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JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

The 200 Best Albums of the Decade, or, the 200 Best Albums of the Zeros

We’ve been promising you this for months now, so here it is. Maybe we’ll put up some descriptions after all the disruptive renovations here at Lucid Culture HQ are finished, around mid-month in October if all goes well. If you’re viewing this page prior to January 1, 2010, this list is subject to change – the best album of the decade may not even be released yet…

1.  Steve Wynn – Here Come the Miracles

2.  Rachelle Garniez – Melusine Years

3.  Rachelle Garniez – Luckyday

4.  Botanica – Botanica vs. the Truth Fish

5.  Randi Russo – Solar Bipolar

6.  Bob Dylan – Love & Theft

7.  LJ Murphy – Mad Within Reason

8.  Mary Lee’s Corvette – True Lovers of Adventure

9.  DollHouse – Touch the Moon

10. Mary Lee’s Corvette – Blood on the Tracks

11. Black Box Recorder – Passionioa

12. Jenifer Jackson – Outskirts of a Giant Town

13. Coffin Daggers – s/t (third album)

14. Brooklyn What – The Brooklyn What for Borough President

15. Matthew Grimm & the Red Smear – The Ghost of Rock n Roll

16. Dan Bryk – Pop Psychology

17. Bobby Vacant & the Weary – Tear Back the Night

18. Matt Keating – Quixotic

19. Curtis Eller’s American Circus – Wirewalkers & Assassins

20. Paula Carino – Aquacade

21. Erika Simonian – All the Plastic Animals

22. Chicha Libre – Sonido Amazonico

23. The Hangdogs – Wallace ‘48

24. Big Lazy – s/t (2nd album)

25. The JD Allen Trio – I Am I Am

26. Joy Division – Les Bains Douches 12/18/79 Live

27. The Jentsch Group Large – Brooklyn Suite

28. The Mofos – Supercharged on Alcohol

29. The Beefstock Recipes Anthology

30. Black 47 – Iraq

31. Balthrop, Alabama – Subway Songs

32. Steve Wynn and the Dragon Bridge Orchestra: Live in Brussels

33. The Oxygen Ponies – Harmony Handgrenade

34. 17 Pygmies – Celestina

35. Steve Wynn – Burgerhaus Heilbronn 4/3/2000

36. Tammy Faye Starlite – Used Country Female

37. Jay Bennett – Whatever Happened, I Apologize

38. Asylum Street Spankers – What? And Give Up Show Business?

39. Botanica – americanundone

40. Church – Untitled #23

41. Larval Organs – Posthumous

42. Marty Willson-Piper – Nightjar

43. McGinty & White Sing Selections from the McGinty & White Songbook

44. Kelli Rae Powell – New Words for Old Lullabies

45. Ivo Papasov – Dance of the Falcon

46. Amy Allison – Sheffield Streets

47. Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams – Snowblind

48. Marcel Khalife – Taqasim

49. Kayhan Kalhor & Brooklyn Rider – Silent City

50. Greta Gertler & Peccadillo – Nervous Breakthroughs

51. Aimee Mann – Fucking Smilers

52. Elvis Costello – Momofuku

53. Randi Russo – Live at Sin-e

54. Black Sea Hotel – s/t

55. Willie Nile – Streets of NYC

56. Jenifer Jackson – Birds

57. Aimee Mann – Lost in Space

58. Botanica – With All Seven Fingers

59. The Church – After Everything Now This

60. RL Burnside – Burnside on Burnside

61. The Coup – Party Music

62. Richard Thompson – Semi-Detached Mock Tudor

63. The Wirebirds – Past & Gone

64. Steve Wynn – Static Transmisssion (double album)

65. Amy Allison – No Frills Friend

66. Neko Case – Blacklisted

67. Steve Earle – The Revolution Starts…Now

68. Steve Earle – Just an American Boy

69. Nina Nastasia – The Blackened Air

70. Ward White – Pulling Out

71. Greta Gertler – The Baby That Brought Bad Weather

72. The Moonlighters – Live in Baden-Baden

73. Randi Russo – Still Standing Still

74. Twin Turbine – Jolly Green Giant

75. Mamie Minch – Razorburn Blues

76. Alice Lee – Lovers & Losers

77. Serena Jost – Closer Than Far

78. Radio Birdman – Zeno Beach

79. Rasputina – A Radical Recital

80. Botanica – Berlin Hi-Fi

81. Sharon Goldman – Semi-Broken Heart

82. Ward White – Maybe But Probably Not

83. Elvis Costello – My Flame Burns Blue

84. Richard Thompson – Sweet Warrior

85. Big Lazy – Postcards from X

86. Love Camp 7 – Sometimes Always Never

87. Teslim – s/t

88. Natacha Atlas & the Marzeeka Ensemble – Ana Hina

89. Black Fortress of Opium – s/t

90. Randi Russo – Live at CB’s Gallery

91. Ljova & the Kontraband – Mnemosyne

92. Metropolitan Klezmer – Traveling Show

93. Lee Feldman – I’ve Forgotten Everything

94. Monika Jalili – Elan

95. Linda Draper – Bridge and Tunnel

96. Bee & Flower – What’s Mine Is Yours

97. Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm

98. Randi Russo – Shout Like a Lady

