Markland Starkie's (Sleeping States) albums of the decade
This was extremely difficult. I'm still pretty sure I've forgotten at least one hugely important album. But all of the following were either albums that were significant in my life at one time or another, or I ended up listening to a lot over time, or both (in no particular order).
This was my getting-ready-to-go-out album for months after it came out. Always puts me in the mood for dancing.
I don't actually remember buying this album (I have a feeling I bought it while on holiday together with a bunch of other albums during an expensive shopping trip to Amoeba Records in LA) but I do remember the CD sitting in my collection for years before I got around to listening to it properly. Sue Tomkins lyrics and delivery are some of the most esoteric and original in modern pop and it was such a shame they broke up so soon after releasing
Not being a huge fan of Walker before hearing this (or knowing much of his output) I was blown away by it from the first listen. There is so much depth to this album that it's impossible to sum it up in a couple of sentences. Except to say that it's quite simply stunning.
I really didn't like Liars' first album and wrote them off as one more uninteresting dance-punk band for the pile (it's easy to forget how many dance punk bands there were at that time). I was eventually won over by the darkness of their second album, but it was this, their third album that really caught me. One of those albums that's greater than the sum of its parts, atmospheric and hypnotic. Liars are also one of the best live bands of the past decade in my opinion.
An album you really have to be in the right mood for, but it is very beautiful, and a wonderful cathartic experience listening from start to finish.
I've been a big fan of David Grubbs for years but this album I listened to more than his others. The guitar work on this album has also been a big influence to me in my own songwritin
Dirty Projectors have made huge strides in popularity since this album (very deserved I think), and are a pretty different band altogether (well, are an actual band, for a start, rather than a solo project), but for me this remains Dave Longreth's best creative achievement. Completely weird and pretentious, and all the better for it, I just loved this when it came out. The accompanying films make it even more enjoyable
Initially I wasn't very impressed by Electrelane and didn't really like their first album much at all. They then completely changed my opinion with a song/EP called I Want To Be President (which has one of the best bridge-breakdowns I know of) and cemented their appeal with their second album,. Just a great, solid, indie-rock record that I played to death. And another band I always loved watching live.
Although I was already a longtime fan by the time this double album came out it was still very much a grower for me. I liked the songs on the first CD (more a straightforward collection of songs), but just didn't get the second CD (more of a connected suite of songs traversing a single day - from dawn to night) at all and thought it a bit of a ballady let down. But over time it was the second CD that grew on me and long after I stopped listening to the first CD I kept coming back to the second. Makes me think of English country gardens.
I could have easily swapped this with three or four different albums, but chose this because I have very specific memories that are evoked when listening to this. It's so sparse and slow and quiet, and I love listening to it on headphones and letting it blend in with the other sounds around me (which is an idea I've since tried to explore in my own music).