Tag Archives: 2003

The Handsome Family – Far From Any Road (2003)


Husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks explore some dark, wistful americana on their 2003 album Singing Bones. With its mandolin and trumpet, ‘Far From Any Road’ evokes dusty backcountry, far removed from The Handsome Family’s Chicago.

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Yo La Tengo – Today Is The Day (2003)

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Yo La Tengo’s 2003 album Summer Sun is a slow burner. It was always going to be difficult to follow 2000’s brilliant And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, but the Georgia Hubley song ‘Today Is the Day’ reminds me of something earlier. I recollect ‘Shadows’ off I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, their equally sublime album from 1997.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2003

My favourite songs of 2003 and in no particular order:

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons

Kings Of Leon – Red Morning Light

Outkast – Hey Ya

Richmond Fontaine – Barely Losing

My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday

Mew – Comforting Sounds

Radiohead – A Wolf At The Door

The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

Broken Social Scene – Lovers Spit


Honourable mentions also go to: Sun Kil Moon for ‘Carry Me Ohio‘; U.N.P.O.C. for ‘Amsterdam‘; The Postal Service for ‘Such Great Heights‘; Junior Senior for ‘Move Your Feet‘; The Weakerthans for ‘Plea From A Cat Named Virtute‘; and The Killers for ‘Mr. Brightside‘.


The Killers – Mr. Brightside (2003)



2003 could not pass without some mention of The Killers for their ubiquitous track ‘Mr. Brightside’. Hot Fuss indeed.

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The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (2003)


The White Stripes

“I’m gonna fight ’em off/A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back…” The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ was released in 2003 as the lead single from their fourth album Elephant. The bassline riff was instantly recognisable and everything would be slightly different for evermore. Have a great week.

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Broken Social Scene – Stars and Sons (2003)


Broken Social Scene 2003

Now for one my favourite tracks from Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People.  With its handclaps and driving rhythm, ‘Stars and Sons’ was the band’s first single and a perfect introduction to the collective. As together as you are, someone’s got to sing lead. Brendan Canning steps forward and whispers in the self-respecting dissonance.

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Outkast – Hey Ya! (2003)


André 3000

When ‘Hey Ya’ broke, everyone appreciated the song. The confidence. The talent. The pop hook. The sense of humour. The purpose of pop. “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

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The Thrills – One Horse Town (2003)


The Thrills 2003

On the subject of self-imposed hiatuses, whatever happened to The Thrills? They may have been part of a mid-noughties trend for the ’60s, but their revivalisism was a satisfying blend. Clearly influenced by the West Coast sounds of The Beach Boys, Byrds and Neil Young, the jangly Dubliners produced two welcomed albums in 2003/04: So Much For The City and Let’s Bottle Bohemia. ‘One Horse Town’ features on the former.

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U.N.P.O.C. – Amsterdam (2003)



The Fence Collective’s Tom Bauchop also records as U.N.P.O.C. In 2003, ‘Amsterdam’ was the firs single released from his album Fifth Column. “Ididn’ttellthemanythingIdidn’ttellthemanythingIdidn’ttellthemanything.” What was all that about?!

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The Weakerthans – Plea From A Cat Named Virtute (2003)


The Weakerthans

Reconstruction Site was the third full LP from The Weakerthans. The album churns through the worlds of regret, shame, loss and hatred. But for all the grief and acidity, the melodies, power chords and singer-songwriter John K. Samson’s sense of humour shine through. A rocker to start the week, ‘Plea from a Cat Named Virtute’ is a song about cat view of its owner’s state of depression. Have a great week.

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The Sea and Cake – Sound and Vision (2003)

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The Sea and Cake

In 2003, The Sea and Cake released the album One Bedroom. In there was an elaborate version of David Bowie’s ‘Sound and Vision’. The song has the sort of sound that The Flaming Lips might’ve created with the work.

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Broken Social Scene – Lover’s Spit (2003)


Broken Social Scene

Now for one of my favourite musical references. Broken Social Scene were the original Canadian rock collective – before Arcade Fire caught alight. Their remarkable sophomore album You Forgot It in People is so good in its art-rock ambitions, it is hard to single out a particular treasure… ‘KC Accidental, ‘Almost Crimes’, ‘Stars And Sons’, I could go on. But I choose ‘Lover’s Spit’ for its catchy simplicity and that line about the realisation that “it’s time that we grow old and do some shit”.

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Sun Kil Moon – Carry Me, Ohio (2003)


Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek is a cheery looking soul. After the demise of the Red House Painters, singer-songwriter Kozelek began recording under the name Sun Kil Moon, in a nostalgic tribute to the boxer Sung-Kil Moon.  Nostalgia is a theme throughout the subsequent album, Ghosts of the Great Highway. In this song, he sings about Ohio – the place, a girl – who knows? He could never care enough.

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Richmond Fontaine – Barely Losing (2003)


Richmond Fontaine

Non-believers in americana, please bear with me while I risk barely losing you. Off Richmond Fontaine’s 2003 long player Post To Wire, the second single on the album showcases Willy Vlautin as both singer and songwriter. So effectively simple, the song tells listeners of three days’ gambling in Reno. Vlautin narrative style with witsful slide guitar to match, wishing that we’ll never have to go back.

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The Postal Service – Such Great Heights (2003)

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The Postal Service

It seems that my excitement for starting the week with ‘Such Great Heights’ got the better of me yesterday. The premature post was this track from The Postal Service, an indie-alt-electronica supergroup. Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard had teamed up with electronica producer Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel) and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis for the release of a single long player Give Up. For the band, the sum of the whole was certainly greater than the parts. The album is not like anything the main protagonists had produced with their own bands, and what’s more, this new wave of sound achieved much greater commercial success. The critics liked it too. Have a great week.

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