College Countdown: CMJ Top 50 Albums of 2001, 40 and 39

faint danse
40. The Faint, Danse Macabre

One of the things I’ve addressed with some regularity in the One for Friday feature was my old appreciation for what I considered to be great radio records. These were the albums that rewarded the DJ about equally wherever the needle was dropped. They may not have held together as gratifying albums in a straight-through listen (they were often a little redundant), but incorporated song-by-song into different radio shows, these releases were invaluable. My linger impression of Danse Macabre by Omaha’s the Faint was that it was the first album in my return tour of duty with college radio that struck me as a great radio record. (I also had to get used to the idea that Omaha, Nebraska was a fertile scene for college rock bands, when went directly against my prejudice, formed in the late eighties and early nineties, that the best groups come from cool cities like Athens, Georgia or Chapel Hill, North Carolina.) The third full-length studio album from the band featured dark, freaky-deaky music that had a clear foundation in bygone New Wave styling, but incorporated a futuristic edge that made it sound like it was dropped onto the planet from some alien spaceship that caromed off the outer atmosphere. As I recall, it was especially popular at the station where I myself had freshly landed.

modest parlour
39. Modest Mouse, Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks

Modest Mouse had an enormous success with The Moon & Antarctica, their third full-length album, which was released in 2000. It was second biggest album of that year on college radio, trailing only a truly exceptional Yo La Tengo effort. Clearly there was a need for their new label, the mighty major Epic Records, to capitalize on that success and make sure there was a new album with the Modest Mouse name on it for all the hungry DJs hovering around the age of twenty. They grabbed all the tracks from the vinyl version of the 1999 EP Night on the Sun, which had been released exclusively in Japan and added some discards from the Moon & Antarctica sessions. Just like that, there’s a new Modest Mouse album. Clearly, the kids who’d worn out the previous album wanted some more songs to play. It would be three more years before Modest Mouse released another proper album, but the delay didn’t diminish interest in the band.

An Introduction
50 and 49: Creeper Lagoon and Ryan Adams
48 and 47: The (International) Noise Conspiracy and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
46 and 45: Spoon and Black Box Recorder
44 and 43: Rival Schools and Aphex Twin
42 and 41: Ben Folds and Superchunk

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