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Boston.com - december, 2003

The Best CDs of 2003

by Jim Sullivan

The Distillers, "Coral Fang" (Sire)
Brody Dalle has shed her famous Rancid husband’s last name and she and her raggedy boys shred any sense of propriety on this full-out attack on whatever system you care to present.

The White Stripes, "Elephant" (V2)
Stripped down and dense, clamorous, blues-based, and rocking. Already they’ve had a tune covered by Audioslave. No stumbling at all after last year’s breakthrough.

Belle & Sebastian, "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" (Rough Trade)
Stuart Murdoch, who fronts Scotland’s best band, finds life to not be such a dour affair after all, pumping these songs with an uncanny effervescence and joie de vivre.

Spiritualized, "Amazing Grace" (Sanctuary)
Jason Pierce, Spiritualized’s leader, prowls around in some dark, dangerous alleyways, climbs out, and finds a bit of space and grace.

The Dresden Dolls, "The Dresden Dolls" (8 Foot Records)
Boston’s dark and sexy little cabaret punk band presents an eclectic roster of subtly vicious pop songs.

OutKast, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" (Arista)
Hip-hop’s smartest and funkiest duo split up the chores for separate CD releases as part of one package and its all just audacious and provocative.

Warren Zevon, "The Wind" (Artemis)Sentimental favorite? Oh sure, maybe a bit. But we’re not sure we’ve seen anyone close a career or a life with such quality work.

The Buzzcocks, "Buzzcocks" (Merge)
Finally, an album that puts our angst-ridden, punk-charged English boys at the level of their early, seminal singles. Speed + melody = bliss.

Firewater, "The Man on the Burning Tightrope" (Jetset)
Led by bassist-singer Tod A., Firewater does for klezmer what the Pogues did for Celtic music.

The Ticks, "So Young, So Bad" (Subversive Green)
I fell in love with their punky garage rock, their incessant hooks, and their feminist and funny smarts.