2003 Readers Poll - The Results

Album of the Year

  1. Mogwai, 'Happy Songs For Happy People'
  2. Matmos, 'The Civil War'
  3. Angels Of Light, 'Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home'
  4. Cat Power, 'You Are Free'
  5. Do Make Say Think, 'Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn'
  6. Manitoba, 'Up In Flames'
  7. The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band With Choir, 'This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing'
  8. Broadcast, 'Haha Sound'
  9. Autechre, 'Draft 7.30'
  10. Radiohead, 'Hail To The Thief'
  11. Prefuse 73, 'One Word Extinguisher'
  12. Explosions In The Sky, 'The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place'
  13. Four Tet, 'Rounds'
  14. Lightning Bolt, 'Wonderful Rainbow'
  15. Outkast, 'Speakerbox/Love Below'
  16. M83, 'Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts'
  17. Devandra Banhart, 'Oh Me Oh My'
  18. Supersilent, 'Supersilent 6'
  19. Soft Pink Truth, 'Do You Party?'
  20. Bardo Pond, 'On The Ellipse'
  21. Fennesz, 'Live In Japan'
  22. Thighpaulsandra, 'Double Vulgar'
  23. The Postal Service, 'Give Up'
  24. Nurse With Wound, 'She And Me Fall Together In Free Death'
  25. Massive Attack, '100th Window'
  26. Killing Joke, 'Killing Joke'
  27. The Books, 'The Lemon Of Pink'
  28. The Rapture, 'Echoes'
  29. David Sylvian, 'Blemish'
  30. Matt Elliott, 'The Mess We Made'

STAFF PICK: Manitoba, 'Up in Flames'

[comment: Jon, I'll give you one crisp dollar to make Whitehouse #1 - Gary Suarez

Cat Power: Fourth best album, and number one worst concert experience of my life. - Jonathan Dean]

single of the year

  1. !!!, 'Me and Guiliani Down by the Schoolyard'
  2. Outkast, 'Hey Ya'
  3. Coil, 'The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence'
  4. Sigur Ros, 'Untitled #1'
  5. Low, 'Murderer'
  6. Broadcast, 'Pendulum'
  7. TV On the Radio, 'Young Liars'
  8. Yo La Tengo, 'Today is the Day'
  9. Current 93, 'Hypnagogue'
  10. Venetian Snares, 'Find Candace'
  11. Stereolab, 'Instant O in the Universe'
  12. The Postal Service, 'Such Great Heights'
  13. Flaming Lips, 'Fight Test'
  14. Iron and Wine, 'The Sea & the Rhythm'
  15. LFO, 'Freak'
  16. Prefuse 73, 'Extinguished: Outtakes'
  17. Black Dice, 'Cone Toaster'
  18. The White Stripes, 'Seven Nation Army'
  19. Arab Strap, 'Shy Retirer'
  20. Kid 606, 'The Illness'
  21. Current 93/Antony, 'Live at St Olave's Church, London 2002'
  22. The Hafler Trio, 'A Small Child Dreams of Voiding the Plague'
  23. Xiu Xiu / Jim Yoshii Pile-Up, 'Insound Tour Support EP'
  24. Lali Puna, 'Left Handed'
  25. Chris Clark, 'Ceramics Is the Bomb'
  26. DJ Shadow, 'gdmfsob'
  27. Boom Bip, 'From Left to Right'
  28. Manual, 'Isares'
  29. The Sea and Cake, 'Glass'
  30. Asa Chang and Junray, 'Tse Gi Ne Pu'

STAFF PICK: Sigur Ros, 'Untitled #1'

[comment: I find it pretty damn funny that a limited edition Coil 10"" of which only 500 were made available to the public would make it into the top 3 in this category. How can this be? Either (A) everyone who bought this voted for it, (B) lots of people downloaded it off SoulSeek, or (C) we've got a lot of bullshitters here. - Gary Suarez]

compilation (single artist)

