The Ghostly 110 List

Posted by Sam

Ghostly’s 110 is a rundown of our favorite albums of the decade. In making the list, we wanted to share the albums we’ve loved over the last 10 years, so fans can compare notes and perhaps make a few new discoveries in the process. The impetus for this list was our belief that a record label is more than just a music distributor–it’s a perspective all its own.  

To start, we asked the Ghostly staff for their top 100 albums (no EPs, reissues, or various-artist compilations) from the decade.  While there was a stunning consistency within the top 20, there were hundreds of releases that had only one vote.  From there, we had to make some tough decisions. Tears were shed and punches thrown, but we ended up with a document that wears the Ghostly seal of approval with pride.

We also wanted to keep our list pure and nepotism-free, so we left off all Ghostly/Spectral albums, as well as any artist who has over a few songs on the label. Of course, this meant we couldn’t include eternal classics like Solvent’s Solvent City, Rafael Anton Irissarir’s Daydreaming, and of course, Tycho’s Past Is Prologue.

In short, it’s been a wild decade. We’ve all seen and experienced so much, and while no one knows what the future holds, we do know that good music will always keep coming.  Ghostly’s 110 is also a tribute to the labels and record stores that have inspired us, and the ones that we’ve lost in the last decade.

There are more than a few albums that could have easily made the list, and I wanted to recognize them below.

The Sea and Cake’s Oui (Thrill Jockey, 2000) was an easy contender for top albums of the decade that just didn’t get the votes, perhaps overlooked because of the bands consistent understated awesomeness. A mesmerizing album of subtle grace.

Dungen was a band that seemed to come out of nowhere with Ta Det Lungt (Kemado, 2005), capturing a piece of the global mindshare with this album of puzzlingly perfect rock.

I know E. Lipp is a fixture at ISO50, but Tacoma Mockingbird (Hefty, 2006) is the record that put him on the map. Beautifully conceived synth lines atop classic breaks.

Like a bolt from the (aqueous) blue, Portishead returned with Third (Island, 2008) having lost no steam and having found their new voice–while retaining the haunted, dusty majesty of their early work.

14 Comments Leave A Comment


zx says:

January 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I know it’s nothing really important, but the decade ends with the beginning of 2011, not 2010 (ten full years from 2000).


Sam says:

January 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Good call ZX, I was going with the popular view of the decade (counted on your fingers).

I’d love to hear from any ISO’ers what albums we missed in our list, as I know we didn’t hear all the good ones.


Jay Williams says:

January 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I understand why you don’t include any Ghostly artists in your list, but I’d love to find out about some of the amazing Ghostly artists too! Maybe you could make a list for just the Ghostly artists?


zx says:

January 3, 2010 at 1:18 am

Jared: I’m more convinced by the historians than Joshua Zumbrun, whoever he are (even if he writes for Forbes). I got his point of view, but he just tries to simplify all the dates stuff for a general person to get it more easily. That’s not the way.


zx says:

January 3, 2010 at 1:21 am

Oh, and sure – decade is just a world for ‘ten years’, but I think that by selecting ‘something of the decade’ we mean the decade in THE meaning.


Rudolph Pokorny says:

January 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

All were fantastic…except for the Portishead track. It was too abrasive for my tastes. The constant tone in the background really bugged me. To each their own though.


bleep01 says:

January 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Well, this post is about favorite albums from the previous 10 yrs, so… I guess I will follow the same rules (Ø Ghostly/Spectral; LP’s only). These are in addition to ones already mentioned on

Adam Johnson – ‘Chigliak’ (Merck, 2003)
Alex Smoke – ‘Paradolia’ (Soma, 2006)
Anders Ilar – ‘Ludwijka’ (Merck, 2007)
Benjamin Brunn – “König Und Drache” (BineMusic, 2004)
Black Moth Super Rainbow – ‘Dandelion Gum’ (2007)
Björk – ‘Vespertine’ (One Little Indian, 2001)
Boxcutter – ‘Glyphic’ (Planet Mu, 2007)
Brock Van Wey (Bvdub) – ‘White Clouds Drift On and On’ (echospace[detroit], 2009)
Cat Power – ‘The Greatest’ (Matador, 2005)
Christ. – ‘Blue Shift Emissions’ (Benbecula, 2007)
Hammock – ‘Kenotic’ (Hammock Music, 2005)
Hatchback – ‘Colors of the Sun’ (Lo Recordings, 2008)
Herrman & Kleine – ‘Our Noise’ (Morr Music, 2002)
Hu Vibrational – ‘Beautiful: Boonghee Music 2’ (Soul Jazz, 2004)
Isan – ‘Meet Next Life’ (Morr Music, 2004)
José González – ‘In Our Nature’ (Imperial Records, 2007)
Kraftwerk – ‘Tour de France Soundtracks’ (Kling Klang, 2003)
LFO – ‘Sheath’ (Warp Records, 2003)
Minisystem – ‘Madingley’ (Noise Factory Records, 2006)
Nobody – ‘Soul Mates’ (Ubiquity, 2000)
Phoenecia – ‘Brownout’ (Schematic, 2001)
P.Laoss – ‘Landscapes & Machines’ (Somnia, 2009)
Richard Devine – ‘Aleamapper’ (Schematic, 2001)
Samamidon – ‘All Is Well’ (Bedroom Community, 2008)
Skoud – ‘Systems & Drafts’ (Motivesounds Recordings, 2006)
SND – ‘Atavism’ (Raster-Noton, 2009)
Soviet- ‘We Are Eyes, We Are Builders’ (Head Records, 2001)
Stars of the Lid – ‘The Tired Sounds Of …’ (Kranky, 2001)
The Field – ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ (Kompakt, 2007)
Tortoise – ‘Standards’ (Thrill Jockey, 2001)
Twerk – ‘Living Vicariously Through Burnt Bread’ (Mille Plateaux, 2003)
Xela – ‘For Frosty Mornings & Summer Nights’ (Neo Ouija, 2003)

I’m sure I missed many (as Ghostly did as well), but these are top-notch in my humble opinion.


Anonymous says:

January 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I can’t stand this constant “decade” debate. 1980 wasn’t part of the 70’s. The 90’s started in 1990 and ended in 1999. so the decade goes from 2000-2009. Ten years.


Schlafende says:

January 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Great to see Belong included in this list!

I did think it was kinda weird to not see Sigur Rós at all