Favorite Albums of 2002

At the end of every year, me and a few friends make up lists of our favorite albums of the year, to share with each other. Here’s my list of favorite albums that were released in 2002, all 16 of them, in alphabetical order.

Cinematic Orchestra – EVERY DAY – Very smooth and groovy. Sort of the next iteration of trip-hop.

Erlend Oye – UNREST – Solo album by one half of the Kings of Convenience. More up-tempo with lots of electronic sounds, but still retaining a bit of a folk feel. Grows on you.

Flin Flon – CHICOUTIMI – Damn fine pop record by Mark Robinson, of TeenBeat fame. I also really enjoyed his CANADA’S GREEN HIGHWAYS, released under his name, that came out in 2001.

Hideki Kaji – A LONG WEEKEND – This is another excellent pop album by Kaji, and I think it’s actually become my favorite album of his.

Ladytron – LIGHT & MAGIC – I really got into the electronic, sort of new-wave, sound of this band. Also really enjoyed their first album, 604.

Manabu Iwamura – TEOREMA – Probably my favorite album that has come out of Yasuharu Konishi’s (he of Pizzicato Five) Readymade International label that he started last year. This is such a smooth album, a perfect chillout groove. Everytime I listen to this album I’m teleported, and feel like I’m in this really cool lounge-bar.

Mari Natsuki – LA PAROLE – Another fine Readymade International release, this time by the amazing Mari Natsuki. Imagine French Chanson, but jazzier. She’s in her fifties, and has an amazing raspish voice that serves this kind of material perfectly.

Mellow – Soundtrack to the Film CQ – Like the name of the band says, mellow Air-like easy-listening.

Monsieur Kamayatsu – JE M’APPELLE MONSIEUR – Yet another Readymade International release, this time by the 60+ year old Monsieur Kamayatsu, who was a popular rocker in the 60s. Pretty good stuff, especially the single “Ban Ban Ban”, which is him redoing one of his old hits.

Mount Sims – ULTRA SEX – One of the new electroclash bands that appeared during the year. Good fuzzy electronics, with a catchy beat.

Smokey & Miho – SMOKEY & MIHO – Smokey is Beck’s guitarist, and Miho was one-half of Cibo Matto. Together they do wonderful covers of Brazillian classics. This is a great EP.

Sweet Robots Against the Machine – TOWA TEI – At first I didn’t think I was going to like this album much, as I considered it a bit too dancy, but it really grew on me. Very similar to what Fantastic Plastic Machine has been doing recently.

The Breeders – TITLE TK – This album came out of nowhere for me, as I really wasn’t expecting much. It’s a nice, dirty, under-produced (which is a good think in this case) album.

Thievery Corporation – THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON – Doing what they do so well, electronica chillout stuff with a world feel.

Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys – TWIN PERFECT COLLECTION – This is such a great 2-CD collection of a band from the eighties (I think). Great mambo throughout that just really makes you want to shake your ass. They do a killer mambo version of the Bond theme that lasts barely a minute.

Various Artists – SUBA: TRIBUTO – Something that I picked up in a sales bin for next to nothing, knowing nothing about it, and which was a very pleasant surprised. It’s a tribute to a Brazillian producer (well, he was Croatian, but he worked in Brazil) who did some work with Bebel Gilberto among others, and who was instrumental in creating the new Brazillian sound. He died a few years ago, and this tribute has all sorts of great material.