Top 10 of 2002 - Scott's Picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Top 10 of 2002

Top 10 of 2002: Scott's Picks

Scott's Picks (2002)

staff picks

2002 was a year packed full of ups and downs. In politics, we've seen the Republicans take over Congress, [Not My] President Shrub almost take us to war, and Trent Lott showing just how ignorant our government officials can be. In sports, neither the Bears or Cubs won their respective leagues [and...

2002 was a year packed full of ups and downs. In politics, we've seen the Republicans take over Congress, [Not My] President Shrub almost take us to war, and Trent Lott showing just how ignorant our government officials can be. In sports, neither the Bears or Cubs won their respective leagues [and that's all that matters in sports, frankly]. And in music, the year has had more twists and turns than ever. Lott, the same man I lambasted earlier, might actually be the one responsible for saving internet radio - we'll just have to wait and see. The RIAA's webpage was hacked more times than I can even remember [and was under the free hand of hackers less than 24 hours ago]. And once again, it was proved that if there is a god, he's assembling one hell of a rock band up there with the passings of Dee Dee Ramone and Joe Strummer among many others.

But you didn't come here to read my bland editorializing, you came here to see my ego-stroking list of what was good and bad this year. So, without further ado, here are my choices for 2003. Click on the title of any of the albums to read a review, where applicable.

Honorable mentions go to: Karate - Some Boots, Andrew WK - S/T, Unwritten Law - Elva, Sparta - Wiretap Scars, Ben Folds - Ben Folds Live, Slow Gherkin - Run Screaming, Pretty Girls Make Graves - Good Health, Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head, The Gadjits - Today Is My Day, Foo Fighters - One By One, OK Go - S/T, Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Superdrag - Last Call For Vitriol

10. The Stereo - Rewind Record / Slowreader - S/T [Fueled By Ramen]

  • Both of these albums represented the artists-in-questions' most thoughtful and mature work to date. Two definite winners.
    9. The Anniversary - Your Majesty / Get Up Kids - On A Wire [Vagrant]
  • Both bands put out albums that tried to reinvent their sound, with varying degrees of success. Where both bands *did* succeed, however, is in the live venue - both the Anniversary and the Get Up Kids make these new songs sound a million times better live, and they seem to reinvent themselves onstage.
    8. Mates Of State - Our Constant Concern / Aloha - Sugar [Polyvinyl]
  • Polyvinyl's stable of artists just keeps cranking out some of the most innovative, inventive, and pleasing indie rock in the world today. From Mates Of States' organ to Aloha's vibraphones, both these albums are extremely memorable.
    7. The One AM Radio - The Hum Of Electric Air! [Alone]
  • The album that, odds are, none of you own, but you all should invest in. The perfect Sunday morning disc for 2002.
    6. The Ghost - This Is A Hospital [Some]
  • I've seen these guys more times than any other band in the past year or so, and they keep getting better. For a debut album, this disc is spectacular. They should have a wonderful future ahead of them [barring no more kicking out of guitarists].
    5. Engine Down - Demure [Lovitt]
  • Hypnotizingly good. I'm still bitter that my car broke down the day before I was going to see them in Chicago.
    4. Bad Religion - The Process Of Belief [Epitaph]
  • The current godfathers of punk make a stunning comeback, blowing all naysayers out of the water. I can only hope I'm this cool when I'm pushing 40.
    3. Thrice - The Illusion Of Safety [Sub City]
  • Wow. These upstarts out of California shocked the world this year with their second album - they rewrote the rulebook on what is punk, they bended genres that had never been touched before, and they made throwing the devil horns cool again. I still haven't seen them live, and it's pissing me off.
    2. Ben Kweller - Sha Sha [ATO/BMG]
  • This is only a debut album? There isn't a bad song on the damn thing! I can see myself buying new BK records 20 years from now, and I hope my premonition is correct.
    1. The Promise Ring - Wood/Water [Anti-/Foreign Leisure]
  • Someone once said about the Velvet Underground's first album that "not a lot of people bought it, but those who did went out and started a band." I feel the same way about this CD. The Promise Ring lost a lot of fans with this evolution of their sound, but those that did listen and appreciate were rewarded with what is, hands down, the best CD of the year. The fact that the band abruptly broke up this year makes this album even more special.

