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Albums to Kill for from 2003

spiritualized – amazing grace
still at their best when crooning the drugged-out, heart-rending torch
songs, this is one of his most concise albums ever, and yet another
quality release from a prolific artist. – almostcool.org

martina topley-bird – quixotic (former singer for tricky on
maxinquaye, pre-millenium tension and angels with dirty faces)
It’s a phenomenally sensual album, full of the thick atmospheres,
moody swaggers and dark undercurrents that she and Tricky were once
synonymous with, but here they’re married to equally mesmerising
songs. Hence “Lullaby” and “Days of a Gun” are as memorable for their
beautiful melodies as they are for their respective backing tracks of
drowsy porch light blues and caressing synths. – amazon UK

laika – lost in space vol 1 (1993-2002)

Laika skipped through the UK charts during the ’90s on a fertile
mixture of post-New Order synth heaviness, lush ambient harmonies and
dastardly complex jazz rhythms, creating many memorable singles and
three top-notch albums. The selections on Lost In Space, however,
illustrate exactly why the group glanced off the American pop bubble:
They’re too clever. – URB magazine

mojave 3 – spoon and rafter
The group’s heavy atmospherics–echoed guitar tones, distant keyboard
lines–create epic grandeur througout. “Battle Of Broken Hearts” is a
six-minute-plus orchestral tug of war that resolves into the
relatively direct piano balad “Hard To Miss You.” “Writing To St.
Peter” recalls a lonely Western vibe via satellite transmission
(Arizona to London, perhaps), with Halstead’s remorseful voice
sounding distracted, like someone whispering deep secrets to the
insecurity of a cellphone, proving that no matter the technology, the
emotions are still the same. – CMJ new music monthly

outkast – the love below
(from 2 disc album ‘speakerboxxx/the love below’)
The record contains charged electro-funk, sex romps a la mid-’80s
Prince, breezy acoustic ballads, haunted-house themes and cabaret
experiments. Lyrically, the whole album is predictably love-themed,
but the precocious Andre 3000 stretches within his boundaries, from
the explicitly erotic “Spread” to the sentimental “Take Off Your Cool”
(with Norah Jones) to the biting send-off “Roses.” He also gets
cartoonish on the electro-vamp “Dracula’s Wedding” and the funked-up
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” on which he plays the part of a modern-day
gangsta Cupid, aiming his pink gun to blast playas off the street and
onto the altar. – nudeasthenews.com

m83 – dead cities red seas and lost ghosts
For fifty-seven glorious minutes, an impossibly intricate tapestry of
buzzing techno synthesizers, distorted electric guitars, cheesy drum
machines, and subdued vocals generate a sense of bodily movement
through a landscape of beauty, disappointment, glory, and decrepitude.
Dead Cities is an album that not only envelops you, but affords you
room to explore its vast expanses of beautifully constructed
sound.-pitchforkmedia.com

broker/dealer – initial public offering

It’s not surprising the Germans are saying jawohl to Broker/Dealer’s
mildly euphoric productions: Its beautifully simple melodies and
aquatic, dubby atmospheres push pleasant buttons to those who’ve
grooved and chilled to the aforementioned Kompakt and the seminal
Chain Reaction’s releases. Combining elegantly frothy textures with
deep, lubricious bass lines and irrepressible 4/4 tech-house rhythms,
Broker/Dealer makes tracks that are as inviting as beanbag chairs,
but, paradoxically, inspire dancing, too. – east bay express/oakland

massive attack – 100th window
it’s dark, broody, intense and, at times, quite uncomfortable, with
the odd shimmering ray of light allowed to peep through Del Naja’s
murky nocturnal soundscapes. -amazon UK

placebo – sleeping with ghosts
The new disc continues to alternate frenzied guitar charges with
spacey ballads and danceable pop, all derived from the angst and
adventurousness of The Smashing Pumpkins, Rush, and David Bowie –
theonionavclub.com

throwing muses – throwing muses (2003)
Not quite grainy like most neo-garage acts, the songs here seem dirty
and dense in a way that harkens back to Throwing Muses’ punk
inception. The tracks are meaty and gristly, rumbling in the low buzz
of distortion that has always been the Muses’ home, but with minimal
high and ethereal effects sometimes found on their previous studio
releases. Essentially, it sounds like a slightly-too-perfect live
recording. – popmatters.com

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