5 January 2006 5:30 AM (music)
Now I'm sure both people that read this already forgot that I promised a musical roundup of 2005, but I most certainly did not. So on this plane ride on the 30th of December I decided to take a look at what went on and down in my musical world. I'm ordering the bands mentioned in each category in order of descending rockingness. Keep in mind I was musically lost for a couple of years in the bush of Namibia so while some things might not be new to you they were to me.
Pavement. My god! How could I have missed them before? Excellent songwriting, excellent rock and roll music product. They rock out.
Fugazi. Also I am unclear how I missed this group before. They've only been around for 20 years or so, no? Anyway Fugazi is my noise blanket. I suggest "13 songs" to the person that has no album.
Radiohead's "Kid A". The first time I heard this I flipped. It's perfect. An audible tapestry, perfect in the whole and the details. I don't like their other albums though, with the possible exception of "OK Computer".
The Postal Service. The "We Will Become Sillhouettes" EP is good, but "Give Up" is anthem-quality. "Such Great Heights" is a most excellent tune.
Lucinda Williams. An odd choice I guess but I am fascinated by her voice and songwriting. "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" is the first and only album I've heard from her and I really dig it.
The Mountain Goats. Lo-fi semi-acoustic. "The Coroner's Gambit" is the only album I have, and it's quite alright. I'd recommend it, but I'd also recommend poking around for other albums.
The Decemberists. "Engine Driver" is listen-to-it-5-times-in-a-row good, and the rest of "Picaresque" is good as well. Very rich flavors, if a bit sharp.
Built to Spill. All I had heard from them was "You Were Wrong" and "Car", but that was a long time ago and there is so much more. Mostly impressed with "There's Nothing Wrong With Love" -- ain't it strange that I can dream, ain't it strange that I'm a human being -- my mind wanders Valencia to the tune of those songs.
The Evens. Low-key, low-fi minimalist drone. Songwriting is of the anarcho tradition, with Ian Fleming from Fugazi, and with the one other band member, Amy Farina, the singing is quite good.
Public Enemy. "Fear of a Black Planet" is still hot 15 years later. (I wonder about people born in 2050, with the larger weight of recorded music to be familiar with.)
Bloc Party. These guys are rock stars. I never wrote about it but going to see them last October or so was the best concert I saw this year. The music was good, but the show was excellent. They were shadows lying on blankets of lights. Hot.
Nada Surf. My anthem of July. "High Low" isn't so good but "Let Go" is great. It's a bit whiny though.
The Raveonettes. "Chain Gang of Love" is a fine album -- a noisy musical appetizer.
Death Cab for Cutie. I listened to them a lot for a while, but ended up deciding they're too whiny. However it did take me a long time to decide that. They have their moments of rapture, when you wish that instant of listening would last forever.
MC 900 Ft Jesus, "One Step Ahead Of The Spider" is the one I've heard. Catchy, and varied. Suppose I accidentally got my shit together?
The Strokes. "Room on Fire" is the only album I have of theirs. I played it on repeat for about a week, but I'm over it now.
New Found Glory. Terrible terrible teenage emo-punk stolen from my sister, but. It is catchy.
Newly known from old people
A number of albums from Sonic Youth, of which "Murray Street" is the most enveloptingly delicious. Did you get your disconnection notice? / Mine came, in the mail today
The Shins' "Chutes Too Narrow". This one was the anthem of March. Few albums reach anthem status, this one did.
Modest Mouse, "Good News For People Who Love Bad News". A fine album that needs more listening on my part.
Buck o Nine, "Songs in the Key of Bree". OK album, good energy. "Twenty Eight Teeth" is better, though.
Yo La Tengo, "I Can Feel the Heart Beating As One". This one puts me back in 1998 again.
Common, "Like Water For Chocolate". I've looked for more Common in Barcelona but failed. Will have to look here at home before I go back.
Silver Jews, "American Water". My favorite song used to be #8, "Send In The Clouds", but now I'm hot on "Blue Arrangements".
The Shins, "Oh, Inverted World". I am barefoot on hardwood floors on Glenwood ave in Raleigh listening to this one. Delightful how music is bound up with time.
Neil Young, "Harvest". I need more from this character.
Fugees, "The Score". Classics from the crate.
PJ Harvey, "Rid of Me", "To Bring You My Love". Yum. Also noisy. (Noise is a theme of 2005.)
Belle and Sebastian, "If You're Feeling Sinister". I used to be really into this stuff, and it keeps its appeal to a degree, but on the other hand I am not the person associated with this music any more.
The Arcade Fire, whose song "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" on "Funeral" is beautiful. I will dig a tunnel / from my window to yours
"Slave to the Wage" by Placebo on "Black Market Music" -- Sick and tired of maggie's farm!
Suck of the year
Kaiser Chiefs. Their name rang a bell, and they have the name of the South African national football team, so I thought they couldn't be bad and bought their album. (Funny purchasing motives there.) They are terrible. Overhyped, undertalented britpop, the worst of the lot.