    5. Autopilot Off - S/T [Island]
  • Everyone needs a good blast of no frills punk rock in their system, and this EP did it for me.
    4. Mike Felumlee/Dan Andriano - split CD [Double Zero]
  • Blows the Matt Skiba/Kevin Seconds split out of the water. Danny could easily go solo successfully, and Mike ain't half bad either.
    3. Dillinger Escape Plan w/Mike Patton - Irony Is A Dead Scene [Epitaph]
  • Wow. That's about all that can be said.
    2. Rainer Maria - Ears Ring [Polyvinyl]
  • Rainer Maria is back, and they're ready to kick some ass.
    1. Cursive/Eastern Youth - Eight Teeth To Eat You [Better Looking]
  • Anything released by Cursive always guarantees some sort of recognition, and their counterparts from Japan on this CD do a fine job of delivering the rock as well.

    5. Face To Face - How To Ruin Everything [Vagrant]
  • "A return to form!" cried fans. "A piece of monkey crap!" cried Scott.
    4. Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice [Swami]
  • After all the hype, I was left with a mediocre post-garage-rock album. Bah.
    3. Weezer - Maladroit [Geffen]
  • I still think they have another "Pinkerton" in them, but it just wasn't this one.
    2. Radio 4 - Gotham! [Gern Blandsten]
  • Instead of ripping off the Gang Of Four [which they did admirably well], they rip off the Faint [which they do not-as-convincingly] with poor results.
    1. Jets To Brazil - Perfecting Loneliness [Jade Tree]
  • It's painful to even listen to this album after listening to the amazing "Orange Rhyming Dictionary." This album makes "Four Cornered Night" look like a fucking masterpiece or something, *that's* how bad it is. Rumor has it Blake quit the band and moved to Nova Scotia; one can only hope.

    3. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot [Nonesuch]
  • I like it and all, but I just don't hear what everyone else is hearing, I guess.
    2. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags and Codes [Interscope]
  • When I listen to it I rock out, but as soon as it ends I have no recollection of the album whatsoever.
    1. Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf [Interscope]
  • "No One Knows" rules. The only problem is, I couldn't even hum a bar of another song on this CD for anyone.

    Beck - Sea Change [Interscope]
  • I like Beck and all, but seriously, hide the kitchen knives when you're playing this one.

    Motion City Soundtrack - I Am The Movie
  • The title of this category speaks for itself.

    Jawbreaker - Etc. [Blackball]
  • So does this one.

    Breaking Pangaea - Cannon To A Whisper [Undecided]
  • Dammit, guys! You couldn't have released this CD 3 weeks later so it would have been out in 2002? I don't think I ask for that much. Sheesh.

    The Braves - That's The Hot Part [Arms Reach]
  • You've never heard of the Braves. But you will.

    10. Motion City Soundtrack/All-American Rejects/Northstar in Rockford, IL
    9. The Anniversary/Detachment Kit in Chicago
    8. Further Seems Forever/Breaking Pangaea in Freeport, IL
    7. Dillinger Four in Rock Island, IL
    6. Promise Ring/Schatzi in Iowa City
    5. Jimmy Eat World/Promise Ring in Chicago
    4. Dismemberment Plan/Cex in Galesburg, IL
    3. Karate/K. in Iowa City
    2. Get Up Kids/Hey Mercedes in Iowa City
    1. Brand New/Pretty Girls Make Graves in Iowa City

    3. The Promise Ring breaking up
  • Who the fuck told them they could do that? Bullshit, that's what *I* say.
    2. Drive-Thru threatening to sue us because they can't handle anonymous name calling
  • You guys suck. Seriously. To quote Buddyhead, eat a dick.
    1. Joe Strummer passing away
  • Worst Christmas present ever.

