The Best Area Album Releases of the '00s

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Toadies, Hell Below/Stars Above (2001): This wasn't Toadies' original follow-up to 1994's Rubberneck; there's an unreleased second album still floating around out there, which the band occasionally threatens to unleash, fingers crossed. But Hell Below was worth the wait. It never became the smash Rubberneck was (finally). Hard to say why—the songs were every bit as brash and catchy (openers "Plane Crash," "Push the Hand" and "Little Sin" make a most unholy trinity of car-radio classics courtesy of the addition of Clark Vogeler on guitar), and the title track was a two-part roller-coaster ride that clocked in at less than 4:30 and had you winded halfway through. Song of the decade? No doubt. —R.W.

Honorable mentions: Astronatualis, Pomegranate; Bosque Brown, Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller; Budapest One, The Crooner Rides Again; Corn Mo, I Hope You Win!; Current Leaves, Pastense; Lift to Experience, The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads; Little Grizzly, When It Comes an End, I Will Stand Alone; Neon Indian, Psychic Chasms; True Widow, True Widow; Xrabit & Damaged Good$, Hello World.

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