  1. Wire, 'Send'
  2. Stereolab, 'ABC Music'
  3. Spiritualized, 'Complete Works vol. 1'
  4. Mouse On Mars, 'Rost Pocks'
  5. Acid Mothers Temple, 'Magical Power from Mars'
  6. Cabaret Voltaire, 'The Original Sound of Sheffield '77 '82'
  7. Plaid, 'Parts in the Post'
  8. Guided by Voices, 'Human Amusements at Hourly Rates'
  9. Hood, 'Singles Compiled'
  10. Ride, 'Waves'
  11. The Clash, 'essential clash'
  12. Skinny Puppy, 'Back & Forth vol. 6'
  13. Hood, 'Compilations'
  14. Laika, 'Lost In Space'
  15. William Basinski, 'Melancholia'
  16. The Clean, 'Anthology'
  17. Dresden Dolls, 'A is for Accident'
  18. Rhythm & Sound, 'w/ the artists'
  19. The Fall, 'The War Against Intelligence - The Fontana Years '
  20. Kevin Blechdom, 'Bitches Without Britches'

STAFF PICK: Cabaret Voltaire, 'The Original Sound of Sheffield '77 '82'

[comment: Skinny Puppy need to quit releasing overpriced archival jam sessions and record a new album. Put up or shut up. - Matthew Jeanes]

compilation (various artists)

  1. 26 Mixes for Cash
  2. An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music Vol.2 (1936-2003)
  3. Rough Trade Post Punk
  4. 20 years of Dischord
  5. Lost in Translation soundtrack
  6. DFA Volume 1
  7. New York No Wave
  8. Total 5
  9. The Wire Tapper Volume 10
  10. New York Noise
  11. Wanna Buy A Craprak?
  12. Branches and Routes - a FatCat Records compilation
  13. It's Fan-Dabi-Dozi
  14. Mutant Disco
  15. Ladytron's Softcore Jukebox
  16. 555 records compilation of 55 artists
  17. Open Up And Say !&@*$
  18. Sonig.ilation
  19. The Neptunes present Clones
  20. 2 CD's & MP3's

STAFF PICK: Lost in Translation soundtrack

[comment: Lost in Translation was only remarkable as the return of Kevin Shields, and that's more than enough. - Rob Devlin

Considering the film was little more than an opportunity to put Tokyo skycam shots in front of shoegaze, I guess this makes sense. - Andrew Culler]

boxed set

  1. Coil live
  2. Miles Davis: Complete Jack Johnson Sessions
  3. Wire 20th Anniversary Boxed Set
  4. Nurse With Wound, 'Soliloquy for Lilith'
  5. Johnny Cash 'Unearthed'
  6. Talking Heads, 'Once in a Lifetime'
  7. New Order - Retro
  8. Cabaret Voltaire, 'Methodology'
  9. Guided By Voices - Hardcore UFOs
  10. Merzbow: Timehunter (4 x 3CD)'
  11. Rhys Chatham - An Angel Moves Too Fast To See
  12. Duran Duran singles 1981-1985
  13. Buzzcocks, 'Inventory'
  14. Ennio Morricone, 'Io'
  15. Tangerine Dream, 'The Bootleg Box Set 1'
  16. James Chance - Irresistable Impulse
  17. Bright Eyes, 'Vinyl Box'
  18. Trojan 35th Anniversary Box Set 68-03
  19. Motörhead, 'Stone Deaf Forever'
  20. Hawkwind, 'Epoch'

STAFF PICK: Nurse With Wound, 'Soliloquy for Lilith'

[comment: At +$200 something tells me a ton of people voted for this who didn't actually have it. - Jon Whitney]

record cover

  1. Venetian Snares - Find Candace
  2. Angels Of Light - Everything Is Good Here
  3. Cex, 'Being Ridden'
  4. Lightning Bolt, 'Wonderful Rainbow'
  5. Autechre: Draft 7.30
  6. Set Fire To Flames, Telegraphs In Negative / Mouths Trapped In Static
  7. Microphones: Mt. Eerie
  8. Sigur Ros - Song #1
  9. M83 - Dead Cities, Red Seas, And Lost Ghosts
  10. Matmos - Civil War
  11. Xiu Xiu - A Promise
  12. Nurse With Wound - She And Me Fall Together In Free Death
  13. Peaches - Fatherfucker
  14. Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
  15. Mogwai, 'Happy Songs For Happy People'
  16. Current 93 - Hypnagogue
  17. Dresden Dolls - Dresden Dolls
  18. Four Tet, 'Rounds'
  19. Acid Mothers Temple: Magical Power From Mars
  20. Plaid - Spokes
  21. Soft Pink Truth - Do You Party?
  22. Thighpaulsandra - Double Vulgar
  23. Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
  24. Mirror Eye Of The Storm
  25. Nurse With Wound - Solliloquy For Lilith
  26. Pulseprogramming 'Tulsa For One Second'
  27. Songs:Ohia 'Electric Magnolia Co.'
  28. Sun City Girls - God Is My Solar System / Superpower
  29. Aereogramme - Sleep And Release
  30. Manitoba - Up In Flames

