Monday, January 4, 2010

The Stylus Decade

Alright, honestly, with so many uninspired decade lists coming down the pike in the last month or so, I had all but resigned myself to my own list of superlatives at this point. It seemed unlikely that any one site could align themselves in large part with my own tastes, but then again, I wasn't expecting the return of Stylus Magazine for one last victory lap. For those unfamiliar, Stylus was an online music magazine which sadly closed-up shop a few years back, but one that, when active, was one of the most influential voices in my early-decade listening habits. Over the years I had kept a close eye on a good majority of their writers (and I still regularly consult their archives), many of whom have gone on to write for larger and more prestigious publications, but I had always lamented the demise of one of the more entertaining and informative music sites out there. So, barring any sort of full-on relaunch, The Stylus Decade should go down as the most unexpectedly awesome gift I've received this holiday season.

And this week, with nearly all of the original writers reconvened, the Stylus staff takes on both the Top 100 Albums and Singles of the Decade. Numbers 100 - 81 have gone up today in both fields, and they will be rolling out the remaining picks throughout the week. But even now, only 20 picks into their albums list, I already see a bold collective voice taking shape which would seem impossible coming from more trend-conscious sites out there. In addition to such ambient landmarks as William Basinski's The Disintegration Loops and Stars of the Lid's ...And Their Refinement of the Decline, they've already made room for Scott Walker's earth-swallowing comeback The Drift and Max Tundra's wild electronic classic Mastered by Guy at the Exchange. Even a few albums that just barely missed my own personal list, such as Jim O'Rourke's Insignificance, Sonic Youth's Sonic Nurse and Half Man Half Biscuit's ridiculously underrated Achtung Bono, have already made satisfying appearances. But I'm sure there is more where that came from (personally, I'm hoping for nice showing for Bark Psychosis' Codename: Dustsucker, as Stylus was one of the only sites to ever give that album the love it deserves) . Of course, I'll be updating this post with the top tens once Friday rolls around, but in the meantime here is one list that is pretty much essential reading. So dig in.

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