99. Melomane – Look Out!

100. The Moonlighters – Dreamland

101. Matt Keating – Tiltawhirl

102. Steve Wynn – …tick…tick…tick

103. Willie Nile – Live from the Streets of New York

104. Greta Gertler – Edible Restaurant

105. Carol Lipnik – Cloud Girl

106. Willie Nile – Beautiful Wreck of the World

107. Elisa Flynn – Songs About Birds & Ghosts

108. System Noise – s/t (second ep)

109. Satanicide – Heather

110. The Moonlighters – Surrender

111. Tandy – To a Friend/Did You Think I Was Gone

112. Dina Dean – 4 songs (ep)

113. Mary Lee’s Corvette – Love, Loss & Lunacy

114. Jenifer & Julian Jackson – Together in Time

115. Black Box Recorder – The Facts of Life

116. Patricia Vonne – s/t (first album)

117. Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel

118. Eleni Mandell – Afternoon

119. The Hangdogs – Beware of the Dog

120. Mavrothi Kontanis – Wooden Heart

121. Barbara Brousal – Pose While It Pops

122. Laura Cantrell – Not the Trembling Kind

123. The Stagger Back Brass Band– s/t

124. The Dog Show – Hello, Yes

125. Rosanne Cash – Black Cadillac

126. Graham Parker – Songs of No Consequence

127. Douce Gimlet – s/t

128. Mascott – Art Project

129. The Dixie Bee-Liners – Ripe

130. Devi – Get Free

131. The Roulette Sisters – Nerve Medicine

132. Rev. Vince Anderson – The 13th Apostle

133. Champagne Francis – I Start to Daydream

134. Steve Wynn – Crossing Dragon Bridge

135. The Auteurs – How I Learned to Love the Bootboys

136. Hazmat Modine – Bahamut

137. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

138. Everything Is Illuminated soundtrack

139. Eric Ambel – Roscoe’s Gang/Loud & Lonesome/Knucklehead box set

140. The Moonlighters – Enchanted

141. Ninth House – The Eye That Refuses to Blink

142. Patty Ocfemia – Heaven’s Best Guest

143. Mark Sinnis – Into an Unhidden Future

144. The Roots of Chicha compilation

145. Gogol Bordello – Gypsy Punks

146. Moisturizer – Moisturizer Takes Mars

147. Rachelle Garniez – Crazy Blood

148. Mark Steiner – Fallen Birds

149. Florence Dore – Perfect City

150. Dead Prez – Let’s Get Free

151. Peter Tosh – Live and Dangerous Boston 1976

152. Sounds of Taraab – Zanzibar, NY

153. System Noise – Give Me Power

154. The Go Go’s – God Save the Go Go’s

155. The Slackers – Peculiar

156. Sally Norvell – Choking Victim

157. 9th Wave – Hurricane

158. Amanda Thorpe – Union Square

159. Barbara Dennerlein – Spiritual Movement No. 2

160. Nick Cave – B-Sides and Rarities box set

161. Leslie Nuss – Round 3

162. Rasputina – Cabin Fever

163. Big Lazy – New Everything

164. Salaam – s/t (7th album)

165. Les Chauds Lapins – Parlez-Moi d’Amour

166. Zach James – Album 3

167. Linda Draper – Patchwork

168. The Church – Uninvited Like the Clouds

169. The Jack Grace Band – The Martini Cowboy

170. Matt Munisteri’s Brock Mumford – Love Story

171. The Yayhoos – Fear Not the Obvious

172. X – Live in Los Angeles

173. The Dirty Three – She Has No Strings Apollo

174. American Ambulance – Streets of NYC

175. Roxy Music – Live

176. Pink Floyd – Is There Anybody Out There [live album from 2000]

177. Laika & the Cosmonauts – Laika Sex Machine Live

178.  Demolition String Band – Pulling Up Atlantis

179. Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 – Live at Big Mama

180. The Lost Crusaders – Have You Heard About the World

181. Burning Spear – Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival 2001

182. Sade – Lovers Live

183. Los Straitjackets – Damas y Caballerros

184. Angie Pepper & the Passengers – It’s Just That I Miss You

185. Tom Warnick & World’s Fair – May I See Some ID

186. Jan Bell – Songs for Love Drunk Sinners

187. Penelope Houston – Pale Green Girl

188. Luminescent Orchestrii – Neptune’s Daughter

189. The Bedsit Poets – The Summer That Changed

190. Martin Bisi – Son of a Gun

191. Linda Draper – Ricochet

192. Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band

193. The Dog Show – Demo

194. Revlover – On Ordinary Days

195. Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life

196. Secretary – Secret Life of Secretary

197. Pinataland – Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 2

198. Maynard & the Musties – So Many Funerals

199. Si Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba Vol. 2

200. Jenifer Jackson – So High

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September 22, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review: Black 47 – Iraq