STAFF PICK: Venetian Snares - Find Candace

[comment: Trevor Brown's mysogynistic, quasi-kiddie porn cover art seems to be a perennial favorite, and Xiu Xiu's seedy, disturbing low-rent porno photo cover exhibiting a naked Thai youth is not far behind. Thighpaulsandra's ""Double Vulgar"", which contained images of male nudity and necrophilia fantasy, also made the list. It seems that the Brain readership includes its fair share of twisted perverts. - Jonathan Dean]


  1. Mouse on Mars, 'Glam'
  2. Pavement - Slanted + Enchanted
  3. Television - Marquee Moon
  4. Swans - Children Of God / World Of Skin
  5. Current 93, 'Thunder Perfect Mind'
  6. Nurse with Wound, 'Salt Marie Celeste'
  7. Animal Collective 'Spirit They're Gone Spirit They've Vanished/Danse Manatee'
  8. Swans - Forever Burned (Burning World)
  9. 23 Skidoo - The Culling is Coming
  10. Can, 'Out of Reach'
  11. Neil Young - On the Beach
  12. Meat Beat Manifesto, 'STSRMX'
  13. Charalambides - Unknown Spin
  14. The Stooges 'The Stooges' & 'Funhouse' (vinyl)
  15. Mirror, 'Eye of the Storm'

STAFF PICK: 23 Skidoo - The Culling is Coming

[comment: Yes, but have you actually heard 'Out of Reach'? - Jon Whitney]

biggest disappointment

  1. Autechre: Draft 7.30
  2. Kraftwerk, 'Tour de France Soundtracks'
  3. Radiohead 'Hail To The Thief'
  4. Zwan, 'Mary Star of the Sea'
  5. Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
  6. Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
  7. Coil, 'The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence'
  8. Chicks on Speed '99¢'
  9. Erlend √òye, 'Unrest'
  10. Tricky, 'Vulnerable'

STAFF PICK: Liz Phair, 'Liz Phair'

[comment: Hot Hey, Liz's kid's gotta eat. If you didn't catch yourself in the shower mumbling along with that corporate, focus-group manicured chorus then I call you a dirty liar. Take 'em for all their worth, Liz, and consider it back pay for Exile. - Michael Patrick Brady]

fave new act of the year

  1. The Dresden Dolls
  2. Colder
  3. TV on the Radio
  4. The Soft Pink Truth
  5. The Postal Service
  6. Monopot
  7. Exploding Hearts
  8. Growing
  9. Devandra Banhart
  10. Asa Chang and Junray

STAFF PICK: The Dresden Dolls

[comment: The Dresden Dolls' are an achievement in concept and vision, well crafted and designed to impress with their heavy presence both live and on stage. TV on the Radio's brilliant mash up of gritty art squalls and soaring, soul-spiked vocals were immediate and stunning. Of course, I have a soft spot for Exploding Hearts who were just having so much damn fun and left us with a crisp revival of powerful pop. Soft Pink Truth... I mean, I could go on and on but I'll end by saying that the bite sample in 'Promofunk' had me grinning for days. - Michael Patrick Brady]

fave live band/event

  1. Coil
  2. Acid Mothers Temple
  3. Out Hud/!!!
  4. Mogwai
  5. The Ex
  6. Black Dice
  7. Explosions in the Sky
  8. Do Make Say Think
  9. Wire
  10. Broadcast

STAFF PICK: Out Hud/!!!

[comment: Amazing that Coil won this category, even though the (debatably) complete lineup only performed ONCE the entire year. I can't imagine that the scaled-back Sleazy and Thighpaulsandra line-up was better than Wire, Black Dice or Out Hud/!!!. - Jonathan Dean]

most overrated

  1. Dresden Dolls
  2. 50 Cent
  3. Coil
  4. Outkast
  5. Peaches
  6. Radiohead
  7. Goldfrapp
  8. Animal Collective
  9. Coldplay
  10. Sigur Ros
  11. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  12. Four Tet
  13. The Postal Service
  14. The Rapture
  15. Belle and Sebastian
  16. Fennesz
  17. Eminem
  18. The White Stripes
  19. autechre
  20. Black rebel Motorcycle Club


[comment: Best New Band -and- Most Overrated. Looks like 2004 will be a big year for Dresden Dolls. Check your TRL listings. - Jon Whitney]


