Sunday, July 3rd, 2005
This Year's Model
With 2005 officially half over, I’m going to do the music blogger clip-episode equivalent and get on the “favourite albums of 2005 so far” bandwagon. Will these albums necessarily be on the year-end list? Maybe, maybe not. There could end up being ten spectacular records that come out between now and December that push these ones into runner-up position, or I could just get really sick of these. Who really knows? But for now, these are the five records released this year that have worked themselves into my playlist and cranium the most. I’m keeping it brief, though. Alphabetical order, not ranked.
The Decemberists / Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars) – Like a new work from a favourite author, Picaresque doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the Decemberists’ table, but more of the same from Meloy & co. will suit me just fine.
Doves / Some Cities (EMI) – If this list were ranked, this would be number five. Not as consistent top to bottom as I’d like, but when it hits, it’s magnificent. Songs like “Black & White Town”, “Snowden” and “Ambition”, for starters, are enough to elevate any album to at least some degree of greatness.
Low / The Great Destroyer (SubPop) – A change of scenery does Duluth’s finest some good. A new label, a new producer, and a new direction that revitalizes the band without abandoning any of the traits that made them special in the first place.
The Mountain Goats / The Sunset Tree (4AD) – (Too) much has been written about the autobiographicalness of John Darneille’s latest opus. All that matters is that whether it’s informed by memory or imagination, he makes you feel it. Truly a heartbreaking work of staggering genius (what, is that phrase played out?) and maybe his best work yet. And that’s saying something.
The Wedding Present / Take Fountain (Manifesto) – Dave Gedge has always been at his best writing tales of lovers jilted, jilting or just getting randy, so how does he find inspiration for the first album under the Wedding Present moniker in some eight years? By drawing on the dissolution of his relationship with longtime girlfriend Sally Murrell to create one of the Weddoes’ best records of any era, and certainly the most personal and heartfelt.
And since I’ve only had it a few days, it’s not really fair to include it in the list proper, but Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois will almost certainly be a shoo-in for the final list in December (check out You Ain’t No Picasso’s interview with Sufjan). I’m sure there’s other stuff that came out in the past six months that would have made the list if I’d only gotten around to getting a copy before now, I will try to have a reasonably comprehensive sample group by year’s end, which usually means a shopping frenzy of some sort in late November/early December.
Hall Monitor is the new hangout of Paul from The Rub, and his inaugural post is his half-year review of 2005.
So Live 8 was a success? Everyone happy? Awareness heightened? Good, I’m glad for you. Really I am. I somehow managed to sleep through the whole thing. All 20 hours of it. Yeah. Okay, I actually saw the very very end with everyone onstage singing “Oh Canada” – please tell me Motley Crue took part. Please please please.
Thanks to everyone who entered my Doves contest – I will try to contact the winners in the next day or two, as soon as I figure out how to randomly select winners. Things learned from this contest – next time, database the entrants so that it’s easier to sort through.
np – Brakes / Give Blood