By turns fierce, fervent, brilliantly lyrical and subtly witty, this is an album that needed to be made and it’s a good thing Black 47 were the ones to do it. To say that this is an ambitious project is an understatement, but it works, brilliantly because frontman Larry Kirwan’s songs tell the story of the war through the eyes of those stuck over there fighting it: the songs here have a ring of desperate authenticity. Whatever the reason for anyone being over there, the inevitable refrain is “just get me out of here alive.” Being an Irish-American rock band that spends most of its time on the road in front of a heavily immigrant, sometimes right-wing audience, Black 47 have heard from both the antiwar and the pro-Bush camps (and until Cindy Sheehan took up the cause of sanity, the band caught considerable flak at live shows for their consistently strong antiwar stance). But there isn’t much editorializing going on here: this album simply recounts the often grisly day-by-day lives of the men and women inadvertently risking their lives for the benefit of the Bush family and Halliburton. The implication – a very subtle but powerful one – is that this is the cost of war profiteering. The characters in the songs on this album didn’t go to Iraq with high and mighty ideals: they either ended up there because they either saw a good payday, or simply some kind of payday, because they couldn’t find one here.

Set to bright, major-key, generally upbeat meat-and-potatoes rock melodies spiced with motifs from traditional Irish music, the songs here paint a bleak picture. Kirwan’s songwriting is typically replete with rousing, crescendoing choruses and plenty of high drama, and within these songs it all works spectacularly well. The album’s opening cut Stars & Stripes appropriates the melody from the old calypso standard Sloop John B., whose chorus – not used here – is “let me go home, please let me go home,” turning the song into a fiery backbeat rocker. “Hey President Bush, what’re you doing to us,” the narrator asks quizzically, as he encourages his dying buddy to hold on, just hold on til the helicopter comes. The big anthem Downtown Baghdad Blues begins with sound of a helicopter fluttering overhead over ebow guitar. “Me I don’t care much about Jesus and Mohammed,” sputters its protagonist, a baseball fan who’d rather be home watching the Padres. “I didn’t wanna come here, I didn’t get to choose,” he adds sarcastically. The following cut, the bluesy, sax-driven Sadr City tells the eerie tale of a GI going out for some R&R guy in all-too-familiar territory: “I’ve got one thing on my mind, I’ve gotta get out of this city alive.”

But all is not so harrowing, in at least such a predictably gruesome fashion, in Sunrise on Brooklyn. “I can’t believe it’s so peaceful…I hope I see the sunrise in your eyes again,” laments a soldier, amazed by the natural beauty of Iraq yet dreading the inevitable attack which could come at any time. The slow, heartwrenching Ballad of Cindy Sheehan paints her dead soldier son as something of a naïf, who would never have believed that the draft dodgers who led this country to war would have ever used false pretenses to do so. The pace picks up with the scorching, sarcastic The Last One to Die, the bridge punctuated by a sample of Bush declaring that “major combat operations are over in Iraq.” The album’s high point, The Battle of Fallujah is a towering 6/8 anthem, something that Black 47 does enviably well: “Don’t let em know that they used ya/ Kicking ass at the battle of Fallujah…if there’s a draft you know damn well yourself this war would be over by dawn…your tax dollars can go to building it all back over again.”

The album’s requisite soldier-missing-home ballad Ramadi begins by nicking the acoustic guitar intro from Graham Parker’s Watch the Moon Come Down and builds from there. In Southside Chicago Waltz, a GI discovers to his horror that for the first time, he’s been sent to the one place where even the police and firefighters in his family are powerless to save him. The album closes with an instrumental that mimics the sound of falling bombs. Not just a great rock record, this is an essential piece of history. Every band ought to be doing what Black 47 has done here. What Frankenchrist by the Dead Kennedys was to 1985, what Wallace ’48 by the Hangdogs was to 2002, Iraq by Black 47 is to 2008. A classic. Five stars, without stripes. Available in better record stores, online and at shows. Black 47 next play New York at B.B. King’s on St. Patrick’s Day.

March 7, 2008 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment