KATATONIA - LAST FAIR DEAL GONE DOWN (2001)
Named after a song by legendary delta Blues singer Robert Johnson, and introducing Mattias Norrman on bass, and Daniel Liljekvist on drums. This disc brings a more technical side to Katatonia's music, without straying away from their late 90's depressive signature sound, and keeping similar production values from it's predecessor 'Tonight's Music', also with the amazing lyrical work of Jonas (that I personally thought, was lacking on later releases). This CD is a must have for fans of goth music, depressive music, obscure alternative music.
DARLING VIOLETTA - PARLOUR (2003)
The second full-length album by California's so-called Dark Pop heroes. This one is a concept album telling a very noir, pulpy story. Mixed with ambiance tracks, groovy and sometimes retro music, even hitting psychodelic scales at times.
If you are not already fan of Darling Violetta, don't hesitate to check out all of their CDs, and there is a new one coming out sometime soon, it's been a long wait, but my expectations are quite high!
BELVEDERE - FAST FORWARD EATS THE TAPE (2004)
Alberta's hard- working Punk Rock foursome released their most technically challenging production this decade, being also their last release.
Fast Forward Eats The Tape is an epic 15 track release full of speed, energy, and melody. Not to mention Graham's drumming puts to shame the drumming of names such as Travis Barker.
MELISSA AUF DER MAUR - AUF DER MAUR (2004)
Formerly known for her work with Tinker, Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, Missy Auf der Maur is a creative force that could not be contained. Upon the release of her first solo album, she demonstrated that not only she could make an album on her own, she also proved to be the Alternative Rock diva people like myself suspected her to be ever since we listened to her worked with the aforementioned bands. This is one of the few, actually-hard, Alternative Rock releases of the decade with quite an original approach.
Jon Nödtveidt came back with a vengeance to the Metal scene, after being in prison for 11 years. Dissection wen for an inventive, melodic sound (rather than just clone their previous music) and Jon proved himself to be like the Swedish godfather of melodic Metal with his beautiful and harmonious songwriting, which is quite odd of an extreme Metal musician. Sadly, Jon committed suicide on August 13, 2006, making this CD, the final chapter of Dissection's music, which is no secret, I am a big fan of.
MILLION DEAD - A SONG TO RUIN (2003)
The first full-length by this (old school) Screamo foursome featuring the former singer of Kneejerk; Frank Turner; is a brilliant mix of intricated chords and the best-written lyrics I have ever encountered in my life. By those facts alone you should check this CD, it has a potent mix that will fall into the category "art that will actually contribute with a message to your life".
THE BAD PLUS - THESE ARE THE VISTAS (2003)
The second studio album by the acclaimed Experimental/Post-Bebop Jazz trio, is a further immersion into their punkish perspective on Jazz music, featuring both original songs and excellent "versions" of Alternative Rock songs like Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', or my personal favorite, Blondie's 'Heart Of Glass'.
Recommended specially for chaps that want to listen to Jazz that doesn't sound out of the 1940's.
ARSIS - UNITED IN REGRET (2004)
The first international release by the American Death Metal heroes, unlike most melodic Death, this isn't only beautifully sounding up-tempo guitar riffs, it's also devastatingly challenging musicianship. From start to finish, the devastating attack on the instruments is brutal, beautiful and original. Sadly I can't say the same of their latest release, but, their first three albums, I already consider Death Metal classics!
STAR OF ASH - ITER.VIATOR (2002)
Translated from Latin, "Iter Viator" literally means "road traveler", and it is precisely what this CD represents in the life of Heidi S. Tveitan, formerly known as Ihriel in the avantgarde Metal band Peccatum from Norway, where she worked with her Husband; Ihshan; of the acclaimed Black Metal band Emperor.
In spite of her background in the extreme Metal scene, Star of Ash explores ambient music in a wide range of styles with a creative genius I cannot wrap my head around it!
Specially recommended for the adepts of darkish music.
THIS IS A STANDOFF - BE DISAPPOINTED (2009)
Back to breaking the mold, Steve and Graham, of Belvedere fame, prove that they can still push further the envelope with this masterpiece of up-beat, progressive, metal-fused melodic Hardcore record. I had a hard time picking one of their two releases!
FRANK TURNER - LOVE, IRE & SONG (2008)
This man I don't hesitate to call the contemporary Bob Dylan. Like he did with Kneejerk and Million Dead, Frank's lyrics continue to be a smash for everyone's brains.
This Folk Punk record should be in everyone's player, it's all about honest and introspective music that can make you laugh and cry.
SNAPCASE - END TRANSMISSION (2002)
Following this trend of intelligent Punk Rock, Straight-Edge NYHC heroes' last studio release to date ravashed the airwaves with fierce music filled with actual content and integrity, while musically escaping the pattern of the genre. We (the royal) are just damn glad this guys are back!
RED HOUSE PAINTERS - OLD RAMON (2001)
Though originally recorded in 1997, for some reason this release didn't hit us until this decade. Continuing the tradition of Mark Kozelek's Slowcore virtuosity, it can be said it might not be as gloomy as the previous records, but this one stands out for being very nostalgic. If you are alone in your room, just crawl into your bed and listen to this.
Sweden's godlike Punk Rockers delivered another masterpiece of fast melodies, even with Rodrigo leaving the drums in benefit of the singing, everything you love about the Satanic Surfers is still there, and even sounding clearer than their Fragments & Fractions CD. This goes without saying, if you are into Swedish Punk, you should be listening to this!
THE SUICIDE MACHINES - WAR PROFITEERING IS KILLING US ALL (2005)
The last release of the Detroit Skacore legends, after years of reinventing themselves, could also be their strongest in terms of sound and ideology (and I am not underminding Battle Hymns, it's just, and as much as I LOVE that record, wasn't as mature and complete) and this release shows exactly what the whole career of the Suicide Machines was all about. Sadly form me, they split up weeks before their first ever show in Mexico City...