We asked several writers and musicians to share their picks for the best acts of 2002. What we found out is that there's no general consensus about the best CD of the year. While national critics went ga-ga for Eminem, the Strokes and Beck, only a few of our correspondents felt the same way.

On the local front, the Retreads and Pop Lolita received votes for best CD and The Slurs and Wesley Willis were mentioned for the best live show.

Steve Hammer - music editor, NUVO

Top 10 Local Albums

1. The Retreads

Highway to Helsinki

Perfectly written and performed hard rock. Not a bad note on the album.

2. Perfect Nothing

Ten Thousand Stars

The culmination of/coda to this great band"s career: an album as good as their live show.

3. Otis Gibbs

49th and Melancholy

Compassionate, witty and wise.

4. The Fuglees

Go Apesh*t

Some of the best-written music of 2002.

5. The Hooligans

Wearing Out Our Welcome

Bratty punk kids get in the studio and tear things up.

6. Brando

Instantly Spaceships

Intelligent pop.

7. Fiti Futuristic

All In A Day's Work

Christian rap that doesn't preach.

8. Citizens Band

Truck Stop Chapel

Twangy rockers with great songs.

9. The Dream Is Dead

Letter of Resignation

Intense, integrity-filled hardcore.

10. Amongst The Swarm

Crowning The Defeated

Metal heavier than it has any right to be.

Top 10 National Albums

1. Eminem

The Eminem Show

Self-absorbed yet compelling.

2. Flaming Lips

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

They get weirder and weirder but better and better.

3. Jurassic 5

Power In Numbers

Rap's great new hope.

4. Dirty Sweets

Bubblegum Damaged

Trashy garage-rock produced by The Slurs" Jim Kuczkowski.

5. Low


Typically tasteful and intriguing.

6. Luther Wright & The Wrongs

Rebuild The Wall

The Wall, country style.

7. Ani DiFranco

So Much Shouting,

So Much Laughter

Great live set from a great live performer.

8. Elvis Costello

When I Was Cruel

A brilliant return to form.

9. Sonic Youth

Murray Street

The Youth's best album in 10 years.

10. N.E.R.D.

In Search Of ...

If this is the future of hip-hop, the future looks good.

Top 10 Local Shows

1. The Slurs

Battle of the Bands First Round at the Patio (April)

Maybe the best show ever.

2.Riverboat Gamblers/John Wilkes Booze

Melody Inn (July)

The Riverboat Gamblers gave Indiana's best a run for their money.

3. The Mighty John Waynes Farewell Show

Melody Inn (June)

A classy and triumphant good-bye.

4. The Pieces

Midwest Music Summit at the Patio (August)

A nearly flawless set.

5. Slurs/Dirty Little Secrets/dearnt.

The Monkey"s Tale (May)

One of the strangest nights imaginable.

6. The Hooligans

Battle of the Bands Second Round at the Patio (July)

Playing as a three-piece for the first time, they played with their most intensity to date.

7. Fiti Futuristic

Battle of the Bands First Round at the Patio (June)

A left-field surprise.

8. Danny Rollings Band/dearnt.

Battle of the Bands First Round at the Patio (June)

Sloppy, profane performance art.

9. Mong Hang/Perfect Nothing

Emerson Theater (May)

Structured performance art.

10. Slurs/Retreads/Dirty Sweets

Melody Inn (August)

Singer Penny Tration's yelps can break glass.

Summer Wood - staff writer, NUVO

Top 10 National Albums


One Beat

Sarah Dougher

The Bluff

Beth Orton


Kronos Quartet



Yankee Hotel Foxtrot


Handcream For a Generation

Smokey Hormel and Miho Hatori

Smokey & Miho

Billy Bragg and the Blokes

England, Half English



Yo La Tengo

The Sounds of the Sounds of Science

Best local album:

Pop Lolita

Smokerings and Halos

Jonathan Keith - Planet X Radio Network

Top 10 Local Albums

C Kahuna

Machine Says Yes

High Contrast

True Colors


Melody A.M.

