This is meant to be a look back, not at what I consider to be the best records/bands of each year, but of the contemporary bands that I was listening to most at the time. I've been a bit flexible, but mostly the bands were around at the time and had released records in the year being written about or a few months earlier. So, although I don't necessarily listen to these bands any more, it's what was on my stereo then. I'm sure I'm guilty of revisionism, that's inevitable, but I've tried to recall what was important to me back then.
2000 - Quickspace, Life Without buildings, Idlewild, Marine Research, Chicks On Speed
Quickspace: Pre-Steps, Pre-Blair, Pre-Who Wants To Be A Millionaire..
Although Quckspace had been around since the mid-90's (having formed from the ashes of Th' Faith Healers). I first heard them in a John Peel Session in late '99 (I think). I was completely hooked and there was little chance that,if you were within earshot of me for the next 12 months that I wouldn't have tried to play some quickspace to you (in those days I had a Walkman with me at all times). The Death of Quickspace and Precious Falling were never far from my stereo and songs such as Quickspace Happy Song #2 and Semtex made it on to every mix tape I made for a couple of years. sadly, Quickspace just seemed to melt and disappear in the early 00's.
Life Without Buildings: Do we need order?
Life Without Buildings were another band that I fell deeply in love with at this time. So much so that I was even the first person to start a site dedicated to the band (other than the official site). I first heard them in session for Steve Lamacq and found Sue Tompkins' voice irresistible. I loved the jittery-stumbling guitar sounds that everyone compared to Gang of Four - something I didn't understand at the time and still can't see today. 4 singles, 1 album and one posthumous live album is all they left behind.
iDLEWiLD - A flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs
Half way through 2000 idlewild released 100 broken windows. At the time I wasn't that impressed by the album, though i think it's aged pretty well. At this point they'd lost the youthful exuberance that excited me so much about the band. This is why, even after this record came out you'd still have found me listening to the singles that preceded that album (the b-sides were consistently brilliant). The previous album, Hope is Important was short and patchy. Their first CD release, Captain, was to me a revelation. Urgent, chaotic, poems with beautiful pop sensibilities. It seems hard to imagine today that idlewild could have been young and exciting considering the awful dadrock folk shite they've become famous for over the last 23 albums they've put out. I still recommend anything from 100 broken windows and back though. Self-healer was my introduction to idlewild, and to say that it was down hill from there is an exaggeration, but not much of one.
Marine Research: Robert Llewelyn likes Marine Research!
Another band that I first heard in '99 (and again due to John Peel). It took me a while to track down a copy of the album (eventually in Reddington's, Birmingham when it was still on Cherry Street) because in these days I couldn't order stuff online and I didn't know anyone who'd heard of Marine Research. It seems almost unbelievable today that there was a time when I didn't know who Amelia Fletcher was. I think this was may have been my first contemporary indiepop purchase (now I think of it, that's not at all true, but I still consider this album to be a watershed for me).
The keyboard player, Cathy was a presenter of Channel 4's Scrapheap Challenge along with Robert Llewelyn (Kryten from Red Dwarf).
Chicks On Speed: She brushes her teeth 5 times per day
I heard For All The Boys In The World (again, John Peel) and had to buy the album. I had no idea what to make of it but played it again and again and AGAIN. Even in 2002 the guy next to me in halls threatened to throw my stereo out of the window if I didn't stop playing this record. According to the interwebs the record is considered to epitomise Electroclash. Or something.
Honourable Mentions: Peeps Into Fairyland, Supercute, Jesus Couldn't Drum, Montana Pete, Solanki, Soulwax, Add n to (x), Country Teasers
Coming soon: 2001..
Does anyone actually use any of these links? They take me fucking ages to sort out.