Biggest Surprise 2001 Year in Review

Biggest Surprise 2001 Year in Review
Ryan Adams in concert at Lee's Palace, Thanksgiving

I had low expectations because I found his latest album, Gold, to be largely a matter of self-consciously posing himself to be a serious singer-songwriter — a big letdown after Heartbreaker and some brilliant records with Whiskeytown. But at some point, Adams managed to transform his brattiness into charm and his onstage petulance into genuine rock and roll showmanship. Oh yeah, and his new best buddy Elton John joined him onstage for an epic version of "Rocket Man." –Chris Wodskou

Beachwood Sparks Once We Were Trees (Sub Pop)

Whew! Someone sure pulled their socks up since their last slab o' plastic. –Jon Bartlett

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Virgin)

The best Jesus and Mary Chain album in some time, and it has nothing to do with the Chain. In a year when rock music made such a great revival, I have no idea how BRMC went unnoticed, especially when their debut was as good as they said it was. –Michael Edwards

Daft Punk "One More Time"

Despite loving dance music, I still think disco sucks. Or at least I did until I heard "One More Time." On first listen I hated it but, unlike most pop tunes, each consecutive spin sounded better and better until I wanted a vocoder of my very own. –Joshua Ostroff

Gordon Downie Coke Machine Glow

From the man who wrote "Courage," a truly courageous deconstruction of his creative process. –Jason Schneider


This NYC duo is solid ‘80s electro on disc, but fabulously gay, choreographed and fucked up live. –Lorraine Carpenter

From Autumn to Ashes Too Bad You're Beautiful (Ferret)

Sure they may look like a wimpy emo boy band, and initially sound like they can't decide whether they want to play hardcore, metal, thrash, emo or rock, but their sound eventually gels into one of the most cohesive, moving and damaging aggressive albums to be released this year. –Chris Gramlich

Fugazi The Argument (Dischord)

Taking a less aggressive, more artistic stance, these veterans released their best record in a decade, maybe even their career. –Cam Lindsay

Guess Who This Time Long Ago (Ranbach)

Without any warning or likelihood of expectation, hoser guitar hero Randy Bachman quietly unveiled this comprehensive two-CD collection of rare Guess Who material dating back to 1967. The release was particularly surprising given the magically reformed Guess Who have done their best to side-step any acknowledgement of this most creative stage of the band's career, focussing instead on the hits that followed. One of the B-sides, an over-the-top fuzz rocker called "It's My Pride," stands as the liveliest cut the band ever put to tape. The song got its double dues in 2001 when it was included on the Nuggets II box set. –Chuck Molgat

London Quireboys This Is Rock 'N' Roll (Sanctuary)

My reaction changed from laughing at the ad when I first saw it, to this reaching #3 on my albums of the year list. Life-affirming rock and roll at its best. –Greg Pratt

New Order Get Ready (Warner)

Even though they're over 40 and it had been years since they released an album (or anybody cared), Get Ready is a fantastic, catchy New Order record that sounds remarkably relevant in 2001. -Rob Bolton

Old 97s Satellite Rides (Elektra/Warner)

An average alt-country band leapt into power pop glory with a powerhouse album that should have made them kings of the world. –Michael Barclay

Sloan Pretty Together (Murderecords)

After reading all the belly-aching in the initial reviews, I didn't expect too much from the album. But the record is something of a grower, a much more mature sounding Sloan who finally sound comfortable. I think it is their best album since Twice Removed. –Sean Palmerston

Spacer The Beamer (Pussyfoot/Palm Pictures)

I've been a casual fan of Luke Gordon's production and projects for the past few years, but nothing had prepared me for just how good he's grown to be! Violins, crushing beats, jazz phrasings, and deft production; this one is beyond categories. –Denise Benson

Tha Liks X.O. Experience (Colombia)

Tha Liks haven't really been getting better with age, and Tash's solo release was definitely a trip into a mid-life crisis. Tha Liks spark new interest with a party album celebrating booze, bud and bitches. It may not be their best release, but it is a return to form for Tha Liks.

27 Songs From The Edge Of The Wing (Release)

Definitely the tamest album from the Relapse/Release bullpen, this is absolute heaven. –Chris Ayers