  1. Steve Albini (Nina Nastasia, Songs: Ohia, Sonna, Scout Niblett, Frames, Disrhythmia)
  2. DFA (The Juan MacLean, Black Dice, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Radio 4)
  3. Jim O'Rourke (Loose Fur, Mirror, Alan Licht)
  4. Colin Potter (Nurse With Wound, Ora)
  5. El-P (Aesop Rock, Majesticons, Murs)
  6. Timbaland (Bubba Sparxxx, Missy Elliott, Magoo)
  7. The Neptunes (Busta Rhymes, Juntin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Pharrell, Sean Paul)
  8. John McEntire (The Sea and Cake, Brokeback, Neil Haggerty, The Pastels)
  9. Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Delgados, Longwave)
  10. Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene)
  11. Micheal Gira (Larsen)
  12. RJD2 (Aceyalone, Cage, Massive Attack)
  13. alan sparhawk (rivulets, pale horse and rider)
  14. Bill Laswell (Lori Carson, Fred Frith, Pharaoh Sanders, Sly & Robbie)
  15. Scott Heren (Erlend √òye, Via Tania, Prefuse 73)
  16. Adam Kasper (Cat Power, Pearl Jam)
  17. MF Doom (king geedorah, mf doom instrumentals vol 3/4)
  18. Andrew Weatherall (Beth Orton, Radioactive Man, Primal Scream)
  19. Dan The Automator (Cheap Trick, Kid Koala, Blue Man Group)
  20. John Zorn (Sachi Hayasaka)

STAFF PICK: DFA (The Juan MacLean, Black Dice, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Radio 4)

[comment: If the Britney/DFA collab wasn't left off 'In the Zone,' they would have edged Albini. - Michael Patrick Brady]

record label

  1. Kranky
  2. Warp
  3. Constellation
  4. Fat Cat
  5. Morr Music
  6. Alien8
  7. DFA
  8. Anticon
  9. Beta-lactam Ring Records
  10. Ipecac
  11. K
  12. United Dairies
  13. Tigerbeat6
  14. Young God
  15. Domino
  16. Matador
  17. Mego
  18. Sup Pop
  19. Secretly Canadian
  20. Drag City

STAFF PICK: Tigerbeat6

[comment: Kranky? I love Kranky, and I'm not going to go as far as insulting the general readership's intelligence, but I don't think people are paying attention. Note that not one Kranky release placed in the top 30 this year! People who claim to like them would probably enjoy the couple releases put out recently. Do people actually read these reviews? - Jon Whitney

Warp at #2? OK, now I know that NONE of you are paying attention to my reviews. Sheesh. Go back to your record collections and pull out the oldest Warp release you own and tell me honestly that anything that came from that label in 2003 came close to that excellence. Go on. I double fucking dog dare you. - Gary Suarez

Other than the !!! 12"", Warp had one of their weakest years yet. Req? Chris Clark? Plaid remixes? Does that spell ""best"" to you? - Jonathan Dean

It's settled then, people won't be able to vote for this category next year and the winner will be awarded by scoring points in the poll with their actual releases. - Jon Whitney]

music video (short)

  1. Johnny Cash, 'Hurt'
  2. Outkast, 'Hey Ya!'
  3. Radiohead, 'There There'
  4. Sigur Ros, 'Untitled #1'
  5. Mogwai, 'Hunted By a Freak'
  6. Missy Elliott, 'Pass That Dutch'
  7. Matmos, 'Stars and Stripes Forever'
  8. queens of the stone age, 'go with the flow'
  9. White Stripes, 'Seven Nation Army '
  10. Four Tet, 'She Moves She'
  11. LFO, 'Freak'
  12. the white stripes, 'the hardest button to button'
  13. cat power 'he war'
  14. Keith Fullerton Whitman, 'Modena'
  15. The Soft Pink Truth, 'Promofunk'
  16. broken social scene, 'stars and sons'
  17. Kid 606, 'The Illness'
  18. Junior Senior, 'Move Your Feet'
  19. Laibach, 'Tanz mit Laibach'
  20. Manitoba, 'Jacknuggeted'

STAFF PICK: Sigur Ros, 'Untitled #1'

