20. Daft Punk, Discovery
Daft Punk is comprised of French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, but early editions of their 2001 sophomore release, Discovery, essentially welcomed all interested listeners into their unique, electronic beat-driven, border-free nation. The album came with a Daft Punk membership card that allowed online access to all sorts of material, including music that wouldn’t show up on proper releases for years. The robot helmets the band members wore gave the whole endeavor a futuristic, almost otherworldly sense, as if they’d slipped over from another timeline where the wildest futuristic predictions of the nineteen-fifties had all come true, furthering the notion that this wasn’t just music to listen to, it was a digitized society to buy into. Other creators clearly noticed that too, as Daft Punk was called upon to provide soundtracks to elaborate world-building films with much of Discovery employed for the anime feature Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Several years later, Daft Punk was hired to provide the music for Tron: Legacy, giving Pitchfork kids their absolute only reason to be excited about that atrocious sequel.
19. Idlewild, 100 Broken Windows
Taking their name from a pastoral location in the novel Anne of Green Gables, the Scottish band Idlewild formed in Edinburgh in mid-nineteen-nineties. 100 Broken Windows, the band’s second full-length album, came out in the U.K. in the summer of 2000, only making its way to a stateside release almost a year later. The band was often described as a cross between Nirvana and R.E.M. (the latter largely attributed to lead singer Roddy Woomble often sounding like he’s trying to do a Michael Stipe impression), a pairing that naturally made college radio an ideal target market. The comparison is apt enough that the music on 100 Broken Windows is instinctively irresistible to a certain subset of indie rock fandom, although the whole thing sounded five to ten years out of date on its release back then. Listening now it sounds musty enough to be garage sale fodder. The band kept at it after this, although they announced a hiatus after 2009’s Post Electric Blues with the various group members pursuing solo efforts and side projects.
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
40 and 39: The Faint and Modest Mouse
38 and 37: The Shins and R.E.M.
36 and 35: Old 97’s and Red House Painters
34 and 33: Mogwai and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
32 and 31: Death by Chocolate and PJ Harvey
30 and 29: Rocket From the Crypt and The Donnas
28 and 27: U2 and Cake
26 and 25: The Living End and Spiritualized
24 and 23: Ladytron and New Order
22 and 21: Air and Mercury Rev