Yeah, it’s an old rock doc cliche, but the top ten twenties list does actually go to eleven. When I first mentioned the Top Ten Top Twenties series on Jim Griffin’s digital-music-industry-absurdly-active-yet-often-compelling-always-delicious-noodly Pho List, four highly respected executives in the digital music industry wrote to ask if I had squeezed Matt Graves’ top-naught-20 out of him.

All four of them, plus two industry friends tagged Matt as their “go-to person for all music recommendations.” So it had to be done. And it wasn’t just because everyone knows Matt as one of digital music’s PR Masters (truth) – it was because Matt knows and loves music with unique impeccable passion. 


Just look for him at SXSW Music in 2010, he’ll be there. Matt carries a list of each band he wants to see, organized by time & venue proximity, so he knows exactly how to catch every single band. If you’ve been to SxSW Music then you know: it’s an artform, and Matt has it mastered. If you see him at SxSW Music 2010 maybe you can join him, ask him about the bands he will see, but don’t interrupt him. This man loves music.

So, the answer is yes. We turned it up to eleven and I squeezed out Matt Graves’ top 25, with a formidable amount of honorable mentions.

And who is this guy, this PR Jedi Master of digital music?

Matt Graves was the vice president of marketing communications at imeem, the online music service that pioneered the ad-supported streaming music model. He was with imeem from the fall of 2007 through its acquisition earlier this month by MySpace, overseeing the company’s public relations, social media and marketing efforts.

If you attended the SXSWi Meat Up at the Austin, TX Beauty Bar in 2009, please go say “Thank You” to Matt. Remember that photo booth at Treasure Island? And all those playlists?  Thanks Matt!

Previously, Graves worked for RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service, and was a key part of the team that launched Rhapsody in 2001. Matt was with Rhapsody a long time – he spent more than 6 years evangelizing the service to media, industry analysts, and the public, and directed the communications strategy for RealNetworks’ overall digital music business. Prior to Rhapsody, Graves worked for boutique PR agencies InterActive Public Relations in San Francisco and Young & Associates in Rockville, Maryland.

Not surprising, but Matt could not limit himself to just twenty albums, or even just a few honorable mentions. He also was nice enough to include all release dates and record labels. Everyone, in unison: Thanks Matt!

and happy new year, music freaks geeks & nerds of San Francisco!

Top 25 of the 2000s: Matt Graves

Jack Drag: Soft Songs LP: Aviating (2000, Sugar Free Records)

Grandaddy: The Sophtware Slump (2000, V2 Records)

Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000, Matador Records)

Pinback: Blue Screen Life (2001, Ace Fu Records)

The Notwist: Neon Golden (2002, Domino Records)

My Favorite: The Happiest Days of our Lives (2003, Double Agent Records)

Mew: Frengers (2003, Sony Music)

The American Analog Set: Promise of Love (2003, Tiger Style)

Rainer Maria: Long Knives Drawn (2003, Polyvinyl Records)

The Wrens: The Meadowlands (2003, Absolutely Kosher Records)

Stars: Set Yourself on Fire (2004, Arts & Crafts)

Moving Units: Dangerous Dreams (2004, Palm Pictures)

Kiss Me Deadly: Misty Medley (2005, Alien8 Recordings)

Interpol: Antics (2005, Matador Records)

Bloc Party: Silent Alarm (2005, Vice Records)

The Legends: Public Radio (2005, Labrador Records)

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness: Fear is on our Side (2006, Secretly Canadian)

Snowden: Anti-Anti (2006, Jade Tree Records)

Peter, Bjorn and John: Writer’s Block (2006, Almost Gold Recordings/Wichita)

Film School: Film School (2006, Beggars Banquet)

Maps: We Can Create (2007, Mute Records)

Blonde Redhead: 23 (2007, 4AD)

Radiohead: In Rainbows (2007; self-released)

LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (2007, DFA Records/Capitol)

Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight (2008, Fat Cat Records)


  • Versus: Hurrah (2000, Merge Records)
  • The Strokes: Is This It (2001, RCA Records)
  • Rainer Maria: A Better Version of Me (2001, Polyvinyl Recrds)
  • The Shins: Oh, Inverted World (2001, Sub Pop)
  • Pia Fraus: In Solarium (2002, Clairecords)
  • Beck: Sea Change (2002, Geffen Records)
  • Doves: The Last Broadcast (2002, EMI Music)
  • Longwave: The Strangest Things (2002, RCA Records)
  • Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002, Nonesuch Records)
  • My Morning Jacket: It Still Moves (2003, ATO Records/RCA Records)
  • The Stills: Logic Will Break Your Heart (2003, VICE Records)
  • Lali Puna: Faking the Books (2004, Morr Music)
  • The Eaves: S/T (2004, Ace Fu Records)
  • Systems Officer: S/T (2004, Ace Fu Records)
  • Dirty on Purpose: Hallelujah Sirens (2006, North Street Records)
  • The Radio Dept.: Pet Grief (2006, Labrador Records)
  • She, Sir: Who Can’t Say Yes (2006, self-released)
  • Band of Horses: Everything All the Time (2006, Sub Pop)
  • The Bell: Make Some Quiet (2007, Badman Recording Co.)
  • Ringo Deathstarr: S/T ep (2007, self-released)
  • The Teenagers: Reality Check (2008, XL Recordings)
  • School of Seven Bells: Alpinisms (2008, Ghostly International)
  • Foals: Antidotes (2008, Warner Music/Transgressive Records)
  • Moscow Olympics: Cut the World (2008, Lavender Recordings)
  • The Raveonettes: Lust Lust Lust (2008, VICE Records)
  • The Raveonettes: In and Out of Control (2009, VICE)
  • Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009, Glassnote Entertainment)
  • The Postal Service: “Give up” (2003, Sub Pop)
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