    This is something new we're doing this year. Aubin, Adam, and myself each designed our ideal mixtape containing 20 of our favorite songs of the year 2002, 10 per side. These songs might not be from the best bands, or have come off the best albums, but I'll be damned if all these songs aren't amazing. Personally, it was nearly impossible to make this list [and I'm still contemplating swapping stuff out] due to the high amount of plain kick ass commercial [radio/MTV] singles this year. Phantom Planet ["California"], Foo Fighters ["All My Life"], Nirvana ["You Know You're Right"], Queens Of The Stone Age ["No One Knows"], OK Go ["Get Over It"], The Vines ["Get Free"], Sparta ["Cut Your Ribbon"], Audioslave ["Cochise"], and Unwritten Law ["Seein' Red"] all easily could have made this list. But I'm sticking with the following 20. Click on the song title to download an MP3, where applicable.

    SIDE A
    1. Dillinger Four - Noble Stabbings!
  • The rest of the album didn't leave much of an impression on me, but goddamn, that is one tasty burger!
    2. Slow Gherkin - Sally Boulevard
    3. Andrew WK - We Want Fun
  • This song makes me wish I drank.
    4. Motion City Soundtrack - The Future Freaks Me Out
    5. Glassjaw - Ape Dos Mil
    6. Thrice - A Subtle Dagger
  • This song is so much fun to play air drums to.
    7. Hot Water Music - Wayfarer
  • When I first heard this song, I hated it. My, how times change.
    8. The Gadjits - Optimism
  • Another band whose latest album was spotty at times, but this song, a B-side from the same sessions, smokes 90% of the LP.
    9. Bad Religion - Sorrow
  • I still get goosebumps.
    10. The Ghost - By The Books

    SIDE B
    1. Rainer Maria - Ears Ring
  • Talk about a reinvention of sound!
    2. Seven Storey - Unknown Satellite
    3. The Braves - I Am A Patriot
    4. Superdrag - Way Down Here Without You
    5. David Singer - I Will Come Back From The War
    6. Coldplay - God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
    7. Get Up Kids - Stay Gone [live on Conan O'Brien]
  • No proper recording of this exists, but fuck me if it didn't sound amazing!
    8. The Stereo - 1994
    9. The Anniversary - Devil On My Side
    10. Weezer - Death and Destruction [live]
  • The version in question is off the "Lion and the Witch" EP. The album version is good, but makes me want the song to be jammed out more. This live version does the trick.

    If anyone actually wants me to make this mixtape [or CD] for them, get in touch [email: / AIM: toko2000 / YIM: scott_heisel] and we'll work something out.

    2002 was a banner year for music, but 2003 is already shaping up to blow most of us away. New music that I'm eagerly anticipating: Rainer Maria, Cursive, Radiohead, Thursday, The Descendents, Social Distortion, The Blood Brothers, The Weakerthans, Alkaline Trio, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Elliott, Further Seems Forever, THICK's "OIL" compilation, Reggie and the Full Effect, Breaking Pangaea, Cave In, Rise Against, Third Eye Blind, Boy Sets Fire, the Seven Storey/Camber split, Saves The Day, Dashboard Confessional, and tons more.

  • I'd really like to see advance copies of any of the above albums show up in my mailbox, especially the Ted Leo one.
  • I'd *really* like to see Adam Levin send me my Slow Gherkin t-shirt. So if you know Adam Levin, please tell him I've been waiting for it since October, and I've already paid him for it.
  • A Hot Water Music/Hot Rod Circuit/Hot Hot Heat/Red Hot Valentines tour - for obvious reasons.
  • No Knife coming to the Midwest [please!].
  • Motion City Soundtrack blowing the fuck up.
  • winning an award or two [or ten].
  • People actually buying me something off my wishlist [come on, I don't get paid for this site, have a little heart].
  • Seriously, Mr. Levin, send me my t-shirt.