Sleeper Of the Year 2001 Year in Review

Sleeper Of the Year 2001 Year in Review
Alfie If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing (XL)

One of the most winsome pop albums of the year with all the cleverness and melodic acuity of Badly Drawn Boy, with the added bonus of not having to put up with BDB trying to convince you what a cheeky prick he is. –Chris Wodskou

All Else Failed Archetype (Now or Never)

Not from New Jersey, but they should be, this group's Ben Weinman-produced Archetype is eerily close to a combination of Burn It Down and the Dillinger Escape Plan, minus the jazz. –Chris Gramlich

Autumn Defense The Green Hour (Broadmoor)

Who knew Wilco bassist John Stirratt had a passion for pure pop? A classic summer record and an inspiration for bass players everywhere who dream of a solo project. –Jason Schneider

Baxendale You Will Have Your Revenge (Le Grand Magistery)

Baxendale make pop music so catchy and memorable that it should be illegal. "Music For Girls" is a masterpiece of a song that justifies the band's existence and their debut album has a frightening number of other songs that do the same. This is the pop world's equivalent of crack cocaine and just one listen will have you addicted or nauseous. –Michael Edwards

Chris Cowie Best Behaviour (Hook/Bellboy)

Cowie has been producing techno and trance for years under a gigantic range of pseudonyms, most notably X-Cabs, Vegas Soul, DeNiro, and F2, and his tracks are always above the average. The tracks on this album were wonderful acidic techno and trance, with a production level that others can only dream of. –Philip Downey

Crowbar Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form (Spitfire)

These New Orleans sludge kings release brilliant Sabbath-erian albums every year, and every year just get promptly forgotten. They aren't overtly accessible, but surely deserve more than they get. –Greg Pratt

Dead Meadow Howls from The Hills (Tolotta)

Quietly released in the latter half of the year, this sophomoric release finds the Virginia trio building expanding their horizons past the Blue Cheer-influenced heaviness of their self-titled debut. Album number two reminds me a little more of Quicksilver Messenger Service mixed with Led Zeppelin III. –Sean Palmerston

Gordon Downie Coke Machine Glow (Wiener Art)

This album got plenty of attention for plenty of the wrong reasons, but few listened to it with open ears; it was far too strange for the mainstream, while the underground deemed it guilty by mainstream association. Both camps lost out on a subtle gem. –Michael Barclay

Gunfighter Pro-Electric (High Noon)

Ex-Molly McGuire members have made the most satisfying emo-post-punk brew in the land. –Chris Ayers

Buddy Guy Sweet Tea (Zomba)

Instead of worry about death, Guy bleeds heavily, yearning deeply for that woman that would keep his soul alive. The Hendrixian backdrop of sound is the heaviest ever. This is no old timer putting a out a corporate-polished blues rock record — it's voodoo magic. –Roman Sokal

Love As Laughter Sea To Shining Sea (Sub Pop)

With everyone crediting the Strokes and the White Stripes for the resurgence in hummable rock songs, nobody seemed to clue in that Love As Laughter is doing the same thing and just as well. –Cam Lindsay

Mcenroe Billy's Vision (Peanuts & Corn)

A strictly instrumental album that serves as soundtrack to a documentary about a strange child who may have been an alien or angel, included inside a small chapbook that tells the story in diary form. Never really readily available, Billy's Vision was the best instrumental album few people were able to hear in 2001. –Thomas Quinlan

My Morning Jacket At Dawn (Darla)

A grandiose collage of country, pop, blues and rock, beautifully soaked in enough reverb to drown yourself in. "The Way That He Sings" is so damn good, hearing it gives me the willies. Diverse, emotional, challenging, and inspired work from talented musicians. It's sad, shocking, and unjust that this album didn't cause a journalistic and/or public fever outside of niche indie-rock circles. –Rob Bolton

Neotropic La Prochaine Fois (Ninja Tune)

The least beat-y of Riz Maslen's many releases to date, La Prochaine Fois demands and deserves repeated listens. You'll find something new and beautiful each time. –Denise Benson

Om Festival

The annual three-day party proved transcendent, placing several thousand ravers on a picturesque farm with free food, a lake to skinny dip in and a varied selection of beats kept us dancing to the break of several dawns. Om managed to send us back in time to the pre-sell-out era, when parties were about the people not the duckets. Some said that time never really existed, well, they didn't go to Om. –Joshua Ostroff

Pagans Shit Street (Crypt)

Seminal American punk rockers the Pagans enjoyed a pair of reissue CDs in 2001 (the other being The Pink Album Plus), but typically, the long-defunct Cleveland band failed to impress anyone outside of the deepest caverns of the underground. Shit Street features 33 vitriol-soaked tracks from the groundbreaking quartet who called it quits in 1979 after five years of splendid, cutting-edge noise making. –Chuck Molgat

Joel Plaskett Down At the Khyber (Brobdingnagian)

With patriotic lyrics, screaming guitars and melodies that stick in your head like porridge to yer belly, Plaskett's sophomore record is the great rock record of 2001. Brilliantly sequenced, it's difficult to single out highlights. Plaskett takes honours for rhyme of the year, matching "catchin' on" with "Saskatchewan." –Michael Johnston

Venice Shoreline Chris 4-Trackaganza

Considering how well he can tell stories and write simple songs using only a four-track recorder I'm disappointed no one knows who the hell I'm talking about whenever I mention him. –Dan Cohen