College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 48 and 47

noise morning
48. The (International) Noise Conspiracy, A New Morning, Changing Weather

I suppose there was room for a new band operating with fealty to an anti-capitalism manifesto after Rage Against the Machine announced their dissolution (even though it may have been temporary) in 2000. Sweden’s the (International) Noise Conspiracy were already established by then, but they were ready to swoop in and, ahem, capitalize on the fervor for power-fighting hard rock. The band wasn’t exactly subtle about their political stance when putting together their songs, which only made them that much easier to gravitate to for college radio DJs who were looking for an appropriate musical lead-in to a meticulously planned on-air rap decrying the establishment. It all seemed a little silly to me, although the (International) Noise Conspiracy at least stuck with independent labels–A New Morning, Changing Weather was the band’s second released by Brett Gurewitz’s Epitaph Redords–which gives them a little more credibility (as opposed to Rage Against the Machine, who gladly leaned on the massive Sony corporation to get significant compensation for their recorded efforts). At their core, they ultimately sounded like just another tight garage rock band looking for something to get angry about. And that, after all, is what college radio is made for. .

47. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, B.R.M.C.

How on earth did it take almost fifty years for a band to name themselves after the biker gang led by Marlon Brando’s character in The Wild One? His nonchalant credo of open source rebellion (“Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” “Whadya got?”) is practically the founding document of rock ‘n’ roll. Initially the debut album from San Francisco’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, somewhat self-titled as B.M.R.C., was lumped in with the swelling garage rock revival taking place at the time, and there are times when that lineage can be reasonably drawn. There’s a clearer predominant influence in the fuzzy, shoegaze-launching music of the Jesus and Mary Chain, probably best heard on the single “Love Burns,” which sounds like a song plucked straight from the Reid brothers’ collective subconscious. It’s a pretty good record, but ultimately maybe a little too familiar. The band seemed to realize that too: subsequent efforts tried to push into different subgenres with varying success. Still, they’ve lasted longer that the doomed gang that is their namesake, having released new music as recently as 2010.

An Introduction
50 and 49: Creeper Lagoon and Ryan Adams

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