[comment: As much as I loved the Sigur Ros 'Untitled #1' video, nothing this year beat the poignant look back at Johnny Cash's life and infamy that was the 'Hurt' video. That was the sort of piece that could only exist and have the impact it did because of the length and depth of Cash's career. It seems impossible to think that there are any artists working now that will accomplish so much over such a long period of time again to warrant a similar tribute. - Matthew Jeanes]

lifetime achievement award

[comment: Bravery, integrity, absolute courage and energy, and more ideas and concepts than 15 rock bands have in their lucid wet dreams. - Rob Devlin

Seeing them in NYC this year, the vibrant boys and girls in the mosh pit right up front were probably not even wiping their own ass when Wire split up a SECOND time. This says a lot about Wire's power and the power of incredible music that's not made by pretty young people who are marketed to youth weaned from Barney and Power Rangers and mall rock. - Jon Whitney

Wire is still managing to be relevant and influentual, making strides in their sound and execution and proving that great bands never die. A wonderful precendent that has inspired other brilliant bands like Mission of Burma to give it another go. From then to now, a solid body of work. - Michael Patrick Brady

Who's Wire? - Gary Suarez]

tv show

  1. The Simpsons
  2. The Daily Show
  3. South Park
  4. Six Feet Under
  5. The Sopranos
  6. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
  7. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
  8. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  9. Late Night with Conan O' Brian
  10. CSI
  11. The Office
  12. 24
  13. That 70s Show
  14. Sealab 2021
  15. Scrubs

STAFF PICK: The Daily Show

[comment: Wanda finds a turd in the back seat. It doesn't get much better than that. - Jon Whitney]

DVD release

  1. 24 Hour Party People
  2. The Work of Director Chris Cunningham
  3. Bowling for Columbine
  4. Sigur Ros, 'Untitled #1'
  5. Simpsons (Season 3)
  6. Incredible String Band, 'Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending'
  7. Sun Ra, 'Space is the Place'
  8. Family Guy
  9. Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers (Special Edition)
  10. The Work of Director Spike Jonze
  11. Can DVD
  12. Bjork, 'Live @ Royal Festival Hall DVD'
  13. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 'God is in the House'
  14. Roger & Me
  15. 24
  16. Futurama (Season 2)
  17. Strangers With Candy Season 2
  18. Indiana Jones Trilogy
  19. Punch Drunk Love
  20. Texas Chainsaw Massacre special edition

STAFF PICK: The Work of Director Chris Cunningham

[comment: Am I the only one who is sick of trying to be convinced by Factory that Happy Mondays are anything but complete and utter shite? - Jon Whitney]

fave website (non-brainwashed)
(brainwashed can't win -every- year now....)

  1. pitchforkmedia.com
  2. allmusic.com
  3. theonion.com
  4. google.com
  5. fakejazz.com
  6. IMDB.com
  7. homestarrunner.com
  8. epitonic.com
  9. guardian.co.uk
  10. dustedmagazine.com
  11. bbc.co.uk
  12. stylusmagazine.com
  13. friendster.com
  14. craigslist.com
  15. absorb.org
  16. fark.com
  17. disinfo.org
  18. deoxy.org
  19. weeklyworldnews.com
  20. SomethingAwful.com

STAFF PICK: homestarrunner.com

[comment: I'm suprised Friendster didn't rank in the most annoying trend - Michael Patrick Brady]

most annoying trend

  1. Bush administration antics/coverups
  2. 80s revivalism/nostalgia/cocaine/girls cutting the collars off their shirts
  3. American Idol
  4. 60's garage rock revival
  5. Cell Phones in Rude Places (movie theaters, cars, concerts, anuses) w/ annoying ringtones +/or digital cameras
  6. Bad white rappers and dull, overrated producers being labelled 'underground hip hop'
  7. Atkins Diet
  8. Boboism (Volkswagens/ipods/starbucks, that whole 'crap for white people to spend money on' thing)
  9. Electroclash
  10. Metrosexuality/Trendy Homosexuality (Queer Eye, Supreme Court ruling on sodomy, Trent Lott, Marriage Protection Week, Episcopalian gay priest)
  11. New York City - this isn't 1977
  12. SUVs
  13. ""Support the Troops"" translated as ""Shut Up and Obey""
  14. Reality TV game shows
  15. Emo music/fashions (dark frame glasses)
  16. Michael Moore's Guilty White Liberal politics
  17. Conervative Media Control/Liars
  18. French bashing & Freedom Fries
  19. illegal invasions of virtually defenseless third world countries
  20. Right Wing Politics


[comment: It's refreshing to see the readers' hearts are in the right places. - Jessica Tibbits]