Music

Best of 2001: Gary Glauber

Gary Glauber

Best Music of 2001 Lists



This year provided an incredible bounty of great sounds. Without further ado, here are a dozen I think are worth your time:

1. Butterfly Jones, Napalm Springs (Vanguard)
Past flavors blend with the present to create an aural treat of fine pop from start to finish. Former Dada wunderkind Michael Gurley takes another step forward, honing his songwriting to the point of making believers out of those who thought the craft was dead. You get 14 fun songs that cover a wide stylistic spectrum and leave you humming.

2. The Orgone Box, The Orgone Box (Minus Zero)
With strong melodies backed by the sweet jangle of Rickenbacker guitars, this UK discovery (via Japan 1995) is a keeper. Rick Corcoran is the multi-talented creative force that propels this fine music into the echelons of better psychedelic-tinged pop. This one will grab you at first listen, grow on you with repeated listens, and will wind up a much-played favorite. And the favorable response has gotten Mr. Corcoran back writing new music: I can't wait!

3. Hawksley Workman, (last night we were) The Delicious Wolves (Isadora)
Canada's solution to the doldrums plaguing much of today's music, the energetic eclectic Hawksley Workman furthers his talents on this otherwise sophomore effort. Charisma marks the impressive vocal and instrumental performances of Workman, who wrote, produced and performed here. With influences that extend from Brecht to Queen, The Delicious Wolves packs a musical bite to wake us out of our collective musical stupor with quirky infectious songs.

4. George Usher Group, Days of Plenty (Parasol)
George Usher is a veteran of the pop scene and his songwriting only gets better as he goes. Beneath the ringing guitars lie strong melodies and lyrics that reflect sensitivity and intelligence. This is a CD that requires patience: play it often and you will be rewarded with subtle hooks that ease their way into the subconscious. Days Of Plenty is a gentle winner guaranteed to become one of your favorites.

5. Ken Stringfellow, Touched (Manifesto)
Posies' pop guru Ken Stringfellow steps into the solo spotlight, creating a CD of perfect pop moments running the lyrical gamut from hope to despair. With the magic touch of Mitch Easter, Stringfellow has done some of his best work yet, finding beauty in the wistful, translating it through an emotive voice and ultimately capturing it in song.

6. Scot Sax, Scot Sax (Not Lame)
Wanderlust and Bachelor Number One were proving grounds for the talented Scot Sax, who takes a successful leap into the solo realm, here. Sarcasm-tinged lyrics take wry wit through a variety of light and tuneful pop tempos, and Sax writes them catchy and sweet. This is a summery album for all seasons, pleasant and varied enough to stand the test of time.

7. Treble Charger, Wide Awake Bored (Nettwerk)
Another export from Canada, this is my choice for rocking, guitar-driven teenage angst. With this fourth album, the group has matured in their songwriting while preserving adolescence as a rich treasure trove of material. There's ample opportunity for air-guitar play-along here, with pop hooks that stick like a porcupine's quills. Good fun that's easy to sing with and dance to, Treble Charger proves at heart I'm still a teenage boy.

8. Gary Myrick, Waltz of the Scarecrow King (Tangible Music)
A musical surprise of folk-acoustic grace, veteran guitarist Myrick offers up a quirky collection of poetic personal tales that haunt and delight. Myrick is at the height of his songwriting prowess, and the Tchad Blake production captures the quiet confidence of this intimacy in a way that offers up your very own personal command performance. Great storytelling will enchant you, but the spare beauty of the music will transform you.

9. Jason Falkner, Necessity: The Four-Track Years (spinART)
If you don't know the multi-talented pop prodigy Jason Falkner, you should. This genius/studio whiz plays everything and makes it sound convincingly like a tight band. Here you get a lot of the original 4-track home recordings behind his Author Unknown CD (rougher versions of the finished product that still amaze in their complexity), along with the true treat of previously unreleased material (a 16-track "She's the Enemy" and a great "His Train" among them). This is a must-have for Falkner fanatics, and a pleasant introduction for all those fanatics-to-be.

10. Ralph Towner, Anthem (ECM)
Guitar virtuoso Ralph Towner offers up a solo tour-de-force that plays like a soundtrack to your imagination. This is captivatingly beautiful music that carries you off to faraway places. In his 60th year, Towner pushes his mastery of the instrument in what may be one of the best CDs in his long and distinguished career.

11. The Tories, Upside of Down (02)
This second CD effort by this under-appreciated Los Angeles band includes some slower tempo explorations into smart pop (while also including their TV theme song "Time For You"). You get more great harmonies and accomplished songwriting, even a marching band intro as part of this extended solid collection. Sad how few people know The Tories. Here's hoping this recommendation helps some.

12. The Rosenbergs, Mission: You (Discipline Global Recording)
David Fagin writes winning light pop that never takes itself too seriously and Evan Silverman plays a mean bass. While The Rosenbergs play hard, tour ferociously and market themselves with guerilla tactics worthy of a small nation defending itself, the real secret is the music. It's modern pop culture synthesized through a filter of infectious insouciance. In short: hams on wry, and good enough for second helpings.

Two from 2000 Worthy of Late Mention:
Greg Johnson, Sea Breeze Motel (EMI): New Zealand native creates incredibly fine pop
DumDums, It Goes Without Saying (MCA): A UK Blink-182 and then some

A Baker's Dozen 2001 Honorable Mentions:
Cliff Hillis, Be Seeing You(Not Lame)
Glenn Tilbrook, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook (Quixotic)
Ron Sexsmith, Blue Boy(Cooking Vinyl)
Sam Phillips, Fan Dance (Nonesuch)
Jump, Little Children, Vertigo (EZ Chief)
They Might Be Giants, Mink Car (Restless)
Johnny A., Sometime Tuesday Morning (Favored Nations)
Electric Light Orchestra, Zoom (Epic)
The Lucksmiths, Why That Doesn't Surprise Me(Drive-In)
Orange Alabaster Mushroom, Space & Time: A Compendium(Hidden Agenda)
The Rembrandts, Lost Together (J-Bird)
The Lilac Time, lilac6 (Cooking Vinyl)
The Knack, Normal As The Next Guy (Smile)












The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image