes was a hipster in all the wrong ways. As that line perfectly demonstrates, he balances a dense passion for indulging and over-expressing every menial feeling, with a near-unbreakable apathy. This seeming paradox makes him and the thousands of 2007 Williamsburgcore hipsters some of the worst and douchiest people to have ever lived. AND YET. This album makes you empathize with them. In Keven Barnes' honesty, and his huge talent for fun catchy melodies to put over his words you start to think maybe all hipsters are just manic depressant over-thinkers, split between trying to feel their pain and trying to drink and fuck and party to avoid it completely. And in the free associative droning love cry of "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal" I can't hate him. And that's something. -Stuart

29. Mastodon- Leviathan

All three people reading this should know that this was my personal choice for #1. No, not #1 metal album, #1 of the decade. While I can easily understand why it didn’t make it there, no other band has revitalized my interest in a genre like Mastodon has. Oh sure, there were metal bands I liked, but I considered them lone exceptions in a sea of boring death metal and goofy symphonic cheese. From the first iconic riff of “Blood & Thunder” to the churning fourteen-minute opus “Hearts Alive,” Leviathan imparted the same feelings of awe I got from listening to Metallica and Kyuss the first time as a teenager. This is metal for everybody, ditching all the questionable excesses that usually mire the genre and replacing them with sheer power, hook-filled songwriting, Brann Dailor’s Keith Moon-like performance and Moby Dick references (Herman Melville has never sounded so badass). If you haven’t heard this yet, what are you waiting for? -Stephen

28. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Broom

Broom is poppy indie rock done right. Compare the melodies and instrumentation in Broom to most other indie pop bands and the distinction is made clear. Include partially improvised outros and home production, and an incredible freshness is presented to the sound. When I hear Broom, It feels as if I’ve gone for a bike ride in the morning while the dew is still fresh, minutes after having woken up in a beautiful dusty and old residential home in Portland, Oregon. Other feelings arise despite the supposed gorgeousness of my surroundings as well: loneliness and melancholy tinged with a little bit of awkwardness that every indie man should feel whilst listening to this album. I digress… Broom is beautiful. -Adrian

27. Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein

I don't know if you've noticed but we don't write all that much about Hip-Hop, and I in particular have yet to write one word concerning it. You see, though I have a strong appreciation for the genre and a few of its players I just generally don't feel like I know enough about it to make critical comments - I can't tell you how often I've been pissed off at someone shooting off about indie after listening to only the Decemberists. So why am I confident putting The Cold Vein this high up the list? Because I can't Imagine a better Hip-Hop record coming out in the last ten years. Because every beat of this album pulses with anger and fierce violent confidence and abrasive poetry. Because it makes me want to scrap everything I know for a dozen hoodies and start digging through crates looking for lost cuts of young angry men with quick mouths and words that cut. This album makes everything else look foolish. -Stuart

26. Hella – Hold Your Horse Is

Sounding more like Don Caballero than Don Cab Mk. 2 does—and with only two people at that—Hella have brought the jagged compositions and neurotic technicality of ‘90s math rock into the 21st century, give or take a few crack and meth benders. Spencer Seim’s guitarwork wanders from pointillist odd time anti-riffing to Nintendo bleeps and bloops, while Zach Hill’s drumming is simply MANIACAL. One listen to “Biblical Violence” will make all aspiring musicians dejectedly snap their sticks in half, set them on fire and shuffle away from the still-burning cinders heads lowered in defeat. Rivaled only by Lightning Bolt in the 2000-2009 “Musical Duo Most Likely to Ruin Your Shit” category. -Stephen

25. No Age – Nouns

In ways this album shook the ground of the indie scene proving No Age to be the leader in an aggressive (though short lived) new wave of punk. Which is not to say it sounds at all like anything coming out of '77, nor anything really that had come before. Trading off heavy rockers and atmospheric head-fucks, this albums has a serious way off seeping into your mind, of getting to you. It makes you want to start a movement. -Stuart

24. Owls – Owls

As the reinvented version of Cap’n Jazz, Owls displays an epic deviation from its roots. Signature off kilter Tim Kinsella vocals, with the addition of in-tune melodic passages, and incredibly intricate and sinewy guitar work that doesn’t recall the sound of any other preexisting instrument (let alone a guitar) are the two most immediately noticeable elements. In addition to the drums played with a jazz like tact and precision end up creating a sound completely unlike Cap’n Jazz, or anything else for that matter. It’s hard to digest, but then you realize it’s not solely experimental: the actual structures of the songs are incredibly solid even with the combination of the oddest musicianship. How can you explain a sound that is dissimilar to everything you’ve heard prior? -Adrian

23. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Jeff Tweedy may have kicked his drug habit and turned into indie’s leading practitioner of boring dad rock, but at one point Wilco was almost slated to become Radiohead’s (better) American counterpart—a band that used subtle electronic and ambient elements to challenge the bounds of a genre (alt-country) without having to raise the volume level or forsake the excellent songwriting that defined Tweedy’s career since his Uncle Tupelo days. “Jesus etc.,” “Poor Places,” and “Ashes of American Flags” are elegant exercises in how to make a ballad resonant and wholly lacking in cliché, and the opener “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” is the single best Wilco song ever recorded, full stop. That they drop in the single-ready jangly pop of “Pot Kettle Black” and “Heavy Metal Drummer” is just a nice bonus. -Stephen

22. Spoon – Gimme Fiction

Most rock bands have to make it clear in the lyrics in order for the listener to understand that the song they're listening to is about sex. With Spoon, the sexuality is implicit: the guitar, the piano and Britt Daniel's voice all tell you that the song is about fucking without you having to process a single word. Gimme Fiction is the band's masterwork, laying these sultry undertones in everything from the rhythms to the cover art and injecting even the screeching, feedback laden guitar solos of "The Beast and Dragon, Adored" and "Sister Jack" with an air of sexual mystery. Spoon pulls out all their tricks for this album, becoming sensual but never soft and jagged without being fully abrasive, all the while keeping an air of Art Deco class that would make any GQ editor fumble for his thesaurus. With Gimme Fiction, Spoon reinvented musical cool for the 21st century, and the world is still trying to keep up. -CJ

21. Panda Bear - Person Pitch

What can be said about the brilliance of Person Pitch? What can it be compared to? The Beach Boys? Maybe if put through a blender and pored over a sugar cube into acid spiked absinthe. It's too rhythm-centric to be called catchy, almost too circular to even be called songs, but too innocently enjoyable to be called anything else. In fact, its far too experimental to be considered accessible, and far too immediately accessible and beautiful and catchy to be really considered experimental. I can't place this album, after listening to it hundreds and hundreds of times over the last three years, and that speaks volumes. It's experimental that hits everyone, everyone in the heart. And that is something I dare you to find elsewhere. -Stuart


  1. So, by now I've read through a year of posts and I just wanted to say thanks to all of you posting here, because this blog is fucking awesome!

    Interestingly enough, I found it by hitting up Google for an image of Danny Carey. (I had some sort of "Smeagol as a drummer" riff going in my head. It's complicated.)