By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
9. Animal Collective, Here Comes the Indian (Paw Tracks)
Self-consciously experimental music crossed over to the indie mainstream in 2003 thanks in large part to the fertile crescent of activity stretching between Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood and Providence's warehouse scene. Here Comes the Indian, the most high-profile of a slew of releases from New York's aptly named Animal Collective, actually sounded like a journey through that crescent: interstate hustle, backwoods bustle, rural calm, big-city roar. Compelling worldview? One part moss to two parts soot.
10. Metric, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (Enjoy)
In a year without new music from Spoon, Hot Hot Heat or Elastica, the peripatetic fashion plates in Metric gave cynical nü-wavers reason to believe in a shittier tomorrow. Listen to singer Emily Haines (who also appeared on You Forgot It in People) slump against the tightly wound guitar coils and serpentine synth lines in "Succexy" and "Dead Disco" and hear a generation confront its own apathy--a generation too late?