Dj Shadow

The Private Press


A Hundred Days Off

Felix Da Housecat

Kittenz And Thee Glitz

Timo Maas


Zero 7

Simple Things


In Search Of ...


Dirty Dancing

St Mykal - NUVO music writer

Best Local Shows

Wesley Willis

Radio Radio (March)

Poster Children

Radio Radio (April)

Mong Hang

Emerson Theater (May)

Cave Catt Sammy

Rockabilly Rebel Weekend at the Fountain Square Theater (June)

Seven Degrees From Center

IMN Showcase 5 at Birdy's (July)

From Autumn To Ashes

Festivilla (July)

Battle of The Bands

Finals at the Vogue (August)

Midwest Music Summit

All of Saturday Night (August)

Faun Fables

Radio Radio (October)

Eight Ball Grifter

Melody Inn (October)

Top Five CDs

Pretty Girls Make Graves

Good Health

Slick Idiot

Dick Nitty

The Distillers

Sing Sing Death House

The Flaming Lips

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

Conjure One

Self Titled

Jill Brooks - music writer, NUVO

Top 10 National Albums

The Tragically Hip

In Violet Light


Yankee Fox Trot Hotel


A Rush of Blood To The Head

They make radio likeable. They somehow managed to improve upon their first album.




Sea Change

Mike Doughty


Linda Thompson

Fashionably Late

The Hives

Veni Vidi Vicious

Ryan Adams


Destination: Earth! - Space Invaders

The members of the mission codenamed DESTINATION: EARTH! have once again compiled a listing of their favorite auditory releases for the year 2002. (And while we generally hesitate to include our own music or that released prior to 2002, some exceptions have been made for cases in which a particular release may have become a vital listening experience throughout the year.)

Commander 007

1. Beck

Sea Change

2. Flaming Lips

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

3. Clem Snide

The Ghost Of Fashion

4. The Hives

Veni Vidi Vicious

5. Weezer


6. Simon & Milo

Ready Ready Set Go

7. They Might Be Giants


8. Fifty Foot Combo


9. Apples In Stereo

Velocity Of Sound

10. Bambi Molesters

13 From The Hip


1. Queens Of The Stone Age

Songs For The Deaf

2. White Stripes

White Blood Cells

3. The Strokes

Is This It?

4. Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade

Purple Onion

5. The Hives

Veni Vidi Vicious

6. Beck

Sea Change

7. Audioslave


8. Sparta

Wire Tap Scars

9. Rush

Vapor Trails

10. Weezer



1. Rob Halford


2. Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade

Purple Onion

3. Rush

Vapor Trails

4. Eminem

The Eminem Show

5. Various Artists

Continental Sampler #9

6. Destination: Earth!

Burned On Reentry soundtrack

7. Various Artists

Summer Of 2002 (Surf Compilation)

8. Xtc

White Music (Reissue)

9. Queens Of The Stone Age

Songs For The Deaf

10. Weezer


Todd Robinson - owner of LUNA music

Top 10 National Albums

Cinematic Orchestra

Every Day


Lazy Dog II


Sea Change

Nightmares On Wax

Mind Elevation

Thievery Corporation

Richest Man In Babylon

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man

Out Of Season

Elf Power


Slater Hogan

Disco Sleeze I

Reindeer Section

Son Of Evil Reindeer


Single Wish

Jason Pierce - manager of LUNA music

Top 10 National Albums

Elf Power

Nothings Going To Happen

The Impossible Shapes

The Current

June Panic

Baby's Breadth

Jurassic 5

Power In Numbers

Little Wings

Light Green Leaves

Panty Lions

So Dang Rad

People Under The Stairs


Reindeer Section

Son Of Evil Reindeer

Josh Rouse

Under Cold Blue Stars

Soul-fu Villains

Nappy Mans Guide To Living


Recommended for you